From Venice to Florence
My answer to this graffiti is, of course, that you can’t hang a tourists’ head on your wall as a trophy. This “artist” was one of the first to greet us in Florence once we left Venice. And while it may be funny to see your name (tourist) written on the wall, it’s just a little scary thinking you may be in someone’s crosshairs. Living in an area that attracts numerous tourist each year, I completely understand the sentiment, but also greatly appreciate the business our guests bring to our area.
Fortunately, this was the closest we came to an unpleasant experience by any Italian. All but one or two Italians in 14 days were so very kind and helpful. Those who weren’t helpful were called “gypsies” who accosted us at the train station. They would offer to help load your luggage onto the train, but then demand payment for the help. One older Italian gentlemen warned us to keep our eyes open around one group of “gypsies.” He not only didn’t want to shoot us…he wanted to protect us. We only encountered them once. Everywhere else, we made every effort to speak their beautiful language, but when we struggled, they were more than happy to speak or at least try English. Every single person I met was generous and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. In the words of Tina Fey, “I want to go to there”, again!
As we were sightseeing through the historical city of Florence, my brother-in-love didn’t warn us that we were about to see the Duomo, which was completed in 1436. As we rounded a corner, this massive cathedral rose up from the cobblestone streets and did a magnificent job welcoming us to Florence. I lost my breath. I didn’t see the interior, but the exterior is so very beautiful, that I’m not sure my lungs could have lived through the experience.
My pictures can never do justice to the massive size and detail of the architecture of this cathedral.
And speaking of breathtaking, photos are not allowed of Michelangelo’s David, but I had the exact same reaction when I saw it for the first time. We were touring the Accademia in Florence and again, our “tour guide” didn’t inform us that THE ‘David’ was just inside the next room. It was one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve ever received. Seeing the magnificence and the size of the sculpture literally brought tears to all of our eyes.
While we chuckled about the “tourist season” graffiti when we first saw it, the beauty of this country makes these misdemeanor offenses seem much greater when you consider the value attached to so many historical structures. The message may have been intended to insult present tourists, but the real abuse is to the memory and respect of the architects, brick masons and builders who created these landmarks that so many desire to see. Perhaps there should be a graffiti “artist” hunting season. Now, that’s a trophy I just might hang on my wall.