Today was our last day in Florence. A bittersweet one for sure and still weird to think our time here is done. Traveling is such an odd thing because often times you visit a place, fall in love with it and the people, admire the beautiful things it has to offer, and then you leave, often never returning. I have been lucky enough to return to a number of places, but many, including Florence, I may never see again. The places and experiences change you, move you, mold you, and therefore stay with you. However, isn’t it a bit sad to think you may never return? It is a comfort knowing Adam and I experienced this together and discussed a lot of the practices and routines we want to bring back home with us. We can take a piece of Florence and re-create it as best we can in our home in Denver. Comforting and realistic. We are so lucky to have had the last 6 weeks here in Florence. We have seen and experienced so much including cooking classes, day trips, language school, and a glimpse into the daily life of Florentines. Irreplaceable memories. We know we are unique in our ability to travel for such a long period of time and we don’t take it for granted. We are thankful for our chance for this sabbatical in Florence. So, to celebrate our time, a list of the wonderful things we will miss about Florence.
- Our fresh made pasta bought at the market everyday, especially the lemon ravioli. So yummy.
- Inexpensive, but very delicious cheese, fresh bread, and wine. Oh the cheese. The wine. And that dang ciabatta al formaggio for 2 euros upstairs at the central market. You are what dreams are made of.
- Long walks through a city rich with history and culture. The heart of the Renaissance. Just walking the same streets as Michelangelo and all the ninja turtles.
- The art and museums. We didn’t do as much of the touristy sightseeing this time around, but we did take in a few more museums. It is amazing to walk through the Uffizi Gallery and see works of art like the “Birth of Venus” under a ceiling equally as beautiful because you happen to be walking around an old palace. Statues everywhere including works by Michelangelo. Not something we have access to in the suburbs of Denver.
- The Arno River is another favorite. I love our walks along the river, over Ponte Vecchio and the adjacent Ponte Santa Spirito. Always so pretty, despite the crowds. If you ever find yourself in Florence, watch the sunset from Ponte Santa Spirito, not Ponte Vecchio. Less people, better view of the sunset AND you actually get to see Ponte Vecchio. Plus, our favorite gelato place is right on the southwest corner of the bridge. So win, win.
- The charm found in all of the piazzas throughout the city. It feels like around every corner you run into another piazza. The big ones like Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria, and Piazza del Duomo are wonderful, but if you get a bit further into the city you will find others smaller in size, but high in charm.
- Intentional time with Adam. It is easy in the busyness of life to be with people and near people, but not have quality time together. This trip has been wonderful for us in the way of intentional, quality time. Dinner at the table, long walks, morning runs, and quiet evenings. Lots of time to dream together of the life we want to build in Denver. We will have to be very purposeful in protecting time for us as we head back to “real life”.
- Europe at your fingertips. A short train ride away we saw the Dolomites in Bolzano, the waterways of Venice, and the towers of Siena. Throw in a short plane ride and we were in London. Everything is accessible over here and reachable within a few hours. Different cultures, cuisines, regions, countries and languages all within reach. I just love it.
- Our little local coffee shop, Cafe Dolce Amaro. The owner greeted us every time we came in and memorized our order by the time we left. It was fun having a local place to visit, a friendly face to greet us, and good cappuccino. Side note: apparently if you order drinks heavy on the milk in the afternoon in Italy, you give yourself away as an outsider. Italians drink cappuccinos in the morning and espresso the rest of the day.
- Did I mention the food? Cheese, wine, fresh pasta. Yeah, top of the list.
So there you have it. Florence in a few bullet points. Off to Barcelona for a few days and then we head back to the States. We are excited to see friends and family, start house shopping, and get settled back in Denver.
Ti amo, Firenze! Grazie e Arrivederci! Hola Espana!