The birthplace of the Renaissance, sometimes referred to as the Athens of the Middle Ages, a mecca of orange roofed Italian apartments, 17th century palaces, Romanesque and Gothic churches and beautiful Renaissance Cathedrals – Florence, or Firenze, is easily one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring, beautiful cities.
But what about the other side of Florence? The city squares are a hive for overpriced restaurants and stylish (well…some of them) bars, tourists and touts selling whatever crap they happen to have (most recently the much debated selfie stick) – but the backstreets of the city are dark, often empty though lined with Vespas and strange small car-like contraptions, sometimes inhabited by a few drunks and incidental collages of graffiti and stickers. The occasional illuminated window offers a glowing melange that incorporates everything from cigarettes to Japanese kebab (really – we’re talking doner meat with soy sauce and/or ginger) at all times of night. We took a stroll around the old town recently to photograph just a little of what you might expect when you divert your course, and your camera, to one of Firenze’s many vibrant backstreets.
The old chap above has a story to tell though unfortunately my Italian isn’t good enough to understand it – if you feel like listening in, then head to Via del Proconsolo and listen for an earthy toned man shouting his heart out – and then head in that direction. He’s usually seen around the Grand Hotel Cavour in the early morning.
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