Titian’s Venus, Sebastiano del Piombo’s Fornarina. The German tourist tugs his wife by the arm, points to the sixteenth-century masterpieces, lets out a sigh of admiration. But before the eyes of the couple there are no paintings, only the poster advertising the new 16th century rooms of the Uffizi. And there is not too much time to waste even for the poster, the tour guide has already spent two minutes telling visitors about the museum – naturally without taking them inside – now it’s time to take the group to Piazza della Signoria. a Florence barely touched, glimpsed, that of hit and run tourism which, loosened the grip of the pandemic, takes a new foothold in the city. The coaches, which depart from low-cost hotels in Montecatini Terme or from the large cruise ships that return to the port of Livorno, are once again crowding Lungarno Pecori Giraldi. A row, sometimes two, not yet three or even four of the golden days. There are no Asians. Cruises are a destination. But the groups that challenge the heat of the Arno rivers behind the flags of the tourist guides retrace exactly the same tracks as two years ago: those of seeing without stopping, of looking from the outside without entering. In the usual four places. And to buy bags and purses in the usual places of all time. We do everything, the packages are very different from each other – explains a tour guide who has just finished a tour with Spanish cruise passengers – But there are visits to the city of even three or four hours. In some cases even than expected.
And if on Tuesday, in the Livorno harbor, there were only two cruise ships, yesterday the American Disney also arrived: nomen omen, for those who come to visit the Disney of the Renaissance. The Municipality has to find another parking space for us, we won’t be staying here soon, says the guide again. The times of the visits are limited, yet the groups move very slowly. There is always someone older than the others who slows down, forcing everyone to wait. So, there is only time to do business: a tour of North Americans takes twenty minutes from the Torre della Zecca to Piazza Santa Croce, but as soon as you arrive, the guide does not indicate the basilica: the first destination is a bag shop in the square, alternatively the stalls of street vendors with souvenirs. They are neither souvenirs, purchases are started even before the visit.
The tours often change itineraries, perhaps due to close agreements with more than one shop, but the stops are always identical. Ponte Vecchio, for a photo from the parapet and then a break in front of the jewelry store, where the guide sings the praises of the creations in the window. But low cost tourism, no one enters the shop. Then, another photo of the Ponte Vecchio from the loggias of the Lungarno degli Archibusieri and a stop, this time as a surprise, in the site of the Georgofili massacre. Thirty seconds and off to the Uffizi: in the square, the guide illustrates the wonders of the museum, which the group will not be able to admire. Two minutes flat, something more for those who do the full immersion, which consists at most in indicating the names of four, five great artists represented by the statues.
Square of the Signoria, once challenged the traffic jam at the bottleneck with via della Ninna, the place of the greatest stay: the guide points to Palazzo Vecchio, the copy of the David, the Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna under the Loggia dei Lanzi (with all due respect to the beauty of Cellini’s Perseus), then he moves for a moment under the Biancone and off we go. Poor tourists can only linger if they have a good pace: the slow pace caused by the elderly always gives a few moments to linger. Because, from the corner between San Firenze and via dei Gondi, someone takes a picture of the Bargello tower, 50 meters further on. In Borgo dei Greci, the attraction is the restaurant with steaks in the window. The guide stops to point them out, the group of Swiss and Germans say astonished.
And now? Back in Santa Croce for lunch, there is a specially reserved internal room. And then? A jump in the Duomo, from the outside, and way back to the bus, with a new passage in a shop selling bags and leather jackets. There is little left for tourists to Florence, a few photos on their mobile phones at the most. And even in Florence, apart from the chaos, and the difficulty of walking in the center, due to the very high concentration of visitors always in very few places, almost nothing remains. A small tour of restaurants and shops to make money, but always the same. At the most, the community receives the money from the bus ticket: I pay 300 euros because I have a 5 Euro – says a driver – Whoever has an older bus spends more. The pandemic was to become an opportunity to re-discuss the tourism model in the city. Two years, in full lockdown, to say it was the mayor Dario Nardella, who in perspective promised a center no longer dependent only on tourism. But today, even without the Asians, without the Russians, the city is already almost the same as before.
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May 26, 2022 | 07:06
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