Stones of Florence

I know when you come to Florence you're supposed to talk about the food and architecture, chianti and Michelangelo, but being the weirdo that I am I'm more interested in the goings-on behind the stage than the performance itself.

I read a classic travelogue on Florence recently, Mary McCarthy's The Stones of Florence, written in 1959. She writes, Florence "is not a shrine of the past, and it rebuffs all attempts to make it into one, just as it rebuffs tourists. Tourism, in a certain sense, is an accidental by-product of the city - at once profitable and a nuisance, adding to the noise and congestion, raising prices for the population. Florence is a working city, a market centre, and railway junction...There is no city in Italy that treats its tourists so summarily, that caters so little to their comfort."

So in that vein, here are a few shots I snapped of a public underground gallery I stumbled upon in a kinda far-flung neighbourhood called Le Cure, no tourists in sight. Legend has it a man lives permanently in this maze of pedestrian tunnels that cut beneath a junction of highway and railway lines, but I couldn't seem to find him.

Apparently here's where you find the best graffiti in town. That's what brought me out here.

Locals taking in the free show, drooling just a bit. My reaction was the same.

Can you spot the accordionist? A feast for the eyes and ears!

Sure, why not talk about the next game of euchre and who's responsible for the biscuits down here.


  1. The man living in the pedestrian tunnel is not a legend. I pass through this every day and often see him. He cleans the tunnels and he is the one commissioning the graffiti. No artist is allowed to work there without his permission...

    1. That's amazing. I hope to meet him one day. Thanks for sharing.


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