I was finishing up a day of sightseeing in Florence that included wandering around Oltrarno but also the complete Duomo experience where I not only climbed up to the top of the Duomo but also Giotto’s tower so I could see it from above, over 400 stairs high each. After exiting the Duomo museum, my last stop, I went into a bookstore next door because I saw a hand cream I liked made by monks in a local Camaldolese monastery. I grabbed my purchase and then I realized, all of a sudden, that I had lost a glove! Back over at the museum, no one had found it yet but the security guard let me in again to look for it.
After racing through each level with no glove in sight, it dawned on me that maybe I had lost it earlier somewhere in Giotto’s tower! It was 15 minutes to closing. No one had found the glove there either. Hand-knitted from pure Romanian wool, fingerless, which is perfect for being able to navigate foreign streets via google maps on my phone in the cold. Even so, I hesitated for a moment when this guard offered to let me go up as well to look for it (he didn’t seem to be joking). What tipped the balance was getting to see the Duomo again – this time at night. I raced up the 400+ stairs but no glove. Just beautiful Florence. Peaceful and vivacious at the same time. Two sighs but for different reasons.
I went back down and retraced my steps to the museum (peeking into the now closed church to hear a not surprising Mi dispiace to my query). At the museum, I thought that maybe someone had held onto the glove and turned it in only as they were leaving. No. But the kind guard, whose name I now learned, Giacomo, took my card and said he would call me tomorrow morning before they officially opened if it turned up (I had a train to catch at 9:30 and couldn’t wait until later).
As I stepped out, I had a thought – what if I had actually left it in the bookstore? Now just past 7pm, the bookstore was gated and the lights were out. That night, with all the exercise I got during the day, I slept excellently. In the morning, no phone call from the museum. I doubted that the bookstore would be open but around 8:30, I thought it would be worth a try anyway to see the Duomo, the most perfect building in the world, one last time. It seems to have a special expression of greeting just for you in the earlier hours. I arrived at the bookstore at 8:45 – it was still gated but the lights were on. I shook the grating enough to make myself heard (if there was anyone inside to hear it) but not enough to get arrested. An old man appeared slowly walking towards the door! He explained that they weren’t open and there was nothing he could do. I begged him just to check by the Camaldoli creams. He came back with the other half of my pair. My face lit up with mille grazie and so did his. My advice in all this is definitely to lose a beloved glove in Florence…and to find it.