Write the Mayor

Matteo Renzi
November 25, 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 Renzi,

As someone who visits Florence often for work and pleasure, I was very saddened on my last visit to notice such a change in how visitors to the city are treated.


I live near Cambridge in the United Kingdom,where we also have a constant influx of visitors, and I would be sad if I thought we treated visitors so rudely. In our short time in the centre of Florence, we were subject to surly service and, on more than one occasion, not served-just ignored. It is perhaps a difficult dilemma for you to resolve, but I have to say for the first time I was glad to leave the city and am in no hurry to return.


Kind Regards,

Rowena Wood

Brampton near Cambridge, England



Dear Rowena,

I'm sorry to hear of the unpleasant circumstances of your last visit to Florence; I hope that instead of reflecting a trend among Florentines in general, what you experienced was just the result of some bad luck. Unfortunately, any city as frequented by tourists as Florence, is bound to find among its citizens some individuals who do not treat visitors with the kindness and welcoming spirit they expect and deserve. And while Florentines are not immune to this phenomenon, I believe that as a whole we are open to those who wish to share in the beauty of this city and that Florence really does belong to all of humanity.


I hope your next visit will restore your faith in us!






Dear Mr. Renzi,

I am writing as I see you are a man who is interested in growth and modernity for the city of Florence. However, I have noticed that some of the recent decisions have caused more problems than good. Closing the streets around Pitti and on the Oltrano side of Florence to make the city more ‘green' and allow pedestrians a free place to walk is not the best idea. I say this for the following reasons.


Closing streets and redirecting traffic not only creates more congestion around the city but also causes many business to suffer, since accessing the city centre has become virtually impossible. When implementing this type of change there should be a plan to deal with its consequences. Why is there no bike sharing, as other cities in Italy and the EU have? Why aren't there shuttle buses between the center and parking areas? Why are there no new parking lots to accommodate the additional cars now that they cannot enter the center? I would have hoped a man with so many ideas would have thought these issues through.


To create a more green city means putting less cars on the road and not creating more traffic on the perimeter of the city. I hope you are planning some of the things I mentioned to help this city move forward in a better direction. I can tell you the majority of citizens here in Florence are complaining about this very issue as it is becoming more and more difficult to do business in the center.


Maybe it would be a good idea to put together a group of residents to offer some ideas along with you to make the city better.


Thank you for your time.


Raymond Burns

Resident, Florence, Italy (Born Marlboro, MA, USA; from an Italian mother)



Dear Raymond,

Thank you for writing such a passionate message. Florence is a very complex city, above all for traffic: its setting is medieval, its streets are narrow and it is not easy to adapt this architectural reality to the modern requirements of a functioning road system. Here at Palazzo Vecchio, we are trying to solve the problems related to the transportation needs of modern-day citizens despite the very real challenges this task presents.


The city administration has entered into various agreements that seek to foster green transportation, such as, most recently, an agreement with Renault-Nissan for electric-car sharing. We have also recently added 4 more kilometers of bike paths, bringing the total to 60km of paths for cyclists throughout Florence. We're working on a comprehensive bike-sharing project and already have established numerous links between outlying parking areas and the city center. We have just begun work on the new tram line.


Still, my favorite means of getting from one place to another in Florence is on foot, and it remains one of the best aspects of living in a city of this size. I encourage everyone to reclaim the habit of walking, and I promise that we will continue to work to provide better infrastructure in the future.


Thank you and best regards,




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