A Letter of Hope to Florence

by | Jul 23, 2015 | Italy | 4 comments


I came with the best of intentions, the greatest of hopes for your city, with dreams of marveling at world-famous art, strolling the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, and eating my weight in gelato on my 19th birthday. I envisioned classy Italian women going about their daily business, young locals sitting along the riverside, and throngs of tourists with eyes wide open in wonder.

“Ding Dong goes the bell at Bacillia di San Lorenzo”

I wanted to love you, to bask in sunlight perched upon the Piazzale Michelangelo and stare down at all of what you had to offer. I wanted to soak it all up: every sight, every sound, every taste and smell. To feel what the breeze felt like, would it be different than other places? You were romanticized in my mind by every word I heard spoken of you, every story I had read.

But what my heart felt didn’t match up with my expectations. Don’t be put down, you were every bit as beautiful as I had imagined. Boutiques lined the street, the Ponte Vecchio lit up every evening, lighting the way and I did get gelato on my birthday (and a very lovely cake and lighter-as-a-makeshift-candle combo).

“Sunshine was a far off notion as the rain beat down day and night”


I awoke with creepy crawlies on my pillow, inching towards my face, and the Duomo, one of your most beautiful cathedrals, was mostly obscured due to construction. What was supposed to be a blissful time in a blissful city was lackluster. Mark it as a spot of bad timing, the moment not being quite right — isn’t that always the way it happens?  — and a bit of traveler’s exhaustion, but our days didn’t feel as inspired as I had expected. I never wrote about you much here because I didn’t think I had many inspiring things to say and I didn’t want to discredit you.

“I thought i had made up my mind about you – Florence”


That you and I weren’t meant to be, that you were just one of those places that I didn’t hit it off with. But I have hope for you yet, as you creep into my thoughts every now and then. One day, when I do step foot on the pavement along the Arno, I hope that all of my notions of a romanticized Florence come rushing back. That the sun shines down and that the breeze feels differently.

Until then…

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