February 23, 2011

Florence, Italy. September, 1986

I’ve heard that visitors to Italy divide naturally into two camps: those who favor Florence, those who side with Rome. I’m squarely in the earthier Roman camp, but that doesn’t render me immune to the charms of its more formal northern rival. The glorious Tuscan light, the Giotto frescos in Santa Croce, the vibrant student life in the oltrarno, the treasures of the Uffizi (uncrowded only during the lunch hour), the gritty communal energy of the no-frills working-men’s trattoria I’d discovered (pasta or soup? beef, chicken or pork? basta) and the serendipitous views, like this one, a fisherman I spotted by chance in the Arno late one autumn afternoon.


  1. The first time I was in Florence in 1989 I saw this very scene. From my vantage point on the bridge, I could see down into the water and noticed several large fish lined up, nose into the current, off to the fisherman's left. I figured I should shout to him "the fish are over there," but after a good while trying to figure out how to convey that in my extremely limited Italian, I chickened out. I still regret not having at least yelled and pointed.