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Firenze and Florence: two faces of a diversified (not disorderly) whole

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Franco Pisani


I’ve been – in a certain way – a student abroad. Throughout high school, I lived and studied in Sanremo. After that, I went “rinsing my clothes on the banks of the Arno river,” as Alessandro Manzoni once said. Sure enough, from a Florentine perspective, Sanremo and the Riviera dei Fiori (as its coast is known) are not so “far west” as the United States. Also, first Dante in the Late Middle Ages, then the Italian public educational system from the 1860s onwards, and finally RAI (Italy’s state television network) starting in the 1950s gave our country a national, unified language. Nevertheless, I can say that people in Liguria and Tuscany speak idioms that are remarkably different from one another. More precisely, the Florentines’ approach to language (its rhythm and musicality, the related social etiquette, including physical distance between speakers and the “rules of engagement”) was mostly unusual to me, enough to trigger a sometime unbridgeable sense of being out of place – what Italians would call “spaesamento.”.…

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