This is the image from my bedroom window. Behind this quaint quintessentially Italian vista, a piazza, a cluster of dusty pastel houses that lie behind a roman arch looms a forbdding umbrealla of towerblocks, whose mirrored panels suddenly make me feel that I am living on the equator, and who now block out the snow peaked alps which made my spirits rise when the Milanese smog haze abated.
Last Thursday I decided to take a trip to Florence from my country house in Tuscany. The whole trip was a upheaval from start to finish. The amount of speed cameras along highway there (the FI-PI-LI) had mushroomed – and I could not help myself from getting charged up (and therefore pushing the accelerator pedal down) from my Rihana blasts on the sound system – which all meant that the poor Gleeks (formally known as “my children”) in the backseat – were subjected to emergency stops every few minutes.
Ok. I will say it once, and I will probably say it a million times again, there are just too many people on in the world, and a lot of those people had decided to go to Florence on that very same day as me. So Florence vision that day was summed up in a mass of swarming bodies. Exhausting!
Florence’s cunning plan to this obvious overpopulation problem, is to turn it into their positive, and squeeze as many of these car driving tourists out. Those who naively think that they can simply drive into the centre are sucked dry from fines given to their car rentals by millions of city cameras perched all over the city keeping a close eye at those number plates. You simply can’t drive in – unless you pre-fix it with your hotel.
I was unable to put my finger on the unsettling feeling that this caused me until I saw the Monocle podcast covering the Prix Pictet