Medieval Florence, like many European cities, had ‘sumptuary laws’ to regulate luxury items, with an emphasis on women’s clothing. These laws proved difficult to enforce upon the clever Florentine women, however. All clothing was regulated, but there were few – if any – prosecutions brought against men, while a multitude were levelled at the female sex.
In Florence’s New Market (the same one where the bronze pig resides) you can find leather good and all kinds of souvenirs. But be careful about going there if you have any outstanding bills. This is where people were once punished for failing to settle their debts.
Il Porcellino, as the Italians call him, means “the little pig”. However the bronze porker fountain sitting at the side of the New Market, or Mercato Nuovo, is really a wild boar, or a cinghiale in Italian. He supposedly brings good luck when visitors rub his snout and put a coin in his mouth.
When I was in Florence, I lived in Dante Alighieri’s neighbourhood. For those of you who might be a little rusty on your Italian poetic
In the early nineteenth century, when many English poets visited or lived in Florence, the stone marking the location of his favourite seat was just about the only tribute to Dante in Florence.
You might be surprised to know that inside the medieval Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall (and museum) of Florence that there are 100 sailing tortoises