Spontaneity on the Streets of Florence
Makena, Fall 2023, Florence
September 22, 2023

Besides the delicious food, one of my favorite things about Florence is that there is always something new to see or explore, whether it is hidden or in plain sight. Florence is such a lively and diverse city, bearing a unique experience for every person, mood, and day. To make the most of my time here (and improve my navigation skills!), I make an effort to always walk down different streets. I have been keeping record of the things I learn and discover through photos and journaling. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but that is what makes Florence so special and exciting!

One of the first things I noticed about Florence was its street art, which can be found on every wall, most doors, street signs, and so many other places, whether overt or discrete. My favorites have been the recurring stick figures accompanied by red objects such as hearts and positive messages, which can be seen throughout the city, especially once you start noticing them. Gathering photos of interesting street art as I walk around has become my newest hobby!

Some street art I found throughout Florence [“(in)giustizia” translates to “(in)justice”]

The walls also host countless posters advertising performances such as symphonies, festivals, operas, and other concerts and productions. While watching the sunset at the famous Piazzale Michelangelo, I actually happened upon an incredible performance that was part of an 11-day Firenze Jazz Festival that featured over 100 artists from around the world! Many concerts are free in Florence, so it is worthwhile to pay attention to the postings. And of course, always take a moment to enjoy the music made by the frequent (and often surprisingly talented) street musicians.

An accordionist near the Duomo; a blues guitarist and singer performing at sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo

Packed between the narrow roads of Florence are an overabundance of shops, both traditional and new, that can be such wonderful adventures to walk into. Some of my favorite discoveries have been CLET Studio (shop and gallery––this artist turns street signs into silly or unexpected art which can also be seen around the city), La Bottega dei Cristalli (beautiful crystal and glass objects), Signum (postcards/notebooks/maps/souvenirs; the shop is located slightly underground and has a surprisingly low ceiling which lends to its mystical atmosphere), Odica (women’s clothing store), and La Feltrinelli (three-story bookstore). I have also come across so many unexpected old churches and statues on my walks, which have made my journeys feel especially magical.

Two of my favorite hidden shops: Signum and La Bottega dei Cristalli

Finally, if you are out and about as the sun is setting, you will never regret walking over to the Arno River to gaze at the wonderful Florentine sunset. And you definitely will not be alone!

The Arno River at sunset is an incredible sight!

Written by: Makena, Fall 2023 Student in Florence from Point Loma Nazerene University

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