There used to be a time, no more than three years ago, when I would walk on the streets of Florence, choose a spot and sit down to write or watch people. My favorite place in the world was in Piazza della Signoria right in front of Palazzo Vecchio. I used to imagine being one with the steps and listen to all the tourists change impressions, sighing in amazement at the sight of the palace. Every one of them could have become a potential character in my stories and each had an unique vision about the city that I needed to hear. Sometimes, when sadness lurked around me more than usual, I used to sit on the rocky beach in front of Palazzo Pitti and write away my mood. I will never understand why for some reason that place has always inspired my depressions and carried me away into dark sentences almost every time.
From all the other squares and places, I have never liked Piazza Santo Spirito back in the days when I was a tourist and when I became a resident in Florence, I have always used it as a place to have coffee and meetings, but nothing more. Today, after setting a meeting there, I’ve decided to try and see it differently and went there two hours earlier than I was supposed to. I picked a bench and looked around. As I sat down, a comfortable feeling made its way through my body so, naturally, I drew out the pen and notebook and began to write. Ten pages and two cigarettes later, I’ve realized I’ve occasionally lifted my gaze from the notebook, only to catch a new idea for the next sentence in someone’s face, laughter or speech and that doing so the beginning of a new short story was born.
Piazza Santo Spirito gave me exactly what I need it today; a place filled with human noises, the view of a fountain and a great bench to help me exploit my thoughts. I haven’t quite changed my mind about liking the place, but I will save it in my mind as a writing and people watching spot.