Where in the world is Florence?

Posted by Sharon Labels: , , , , ,

As most of you know by now, the subject of my weekly post on Ridin’, Reinin’ and Writin’ is either something that happened to me, something that has made an impression on me, a persistent thought I couldn’t shake or a topic that just dropped out of nowhere. This time that’s a town called Florence.

It all started with an email from a friend of mine who is holidaying with her husband in Arizona. She lets all of us who are wintering the frozen north live her adventures vicariously with beautifully designed pages in pdf format that she sends by email. I recently received several of their visits to Florence. Florence, Arizona? What? The Florence I know is in Italy! Another place, another time…

I pulled out an album from my shelf, thumbed through it quickly and soon found a few photos of the day I spent in Florence with Vern and Shawna Sapergia. I was working in Italy at the time training reining horses. My job didn’t leave a lot of time for sightseeing but my employer and his wife graciously hosted a one day visit to Florence. Vern (also working in Italy) and Shawna (visiting) joined us.

I remembered then that one of the first things that boggled my mind on my visit to Italy was how old the country really is! I viewed castles in Bari built in the 12th Century! In Florence, the age of churches, statues and bridges astounded me. Below is a photo I took of Santa Croce, a church built in 1294.

And the church of Santa Maria del Fiora, where we climbed over 400 steps for the view from the top. On our whirlwind tour of Florence, we tried to visit all the famous landmarks, including the statue of David by Michaelangelo.

But maybe best of all is my memories of standing on the oldest bridge in Italy, the Ponte Vecchio – it’s just nice to say I did that! The bridge spanning the Arno River was built in Roman times and first appears in a document dated 996! Now that’s old!

I wish I could do that trip over again with the technology we have today. I would take a laptop computer, a digital camera and I would have instant contact with family and friends. Imagine the fantastic photos I could send along with news! And I would blog… Of course that would depend if I could get internet. When I was in Italy in 1989 I did not even have a phone!

My friend’s recent emails are full of interesting photos and inside stories of historic Florence, Arizona। The town is recognized as one of the oldest towns in Arizona – founded in 1866. The courthouse, a much-valued landmark was built in 1891 – old by North American standards… As I look out on snow-covered landscape here and procrastinate the inevitable shoveling and plowing, I'm envious…

Turns out there are more cities/towns named "Florence" - there's a Florence in Michigan and Oregon, for instance, and probably more if I Googled it.

Italians don’t call their city "Florence" anyway – it’s Firenze।