Saturday, June 25, 2011

More Room to Pedal!

"Se non pedali non sta in equilibrio".  These are the words of Matteo Renzi, sindaco of Florence, who has revolutionized the city over the past year by closing major streets and piazzas to motorized traffic. Translated into English, it means that you need to ride your bike to maintain an equilibrium!

And he has stood behind his words. After months of planning and publicity, yesterday, Florence celebrated and implemented the closing of some very strategic thoroughfares, including Via Tornabuoni and Palazzo Pitti, diverting traffic around, rather than through the city.  What a grand feat.  Many of the streets have been completely closed to motor vehicles, others have been transformed from two-way streets to one-way streets and many have changed direction.  While motorists and merchants are adjusting, Florence is overjoyed and proud.  A triumph for Florence's future by bringing back the streets of the past.

It was a joy to ride around the nearly traffic-free city on this great Feast Day of San Giovanni.  Less noise, cleaner air, easy-going and calm.  Strolling and pedaling along the once frenetic streets was like rising into heaven and floating on a cloud, making it easy to imagine the Florence of yesteryear, when the only mode of transportation was on foot and horseback.    Florence just gets better by the day.