Say ‘arrivederci’ to cars in Florence’s Piazza Duomo

It’s a given — any visit to the main piazza in Florence means being among a crowd. But thanks to a decision by the city’s mayor Matteo Renzi, visitors will soon get a little breather (literally and figuratively).

Starting October 25, cars, buses, and even horse-drawn carriages will be banned from the popular nucleus of activity near the Duomo and Baptistry.

The reason is to reduce the carbon monoxide (2.6 tons) and fine particulate (450 kilos) in the area — bad for both lungs and the walls of the light-colored cathedral. The number of buses making rounds daily through the area will be reduced by 500 — from 2,740 to 2,200.

The people least likely to celebrate the change? Taxi drivers, of course. That just means more space for you and I to dance for joy at the celebratory open-air concert on October 25th.

And if the mayor’s decision just happens to extend the length of space available for a good stroll — the lovely passegiata — I say ‘grazie’ to that.