Florence, the day before (LONG)

Alf

Top Veteran
Saturday afternoon. My dearest was busy fighting crime, so I decided to hop on a train and head East - to Florence, as it's so near I always forget to go.



So here we are in the ticket room of the main station in Florence, a beautiful modernist sample of the 30s. With ice cream.
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Some look lost, and some never stop talking
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Then out, to S.Maria Novella
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And left, towards via Tornabuoni, where fortunes are made and the unsuspecting are legally depredated: you know you trust a woman if you walk all via Tornabuoni together without fear, and you know you were right if you reach the end without being forever in serious debt.
Plenty of interesting (and some well known) faces, but most of them have security who eats cameras and lenses for breakfast, so no pics of them: let's instead enjoy the view of the church of St. Michele and Gaetano, where men who avoid shopping pray that their loved ones don't fall to the temptations of Hermes (other side of the road), Gucci, Ferragamo and the like. Lovely organ, too.
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This dark stone loves light.
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We have reached the Lung'Arno, turn left and follow it for a while.
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Before reaching the Uffizi, sneak into a small place, the Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli. One of the most beautiful examples of the medieval town, and in the outside chaos it was completely empty.
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In front of the Uffizi things get seriously crowded - people from all the world enter NgoroNgoro mode and start shooting everything that moves. Or doesn't move.
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But the Piazzale degli Uffizi is not the black hole of international tourism :that title belongs to the corner at the end of the road, where it meets Palazzo Vecchio on one side and the Loggia della Signoria on the other: the road is 3m wide, and everything orbit that corner:
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This guy was performing, and doing mute propaganda for today's vote. As we have Electoral Silence on Saturay before voting, it was a clever idea:

Meeting people and engaging them personally,
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Making them play,
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With results results results:
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He won some hearts, too
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We turn left again and enjoy the sun. The square is wide and everyone gets to play. Some are more serious about it.
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A few steps more, and a little look into The Place Where You Can't Take Pictures Even With No Flash And We Pay A Large Guy To Make Sure Of That. Name witheld to protect the guilty.
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Onwards to via Calzaiuoli, after via Tornabuoni it's a cheap place. We are reaching the Duomo, cameras get hot and people freeze in Tower-Of-Pisa mode. I hope the ice cream was good.
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So we are tired, and we sit and do what's best. People watching, art watching us.
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On to the other end of the square, where it becomes street again.
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A little look up, yes it's still there. Light.
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Ok, on again, Piazza della Repubblica is near, with its comforts.
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An opera singer was performing for pennies. High, powerful voice filling the entire square which fell silent. She is out of contract and foreigner; apparently this was the simplest, fastest way for a nice plane ticket to the next gig - and no doubt, a nice way to protest.
This was the result:
He surely is in love. Freezed for twenty minutes.
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Others are not so impressed.
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But we have to move, we have a train to catch! Cross the arch, on to Piazza degli Strozzi, where ancient bankers were, and modern predators live in their shadows, awaiting their victims. Here are two of them, one of each kind - or both

The Prime Mover
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Yes, it's that red.
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And then, I sneaked into a little place for a surprise for my dearest (still not knowing), and hopped on my train home. See you all next time!

All shot with E-PL1 and Lumix 20/1.7, PP in LR3
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Location
Not too far from Philly
Real Name
you should be able to figure it out...
Great series Alf, of the most beautiful city I've ever had the privilege to visit. I've been twice, once when I was able to stay several days almost exactly 30 years ago (and when the number of tourists was very manageable) and for one whirlwind day last year when the number of tourists was far far far beyond manageable. I can't complain - I was one of them. But I'm quite sure if I go back again it will not be in the height of tourist season! I know you realize how lucky you are to live within easy reach of such a place!

BTW, here's one of mine from last summer that corresponds with this one of yours - same location, same statue in the background, very different street performers when I was there, though:

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View attachment 37769

-Ray
 

BBW

Legend
Location
betwixt and between
Real Name
BB
Alf, I will always be glad to be your traveling companion! Great fun, interesting and I, too, love your narratives.:bravo-009:

Ray, I'm impressed that you were able to find those corresponding pictures so fast - you must have a well documented system!
 

defektive

Veteran
Location
Tasmania, Australia
Real Name
Sam
Great images and commentary Alf. Brings back memories of a wonderful week that my (future) wife and I spent at a rented villa on the northern outskirts of Firenze several years ago. Thankfully we were there in April when most other tourists weren't. We are both very keen to get back, once the kids have flown the coop.

Cheers,
Sam
 

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