February 10, 2012

Florence, Italy. September, 1984

Is this Tippi Hedren? She wishes. Alas, it is one of the many thousands of people who find themselves in the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence and who also find themselves surrounded by thousands of pigeons. Fed over the centuries by countless tourists with good hearts, these dirty birds now have a sense of entitlement bred into them that would rival that of any Hapsburg princess or Kardashian sister. Photo ops notwithstanding, what’s the point? Look at this poor woman outside the basilica of Santa Maria Novella. I remember she wanted her picture taken among the birds. She got much more than she bargained for. In 2006, the Florentine municipal authorities, recognizing the hazard that these birds pose for people, as well as for statues and monuments, imposed a 50-euro fine for anyone caught feeding the pigeons in public squares. (A similar ban went into effect in Venice two years later.) Not sure what the results have been, but I imagine that there may be at least a bit more light in the piazzas.

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