The words art and Florence go hand in hand. The Uffizi, Pitti Palace, and Accademia house some of the finest works of art. Finding art in Florence should be an easy task. Take a walk down the streets and alleyways — there is so much more to see if you just look.
I originally had planned on coming to Florence in 2020, but COVID changed all of that. I had seen many great images from Florence and I enjoy street photography. Finding art in Florence was my main objective. During my first three days in Florence, I chose to use my iPhone 13 Pro for most of my photography. Why? It was hot, unseasonably hot! Carrying a camera around my neck was uncomfortable with the heat. The locals said this time of year is usually cooler, which is the type of weather I had packed for. But my long sleeves and slacks were a little much.
Finding art in Florence is actively observing
Trekking the streets of Florence is exciting! My head is on a swivel, looking up, down, and side to side, taking in every inch of the walls and buildings around me. I’ll take you on the journey of finding art in Florence. All of the images below were taken on my iPhone 13 Pro. Most are unedited or edited in the Photos app.
When looking for art in Florence, immediately one might notice the door knockers and knobs. Many are quite ornate. Most are brass, but occasionally a silver one sneaks in! The wood around them provides a frame, some are painted, some natural. The horse head was quite interesting.
Look inside buildings
While walking and looking for art in Florence, if doors are open, glance inside. Buildings and stores have interesting architecture which, alone, is a work of art. Look at symmetry, angles, tiles on the floor, and reflections on the ceilings.
Bicycles, there are bicycles everywhere! Most are perched outside buildings just waiting to be made into a masterpiece. Some are decorative, others have custom seats. Take the time to discover new ways to photograph a common object.
During closed hours many of the businesses have metal doors that pull down over the fronts of their stores. Some of the owners have gotten creative and painted a mural on the door. The doors visually display what their business is. From the bars and bakeries to the wine shops; they all have a unique way to tell you what they have to offer.
Wall art or graffiti
Florence, like many large cities, has its share of wall art or graffiti. One of my guides told me that despite best efforts, much of the spray painting is done by vandals. There has been a push to gather talented artists to be creative and make murals instead of destructive forms of graffiti.
One has to wonder how many of these “works of art” were requested or if someone took it upon themselves to fill a space on the wall. One artist, in particular, hangs drawings painted on a sheet of music with the side facing eye, similar to Picasso. The background on several of them is blue, but I have run across one on yellow. The size and shape of the face are very consistent but the music it is drawn on is always different.
Keeping it simple
Art does not have to be an elaborate drawing. A basic sketch, like a cartoon character, can be considered artistic.
Delivering a message
Wall art can provide a deeper meaning or message from the artist. The drawing of a couple made me curious. The edges were worn and faded. The gaze and gesture of the right figure gently holding the left’s face give the viewer insight into the artist’s intent. I ran the words through a translator and it says, “Never lower your head, learn to look the world straight in the eye.” This is a great message for all of us.
Creating forced perspective
I saw the dinosaur on the wall. The shadows created diagonal lines bringing my eye into the image. Then as I saw people walk by, I giggled at the fact that they were walking even with the dragon’s mouth and it looked like they were being swallowed by it. The translation on the wall is “3 thousand euros per turnstile for the study.” Possibly an advertisement of some sort.
Art finds that have meaning
The face with the upward gaze and the words, “Pensati Libera” caught my attention. The translation is “Think Free.” This is a great message to those passing through the area.
Everyday items are artistic
Take a look around you. Everyday items, like appliances in a storefront, or your cup of espresso or cappuccino can be a work of art. Take a look at your coffee cups and the froth! Florence definitely has a style of its own when it comes to presentation.
Artists creating art
Finding art in Florence can be a literal process as well. It is not unusual to see an artist standing on the sidewalk with an easel working on their latest creation. The Duomo peeps around buildings at every turn. I enjoyed watching this artist’s progression as he painted the Duomo on a hazy morning.
When looking at everyday objects, check out the utilities. The phone booths, yes, they still have phone booths and they are very symmetrical. How about the electrical covers? They have the fleur-de-lis adorning them.
Take the time to see what is around you
Finding art in Florence is easy once you know where to look. Whether it is Florence or any other city, take the time to look around and see what artistic sights you can find. I know I have enjoyed seeing the art in Florence be it at the galleries or on the street. If that’s not enough, go to the Lego Store. Their sign is all dressed for Halloween.