“I tre giorni della merla” in Florence

I owe you an explanation. Unless you are Italian or spent some time in Italy, you probably never heard of “I tre giorni della merla”. It translates to “three days of the Blackbird” which does not mean much on its own. There is an interesting legend behind this title. I will not share the full version(s) here (yes, more than one!), because this post would become too long; however, I specially used its Italian name to give you an advantage in your search for further details!

Tip: I always prefer to read about legends, traditions, and stories of my destination country in its native language. Of course, I use “translate” with most of them, but that way you will not miss any interesting facts due to the interpretation of others! It will also be straight from the source, in this case, Italy!

I will share a short version here. It fits perfectly with the unusually cold weather at this time of the year in Europe (the end of February, and beginning of March 2018).

The legend describes that all Blackbirds were originally totally white in colour. One winter, when it was exceptionally cold, one family stayed by the chimney to keep warm. The smoke coming out from it, turned them totally black. Since then, all blackbirds are black. There is always some truth in each legend – if the days of the blackbirds are cold, spring will be mild or if they are hot, spring will arrive late. If I believe it, we better take some warm clothes for our week stay in Tuscany in March, and then another in Puglia in April!

The last three days of January, “I tre giorni della merla”, 29,30, and 31 are normally the coldest days of the year in Italy. We visited Florence on 30 January 2018, where it was astonishingly different. It was 13 Celsius and it felt even more. It was exceptionally warm for this time of the year, especially, as on the same day after we returned to Bologna, it was only 3 degrees there! (on the same day, early morning, we were freezing at -2 in London). It was a truly maniac Mon… Tuesday.

Such amazing weather was an opportunity we could not miss. One of the least busy days of the lowest season, a very fresh spring feel, and absolutely no crowds to be seen anywhere. A perfect excuse to go straight to normally the busiest places in Florence! The choice was of course Ponte Vecchio and other historical bridges.

Ponte Vecchio in late afternoon
An unusual view of Ponte Vecchio – where are all the tourists?
Ponte Vecchio close-up
Ponte Vecchio, view from the other side
Florence, view at the other side of the river Arno
Tip: A short weekend break in the low season is not only a very affordable way to see new places, but it could also surprise you with a good weather.

I went for a walk around all historic bridges, and it was such a tranquil experience. I only hoped that I could have spent more time there. Even the river water looked more “relaxed” than normal.

A very calm river, rippled only by two swimming birds
Ponte Santa Trinita, Florence
Ponte alle Grazie, Florence
Tip: Do not have much time to spend in Florence? A walk by the river has it all! Beautiful buildings, open spaces with amazing views, and bridges!
Quiet walk just outside Ponte Vecchio – can you see the bridge?
Relaxed walk along the river, can you spot a hidden “message” on the post? Tip: Spring is coming!
Boulevard by the river in the very centre of Florence

On my way, I noticed a lot of “Love padlocks” everywhere. Some of them appear in quite unexpected places! Somehow, these padlocks have found the way to stay there. A little bit like the feeling they portray. However; for me, the bridges were more an accurate “representation of love”, firmly connecting two sides together rather than “locking” the feeling using a padlock. But, I digress.

Love Padlocks, attached to the broken railing by the river path
Love padlocks on the Ponte Vecchio

On that day, I strayed from the centre by quite a distance! I found a couple of very quiet parks. I even found a place when you can get a kayak by the river. How amazing would it be to explore Florence from one?

Did you know that you can see the Florence from a kayak – care to try?
Can you see a tiny kayak on the river? Imagine the view from it at the Ponte Vecchio!
Far away from the centre, it was warm enough for locals to have a “picnic”

I had only about two hours for my exploration on that day – I was going to meet Sylwia in the centre in two hours so it was quite a brisk walk, nevertheless, very pleasant. I could not however, meet Sylwia empty-handed! This is what I found a little further from the centre:

A little something for Sylwia – Flowers or “Arancie”? Of course, oranges!

On my way back to the Florence centre, I noticed a “micro waterfall”. Unfortunately, you cannot see it from the pictures, but let me tell you – there were plenty of wild birds hunting! An interesting view so close to the town centre.

A micro waterfall, a part of me wonders, is it possible to sit right there on the shallow water in the summer? (Please do not quote me on that!)
Arno river away from the centre, would you tell from the picture that this is Florence?
Park further away from the centre, a perfect spot to relax “in case of crowds” in the centre
Another park away from the centre with the kayak placed on the other side of the river
The evolution of Fiat, people must have grown a lot since then!


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