It's true that Fall has got the most beautiful colours. This red, this gold, this brown, this purple, this feeble green, their infinite nuance and shade. It's true that the most amazing beauty is often to be found in simple, plain things: the sunlight seeping through the sparse foliage, patches of pure blue, the abstract intense glitter of the river's surface and the opaque murky green of its invisible dephts.
I can stay here all day, siting by the river and siping the bitter coffee from the kiosk, or just reading on a bench like I'm doing now, still slightly feverish for a recent cold but refusing to spent all day at home.
Florence for the Florentins is shared in 'di qua dall'Arno' e 'Oltrarno', meaning 'by this side of the river' (where the center is, with Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria) and 'beyond the river' (Piazza del Carmine, Piazza Santo Spirito, Piazza Pitti, Porta Romana, Piazza Tasso). The whole city is then enclosed by the hills, Fiesole and Settignano 'di qua dall'Arno' Piazzale Michelangelo, San Miniato al Monte, Arcetri, Forte Belvedere, Bellosguardo 'oltrarno'. The Center is held by a boulvard called 'i viali', built on place of the ancient walls and still dotted of ancient gates. I live just ouside the gate of Piazza Beccaria, south of Florence, 'di qua dall'Arno', in an area also called 'Bellariva' (Beautiful Bank) because it's close to the river and rich of parks.
I used to come here to play when I was a child and my son first rode his bike here, in a part of the park designed for that, with an intricate net of small roads and even a small bridge. The busy guy and I met here in June, the last time I have actually seen him, in one of the hottest day of the year...
It changed lately, it became unkempt, quite dirty and dangerous at night. It's a pity.
But the park itself is still beauty, the view on the river and toward Piazzale Michelangelo is stunning and since a few years there is the kiosk with its basic tables and effective service. The owner is a friendly woman in her thirties. Food and price are honest. Here you can drink a coffee, a beeer, a glass of unpretentious wine while eating an average croissant. For lunch they have salads, toast or precooked pasta. All tasty if not special.
In add you can stay as long as you want and the sparrows' show is for free. They are entertaining, those little birds! they have no fear and come eating directly from your plate, tweeting and jiging about in a cheerful mess.
I love this place. It's also a convenient meeting point to go cycling: a bike lane passes just by the kiosk and from here you can ride toward the Valdarno (by the river) or to the Chianti (up to Piazzale Michelangelo, down to Galluzzo...) or to the Center (but by bike it isn't fun, let me say, unless you are a true... Roubaix rider!).