Some terrible news from Florence - they didn't put Christmas lights up on Via Calzaiuoli this year! Instead they placed rather large boxes (planters?) on the street, filled with ornamental trees and shrubs, and have spotlights shining on these arrangements at night. It is okay, but I really miss those lights hanging down the long, straight street. That was something that really said "Christmas" to me here in Florence. The other problem with this years set up is that it takes a lot of pedestrian space away - and there is still a lot of vehicular traffic that now has to not only navigate people but these veritable road blocks. I guess you can tell, I think this was a bad idea! On the restoration/construction front - Verrocchio's Christ and St. Thomas (Doubting Thomas) on Orsanmichele is done - the scaffolding is down and the tabernacle looks great even though parts of it are pretty warn and damaged. It is hard to tell if they actually cleaned the sculpture or if this was just a restoration of the tabernacle. (Update - as a friend pointed out today - Jan. 7 - this is of course just a copy - the originals - most of them - are in the museum upstairs which remains inexplicably closed - so I think they were probably working on the tabernacle but could have been cleaning the "copy" also!). In Piazza Signoria, the David and the Hercules are tightly under wraps - they can not even be seen. This project looks like it may last for months. I need to get over to Piazza Santa Maria Novella - not sure what state that is in but it should be getting close!