The tourist off-season in Florence can feel like a dream. Especially if the weather permits as it has been, Iím able to walk around town as if it were all mine. Today, I strolled along the Arno and wandered through the centro storico (historical center) without always watching where Iím going. I brought my reflex camera with me so that I could take a few pictures. Ever since I got on Instagram, I have been taking photos with my iPhone. I love it because itís so handy, but the quality isnít the same. I have become rather reluctant to lug my cumbersome camera with me, but every time I do I am happy because I was able to take some amazing photos.
The ebb and flow of the tourists in Florence is noticeable. From one day to the next, the city changes. The feeling I get in my beloved city varies depending on the time of day, the season, and the amount of people around. I donít mind sharing Florence with tourists and am happy that so many come to visit it.
The most noticeable advantage is how empty the streets are. Especially in July and August, I usually add about five to ten minutes to my walk when I have to go somewhere. I usually have to zigzag through the crowds and avoid the main streets. In the off-season, I can walk at a leisurely pace. I finally get a chance to look up at the buildings and churches to observe more of the details. I can stand in a piazza or on a ponte (bridge) and just take in my surroundings without getting bumped into.
More people that I walk past speak Italian. Usually in the centro storico, I hear a mix of foreign languages, but these days, almost everyone around me speaks Italian.
I absolutely love that I can take photos of almost anything without having anyone in them. I am always overjoyed when I see the arches under the Vasari Corridor empty and I can see all the way to the other side. It can happen in the summer, but I have to be out of the house before 7 am.
Some locals might prefer it when the tourists are not around, but I donít like one season over the other necessarily. I enjoy different things in different seasons. Itís nice when there is more animation all around, but I do enjoy the quiet days while they last. The goal isnít to have a constant flow, but rather to adjust to the changes that arise all year round.
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