Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Vagabondare (v.) – to roam, wander

It’s going to be a scorching day here in Florence—the forecast is predicting 96 degrees—so over breakfast I take stock of my options. Climbing the dome seems foolhardy, and I’d rather wait for more pleasant temperatures for the walk up to Fort Belvedere and the Bardini Gardens. I settle on some aimless exploration of the city instead.

I drop by the leather school at the basilica of Santa Croce, the Scuola del Cuoio, and buy a set of handsome leather coasters for my nephew, Ethan, which they monogram in gold leaf. He turned twenty-three just last week, and these seem the perfect belated birthday present for a grown man, although when I send him a picture, I can’t resist warning him not to put cheap beer cans on something so fine, only craft brews and fancy cocktails!

I fill the rest of the day with random things, including my own version of an I-Spy game that puts me on the hunt for Clet street signs. I walk to the pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella in search of the rosewater that’s been used so liberally to scent my apartment. I stop for a late lunch under the veranda at the Caffetteria delle Oblate, which has a slight breeze and a stunning view of the Duomo. There I sit for a long while, communing with Alice Steinbach through her memoir, Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman, and enjoy my very first taste of semifreddo, a half-frozen dessert that melts pleasantly on the tongue.

Later, I stand on the Ponte Vecchio and watch as the heat of the day dissolves into a blanket of orange light. As I stare into the setting sun, everything around me is reduced to a simple silhouette—the city skyline, the street lamps, the tourists crowding the lungarno. The sky is on fire and it is awesome to behold.

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