TIME OFF & TIME OUT
I’m now in the final week of my study abroad adventure and we have the entire week to explore, travel, and do whatever we feel like doing. It is Monday, 24th of June and it is the day to honor San Giovanni Battista, the patron saint of Firenze.
I start the day out walking around an area of the city I have never discovered before. A bit north from my (new) apartment, Firenze is completely different from the downtown city I am used to. Things are quieter and more relaxed up here. I decided to walk more west and I find a park where foosball tables are set up for the public. I should have guessed that those would pop up sometime soon, Italians love their calcio, in all forms! Also in the park are some great saran wrap art installments for ‘Off Bar’ (the bar in the park.) While I thought I found another park later on, it actually turns out to be some type of children’s arcade. It is in a dead area and I personally would never bring a child there; needless to say, it is completely empty, not a soul in sight in there. One of the most interesting things on my walk of discovery is the ‘Chiesa Russa Ortodossa della Nativitá e Cappella Demidov’ which is a Russian Church built in the early 1900’s. The architecture of the building is incredible, it follows all other Russian Church features, like the onion shaped tops, the most recognizable feature of them all.
I then begin my walk back home when I run into one of the main events of the festival of San Giovanni Battista taking place; the traditional parade leading up Calcio Storico Fiorentino. The parade starts near the Santa Maria Novella Stazione and ends in Santa Croce where a long procession before the final match of Calcio takes place (as well as the match itself.)
After a few hours of resting, the end the day is upon me. In honor of their patron saint, Firenze puts on a fireworks show, launching from Piazzale Michelangelo, to end the festivities of San Giovanni. My friends and I sit on the Ponte alla Carraia (a bridge over the Arno) and have a wonderful view of the fireworks above the Ponte Vecchio. After a long 3 weeks of classes and cramming in a whole term’s worth of knowledge, today was exactly what I needed; calming walks and memorable nights with good friends. Thank you San Giovanni.