Last week when Lauren, Stacey, and I were meandering around town before going to our respective temporary homes, we spent a lot of time in the Piazza della Signoria, where magnificent sculptures stand in their passionate and furious Renaissance poses, exposed to weather and tourists. Although we’d visited the Piazza before, we were newly enthralled by the marble people towering over us. We circled down some side streets, and upon what we thought was our return home, we stood in the piazza and heard the strength of an operatic voice remotely echoing toward us. We needed only to look at each other and point, and we headed toward the glorious sound.

At the side of the Piazza underneath Jean de Boulogne’s Rape of the Sabine Women was a duo of street performers: a man with an accordion and a woman holding a single microphone at her waist. I’ve since found out that their names are Natalia Lopushanskaya and Anatoliy Grischuk, and she is otherwise known as the Diva of Florence. Youtube has several of her recordings and performances videoed by other travelers.

By the end of her performance, I had tears in my eyes, and I thought I could easily blink them away until she had sung her final note: that’s when the tears burst from my eyes, and I cried. Uncontrollable joy.

This place exceeds all expectations. It is reviving my soul.



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