Unlike the people who write some of my favourite blogs about Firenze who live here for six months or more each year, I have four short weeks to observe and enjoy all of the things that this city has to offer. The big picture things are the ones that continually capture my eyes and my imagination, things like the art in the Uffizi, the Academia and Palazzo Strozzi, or the architecture of the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio. There is always something that I haven’t observed carefully on a previous visit which clammers for brain space.
It is because of these big ticket items that I have failed, in most cases, to focus in on the seemingly insignificant things that are also part of the story of Firenze. With the help of one of the The Secrets of … books, last year I did see a few things that I had missed, like the scratched drawing on the wall of the Palazzo Vecchio that is attributed to Michelangelo. I secretly enjoy watching the visitors wander past the spot, not knowing that they are missing the actual real work of the master, while jostling to take photos of a copy of his David.
I remember having a rant some years ago about the graffiti all over walls in Rome and wondering how people could commit such attrocities to treasures that they hold in trust for the rest of the world. I still believe whole heartedly that it is the wrong thing to do but in the last couple of days I have focused down and noticed a tread to more artistic contributions to the decoration of Firenze, rather than scrawled tag lines that mean nothing to the rest of us.
There appears to be two or three different groups of streets art appearing about the town. The first are the street signs which have been altered just enough to add a little interest without completely obscuring their meaning for the motorists. These were observed and I wrote about them during my last visit. The second group are small posters which have been hung on the outer walls of building depicting some of the painting in the Uffizi, but altered to include diving goggles and snorkles. I remember seeing some of these last year, too.
The third group are new and consist of very small stencilled or, in some cases, hand painted characters which have a certain humour or pathos about them, like one I saw today showing two revolvers with their bent barrels hooked together under a red heart. These tiny art works are forcing me to look more closely at the walls around me to try to spot new ones that I haven’t seen before, and isn’t that what art is all about?