Two weeks ago, over 2,000 buses, taxis, cars and scooters disappeared from Florence’s Piazza Duomo. No, it was not part of a massive, simultaneous grand theft auto, it was, merely, the law.
In September, Florence mayor Matteo Renzi announced that by October 25th, the square would be completely vehicle-free and declared a pedestrian-only area.
Gone are the honking taxis slowly passing through the crowds. Gone are the lumbering busses blocking that perfect photo op. Gone are fumes induced by thousands of puttering motors. Here to stay are new photographic angles never before shot and leisurely strolls around the famous Florentine architecture without the threat of a bumper to the behind.
Construction on the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly known as the Duomo, began in 1296 and completed in 1421 and remains the fourth largest church in Europe. The edifice itself is comprised of multiple pieces including the aforementioned cathedral, Brunelleschi’s Dome, the tower, known as the Campanile di Giotto, and the Battisterio di S. Giovanni.
Accompanying the car-free Piazza were celebrations and new bus schedules. The 2,000 rerouted busses were sure to cause some stir, but, luckily, good preparation met possible disaster in stride and new Florence bus maps were promptly and preemptively distributed. — Michael Lowe