Florence - a city with history that stains its walls a deep sunshine colour, a colour that, after our first full day, we stopped expecting to see in the sky. Raindrops licked the cobbled streets all morning, afternoon, evening, and well into the night, the pitter patter a unique Italian lullaby. A city with talent on every street corner - the riverside statues stand casual, but bear as much weight as the masterpieces hung on gallery walls. Also on street corners – umbrellas. Overpriced, but essential.
Umbrellas we’d be thankful for as we shuffled out of cafes, the taste of real coffee burning on our tongues. A taste that wouldn’t take long to replace, but would take a little longer to forget. Our mouths became havens for flavours we didn’t know existed: smoked mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes and pesto as rich as God intended for it to be. We shrunk into children as we raced round markets to snatch every sample that was on offer, weaving our way through bold Italian gestures and voices layered with a native confidence that was foreign enough to become music to us, a soundtrack to a trip we’d want to put on repeat.
We ate our way through that city, finished every last crumb of pizza with the locals; sipped soup each waiter proudly announced was traditional, widened our eyes as the man with a round face and kind smile shaped the sheet of fresh pasta into spaghetti – a meal we thought we knew the taste of. We didn’t. Our stomachs smiled to match our lips.
A city with our laughter now trapped behind the bars of tower dungeons, our lit candles flickering near church altars, our bum imprints on every sofa in the centre of every museum room.
Arrivederci, Florence. Not a goodbye, but a see you very soon.