Tonight I walked the city from one old door to the other. I stood outside the open gate in San Frediano. Luna played with a husky puppy in the pathway that King Charles VIII of France took when he entered the city. I love the view from that side of the river. The clock tower of Palazzo Vecchio takes center stage on the horizon, and the mountains rise up behind the skyline – purple in the sunsets. We walk up through the enormous archway and into the city. The Arno is brown and muddy in August. We’re promised rain tomorrow. I still don’t believe it – even as I watched the clouds build up over the hills looking toward Chianti.
The first bridge is closed – under reconstruction (‘renovations’ isn’t appropriate at this point) and unpassable. I heard a rumor that the architect is the same one as the bridge that collapsed in Genoa, and if that’s true, then fine – take all the time you need to fix that thing.
I kept heading up the river to Ponte alla Carraia, somehow managed to keep Luna from licking melted ice cream off the ground by the gelateria and walked out over the Arno on the bridge and looked upriver to the Ponte Vecchio, then walked back down to Piazza Ognissanti and in to visit Rami, then back out and up towards Repubblica. A trash truck barrels by, echoing off the otherwise quiet streets. The vacation signs were fewer smack dab in the center, but they were still there, dotted between the international stores and the larger brands.
In Piazza Repubblica, the women that sell scarves to the lines of sleeveless churchgoers (no shoulders allowed in churches here – God doesn’t like them, apparently) were the only ones sitting on the stone benches. The carousel was wrapped up for the night. Only the bars and restaurants lining the piazza had any life – tourists sat listening to a man on the piano, others looked out at the square, pointing at Luna as we passed by.
Down the street then, dodging taxis that revel in the empty streets and take corners like they’re racing up at the Mugello. Then into an almost empty Duomo square. Only a few groups sitting out in the tables and chairs with one of the most beautiful views that I almost (almost) take for granted now. Luna plunged into the open space and we ran around the baptistery. A German Shepard barked from across the piazza after us, and it echoed around the Duomo.
Then up we walked past the palace of the Medici and I wondered what window Lorenzo de’ Medici waved out of to show that he was alive and safe to the Florentines – just after his brother was stabbed to death in the Duomo. Then, all the way up to Piazza Liberta and “my” door/gate (I can’t decide what word to use) of Porta San Gallo.