We’ve been living in Florence for just over a week now and are settling into the pleasant rhythms of our days. We’ve rented a spacious and warm two bedroom apartment in the heart of the city (right here on the map, and photos of it and the view from our window below). The second bedroom belongs to Jen, a refugee from a dissolving Michigan marriage whom we met at the hostel we stayed in initially. Her no-bullshit, perennially upbeat attitude and quick and easy laugh were perfect for us and we’ve felt as old friends quickly.
Mornings, Michelle spends half an hour with a series of yoga poses while I stretch sleep out as long as I can. Breakfast is eggs with cheese, vegetables and bread bought fresh at the market the day before alongside espresso made inexpertly (and often unpalatably) in a Bialletti Moka stove top espresso maker (or muesli and yogurt, if we’re lazy).
We spend some time with our books or checking e-mail (keeping in touch with y’all, and trying to get our house rented out for December) and then meander out into Florence. Days are wiled away poking at markets, riding a bike into the countryside (or, occasionally, failing to find the countryside and riding in circles in the city), reading books, wine tasting, visiting a museum, walking in a park or attending to the many errands that will pop up if given the chance (finding running shoes, swapping for a new paperback, restocking biscotti, to name a few). It’s a bit too chilly to describe our days as languid, but they have that peaceful simplicity to them that we craved. (Photos below are having lunch and tasting wine with Lucca, a friend we met through couchsurfing)
I should say too that the art around Florence is absolutely amazing. Sure, there’s Michaelangelo’s David and a score of paintings by Renaissance masters in the museums, but what leaves me agog day after day is all sculpture and art in the streets. Here’s just a sample what we walk by everyday, just sitting out there.
Evenings we are alternating between cooking up some of the fresh pasta made at the little shop next door (same owner, location and machinery since just after the war, we’re told) and trying out the many trattoria that are sprinkled around and throughout the city. The food in Italy is all that you’ve heard and more. (A few nights, we’ve filled up on the free buffets that are offered with a glass of wine at bars all over the city, but we’ve found that, in general, you get what you pay for.)
Later, we’ve been making our way to Libreria La Cite, a great little bookshop / coffee shop / wine bar we found just on the other side of the Arno, near Santo Spirito. The walls are lined with an odd assortment of books, ranging from radical politics to radical comics to radical children’s books (as best we can tell, of course, as 95% of them are in Italian), as well as bright and odd paintings. The second floor is a loft overlooking the first, peopled with odd furniture and tables and chairs and a chessboard (unused, thus far, by me), and that’s generally where we make our home, glasses of wine, laptop and books before us. (Photos below are from a Couchsurfing meeting there last Friday)
Being the types we are, we’re finding projects for ourselves, as well, of course: Michelle is talking to the owners of the building we’re staying in (hundreds of years old and in the family for at least three generations) about helping them design several of the apartments they’re renovating, and I’ve contacted the local English-language paper about freelance writing, spent some time preparing for the inevitable return to the working world (prototyping, reading, and sketching ideas), and created a couchsurfer’s map of Florence, so it’s not all frittering and flaneuring, but it does feel indulgent.