Please, please, please forgive me for the length of this post, but I didn't want to cut off the days in half. So this is my entire day two — Florence.
I had been there the night before. We had passed by the Piazza del Duomo on our way to a coffee shop, but I hadn’t seen it properly. I did it on purpose — I wanted to be in complete awe when I saw it for the first time — so I was. Yesterday morning, when we got there, all I could do was stare. T has been unbelievably patient with all my giggling and squealing — I just can’t help myself and it’s not something she’s usually tolerant about, so it’s been nice.
I didn’t squeal when I saw it. I fell silent and looked at every single detail, every small piece of sculpture, of painting. And then it came to my mind, slowly but steadily. The lyrics to The Light in the Piazza started to fall out of my mouth and I sang it, low, inaudible to the people around me unless they were paying attention. That’s how it happened, one of my lifetime traveling fantasies — to sing this song in front of that church. And when I did, the sun started shining through the thick clouds, illuminating bits and pieces of the church front and making me smile like I hadn’t in a long time. It was such an absolutely perfect moment.
I don’t like heights. When I go to a high place and realize how far up I am, my legs start shaking, my hands start sweating and I feel like crying. The problem is that I like adventure, so what usually happens is that I’m the first one to say ‘Let’s go up!’ and the first one to get there and ask ‘who the hell dragged me into this’.
Yesterday it was a bit like that. I spent half the morning telling T I wanted to climb to the top of the Duomo, but since we weren’t sure we could and we figured the view would be pretty up in the Campanario (the bell tower), we decide to go up. The lady at the front desk warned us that it was about 400 steps we’d have to climb, but I put on my biggest smile and told T that it would be easy peasy. And it was, up until the point where I saw the height of the damn tower, from above.
The first floor freaked me out, and the second made me officially start to tremble. But we climbed on — I refused to give in — and ended up on the top of the tower, the bells sitting right above us, some even in our sight. And that’s when it started.
I yelped like the girl that I am, grabbed T’s arm while she laughed at my panic. For a second, I didn’t know what was going on — all I knew was that I was almost 80 meters off the ground, that it was extremely windy, that snow was getting in the tower through the windows and that this monstrosity of a bell was starting to ring immediately above my head, making my entire body vibrate with the sound.
I was terrified and I was in complete awe. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t leave, so I just leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, felt the sound run through me and through the walls, making the tower tremble softly along with the wind. At one point, I picked up my camera and filmed it — I wanted to capture the sound, the preciousness of that moment, of everything involved. I was scared, and I was excited and laughing and just thinking that it was one of those perfect moments you read about, or watch movies about. And I had two of those in just one day.
(I never said I was normal. normal is boring, anyway.)
I don't know if you've heard of the several places in the world (Pont des Arts, in Paris, being the most famous) where lovers leave their locks, as a symbol of their love. I've done it somewhere else, and to see it done here, as well, was absolutely wonderful. I was so giddy that I just smiled like a crazy person for about an hour.
(above) Goldsmiths at Ponte Vecchia. I will never not be in awe of this kind of artwork.
I hope you enjoyed these. It felt so amazing to have your feedback on the last post — keep talking? Let me know if you've been there, share your world with me!