I fell in love with Florence long before I became one of its residents. In time my reasons have changed and the touristy ones are long gone and left behind now. So, how does Florence manage to keep us trapped into its spiderwebs? These are six of my reasons:
1. In less than a month you are already experiencing Florentine feelings. Every single expat friend I have talked to has told me how much they hate the tourist flow here which is hilarious because all of us used to be just that: tourists. It’s funny how this city has a way of grabbing you as a resident, making you forget about your initial status. And yes, Florentine people are not that thrilled about tourists and I can imagine why: they are everywhere and you have to constantly watch out not to bump into their lenses or show up in one of their pictures posted on Facebook from their vacation.
2. The food. Before coming here spices and different tastes were not my thing. I had to play it safe and consume only the things I loved, never having the desire to try new things. Although I loved pasta before, I never knew you can cook them in so many combinations and to tell you the truth I only knew how to make two pasta dishes and they weren’t even close to the original ones. Ever since I moved to Florence I feel like I am on a constant tasting carousel that seems to never end.
3. Cappuccino. As I said on many occasions I am not a big fan of coffee. I am not your regular kind of coffee drinker and I can go on for days without having one. Many years ago I used to annoy all my friends, calling them to go out for coffee and ending up with me having a smoothie. Cappuccino though is one of my small vices. I never waste a walk downtown without having one and now I feel like there is nothing better than sitting somewhere outside alone, admiring the surroundings and having a cappuccino in my hand. Also I love to annoy the Italians and committing the sin of having a cappuccino in the evening. Their face is priceless.
4. The endless source of inspiration. Back home I used to hide in parks to create a quiet corner where I could think about my topics and characters. Life in Bucharest is a constant buzzing and although it’s wonderful and sometimes I miss it, that constant buzz doesn’t let you breath. In Florence I can be anywhere and come up with a new story. When I take strolls around the neighborhood and I see the people interacting and smiling all the time, when I go downtown and my mouth wideness at some monument I have seen a thousand times before, but still looks new to me, when I meet my fellow writers and we talk for hours in a row about our passion. Florence has given me all of that.
5. Palazzo Vecchio. Palazzo Vecchio is an old friend of mine. I like to think that we are in a relationship for more than ten years now. That mastodon of bricks is one of the reasons I had to make Florence my home and probably why, if life will lead me to another part of the world, I would still keep coming back to see it. Maybe it’s because this palace is the only thing that can keep me still for hours in a row, just looking at it, being completely fascinated, even being able to ignore the hundreds of tourists passing me every minute.
6. My daughter. For me this will always be a place I will call home because of Ephia. This is her place of birth and probably the place she will always identify with the most while growing up. In some weird way Florence has gave me my daughter and this new life and I am almost sure that she would have never existed if we wouldn’t have made this city our home.
My list can go on for pages because Florence has made me change my entire life and start all over again from scratch and I will always love this city because of that. Should I also make a list about the things I hate here? No, no one wants to hear bad things about Florence. Or, maybe…