Monica Magnani’s Florence

Monica Magnani’s Florence

PHOTOS & ENGLISH / SPANISH VERSIONS BELOW

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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Anchored to Florence

Anchored to Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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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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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The heart is a lonely hunter also in Florence

The heart is a lonely hunter also in Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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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Winter flâneurism, wandering the streets of Florence at Christmas time

Winter flâneurism, wandering the streets of Florence at Christmas time

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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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Abida Allouh’s Florence

Abida Allouh’s Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

Florence is an eternal dream

Florence is an eternal dream, the most beautiful city in the world. Since I remember, I have been fascinated by antiquity, history, and the Medici dynasty. So I decided to visit Florence, the city where Paco Neumann lives. He is one of my best friends. I met Paco in the mid-nineties when he lived and studied journalism and photography in Madrid. I have always been attracted to art, so I explored several museums and many Renaissance churches during my vacation in Florence. Needless to say that the entire city is a vast open-air museum.…

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

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

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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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‘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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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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The tolling of the bells: the heartbeat of Florence

The tolling of the bells: the heartbeat of Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

Not everything in Florence is a matter of renaissance «facade». The city could be experienced by sight, but also by taste, its smells, trough touching as well as through hearing. I hate traffic noise, but I love the rumour of the crowd and the Florentine bells. In my different stays, it has been impossible for me to avoid the ones of Santa Croce, of the Duomo, neither of San Lorenzo´s. The bells produce an energetic and penetrating sound but always embody some relaxing and peaceful vibe, spiritual purposes aside. I like to think that the sound of the bells equals the heartbeat of the city. One that has lived for so many centuries but remains alive, flourishing and young at heart. Indeed, I feel offended when a visitor complains about this particular sound. That certainly unveils my true love for this city.

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