One of the great pleasures of traveling for me is walking around a city after nightfall, when everything is relatively quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of the day. This applies even more in Europe where for some reason I feel safer amongst the old buildings and cobblestone streets. Florence in particular is a city that is easy to explore on foot and there is so much to see. After dark the city takes on a whole new look and I feel really lucky to be in such a beautiful place, having them it all to myself. Then again, it can be even more interesting if you’re not alone, as was the case when I took this shot. It was approaching 11 pm and I was getting ready to head back to my hotel, when I was startled by the sound of an opera singer.
The startling sound broke the quiet of the night like the unexpected ringing of a giant bell and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. The singing would start, then stop almost as if it were daring me to find where it was originating from. I had been to the Mercato Nuovo earlier in the day when it was full of merchants peddling their wares and as I approached it this night, it was hard to believe that only hours ago it was teeming with shoppers, merchants, and tourists. As I drew near I could hear the singing clearly, but still could not find who was doing the singing. Feeling much like Ulysses being drawn to the sound of the sirens I ventured on. Moments later I stopped as I saw a woman, dressed in what seemed to be something resembling a monk’s robe talking to two police officers. They questioned her briefly and moved on. She then bent over to pick up some rather large pages on which I imagine music and lyrics were written. After finding the correct page she began to sing and once again her voice broke the silence of the night in a surreal way that is difficult to describe. The night was cold so I could see her breath each time she exhaled. That in conjunction with the medieval robe, the deserted streets and the glow of the streetlights made for a scene I’ll not soon forget.
Come back for part 2 on Friday.
Enjoy more travel photography and stories: