Thursday, March 15, 2007


David says "Heel, Bondi!"; more f***ing campaniles

A few references heretically suggest that Florence can be skipped in favour of more accessible locations in the region. I thought, "what the hey, we're here, let's have a look, and it's only an hour away by car."

Emerging from our car-park near the central Mercado, and the outdoor leather markets, we zigzagged through what sounded to be an English-speaking town. Florence is swamped by tourists and high season hasn't even begun. While the locals I encountered in cafés or shops were warm and helpful, the central area of Florence is really pretty grimy. Explanatory signs for historical monuments are defaced to the point of illegibility.

After Bondi drew some attention posing next to the (copy of) David we walked towards the Ponte Vecchio(Old Bridge), trying to avoid the various African street vendors with cheap prints of masterpieces and the usual selection of handbag and watch knock-offs. Down one particularly dingy street, I turned my head and saw through a mesh fence that we were actually standing outside the Uffizi gallery!

R. Arno from Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

two posers

two more posers; Ponte Vecchio

Bondi sits next to Il Porcellino, the bronze boar of Florence. Rubbing its nose supposedly guarantees good luck or a return to Florence. A copy has stood outside Sydney Hospital since 1968.

more f***ing posers

Ponte Vecchio

Four hours was quite enough for us; I'd picked up some nice local leather products - a soft chamois cap, and a satchel, but I wanted to get out of town before the evening commute. Driving through parts of Florence, where great swathes of road are unmarked by any lanes, the traffic made Pamplona's annual running of the bulls look like a stately gavotte in comparison. Apparently this will be just a warm-up for Naples.


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