Infection, fear, emergency, crisis, death: these are the nouns we keep reading in the news. Surreal, worrying, difficult, uncertain, absurd, distant are the adjectives. Then there’s the rhetoric: heroes, war, sacrifice, battle, courage, symbols.
Magazines exist because of their writers and readers. Our editorial team, columnists and contributors have always nursed a deep love of Florence, Tuscany and Italy, but more than that they have honed the art of writing to convey their experiences. A greater awareness has been sparked among our community. The city we love now more than ever has revealed its fragile beauty. Desolate photographs, a far cry from mass tourism, from the everyday bustle, restore Florence to its age-old glory. These iconic images pose historic questions that are pertinent and pressing.
How can a city find its true balance? What price must we pay? What’s the right equilibrium between residents and visitors? The hope is that the imposition of this emergency sparks expert answers to these issues.
Our readers have always been attentive and lavished us with comments, suggestions, constructive criticism and declarations of love for Florence and our journalism. Now, they drive us to do our best. We feel the need to understand what is happening in Florence, which for so many conjures up memories and elicits plans to study abroad, move here for work or take a vacation. This has generated a growing sense of responsibility in our team. For 15 years, we have had the privilege to report from Florence. Now we must do so with renewed integrity as we make our own humble contribution to its revival. Our readers do not just want to be informed; they feel a debt of gratitude to this city and for what Florence has given them. They ask us what they can do to help; they urge us not to give up; they reassure us that they will return as soon as they are able to do so. Their words fill our hearts with hope.
For this special issue of The Florentine, in addition to articles written across our community and striking photography, we have decided to listen to the people who are not exempt from what is happening, but who, by virtue of the institutional roles they hold and their positive attitude to life, are already able to glimpse the seeds of rebirth and revival. We have decided to focus on individual qualities—vision, ability to analyse, solidarity, practicality—which are required to withstand the storm and, when the time is right, start over. We asked for these people’s thoughts and they agreed, enthusiastic to say their piece.
I’ll finish with a personal consideration: we should have stopped and we couldn’t. This virus has forced us to halt. What’s the lesson as we move forward? To live with confidence, not seeking assurances about our existence and simply being grateful for the life we lead. The only way to do this is by becoming our own rulers, recognizing the essential values to which to aspire, through discipline and dedication, seeking inner awakening every day. If we manage to accomplish that, then #andràtuttobene (everything will be alright).