Omaggio al Ponte alle Riffe

"If you spend your life avoiding conflict, you don't develop the skills to navigate it."
- Debbie Irving, author of Waking up White, And Finding Myself In The Story Of Race, in the October 18, 2015 PRI podcast Check Your Privilege

The Mugnone ravine cuts down from the hills behind our apartment and tapers off at the Arno River in the heart Florence. Here's a shot on an overcast day, which I stole from the internet:


I don't get the impression there's much love for the ravine, either among Florentines or tourists: in the photograph those are the butts of homes that front it, you don't find many tourists cracking out their cameras, and I've overheard oodles of comments about the dirty carp or the beaver-like creatures called nutrias in it.

A nutria in action

But of course, that's what I find so appealing.

At one point a bridge called the Ponte alle Riffe crosses it. I take the bridge just about every day. Riffe in Tuscan Italian means "arguments" and supposedly it was given that name, the Bridge of Arguments, because it was a bottleneck for farmers crossing into the city with their wares to sell and because it was especially narrow, leading to a "great theatre of arguments," as one source put it.

I love that, and so in tribute to all the expressers and the opiniated today and throughout time, who speak their minds and can take it when others do the same, who don't care much for politeness (civility may just require impoliteness at times), here's my depiction of the view from the Ponte alle Riffe.

"Omaggio al Ponte alle Riffe"
Mixed media on panel
23.6" x 27.5" (60cm x 70cm)

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