Passeggiata nella città dei gigli

June 25, 2014

Tomorrow, my study abroad program will conclude and my family will touch down in Florence. The speed at which these six weeks have gone by is unfathomable. I’ve learned and seen so much, and I have so much more I could share. I will probably do so at some point, but in way of establishing a feeling of closure, I’d like to simply make a statement about the value of wandering. Some of my best days and discoveries in Italy have resulted from my just taking a casual stroll, allowing curiosity and wanderlust guide me rather than set intention. In wishing to relate the unique ecstasy of these experiences, I found a poem resulted instead of my typical essay. It is as follows. I hope it gives some insight into my great love for this place and perhaps inspires you to take a wander yourself sometime.

 

Passeggiata nella città dei gigli

(Translation: Walk in the City of Lilies)

 

Ritual performed in transient space

Diana and Apollo exchange pleasantries

Their reluctant farewell melds with twittering birdsong and

The creeks of my bed frame releasing me

 

Descent through darkness

Flight through light

The quiet is so loud

The roadsides catch and throw grey

 

A rumble or two roll through routes

Bakers’ brooms peek and retreat, peek and retreat,

A mountain rises decked in cream, rust, and sage

It extends an anticipated invitation

 

As always, it’s accepted

A presence familiar now

Yet always new

A sigh finally propels me onward

 

Wanderlust seizes its opportunity

Capturing a hand, he leads me

Past shop windows spilling stylistically

By façades of concaves and color guarded by saints

 

Through narrow lanes that burst into piazzas

Into winding halls lined with legendary treasures

Around rooms wherein nobility passed their days

Out doors built for giants

 

Across one in a line of graceful arcs

Between the winding hedges of expansive gardens

Under their canopies granting shade for the cats

Near grottos of dripping stone

 

Up a hill

Behold

 

Terra cotta sends the eye sweeping

Greedily grabbing at the horde of hues

Present in billowing roof top gardens

Clothes swinging from lines

 

A shining red streak whizzes past the base of a tower

Gaze is pulled upwards

Distant peaks, soft with needle, call from a misty horizon

Towns furrow in their coats

 

Mountain of the city draws me back

A wink from its golden tip

An invitation

Again, I accept

 

Soon, though, a tug at my hand

Life has recommenced

Weave, dodge, spin, duck

The sea refuses to part

 

Teeming throngs put blind faith in scarves on sticks

Munch on that which would be better as eye candy

Snap pictures of each cobblestone and pigeon

Tucked unassumingly down a side street is my escape

 

Frothed cap perches atop glorious warmth

A touch of sweetness unlocks bliss

Senses rejuvenated

Reemergence

 

Freshly rolled cones tease with olfactory prowess

Sweet almond cookies and crumbling pastries beckon

Tantalizing meats, cheeses, oils, breads

All vie for my attentions

 

My mind is on the mother load

A maze reveals itself

Sight and sound assault, smell and taste delight

Desire stirs in the gut

 

Known and mysterious share shelves

Familiar faces smile in recognition

Coins fly between outstretched hands

Bags grow heavy, stomachs growl

 

Newly laden, I reverse my descent

Siesta has fallen, but the city calls me

Reenter the world of clasped hands, explosive guffaws,

Kisses hello and goodbye

Of fistfuls of “ciao bella” thrown from all directions

Of leash-less dogs trotting before highly composed owners

Of clever graffiti just waiting to be noticed

Of elderly couples shuffling along but conversing at break neck speeds

 

Then as twilight descends, of young couples whispering in the ever lingering light

All walks of life are out walking, but this is their time

Musicians emerge on street corners

Each street plays a unique set

 

Reverberation of accordions, the sweet whine of violins, amid a different song

The clink of silverware on well cleaned plates

Quiet chatter of amici beneath a street lamp

Exclamations from stirred soccer fans

 

I breathe deeply, absorb through my very pores

Diana has long taken her seat

Bidding the mountain goodnight

I reverse my descent until tomorrow

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