Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Little Things

A month in and I've seen a lot. I've been traveling around Italy, and even outside. I've seen Pisa, I've seen Viareggio, I've even seen Prague. But every time I leave Florence, I'm reminded how special the city is. Its amazing how packed this place is. There’s tons of interesting things around this city. I’m still finding little treasures all around it. And I’m not just talking about the masterpieces of art and architecture like the Duomo or

David. I also mean the little things about the city that you really only

notice when you look.

I was taking a tour with my teacher one day. She was explaining the big things of the city, which really are quite amazing - like the Church of Santa Croce. But I had noticed, since I arrived in Florence, all these little window shaped holes in many of the older buildings. They were about a foot tall and half a foot wide and were shaped like pentagons. I asked her what they were and she said that they were called "bo

cchette di vino." I’m not sure of the literal translation, and neither is Google Translate, but I think it means something like little booths of wine. Apparently, back when

Florence was a bustling renaissance city, people would offer or sell glasses of wine to pedestrians as they passed. When this practice was

banned after the passage of the Italian liquor license law, t

hese holes no longer had a use. Many of them became filled up, some were transformed into mailboxes, others were made into doorbells. I found this pretty interesting. So I started to walk around the city and find all these filled up little holes. Most of them were bricked up by their landlords, but a few stand out as being the canvas of street artists. What I mean is that, sometimes, you'll find a piece of art inside these tiny little holes. And you won’t find them unless you look. One was really detailed, like a painting.

It was pretty cool thinking that next to the incredible pieces of art and architecture, artists still express themselves and find ways to create beauty in a way that I found just as interesting as the Duomo and Santa Croce. Since Florence is such a small city (you can walk from one side to the other in like 20-30 minutes) it’s packed with surprises at every turn. You'll find art on every corner and historical monuments on every street. The city practically begs you to explore and see what its got hidden.


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