Via delle Bombarde, Florence

Florence (Italy). It’s not easy walking around Florence without being captured by its uncountable number of beautiful things. Churches, facades, museums, landscapes … everything enchants not only its visitors, but also its residents (me included, although I’m not a resident anymore).

For this reason, I really enjoy walking around Florence and photographing something different from the usual “postcards”, and I confess that I find great sources of inspiration in the many narrow alleys, which probably have been looking the same since the Medieval Age.

Via delle Bombarde, the narrow street photographed here, goes from Borgo Santi Apostoli to Via delle Terme – few meters from the Arno River, more or less framed between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita. Today it’s a picturesque abandoned passage, but if I imagine this street many years ago, during the Medieval Age, I should complete the picture including several prostitutes in the frame. Oh yes, Via delle Bombarde – unfortunately the name is impossible to be translated – was one of the streets of prostitution in Florence (and it was not the only one in town!) and still today, the word “bombardino” is a synonymous of “protettore” (the italian word for “pimp”, although it’s local slang).

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Made in Italy (Fiat 500 at Piazzale Michelangelo)

Florence (Italy). The sentence “Made in Italy” is something very serious, which goes far beyond the simple “marketing announcement”. The Article 16 of the Italian Decree 135/2009 clearly defines what can be considered as authentic Made in Italy: this is the first comma, and it says: “Made in Italy is something which has been fully planned, designed, manufactured and wrapped up in Italy”.

This pretty generic definition is much more restrictive than the one made for German or American products. Made in Germany is based on all essential manufacturing steps, whereas Made in USA includes both all and “virtually” all the necessary steps (and the word “virtually” is pretty large) to produce something.

So, when some days ago I found myself in front of these two examples of Made in Italy – although so distant in terms of historical period for their “planning, design and manufacturing” – I found useful thinking about what is Made in Italy while capturing this photo.

Behind the skyline of Florence, as well as the old legendary Fiat 500, there’s the true and authentic Made in Italy approach. Brunelleschi, Giotto or Arnolfo Di Cambio for the Florentine skyline. Dante Giacosa, Pio Manzù and Giorgietto Giugiaro for the Fiat 500 car.

I think Italians should be more proud and more “protective” of the Made in Italy label; and they should also consider that Made in Italy is not limited only to today’s shoes, design or fashion in general. Made in Italy is part of our heritage, a piece of national DNA. And we all should be its first and most committed promoters…

Firenze. Il termine “Made in Italy” è un qualcosa di molto serio, che va oltre il semplice slogan di marketing. L’articolo 16 della legge 135/2009 al primo comma definisce chiaramente cosa può essere considerato come autentico Made in Italy: “Si intende realizzato interamente in Italia il prodotto o la merce, classificabile come made in Italy ai sensi della normativa vigente, e per il quale il disegno, la progettazione, la lavorazione ed il confezionamento sono compiuti esclusivamente sul territorio italiano“.

Questa definizione piuttosto generica è in realtà molto più restrittiva di quella utilizzata per i prodotti tedeschi o americani. L’etichetta di Made in Germany è basata su tutti i passaggi essenziali della produzione, mentre il Made in USA include i passi necessari (tutti e “virtualmente tutti”) per produrre qualcosa – e il termine “virtualmente” è abbastanza largo.

Per questo, quando alcuni giorni fa mi sono trovato davanti questi due esempi di Made in Italy – sebbene così distanti in termini di periodo storico per il loro “disegno, progettazione e realizzazione” – mentre scattavo questa foto ho ritenuto interessante pensare a cosa sia il Made in Italy.

Dietro la skyline di Firenze, così come dietro la leggendaria vecchia Fiat 500, c’è il vero e autentico approccio Made in Italy. Brunelleschi, Giotto o Arnolfo di Cambio per la skyline di Firenze. Dante Giacosa, Pio Manzù e Giorgetto Giugiaro per la Fiat 500.

Penso che gli Italiani dovrebbero essere più orgogliosi e più “protettivi” dell’etichetta Made in Italy; e dovrebbero inoltre considerare che il Made in Italy non si ferma solo alle scarpe, al design o in generale alla moda di oggi. Made in Italy è parte della nostra storia, un pezzo di DNA nazionale. E tutti noi dobbiamo essere i suoi primi e più convinti promotori…

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Florence (Italy). “Diladdarno” (or sometimes “Oltrarno”) is a word that means “on the other side of the Arno river” in the local slang. Technically, Diladdarno is the left bank of the city with reference to the river Arno, which crosses Florence from East to West. And among the bridges that connect the two banks of Florence, Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita (both of them in the photo) are the most beautiful. The first one is today a symbol of the city, it hosts prestigious jewellers and it is visited by thousands of tourists every day.

I took this photo from one of the most beautiful observatory points in town: the terrace at the Westin Excelsior Hotel. I could spend hours there, capturing photos and drinking nice cocktails. The view is breathtaking, not only on the river, the bridges and Diladdarno, but also on the Cathedral and the right bank or – as we say here in Florence – “Diquaddarno”!

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Rain Cannot Stop My Desire to Photograph Florence

Florence (Italy). The past weekend I spent some time in Florence, the city where I was born many some years ago and where I love to return. As I already wrote several times in the past, it’s interesting when I approach a city that I’m supposed to know very well, with the curiosity of a “first time”. It’s a sort of “exploring the known”, but it’s in any case something of very interesting and stimulating for my “2 + 1” eyes (I included my lens of course).

This time, I decided to dedicate some hours to the “Museum of the Opera del Duomo”, which has been recently renovated. I was extremely wishful to visit this place, and the main reason was – beyond the enthusiastic comments I got from other visitors – a book that I have recently read and that describes the history of the legendary Brunelleschi’s Dome. I will write a specific post on the Museum (with some photos taken directly from the inside); but since the ticket for the museum includes also the access to the top of the dome, I wanted to climb it.

The weather was not nice: it rained all the day and the sky was grey and cloudy. And despite the fact I have been on the top of the dome many times in my life, I was excited as if it were the first time… For this reason I titled this post “Rain Cannot Stop My Desire to Photograph Florence”: and this here is the result of a challenging – but still nice – landscape shooting from the top of the largest masonry cupola on earth.

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At Christmas Time, We Let in Light and Banish Shade (Florence, 2015)

Florence (Italy). I took this photo last Saturday, when I was walking around Florence enjoying the city where I was born. Exactly one year ago I took the same photo and I posted it with the same title! Perhaps, now that Photographing Around Me is going through its second year of life, I should consider carefully what I posted in the past to avoid the risk of being repetitive…

However, I have been feeling something for this photo since the moment I prepared its composition, trying to include the carousel, the tree and the illuminated building – all of them symbols of Christmas and typical of this period; and I even used it as a cover of my Facebook profile (by the way, feel free to follow me if you want, it’s open to everyone and I use it mainly to share my blog’s posts and some other photos).

Why this photo is so important to me?

Both when I was capturing it, as well as when I was editing and preparing it for the blog, some words came to my mind:

… It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid

At Christmas time, we let in light and banish shade

And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy …

I guess it won’t take too much time remembering the song’s lyrics these words are coming from (however, just in case…). And I found these words incredibly appropriate, considering the hard times we are going through and what’s happening in the world. So, I truly hope that this Christmas – not only for believers – will come into our lives spreading these exact words and teaching us how to smile. Again.

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