Loggia dei Lanzi – happy memories to inspire a ghost story

Between school and university I spent a year in Florence, initially attending a course in Italian and then teaching English as a Foreign Language. It was a wonderful year – a new sense of liberty away from school and parents, many friends both English and Italian, my first job and the most wonderful surroundings. I spent time with friends in bars, restaurants, walking in the hills around Florence and visiting nearby towns and villages by car. When I left Florence to attend university in England, I slowly lost contact with my Italian friends and for many years I was reluctant to return because I knew that I could not find the joy I had experienced.

When I finally returned many years later, I felt as if I was living a ghost story. The places where I had met my friends had not changed, the restaurants and clubs where I had taken my Italian girlfriend were still there, but the people I knew had gone, married, probably with children, working in demanding jobs, yet I felt their presence strongly as I walked over the Ponte Vecchio or sat in the Loggia dei Lanzi. They were still alive, but elsewhere, and their ghosts haunted me.

                                                                                                        Ponte Vecchio

I sometimes wonder whether you can haunt a place while you are still alive. Maybe ghosts don’t have to be dead. Many people reflect upon places they have loved but can no longer visit – their childhood homes, a cottage by the sea where they stayed with their parents on holiday, a place with happy memories of love and affection. As you daydream in later life, or dream while asleep, you revisit these places which you know intimately, and maybe you haunt them. You can walk from room to room, run through meadows of flowers, smell the sea, taste your first kiss vividly recalling your emotions. Maybe those emotions are so strong that your presence can be felt by those living there today.

This story is based on my memories of Florence but the characters and events are from my imagination.

                                                                                                    Loggia dei Lanzi

Images courtesy of Pixabay

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