Legally Fashionable

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.

il porcellino, bronze pig fountain, Florence Italy

The Bronze Pig of Florence

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.

Dante’s Neighbour, but for 715 Years

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 history, Dante is regarded as one of the greatest early Italian poets and is known as “the Supreme Poet” (il Sommo Poeta). He lived in Florence in the late 13th…

Palazzo Vecchio, sailing tortoises, and a UFO

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 and a UFO. During the renaissance every important family had a motto, a saying which expressed their philosophy.  Cosimo I who came to power in Florence in 1537 looked to ancient…

Always something happening in Florence

Saturday was the traditional wine harvest ceremony in Florence and I watched the preparations at the Duomo.  Two white cows were unloaded, washed and decorated with red tassels.  Then a cart carrying a pyramid of about 1500 bottles of wine was, very carefully, eased off of the back of a truck and hooked up to…