Diaries from an Italian Summer – Surrendering to the Florentine Sunset

The August of 2016, the husband, me and a little brown leather bound journal carefully tucked away in my bag , traveled to Italy and checked off plenty from our bucket list. We devoured pasta like locals, indulged in wine like there was no tomorrow, learnt a handful of Italian words and drank in immense art & history. I’m glad I could make a note of our precious encounters during this ten day vacation because the many glasses of wine sure didn’t help with the memory! At this point, I’m not sure how many parts this post/journey is going to be sliced into and since I’m heavily ridden with a bad habit of “straying”,  I cross my fingers and hope that I can keep you entertained and not subject you to boredom. I hope this journey makes you as happy as it did us…..

August 14th
Mid-morning, after a beatific breakfast involving a cornetto or two on our Air BnB terrace, we reluctantly bid goodbye to Rome to embark a bullet train chugging off to Florence. Like any railway station, people pour in in throngs and the order of the day is confusion(in our head only because the truth is, it is very well organized). We thread through the melee, almost scurrying off to find the right train. The journey is short and we intend to get some shut-eye in preparation for a hectic day: more than a handful of places to visit, heaps of history to absorb and plenty of boxes to check-off. Distractions, however,  demand attention. Rolling hills dotted with houses, their balconies alive with tumbling flowers and swaying clothes and acres of lush olive groves are fleeting under a sunny Tuscan sky. One of those times when reality surpasses dreamland. On my right, an Italian mother serenades her little daughter to sleep. I learnt that the cosy outcomes of a lullabye are hardly dependent on language.
Our hotel in Florence is seconds away from Brunalleschi’s Il Duomo, the dome resting it’s sheer magnificence on the Florence Cathedral. Flashes of memories from reading Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’ occupy my excited mind and I ‘m hankering for that long-awaited glimpse of the gilded Gates of Paradise, that fated ceiling of the Palazzo Vecchio. There’s an undeniable urgency to vehemently drown in the present and imbibe everything.
However, at the moment, we hear Sicilian Pizzas calling our name.
(These little square pieces are quite thick and fluffy much like the focaccia and they’re derived from their authentic cousin, the sfincione.  Sfincione are topped with a tomato sauce, breadcrumbs and a hard cheese and traditionally made on festivities. What we devoured was a slightly different counterpart, more like a pizza with a mozzarella topping. Delicous!)

This is followed by a sonorous gelato call( that surprisingly arrive at very close intervals when in Italy!).
Don Nino’s is a charming gelato and pastry shop attired in a pristine white and is home to gooey, flavour-bound gelatos. Sprawling in front is a cobblestone street and patio seats with a magnificent view of the Duomo. A dash of modern snuck and surrounded by ancient stone architecture.

Just outside the Duomo, an oil painter, unwavered by the frenzied crowd ambling past him, has parked his ware & is buried deep in brushwork,. By his side, clipped poster-card sized paintings flap in the summer breeze. Mr. Aroen Morina paints abstract imitations of the city and its historic architecture. He’s also an Italian infatuated by Indian television and we converse about how similar our cultures can be. Him gesticulating in an Italian accent, us talking in our Indian accent. The world can be quite small and the old adage is justified yet again.




I’ve promised the husband an enchanting  scene to capture. Not that it will ever satiate the photographer in him but maybe for the day?  We hurry amid the hustle-bustle to get there in time. The distractions make their play yet again:
-the labyrinthine alleys flanked by  walls so high and lamps so ornate;
-the ornamented doors, so gigantic, they make one feel like a lilliput ;
-the sculptures seizing Piazza Della Signoria in their thrall: an imitation of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ & Bandinelli’s ‘Hercules and Cacus’;
-street artists stopping everyone in their tracks as they play the violin.






{Palazzo Vecchio(L) & Bandinelli’s ‘Hercules & Cacus(R)}

Beauty and history all around, cobbled roads below, merry wafts of food in the air….our brisk pace transforms to a saunter but we manage get to Piazza De Michelangelo a couple of hours ahead of time(there is some steep climbing involved but that’s exactly what the gelato is for).
Atop, the husband is on a quest to secure a spot for his tripod while I’m pursuing a spot in a little patio restaurant. He is intent on capturing memories for us while I sip wine and inhale the effervescent view ahead.
The sun retreats Florence for the day. Ironically though, it appears that the city is surfacing from quiescence. A vespertinal awakening. Emerging at the far end of the piazza is a sprawling view of Florence, swathed intensely in the evening sun, like a diaphanous veil, capable of rousting every tired cell in the body. The scene is crowded profusely with red rooftops and in the background, Brunalleschi’s Duomo proudly looks on. The entire city is splashed in a soft orange, like a painting! Oh my! Mr. Morena’s painting has come to life…..

To be continued…

(All photographs by Deepak Mohan Photography)

37 thoughts on “Diaries from an Italian Summer – Surrendering to the Florentine Sunset

  1. I love your narration, there is something warm and so much beauty in it. Words that drag me out of this place into your lovely holiday, Divya. Such lovely pictures to go with it. An eager photographer and an enthusiastic writer make a great duo, definitely for us virtual readers. So glad you enjoyed the lovely views and got a taste of history too. Florence is indeed steeped in history leaving tourists spellbound in its architecture. Will look forward to the next part of your journey, Divya. Until then, Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful and enchanting description of your wonderful Italian journey, Divya! I enjoyed the pictures of your husband and every stop for pizza and gelato very much! 😄
    The renaissance architecture of Florence was one of my major subjects in my art history studies. 😄 But I haven’t been there yet!!! 😂
    Wish you a beautiful summer weekend! Much love! 😄😘💕🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When we were there and even now, I really regret not studying art and history because that would have helped me appreciate the work of those talented artists so much more! I tried reading a little bit but it wasn’t of much help. I am sure you will love it Sarah! I hope you visit soon:)
      Thank you for the kind words my dear, so grateful:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes I think it´s not really necessary to study these things in order to appreciate the beauty of art, at least that´s definitely how I feel when it comes to poems for example. I remember having had to dissect them at school and felt like taking away their beauty with the act… does that make any sense? I think it´s better to enjoy and watch art in all its different forms more with the heart than with the brain 😉
        Have a lovely weekend, Divya! xoxo ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your writing is so good didn’t want to miss a word as I was worried that I will miss an element in the pic that is getting painted in my mind as I read thru :).. The beautiful pics and the description complement so well.. Looking forward for the next blog post ..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your husband is a great photographer and you are a charming writer😍! Isn’t that fabulous! I envy you guys😬. After reading this, I feel I have seen a part of Florence! And it seems beautiful with all the amazing architecture! Your writing is captivating…Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Narrated wonderfully well divya. I almost felt the beauty of the places with your narrative and amazing pics. Loved the read.
    For some reason, your posts are not showing up on my reader. Hence missed out on a lot of them. Will catch up soon.


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