Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Firenze - Summer and Sangria!

Maybe it is the heat, causing me to think of Firenze, urges for Sangria or is it my usual spring fever...hum. Three recipes for Sangria are posted here, one in Italian, one for parties, English and the basic recipe in English and all superb! Now, all I have to do is grab that crazy maschio to share it with me somewhere high above the city or on some mountain top; I crave high mountains or is it the altitude and Italy combined, the lifestyle, the people, the culture and architecture, the cradle or culla of civilization? I must have lived there in a previous life.

When I took the early train to Florence last fall, I wanted to walk my old haunts and see if I could find a few old friends. Walking from the Santa Maria Novella station I could feel the city take hold of me. I walked around the Duomo and headed for Via Cavour; it was early and most of the eateries were receiving deliveries (the only time vehicles can be on the street) with shopkeepers out front sweeping and moping and washing windows. After passing one intersection I looked up at the pale rose and yellow facades and literally fell into a trance feeling the past around me, in me and pushing through me; I was home, I could not deny it, I had lived here before.

I felt like an Ea
gle soaring through and around the streets as I continued my walk.
Upon passing Piazza della Republica I yearned for more time to sit at the pink café seated outside nursing an espresso. Finally I spotted, through a space in two buildings, my favorite vista of Piazza della Signoria and I had to stop and lean against a wall. I felt as if someone had punched me in my gut; and someone had, my beloved city my favorite piazza; so many feelings assault me when I get to this square.

Years ago, when I lived close to the city, I remember walking through that same Piazza with my husband; it was late November, wicked cold and windy and it was night time although, not late. As we made it to the center near the fountain, we stopped and just listened, voraciously soaking up the solitude, the distinct lack of tourists and the cold air. I knew he was oblivious to what was coursing through me because he had slowly drifted away walking towards the Uffizi. I stood there and felt myself going back in time, as if someone was taking me back to this same spot, centuries ago.

I felt the different clothing I was wearing; I heard the horses and carriages over the uneven stones I could even smell the different scents, the fire pots burning in the square. Unexpectedly, it seemed as if I was in the midst of a crowd, spirits brushing against me and all this laughter, chatter and noise whirling around.

My husband yelled at me to get moving and I snapped out of it to find utter silence except for the wat
er falling in Neptune’s fountain (by Bartolomeo Ammannati). The wind was shoving me and, with the suggestive lighting of that square, I knew I had been there a lifetime before. Ah, home sweet home. So yes, when I crave Italy, now I truly understand why. I just wish I could make more frequent visits to this now crazy, loud and dirty city; my city, my past (or maybe it was a past I best forget).

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