Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bird's Eye View

It's not everyday that you get to climb far above the city and see the town from a whole new perspective. As we ventured to the Piazzale Michelangelo, we were greeted with a beautiful panoramic view of Florence.

On the way there, we passed through winding streets with incredible architecture. Imposing stone facades, catwalks, painted walls, and unique doors filled our sights.

We also encountered lovely bakeries, and even more gelaterias.

But we finally made it to the base of the Piazzale, and began the climb up to the top.

I saw my first Italian cat! There are dogs all over the city, but I had yet to see a single cat. I was starting to wonder whether Italians had cats at all. But we passed one on the steps, as it haughtily mocked our belabored climb from its perch.

But the view was incredible. A light breeze swept over the hill, and we stood watching the sun set and the city unfold in the fading light. My camera unfortunately died, so I only got a few pictures of the landscape, but it was a great experience. Seeing your residence from such a vantage point forces you to reconsider your perspective. The great Duomo that casts a shadow over all of Florence seemed, from up there, just another building in the skyline. From that high up, the streets disappeared and the people ceased to exist in that city, and it felt like you could pick up the city and hold it up to your face like a snowglobe or a painting. And when you think of how large those buildings are when you're there, standing with one hand on the solid stone, your own place in life suddenly seems... different. When viewing the grand, beautiful picture, you don't even register on the map. But your experiences and adventures certainly matter, for they sculpt the greater picture. It just shows how the immediacy of our daily lives is confused by our myopic view, and if we could step back and truly see, we would be able to understand the beauty of it all, and the wonder, and the joy.

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