Write the Mayor

Matteo Renzi
September 29, 2011

Those interested in writing the mayor can send messages and comments via email to redazione@theflorentine.net, stating 'Write the Mayor' in the subject line of the email. Emails must clearly state the author's first name, surname, city and country of birth, and the city and country of residence. 

 

 

Dear Mayor,

As a part-time resident of Florence, where I live on Volta Dei Tintori, I would like to know why the City cannot control graffiti, litter (including dog waste) and the pigeon population.

 

Being a New Yorker, where we've had serious graffiti problems in the past, it is hard to understand why a simple law requiring age limits and identification for the purchase of spray paint is not put into place. People should be required to pick up after their dogs. It is amazing that a beautiful city like ours is soiled with waste not picked up by residents and visitors. The pigeons are destroying our homes and our precious building and art.

 

Thank you for your hard work in our beautiful city.

 

Joanna Sasso

from Muttontown, NY

 

 

Caro Signor Renzi,

I will write in English, although I have lived at least three months of every year, for the last ten years, in Florence, where I love to stumble in my attempts to speak your beautiful language. It is a privilege.

 

As an American with no Italian blood, I worked very hard to receive my own Carta d'Identità and my Permesso di Soggiorno. In many ways, I feel a special love for this place, which my heart has chosen above all others in the world.

 

I own an apartment, which I cherish, near the Piazza Santo Spirito. Substantially all of my friends here are fiorentini, not stranieri. I am in love with nostra città.

 

Unfortunately, I am also deeply shocked by the incredible amount of "brutto" graffiti in our wonderful city, a treasure we hold, merely as trustees, for all humanity.

 

As one who lives in the UNESCO portion of Firenze, I am saddened when one of the first comments I always hear from my guests is ‘ "How can the City allow this masterpiece to be "'defaced"' by graffiti?'"

 

It is akin to putting a pair of pants on the David; a moustache on the Mona Lisa. It is a privilege all of us fiorentini have to live our short lives in this beautiful place; but it is our responsibility, also, to pass it on to future generations replete with its delicate splendors.

 

Please, Mr. Mayor, help restore the beauty of this city, of which I am so proud, as I know you are, too. What can you do as our enlightened Mayor? What can I do to help? That's how important this treasure-this Florence-is to me.

 

Grazie Mille,

Roberto Koligian

Attorney at Law from Fresno, CA

 

 

Dear Joanna and Roberto,

First of all let me thank you for writing to me-in  fact, I already received lots of emails from my box at The Florentine and this confirms what I have long known, that the English speaking community in Florence considers this city just as much its own as do the citizens whose families have been here for centuries. This makes me proud of your presence here-whether for a month, a semester, a year, or many decades. And it makes me happy to have begun this dialogue with you!

Now on to your questions about graffiti, a subject I have given a lot of thought to because of how difficult this problem is to resolve, and how important it is to resolve it, because graffiti is an insult to the history and the beauty of Florence. In combating this problem, however, it is important to realize that in Italy a mayor does not have the same powers that his colleagues do in the United States; and so I cannot pass the kind of law you suggest. My powers have more to do with influence, and so I am working to raise awareness by encouraging events such as Un Bacione a Firenze, a day set aside each year for citizens and visitors to work to improve the city. Through events like this and by working with the Angeli del Bello, many Florentines have volunteered to clean up walls that have been defaced by graffiti and stickers.

This is a start, and while we at the Comune are also working on other solutions, it is a good first step. I would encourage anyone who wants to take an active role in helping to clean up our city to see www.angelidelbello.org to get started! If you are a student here, talk to your school for more information!

All the best,

Matteo

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