My Life in Italy
I arrived in Firenze at 7.15pm on a Thursday evening, it was early January, the heart of the European winter.
Taking a taxi from Santa Maria Novella – because I was certain it was too far to walk, the windows slowly began to fog as we drove off. I couldn’t take my eyes off the streets, my vision obstructed by masses of people, as we drove slowly, squeezing past the people, it felt as though they were almost scraping against the sides of our taxi. We nooked in and out of the tiny streets of Firenze, where were we going? I thought. With every glimpse of the city I caught, my heart began to melt. I smiled, raring with excitement to get out of the car and to step into my new home. I couldn’t wait to discover this enchanting city filled with historical monuments, cosy cafes and the atmosphere, well that’s something I’ll never experience again. As I stepped out of the car I was hit with new smells, new sounds and people everywhere, this was my life now.
My first sight of Piazza Santa Croce was under the evening lights. The enotecas filled with wine barrels and old men capping bottles, the artisans painting their work whilst sitting in the window, and the smell of coffee and leather filled the streets. This city was intimate, like a little community that I wanted to discover, and in these four months I began to unveil every path and every place.
Each morning as I rose, I walked through Firenze gasping at the beauty and intricacy that surrounded me, as a city it is really like no other. I felt overwhelmed with happiness and said to myself, how could I ever leave this breathaking city?
My life felt like a scene from a movie and I quickly got used to it.
My days were filled with morning coffee dates with friends, afternoon work from a cosy cafe; always with a gelato in hand, evening walks to Piazza Michelangelo to watch the sunset, aperitif’s with friends, followed by numerous cocktails until we saw the sun rise.
There was one point in my life where I honestly didn’t think I could ever leave Firenze, and I got a little worried. This city had taken my heart from the moment I entered and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get it back.
Now, after four and a half months in this enchanting city, I had discovered its beauty, its rarity and its enchantment but I learnt that this city is not forever. Its instability, tourism and frequency of change was just too high, and it was in these moments that I began to feel disattached and overwhelmed by it all, my scene from a movie had finally come to an end. So I decided that it was time for me to turn a new leaf… and discover Autumn in Torino.
Surrounded by gridded streets and grey tall buildings, as I walked under the arches that shaded me through centro storico I went from piazza to piazza amazed by the grandness of it all. I watched men dressed in suits enjoying lunch together, as women passed in heels strutting their way through the town, it was all very fascinating.
I thought to myself, where do they work? What do they do?
Each piazza was filled with gorgeous statues and intricate architecture surrounding it, with so much greenery and many parks speckled through the city. I thought it was beautiful but in a different kind of way, not only because of its atmosphere but because of the details that lay beneath it. Each day, as I walk through the city centre I began to realise that I noticed something new about this city.
This was when I began to fall in love. It wasn’t an instant love but something that grew over time, each day I unfold a new layer of Torino and I too began to discover why so many people come to Torino and never leave.
It’s something more complex than face value, something more complicated than attraction, but it’s the people, the art and the culture that bring this city to life.
It was the experiences that I discovered each day that began to shape my view of this city:
One day, as I walked home, I found myself being stopped by a man with a headset on, working on a filmset of a movie, I was about to step into one of the scenes, which was being filmed in a Piazza in Torino.
Another day, as I walked through the city centre, I could hear music from afar, asI turned to see what it was and I could see a middle aged couple leisurely dancing together infront of a man busking whilst playing the accordion.
Another day, as I continued on my way, each window I peered into I found art, design or one off pieces, all hand made with love.
When I asked locals what they thought of Torino they often told me that there’s nowhere else quite like this city in Italy, it is the perfect balance of professionalism, culture, art and leisure, taking it’s culture from Milano but removing the crazy bustling and intensity making it cosier and well balanced.
Now I can truly see what lies beneath this magical city, and I love it.