Signs are everywhere, and as a solitary traveler I’m particularly alert to what I see. Without a human travel companion, I become my virtual companion. I laugh with myself, and even express compassion as I breathe in the humor or poignancy of a sign.
1. Locks of love
The sign on the fence of the statue of Cellini on the Ponte Vecchio tells us that we will be fined 50 Euro if we attach a lock to the fence. And yet, we continue to do so. Over the years I have seen the fence in all states of fullness and emptiness. Lovers aren’t going to stop offering up these acts of love. Why should they when the world needs to lock love in.
The next morning I witnessed new locks starting the cycle of love all over again.
2. Offerings for the Sick and the Poor
Drop your offering in the slit in the wall of the La Misericordia di Firenze on the Piazza del Duomo. This lay confraternity, with its commitment to transport the sick and bury the dead, dates back to the 13th century. I wonder if people still drop a coin in from time to time? Nowadays, individuals beg in person on the street, but the ambulance service remains active.
3. The Flood of 1966
Throughout the city there are signs indicating the point where the Arno reached during the last flood. Sometimes I can’t believe how high the waters rose nor how miraculously people rallied to clean up the mud and debris and restore the works of art.
4. Refugees (and dogs) Welcome
Of course I had to enter and have a cappuccino and do a little writing. I hardly consider myself a refugee, but I knew I’d be welcomed.
5. Opening time at the Uffizi?
Sometimes it’s the translation that attracts my attention! Officially the Uffizi is scheduled to open at 8:30, Tuesday through Sunday. But this Tuesday it could be open 11:15. Or maybe not.
There’s nothing remarkable about a T shirt with “Silence” written across the front. Except that the price for this shirt was 100 euro ($120).
When I saw Michele’s becoming smile, I smiled right back. Becoming is alive and well in Italy as I’m sure it is in many other countries throughout the world. Michele’s message speaks the universal language of love, inclusivity and peace that we strive for.
8. Tactile signs
Adjacent to Fra Angelico’s Annunciation in the Convent of San Marco is a three dimensional model of the fresco. A description in braille is also offered.
9. David is not here.
You can find Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia at Via Ricasoli, 60. Evidently enough people look for him at the Academia di Belle Arti e Liceo Artistico down the street at # 66 to warrant this sign.
10. Some signs need no explanation.
11. One step at a time
Sometimes I wonder why I’m here and how I got here.