By Jason Paley
Although Florence is incredibly beautiful, the surroundings old and full of history, one must be at least somewhat alert while walking the streets. There are certain…obstacles, which may stand in the way of a student’s walk to class, home from the bar, anywhere really. These hindrances come in many forms, ranging from nuisances to all out dangers. No matter how dangerous though, paying attention could be the difference between a safe journey and a disappointing return.
Nowhere in the world can you find so many dogs ‘taking care of business’ on the sidewalks. This statement is completely conjectured, but go walk for two minutes and try to tell me I’m not right. Coming from someone that hates to step in it, trust me, there’s a lot. It’s as if an army of dogs has assembled to plant landmines all over the city, effectively ruining the day of masses of people on the regular. Even if you don’t see that much of it, be careful, years of trampling and rain have condensed it, but it’s there. A little care to watch where your shoes step can keep your feet clean, especially if you are so bold as to wear sandals. While I’m talking about animals, it should also be warned that pigeons run on kamikaze. They won’t hesitate to fly up in your face and let you know who’s boss, or dive bomb out of the sky for that little crumb you left on your shirt. Keep a close eye for these tricksters.
The next set of dangers take a much more human form. Be mindful of the gypsies. One second you look down the next that change cup is inches from your face, demanding to be fed. Or, if you get to close to the guy with flowers, he will follow you down the street trying to force them in your pocket and then charge you for them. Actually, anyone selling anything on the street can be a danger, because these people are relentless. Avoid the hassle by paying attention, just walk around them.
All of these things cause no physical harm, but don’t worry; there are plenty of bicycles, scooters and cars to take care of that. Just keep your head up when not standing on the sidewalk, because scooters sneak past cars, cars sneak past busses, and everyone sneaks past you. Avoid getting hit by watching for traffic, a little more than you would back home.
Follow these rules, and I can almost guarantee your safety. These few simple steps will save you a ton of hassle, and just might spare your life. You never know.