Recently, I returned to Florence, Italy to visit old friends and take care of some final business. I was a little worried about returning. I had spent years of aching and longing to live there before I moved permanently in 2010. Since I had been gone, I had not missed a lot about Florence, but would returning spark that old flame?

Arriving into the train station at Santa Maria Novella in Florence, I stepped off the train. I knew immediately that I was at home. Everything was welcoming, familiar, and beautiful. However, my heart was no longer here. My decision and the timing to move to Tangier was the right one.

I enjoyed a lovely week of visiting friends and walking in the city. Museums or exhibits were of no interest to me this time and had no desire to visit them.  I felt saturated with the “things” that the city had offered me and just being there was enough. My friends and I breakfasted, lunched, and dined together and even had an aperitivo or two. I closed down my bank account, which oddly was the only sentimental or emotional moment of the week.

As I sat in the chair across from the bank manager, I remembered when I had opened the account years ago. It had been quite the accomplishment. In order to do so, I had to have my permesso di soggiorno and my residency. It had taken a little over a year to do it. In the meantime, in order to pay bills like rent, water, and gas, I had to go to the ATM machine and withdraw money.

The day I opened the account I entered the bank nervously. I had practiced my still struggling Italian to indicate that I wanted to open an account, but was fearful of the questions that might come my way and if I would understand them. When I left the bank that day with my account opened, I cannot describe the feeling of accomplishment. So, closing it down brought all of that to mind. I was closing the last chapter of the time in my life when I lived in Florence.

When I left Florence to return to Tangier, I had a flight out of Bergamo, a city that I had not visited before. I went there a day early in order to explore and found another Italian gem. Bergamo has a citta alta (upper city) and a citta bassa )lower city. You get to the upper city on a funicular or cable car that goes up the hill.

It’s a lovely view going up and a beautiful pedestrian well kept. The upper city is medieval with Venetian Walls and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Narrow cobblestone streets and a sweeping grand piazza characterize it. I would like to spend some more time in Bergamo. It is one of those Italian towns straight out of a fairytale.


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