One year ago, I was a tourist in Florence, Italy. I’d just visited an old cathedral, San Miniato al Monte, which sits at the top of the highest point in Florence. I’d sat through a long sermon, spoken entirely in Italian by an elderly monk, and I’d snuck out during Communion so I could commune with nature outside. The view of the city from that spot is breathtaking.
As the sun began to set, I left the church grounds and began the walk downhill toward the city. It was on this hill that I happened to pass a man who was blowing huge soap bubbles. I pulled my cell phone from my purse, swung around to face him, and took a picture of the bubbles, hoping the image would be in focus and that I wasn’t too late.
It turned out better than I’d expected. My upturned camera happened to capture not only the bubbles, but the cloudy near-twilight sky, as well as the tallest gate in Florence, the Gate of San Niccolò (Saint Nicholas).
Sometimes the best moments are totally spontaneous.
For example, I just discovered (when I did a little research for this post) that San Miniato al Monte (the cathedral on the hill) was built in 1018, making it exactly 1,000 years old. Another surprise! Happy birthday, old church.
More fun facts: The Gate of San Niccolò in my bubble photo was built in 1324. It’s 60 meters (about 200 feet) tall, and it originally served as a watchtower as well as a gate. It had wooden doors and was attached to a wall that surrounded the city until the late 1800s, when the wall was demolished. People can climb the 160 steps inside the gate to get a 360-degree view of Florence.