The Real Florence

The food in Florence was one of its best assets. The lovely Donatella of Monte Oliveto suggested the restaurants at which we ate. We had some of the simplest and most savory dishes of our trip at these restaurants. Our favorite was Quattro Leoni (The Four Lions). A zuchini cream soup just a hint of strawberry? Sounds like an odd combination, but it was divine and I only hope I can find a recipe to replicate it at home. Below is the mammoth steak that my travel companions shared. 

And the carcass that remained after their carnivorous orgy.

While in Florence, I couldn’t help but notice the rest of the world as we walked through the streets toward famous museums and delicious restaurants. As an environmental scientist, I’m particularly interested in recycling programs and environmental planning. I had to snap a photo of these public recycling containers. 

And I was fascinated by this approach to curbside plastics pickup in streets that are only 10-feet wide. Below is “the recycling man” who gets to use a mini-crane to empty the big blue container full of the neighborhood’s plastics recycling.

I’m a little afraid to show this to my boys. Using a crane might look so fun to them that “recycling man” might be bumped to the top of their list of “what I want to be when I grow up.” The street is only a foot or so wider than the truck, and there’s no way around it, so just hope you don’t get stuck behind the recycling truck.

While in Florence, we also witnessed the start of a protest. Because it was in itailian, we didn’t entirely understand what was happening.

Some of the signs and banners contained the words meaning labor and jobs so we’re pretty sure this was the beginning of a protest similar to the “Occupy Wallstreet” protests that have been occuring in the U.S.

This protest started on this street and marched along a major street, gaining momentum and noise as it headed toward the center of the city. Obviously, the issues are complicated. Although the sign at the left of the photo is tough to read, it advocates freedom for a Kurdish militant named Ocalan.

I took this photo of a scooter shop simply to show how much they can pack into a small amount of real estate. This store is about 8′ x 20′. Total. Amazing.

Outside of the Uffizi gallery was this piece of modern art work. The picture was on a fence covering restoration work in progress on the building’s exterior. It says, “Gentrification and tourist speculation are killing our hometown.”

Sometimes art is considered good when it speaks a truth that is found no where else. Florence is a deeply historical city going through thoroughly modern changes.

Tomorrow we’ll head to a chain of breath-taking, romantic villages, together called Cinque Terre.

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