The City that Most Shattered My Expectations – Florence

Florence, Italy. As many others have similarly expressed, I’ve never been a huge history buff. But I do love art. Since elementary school, music was an art form that I’ve kept with ever since. As I got older, photography and filmmaking became others. I’ve largely surrounded myself by a community of “artists” or “creatives” so-to-say in the Dallas area. So many people, friends who don’t go to school but dedicate so much of their time toward their art, music, skills in creating something to express themselves and hopefully to touch others. So naturally, I held expectations that I would immediately and instinctively resinate with this true city of art. We visited the Uffizi Gallery, walked the streets lined with buildings built not out of practicality or an intention of building a memorable, LED-outlined skyline, but from the hands of skilled architects making pieces of art that people work, eat, and live in. And to be honest, it wasn’t the exact wonder and appreciation that I expected of myself. In the states, I’ve become involved in a much more modernized, millennial-sense of creativity and artistry, and if anything I think visiting this city really humbled me and even caused me to question some of the notions I had about what I perceived as impressive. Particularly, seeing the many statues and sculptures around the city.

This form of art is not one that I was very accustomed to and seeing so much of it really brought to attention the skill, technique, time, years of perfecting an eye to see a huge slab of marble and understand how to sculpt the human form (for example) without cracks or imperfections. It really is magnificent, and to know how many of these sculptures have survived centuries is just dumbfounding.

Along with the art that I expected prior to arriving in Florence, an aspect that I never saw coming were the many over-looking views of the city. The Boboli Gardens, a window from the Uffizi, San Niccolo, these beautiful sceneries allowed for a greater perspective. I had never been to a place that was able to be put under a magnifying glass, allowing every building to be viewed as a work of art, and then to step back and see the city for the beauty that it is as a whole, a mass of eclectic red roofs as a foreground for the stunning, green rolling hills behind it.

Another memorable moment of significance that I felt personally touched me was our gondola ride. On a century-old boat, pushed by a gentle, sweet older Italian man who just seemed in complete peace to be pushing us along the water at night, it was a moment that just seemed to stop time. I really felt like this specifically forced us to stop thinking about yesterday, or tomorrow, and just focus on that moment, surrounded by smiling faces, Madelyn’s voice providing a perfect soundtrack for this unique experience. And then all of a sudden I had everyone’s eyes on me, asking me to sing a song as well. I do love music, and I love to sing, but I’ve always been a musician/instrumentalist before a singer. To sing without a guitar or a piano has always been something I’ve found very uncomfortable. But hey, I was in Italy, on a gondola, surrounded by no one except the same faces I’d come to know and love the prior three weeks, so why not? Madelyn and I shared a duet, it was enjoyable, and I came out of it proud of myself for making myself vulnerable in a way I may never had done if I wasn’t in that specific place, at that specific time, with those specific people.

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