I guess it’s actually true that your first love can never really be replaced…In this case though, I’m talking about a city and a region. Last week, I was in Florence for all of 9 hours, enough to remind me of why I moved there and never left Italy for 15 years. Our love affair began over 20 years ago but it was June 1991 that it really took shape, when I moved to Via Vellutini, 5.
So much has happened since then in life and in love, in the world and in work but I still feel like a kid when I get to Florence. It truly makes my heart soar and I think it will be that way forever. At least I hope so. I know it was last Thursday night when I arrived at 2030 at Campo di Marte, was picked up by a dear old friend of 20 years and whisked away to dinner at home with a group of dear old friends that I first met in July 1991.
That year I was studying gold leafing (a long story) at Palazzo Spinelli after having attended NYU Law School and deciding that my destiny wasn’t in the law but in the arts. Naturally, Firenze appealed to me in all ways. My gold leafing didn’t last long (I went to work for a lawyer) but my passion for Florence and my neighborhood did. I lived in the Oltr’arno on Via Romana for many years. At the time, I was lucky enough to see famed works of art on a daily basis in my local churches and museums, go vegetable shopping in Santo Spirito and gaze at the Arno whenever I liked. Last week, I was staying in a nice hotel near the train station and I opened my window to this view.
My evening was made even sweeter by a lovely bottle of wine I was drinking with my friends made by the Marchesi Ginori Lisci family. I used to work with their New York importer so I know this wine very well. It felt like visiting with old friends too.
Friday is the Saint’s Day of San Giovanni, the patron saint of Florence. It’s a great day to be in the city and see Calcio Storico.It’s also the day to make Nocino, a walnut liqueur. I wrote about this some years ago and re-reading my piece, I feel the same way today.