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Tourist breaks finger off statue

Published on August 8, 2013 6:54 PM | Comments


Stuff like this happens all the time unfortunately - sometimes the media makes a big deal out of it, which appears to be the case this time, sometimes they don't. I am almost embarrassed to link to the rather inane reporting of Gawker and The Daily Mail, both of which sensationalize the story (but I did, so you can read more about it).

And then of course people on Gawker all have the knee jerk reaction of how poorly behaved American tourists are... which is very tiring.

We don't have a lot of 600 year old statues in America, and most people are not well informed about this stuff. Everyone is to blame (individuals, media, institutions, etc.). There is a 2,000 year old marble lion on the steps of the Loggia dei Lanzi. If you spend a couple of hours watching it on any nice day you will see tourists of every shape, size, color and nationality lean on, kiss, pet, and try to climb that lion - and that includes Italians. And it could be for a variety of reasons - ignorance, cultural differences, sheer naivety, etc.

The fact is that people need more information about these things - they have to be informed somehow at some point how to behave around art, artifacts, etc. I don't know why when you get off the plane in Italy and get your passport stamped the government doesn't stick a piece of paper in your passport explaining this in a simple way.

I gave an interview during Florens 2012 with my artist/blogger friend Naomi and just found it online:

Not sure about Ted's questions and maybe we had already drank some/too much wine but we tried...

Earthquake a few minutes ago, felt in Florence

Published on January 25, 2013 4:09 PM | Comments

For some reason I have become very in tune to these things. I was working in the bedroom, and I felt the bed shake a bit, heard the "cracking in the wall" sound - and the floor lamp was definitely moving. Earthquake!


Not sure how bad it was further north where it was centered.

Europe’s Day of Austerity

Published on November 15, 2012 12:09 PM | Comments

Something like this happens in a town as small as Florence and you have no idea:

"In Florence, angry mobs plastered bank windows with rotten eggs and defaced the normally pristine city center with profane graffiti."

I was out all day yesterday, back and forth across town, and there was no evidence anything was going on... 

The only thing I was aware of was some kind of teacher's strike - but I guess it was all tied into the Day of Rage.






On the face of it there is something very troubling about this story - but as always in Italy, I am sure there is much more going on than the Western press is getting:

Italy Convicts 7 for Failure to Warn of Quake

Prominent earthquake experts were convicted of manslaughter in connection with the earthquake that gutted the historic center of the city of L’Aquila.

Burger King in Florence, and other "news"

Published on September 4, 2012 3:49 PM | Comments

It seems that every summer we get back to Florence something else American has wormed its way into the Renaissance heart of this town. Someone tried a Ben & Jerry's a few years ago (that has since gone out of business), and this year the newest edition is a Burger King - right across the street from Firenze SMN and in the spot that once was the Lazzi bus terminal (terminal is a word used loosely here as most bus depots seem to be store fronts where the buses can pull up outside).

Unfortunately today it was packed at lunch time - so perhaps they will make it like McDonalds has on the opposite corner of the same block. Too bad for Florence in my opinion.


I think (but have not yet confirmed) that the Lazzi buses may be working from the SITA terminal now - but I have to verify that.

Some other notes from my first walk around town: there is new, wider and smoother sidewalk on Via Tornabuoni from the Palazzo Strozzi corner down to Piazza Santa Trinita, and it looks like the street will be eventually repaved also (it is under construction now but looking much closer to being done than it was in the spring). There is a Nespresso store (seriously - a whole store?) where the music/media store Ricordi used to be on via Via Dè Brunelleschi near Piazza Repubblica. And there is a new glass shop, Mario Luca Giusti, in what used to be a bar at the beginning of Via della Vigna Nuova, near the Piazza Goldoni end:


I believe I got lucky with this photo and that may be Mario Luca himself.

So a few new things, a few old things gone, and lots of empty storefronts still. It seems that the ongoing crisis continues to make it harder and harder for smaller family owned businesses to hang on, and is giving the corporations and multinationals the chance they need to grab a foothold. Soon every city in the world will be nearly the same...

Florence goes Madonna crazy -

Published on June 16, 2012 5:36 PM | Comments

Last weekend Bruce Springsteen was in town, and this weekend it is Madonna's turn. She plays tonight in the stadium, but I knew something was up earlier when we left for the center to run errands. The crowd in Piazza Ognissanti - broiling in the Tuscan sun - didn't make any sense until we realized who was probably inside the hotel. Yes, Madonna is staying at the St. Regis:


Later we ran into an even bigger mob, this one in front of LUISAVIAROMA, where Madonna has just entered the closed to the public store for some pre-concert shopping. (UPDATE: a friend who works in the store says Madonna was NEVER THERE! Too funny) - People were literally running down the street to try to catch a glimpse of her - here is a fan on the shoulders of someone trying to get a photo:


The concert poster that was around Florence:


Earthquake near Bologna kills at least 15

Published on May 29, 2012 5:13 PM | Comments

It seems that the tragedies won't end in Italy - today another in a series of earthquakes north of Tuscany:

"May 29 (Bloomberg) -- Italy was struck by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 15 people in the northern region of Emilia Romagna, the second fatal temblor in the country this month."

School bombing cancels the Notte dei Musei

Published on May 19, 2012 6:00 PM | Comments

Following the tragic bombing that has claimed at least one life in Brindisi, the Cultural Ministry has cancelled the scheduled "Notte dei Musei".

Festa Della Donna 2012

Published on March 7, 2012 8:30 PM | Comments

Tomorrow is the annual Festa Della Donna (or International Women's Day) - do something great for a woman or all the women in your life! Here is what we did last year. At the least, give someone some flowers.

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