This photo reveals so much about Florence! It is often my goal to find that scene which can convey the most about the character of the town or place I am visiting. This is one of my favorite photos for that reason. Here is part of what this photo shows:
1) The addresses can tell the informed traveler this is Florence. The numbering starts over for each street, which is often quite short. So there will be lots of apartments with the number 1 or numbers less than 10. Businesses have a different number sequence than residences. Here the business address 14 is in red and the residential address is a blue number 6. The business address would be written 14r which tells the Florentine person it is a rosso or red address. The foreigner can mistakenly think this is an r for residential which is normally a black number, but is blue here. The numbering system does not even follow the simple rule of odd on one side of the street and even on the other. The distinction between what is a residence and what is a business is not always clear, such as searching for a bed and breakfast place which is a residence run as a business. Fed-X has their work cut out for them.
2) The three doorbell buzzers tell us three people or families call this door their home.
3) Only two of the door bells have a name listed. Is one apartment empty or is that person a hermit?
4) In typical Italian construction, the electrical conduit and rain gutter pipe follow down outside the structure and re-enter about half way up our first floor, their zero or ground floor.
5) Most apartments have large, heavy, solid wood doors with a big brass door handle in the middle, not off to the side. This knob also does not turn, it is only a handle. Unlocking the door opens it, not turning the handle. No screen doors.
6) This door is extra small for some unknown reason. The bricks on the left side-show that the doorway was made smaller after initial construction. Why? What happened that the owners would want the door entry made smaller?
7) Bright yellow and shades of yellow are a favorite colors for Italian buildings. Green shutters are also very common. The one thing this photo is missing is green shutters.
8) Graffiti is an Italian word for a reason. The church walls and museums seem to get a break here. Also, the graffiti is often only on the metal doors that close up the front of businesses, leaving the nice wooden residential doors untouched. Graffiti is not necessarily a gang thing, rather art or tradition.
9) Most businesses do not simply shut the front door to lock up, they pull down heavy rolling metal door panels which offer much better protection to their store front.
10) Though not very visible here, the street is the typical grey cobblestone found throughout old Italian cities.