A little extra jiggle in your step, hint of smile at the corners of your mouth, mind abuzz with the possibilities.
This is how Florence has been making me feel.
I was on the hunt for a “secret” late-night bakery a few mornings ago with a student-friend. We wandered over cobblestones and through a few wrong alleys before we discovered the correct back door — no “hot doughnuts now” announcement here and so much better for it.
Walking away from the unmarked door, under an ink sky punctuated with barks of laughter and hum of activity even at 3am, we enjoyed the most fresh, warm, delicious chocolate-filled doughnuts ever made. No guilt, just pure unadulterated pleasure.
This nicely sums Florence for me.
What is the word?
It was on the purposeful wander that my companion asked what I thought of Florence so far. More specifically he asked what I thought the feeling or mode of the place and it’s citizens are? Does the city agree with me.
I related that my initial impression still held but my experience was deepening and expanding. Somehow it feels more exciting then even during those first days.
I paraphrased Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea of “one word” for a city and searched for the right one to describe Firenze.
It is fitting that I could only come up with French. I still struggle to overcome my default pronunciation and responses en Francais.
The feeling I get from fair Firenze and Florentines is: Bon Vivant
The city, she is a playgirl. She is a muse, a pixie, a lounging nymph of Baccus… perhaps even a succubus.
Florence, she calls in the night, luring you out when you should know better. She makes you feel young, spontaneous, and carefree. “There are possibilities here” she whispers.
Minx-like, she makes you work for it — just enough so that you enjoy the chase.
There are so many pleasures to be shared, secrets to be unlocked, delicious morsels to be devoured. Perche non?
“But relax Cara,” she coos, “all in good time…”
The sweetness of doing nothing
This is an actual phrase to be found in my Rick Steves guide. These Florentines, they enjoy their expansive time.
See you cannot force Florence (and Italia) to present her best to you. You simply must allow for kismet to happen on her timetable. Not to be rushed, she is worth the wait.
It is quite surprising that this NYC Gal embraces the relaxed flow of lingers and wanders. But alas, love makes us do crazy things.
On one of my first days, I overheard one of the professors tell a student, “anyone can find and fall in love in Florence.” It is true.
If you don’t find a person to fall for, Firenze will be your lover instead.
I understand why people lock themselves here.
I’m enjoying the discovery phase. Learning the history, topography, and secret spots with hidden meanings while creating new inside jokes and special places.
I have the spark in my eye, bounce in my step and sly smirk of pleasures recalled of a girl newly in love.
It isn’t a flesh and blood lover that has me so smitten, tis the bon vivant lover of fresh flesh that is this city. She who infuses her energy into our blood and beckons us into the night.