Since we’d been vagabonds for the first few weeks of 2012, settling into our apartment in Florence felt a lot like coming home. We chose the same Florence apartment that we lived in three years ago, a sweet two-level, one-bedroom place on the fourth floor of a traditional Florentine building one block from the Arno River and a five-minute walk from the train station. As an added bonus, the appartamento comes with a clothes dryer, an appliance that, for the most part, Florentines seem not to believe in. It does come in handy this time of year when clothes left overnight on our rooftop clothesline require de-icing in the morning. The apartment also has a dishwasher, a full-sized stove and oven (in Florence one sometimes has to settle for a hotplate and a microwave), and a refrigerator that is gigantic by Florentine standards, although still only about half the size of the normal American monstrosity. Here is a photo of part of the kitchen.
The bath comes with a jacuzzi tub, the closest thing to a hot-tub in these parts. The apartment has a vaulted ceiling with massive wooden beams supporting rows of roof tiles visible from within the apartment. There is a half-bath adjacent to the bedroom upstairs. When they say “half-bath” they literally mean half-bath; only people who are half the height of normal people may enter. This is a very Catholic country, and at least in our apartment, it’s necessary to genuflect to enter the master bathroom, which is difficult to remember in the middle of the night when staggering groggily to the loo. I’ve attached a picture of the opening to the master bath. Notice the thick beam above the entry to the bathroom, battered and dented from 100’s of years of abuse by the foreheads of impenitent residents.
The apartment also has a state-of-the-art security system. In order to access the building an intruder would first have to buzz in to request entrance. Then they would have to climb three flights of stairs, lose a great deal of weight, climb a spiked, locked iron gate barring the fourth flight, and squeeze through a 5 ” space above the spikes. All of this would have to be accomplished while carrying a battering ram and chainsaw in order to penetrate our door, a four-inch thick slab of wood secured by five thick, iron locks. (I am occasionally prone to exaggeration; so I’m including a photo for skeptics.)
This is the reason why Italians generally don’t pack guns in their apartments (mafiosi excluded, of course). A burglar would already be dead from bleeding and hyperventilation by the time he gained entry.
I promise that I’ll comment on some of the amazing basilicas, palazzos and works of art we’ve been seeing in Florence and beyond, culminating in our fabulous tour of Ikea, but it’s late and the school program starts tomorrow morning.