By Ela vasilescuWriter

Florence and I first made eye contact over ten years ago, from the small plane window, when I came here for a spring vacation. I remember walking the small, narrow streets on the night of my arrival, not being able to think about anything else but all the artistic mastodons that were rising in front of me out of every corner.

Michelozzo's Courtyard, Putto with Dolphin by Verrocchio in Palazzo Vecchio
Michelozzo’s Courtyard, Putto with Dolphin by Verrocchio in Palazzo Vecchio

I have always loved stories about the De Medici family and dreamed about exploring their history, their heritage and their palaces, but I have never imagined their city to be so unique and breathtaking. With each step I took and each street I explored, I craved for more and more, until I finally saw Palazzo Vecchio and stopped. That palace, where Cosimo De’ Medici was imprisoned, or later on where Dr. Lecter dangled Inspector Pazzi off the edge of the balcony, was to become my unending inspiration for my short stories and one of the main reasons why I packed my bags years later and become a resident of this city. Palazzo Vecchio’s construction started in 1299, by architect Arnoldo di Cambio, upon the ruins of Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell’Esecutore di Giustizia, once owned by the Uberti family. Its imposing courtyards and rooms still whisper secrets into their corners. I have wandered through its rooms many times and each time I stopped to imagine the scenes that the paintings and the walls witnessed throughout the centuries, hoping that maybe one day they will take pity on me and share some of their secret stories. For me as a writer, the city of Florence and Palazzo Vecchio are an undying inspiration source and there is no better feeling than sitting on the steps in Piazza della Signoria, opening my notebook and sketching the beginning of a new story.

I can’t say if I could ever leave this city, but I know that wherever my path will take me, I will always come back to this city, on the steps of this palace, to write, to smile and to share a written memory together.