This is my memory of Piazza Santo Spirito. Like the dust that collected on my slide film (oops), I believe my memories of this here piazza have a layer of dust as well. This was the local daily hangout during my study abroad days in Florence. The school was around the corner and so was my humble (and I do mean very humble) abode on Via dei Velluti.
In between classes we’d head to Café Ricchi for some gelato, pastries and/or espresso. I especially loved this place because inside the cafe there were hundreds of frames of paintings, drawings and photographs of the Santo Spirito Church facade canvassing the walls. The ambiance was invigorating and cozy.
This piazza isn’t the most glamorous of all piazzas in in the land. The church isn’t as ornate as Santa Croce or The Duomo. It’s certainly not the most trafficked, either. But for me, it’s simplicity and serenity made for a nice hangout. Especially when I had a spoonful of gelato on the tip of my lips.
Oh, and have you seen this photo before? It’s titled “American Girl in Italy,” and was photographed by Ruth Orkin in 1951. It’s safe to say that nothing has changed with the Italian man’s propensity to gawk over American women.