The heart is a lonely hunter also in Florence

The heart is a lonely hunter also in Florence

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Florence is a city that kills through strong emotions. There is no need to be accompanied, it is enough with ourselves and our senses. As Singer — the protagonist of the novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers —, when I wander anonymously among the whole crowd during hours through the streets of the city, it always seems that I am the only lonely person. However, it is not adequate to attribute to lonely souls the sorrow of an unhappy life. As I see, Florence is, above all, a destination for couples or groups; few people travel alone. It is the human being’s lifeguard against his own inner isolation.…

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Before sunset at Ponte alla Carraia

Before sunset at Ponte alla Carraia

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During the spring and summer evenings, when the Arno River runs low, Ponte alla Carraia grants one of the most picturesque sights of Florence. An isle in the middle of the river called Pescaia di Santa Rosa — between Ponte Amerigo Vespucci and Ponte alla Carraia — stands as a sort of no man’s land and becomes the spot where young people get together for a beer, a chat or share a joint. The water drop reaches three meters, thus the force of the current is considerable. However, whereas the bridge helps to maintain the natural flow of the river, the area close to Oltrarno remains dry and passable. Moreover, here the town flourishes against the light, a top scene for those in love with melancholic sunsets in Florence.…

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Winter flâneurism, wandering the streets of Florence at Christmas time

Winter flâneurism, wandering the streets of Florence at Christmas time

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The magic (or the curse) of Christmas has also reached Florence. In daylight, things change their appearance, so I have always been more attracted to night lights. At night, Florence now exhibits its Christmas wrapping, with the discreet aristocratic allure that characterizes the city so much. Seduced and abandoned, that’s how I feel. But the streets of Florence console me and heal my battered self-esteem so that I can reach the end of the year with some dignity.…

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Illustrious tombs of Florence, celebrating death on All Saints’ Day

Illustrious tombs of Florence, celebrating death on All Saints’ Day

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Leonardo da Vinci said: “Just as a well-used day produces a sweet dream, a well-used life produces a sweet death.” Death and life are two sides of the same coin. We fear death as children fear the darkness. But in fact, one should fear life more than death. What happens after death has been the great “incognitum” of humanity since its foundation. Death makes us reflect on life’s value.…

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Berlin vs. Florence: comparisons game

Berlin vs. Florence: comparisons game

PHOTOS, SPANISH & ITALIAN VERSION BELOW

As I arrived in Berlin, I remember being fascinated by its wide sidewalks, streets and avenues. I sense the opposite in Florence, where a car hardly fits in its streets and maximum two people can meet on the sidewalks. In Berlin, I might just longed for distance. Now I search for proximity. Closeness. They say that Berlin is a cosmopolitan city, but in Florence I hear everyday languages that I could never identify. Florence windows are not double-glazed. Not so isolated like those in Berlin. I get up sometimes at night to check that mine are not open …The city enters my room as if I really lived in the street. And I do not care, because I know all of these little bits, together, are called life.

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‘Flight mode’ in Florence: sex dating apps, endless queues at Uffizi, panino at Antico Vinaio and some tacky souvenirs

‘Flight mode’ in Florence: sex dating apps, endless queues at Uffizi, panino at Antico Vinaio and some tacky souvenirs

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

There is always someone at any time of the day pulling a suitcase in Florence. I do not know what they carry inside, but what is rarely missing is a sex dating app in their ‘digital luggage.’ Transit, data roaming, digital nomads and ‘aeroplane mode’ on. Between heaven and hell. It is the social philosopher Zygmunt Bauman‘s immediacy and the disconcerting desire of wanting to live it all. Liquid loves, gaseous encounters and sparkling lives. The profiles named ‘Visiting’ multiply in the flirting apps. Sex express and the odd souvenir, which commonly becomes a shag with a local. Fuck’n’go!

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Monica Magnani’s Florence

Monica Magnani’s Florence

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Se qualcuno mi dice ‘Firenze’ la prima cosa che mi viene in mente è fuggire via. Firenze, a volte, io la guardo e mi sembra diventata un luogo comune, un cliché inventato per far contenti i turisti. Firenze per la nave da crociera è il percorso di due ore, per gli amanti clandestini è la città di un fine-settimana, per le famiglie sono i musei delle vacanze di Pasqua, per le gite scolastiche è il capitolo sul Rinascimento, per gli animi malinconici è lo struggimento della sindrome di Stendhal. Io, da questa Firenze, ho continuamente voglia di scappare e forse mi piace proprio perché, poi, quando sono fuggita via dai luoghi comuni, è così bello aver nostalgia di questa città! Firenze, per chi ha voglia di scappare, ha molte vie di fuga: per alcune ci vuole un mezzo di trasporto, per altre, invece, basta un paio di scarpe comode.

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Martina Castagnoli´s Florence

Martina Castagnoli´s Florence

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Se mi chiedi qual’è la mia città, infondo penso che forse è la cristallizzazione della mia idea di Firenze e non so neanche se davvero esiste più, ma vi ci porto lo stesso … Magari riuscirete anche voi a vedere un po’ di quell’incanto con cui la guardo io. La mia città, quando la vedi dall’alto, riesci a cingerla tutta in un abbraccio e i tetti rossi le conferiscono quell’aria rassicurante come lo sono certi oggetti del passato, che ti riportano alla tua infanzia, che quasi ti sembra di sentirne l’odore di naftalina che avevano i cassetti delle nonne.…

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History of art according to Florence or the Renaissance chapter at high school

History of art according to Florence or the Renaissance chapter at high school

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

History of art was, without a doubt, my favourite subject at high school. By then, Italy was for me a distant and unknown country, it seemed so far as on another planet, and I did not even know what Tuscany meant or where in the map Florence was. At the age of 17, everything seemed so phantasmagorical and unreal … How unusual, the unpredictable ways to which life sometimes leads. Especially to those who try to escape from routine. I then loved the art history classes taught by María Luisa, always conducted in the dark. During those hours, I felt invisible and safe (at that time, my face was plagued by acne). We contemplated slides showing the art treasures explained with genuine devotion by the teacher and took notes of things that I thought I would never see on site. María Luisa inoculated me with the love for art and subtly with a passion for Florentine wonders. Today, 24 years later, I do not even remember her surname.

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Anchored to Florence

Anchored to Florence

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It is the time of fear. Fear of what was, fear of what will be, fear of loneliness, and fear of the crowd. Fear of dying and fear of living. Fear to love, fear to be abandoned, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of suffering, fear of ending up hating this city. It is commonly said that fear paralyses, although sometimes it helps one to escape and start from scratch. At a time when fear prevented me from resuming my life in another city, without purposing it, Florence became my shelter. Since then, I live anchored to a suitcase, to drama, and to Florence too. Roaming is my way of life.…

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