This city was built by romantics. The fools that believe in love at first sight and flirting beneath fireworks. Even the architecture is romantic. Meant to marvel at, meant to sit on, smoke next to, talk amongst, spill your drink on, or just rest a while. Even the pigeons like to linger as close as you’ll let them (even closer during lunchtime). It’s no wonder why there are countless stories of people who come with a carryon and never end up making it on their return flight back home. Florence is one of those places in the world that actually looks like the postcards, and that beauty is evergreen. Piazzale Michelangelo is just as beautiful no matter how many people take pictures in front of it, or write poems about it, or how many blushing brides adorned in grandiose white dresses pose for a wedding photographer on the top step.
If you look closely, you’ll realize that this charm seeps into the water and flows through the veins of those who inhabit it. Italians, and namely Florentines, know they have a good thing here and they act as such. They smile wide with their teeth, even if they’re yellow and crooked. They wave their silverware in the air during meals with their cheeks half full in order to properly tell a story; they make eye contact, an unobstructed gaze. They understand the beauty they live in and they don’t take it for granted. They vocalize things they find beautiful, even if it’s just an olive oil in the supermarket. They kiss in public and they kiss hard. They stop their day to watch the street performers play a song so they can dance with their babies; they wear their hair as it grows out of their heads and let the greys shine in the late afternoon sun. They pout messy red lipstick to walk to the gym and roll cigarettes afterwards as swift and naturally as tying a shoe. They don’t take their dinner home and eat it in bed, and they don’t walk around with headphones in either, why would they? They would miss out on all of this.
And this isn’t to say they’re naïve to the world. Life is life no matter where you go and some could argue that la dolce vita is really only in the movies. But they persevere through it all, and do so with a chuckle and a glass of something strong. They even created a word for it: arrangiarsi.
For a city with such a wonderful international community, it’s easy to forget that the locals are half of the magic here. This publication is for anyone who is trying to find their own page in it all, trying to write their own Florentine story, and trying to find their own magic here. Anyone who has ever visited Florence, lived in Florence or only ever dreamed of tripping on its cobblestone streets. For those looking for their own sense of arrangiarsi.