One of my fears about returning to a place is that I won’t enjoy it as much as on a previous visit(s). Not an issue where Florence is concerned!
I liked that some of the practicalities were familiar to me this time around—I didn’t have to spend mental energy on them. I knew how to get a bus ticket (and was happy to learn about the 90-minute window per ticket), knew my way around the grocery store (enough to be appalled when I saw someone bagging produce without using a plastic glove), and most of the time, had a mental map of where I was in the city (as long as I could see the dome of the Duomo and the bell tower, I had a good chance of finding my way).
I got a kick out of being able to say, ‘ah, they finished that road work on this corner’ or ‘the scaffolding on that building is new.’
It was wonderful seeing Rom Draculas again, playing in Piazza della Repubblica—they are the sound of Florence to me—and returning to one of my favorite cafes for cioccolata calda (and finding new cafes at which to try it).
Along with enjoying the familiar, I loved seeing places in the city that were new to me, like the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte, Palazzo Vecchio, and the market at Sant’Ambrogio. I tried new foods, including wild boar, and saw the shop where one brings wine bottles to be filled from bulk containers. I was there for the olive harvest and brought back my very own can of new olive oil. I went back to a Christmas craft market that I had attended last year and discovered a ceramic artist whose studio I visited one day. And for the first time in my life, I had a neighborhood bar!
One of the best things about returning to Florence was realizing towards the end of my stay that I like the person I am there. I don’t know how Florence feels about it, but it sure makes me feel good about Florence!
What a pleasure it was to return—I’m glad I did!
Images © Melissa Corcoran.