A Florentine flâneur: the art of wandering the streets of Florence

A Florentine flâneur: the art of wandering the streets of Florence


The figure of the flâneur is associated with the rise of “urban life” and especially with Paris, one of the first major cities of the industrial era in which appeared the flâneur as the person who wanders through boulevards, shop windows, and passages. This wandering character was conceived by authors Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin, who defined the authentic flâneur as an attentive and wise voyeur, and far from being a frivolous, banal, idle, superficial and clueless passer-by, he is above all a deep observer of the city, a restless traveler with no definite direction, and a forerunner (without a camera) of the documentary photography.

In Florence, a majestic and timeless city, flâneurism — the art of wandering the streets aimlessly — becomes a real pleasure. Walking through Florence is a splendid and exceptional experience, even more, if we take into account that the historical centre is semi-pedestrian — it is MANDATORY to go everywhere on foot!

At each corner there is an unexplored alley, an unknown tabernacle, giving rise to different perspectives that renew the city’s stereotyped faces. The hustle and bustle of tourists on the main monuments and streets are compensated by the peaceful of the so-called vicoli (narrow streets). In Florence, a postcard awaits you almost in every corner.

Explorador urbano o flâneur: el arte de pasear sin rumbo en las calles de Florencia

Aunque la figura del flâneur se asocia indisolublemente a París, es en Florencia, ciudad irrepetible y imperecedera, donde el flâneurism (el arte de vagar por las calles, sin rumbo y sin objetivo) cobra mayor reverberación. Concepto impulsado por Baudelaire y Walter Benjamin, el flâneur auténtico, observador atento o voyeur, lejos de ser el paseante frívolo, banal, ocioso, superficial y despistado, ese viandante inquieto es el antecesor, sin cámara, de la fotografía documental.

Pasear por Florencia cobra su máximo esplendor si tenemos en cuenta que el centro histórico es semipeatonal; que se puede Y SE DEBE ir a todos los sitios a pie. En cada esquina hay una callejuela inexplorada, un tabernáculo desconocido, otra perspectiva que renueva las caras manidas de la ciudad. El ajetreo de turistas en las calles y monumentos principales queda compensado en la quietud de los vicoli (calles estrechas). En Florencia, una postal te aguarda en casi cada rincón.

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Paco Neumann

Paco Neumann is a journalist, photographer, proofreader, flâneur and perpetual amateur currently living in between Florence, Berlin, Paris and Tenerife. He´s been a regular contributor to fashion, art, trend and lifestyle magazines and worked for news, advertising and communication agencies

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