We usually say about Italians that they have nowhere to be and are in no hurry to be there: sitting down outside their houses or cafés, enjoying their wonderful weather, having a cup of coffee and always talking to somebody else. In Italy there are “weird habits” like not being able to go to the store between 1:30 pm and 4 pm because the whole city shuts down. What? No 24-hour delis? Banks close at 2pm?
Despite the “Dolce Vita”, in the city center of Florence – which is a small yet busy place – everybody is always running up and down. They don’t seem to have time to stop… to breathe. When you do stop and look around you suddenly find yourself surrounded by tourists, shops, museums, cafés, ice cream parlors and street artists trying to get your attention and to remind you that there’s something more than just money and work: spare time. Florence is great for shopping too: from luxury designer wear near Piazza della Signoria to the jewelry shops of the Ponte Vecchio.
I think of Florence as a laboratory of artistic experiments where it is difficult not to get overwhelmed by the entire cultural and social stimulus. The city itself is a living museum with wonderful piazzas, palaces and panoramas. The view from the Piazzale Michelangelo over the city to the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio is just sublime.