When one visits Florence for the day, it is easy to forget that real people live and work and earn a living from the flocking tourists. The coaches unload their lines of gaping visitors, all processing after each other like goats on a hill path, the lead goat identified by the raised arm and the majorette’s baton raised aloof. The locals begin their daily routine of entertaining, feeding, quenching, sketching, guiding these columns of multicolored, umbrellared, sunglassed, overheated, dehydrated ants.
Amongst this turmoil the locals go about their business. They shop in the market. They grab a coffee on the way to work. They celebrate their saint’s day. They deliver goods. They drive buses and take their children to school.
But Florence is not all crowded piazzas of camera clicking guests where couples and groups shuffle in competition with other to take the best selfie in front of the duomo or medieval bridge or the statue of David or the one with the fig leaf over the necessary bits. Come late afternoon, the columns of exhausted, rather ratty guides show their charges onto their coaches and bid a fond farewell with a huge sigh of relief and a slight niggle at the meagerness of their tip. The city also sighs. Gradually the streets empty and life can go on uninterrupted, as it has done since the Medicis ruled this city centuries ago.