Florence through children’s eyes

Drawing what they see

Mary Gray
February 27, 2014

Florence’s Quartiere 1 recently organized a children’s art contest, Draw Florence as you see it, which brought in a whopping 423 entries. The wee winners were recognized at Palazzo Vecchio after being selected by a panel, which included satirical cartoonist Sergio Staino, animated film director Giuliano Cenci and children’s book illustrator Pilar Roca.


The Florence depicted by each participant varied dramatically, and the jury was impressed by the children’s uninhibited creativity. Most of the artworks contained Florence’s major monuments, but Michelangelo’s David, Brunelleschi’s dome, the tower of Palazzo Vecchio and other monuments that run the risk of being overexposed were all presented from fresh perspectives. One child played with images of piazza della Signoria and the Duomo with the touch of a Pop Art master, breaking the images into small squares, coloring piazza Signoria blue and adding black and white stripes to the Duomo. Another child took the façade of Santa Croce, flattening and embellishing it with so much gold that it seemed like a lost Byzantine building.


One child chose Santa Croce as his subject, but the basilica’s simple white and green marble was not to be found. Instead, the basilica bursts with almost psychedelic colors. Another drawing brought a bit of ancient Rome to Florence, depicting gladiators in Piazza Santo Spirito. Another one brightened up the muted façade of Palazzo Pitti by adding colorful tulips to each window, while another livened up the interior of the Baptistery with lush trees.


In a decidedly different spirit, but a poignant one nonetheless, another child’s drawing depicted clouds, smog, pollution and dirty streets, using a title that was particularly to the point: ‘Come vorrei che non fosse Firenze’ (How I wish this weren’t Florence). 

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