When I am in Florence, I always try to imagine what amazing energy there must have been in its glorious past when all those great artists were creating their masterpieces.
That life force is still dripping from the walls as you walk around Uffizi and Piazza della Signoria, where David’s shadow moves over the wall of Palazzo Vecchio. It is a special place, but so many visitors just concentrate on the best-known attractions.
So do I, but I also like to cross Ponte Vecchio and wander the small streets where almost no other visitors go. Real life is only a few hundred meters away from the crowd.
I like to eat somewhere I can smell the real Italian atmosphere before I throw myself back into the crowded places again. I was just having lunch when this lad came around the corner as the chemist was having a conversation in front of his shop. Then the chef walked past with his empty boxes.
The cyclist with his dog was at a local crossing near the Uffizi. What I like so much about the Italians is that they always stay true to themselves. That’s why the city retains so much character and self-identity despite the crowds of tourists.