Florence

The ethnoflow of foreigners flooding into the city center has eroded Florence’s sense of identity. The cultural erosion that has ironically taken place in Florence, particularly in San Lorenzo, is an effect of the act of historical mimesis that triggers the influx of tourist and immigrants. The onslaught of tourists drawn to the cultural capital of San Lorenzo renders it a hub of self-exploitation. The market is flooded with tourist, locals sneer at them as they shout to grab their attention. These streets belong to neither the tourists nor do they truly belong to the locals.  There is a sense of disjuncture, of fleeting acquaintances and of a routine that plays out with ever changing actors.  The schizophrenic nature of this quarter is what renders it so unique. The economy of tourism, politics of memory and commodification of culture all feed this cultural corrosion. Florence draws its identity from a mimesis of its past.  This expectation rapes the city of a sense of self.  It capitalizes on its historical signification, but in doing so I have the impression that it has lost its true identity. There is a schism in the community, an absence of stability, a disconnection of past and present, tourist and locals, locals and city. The undertow results in a tangling of roots, a city devoid of native faces. The incessant ebb and flow of people resembles a pulse or the movement of the tide that over time corrodes the ground it washes over.  It is this concept of a fading city that I would like to explore. Embracing the urban limitations in its development, Florence resided decades ago to capitalize on its renaissance heritage. Thus, in many ways, the city walks backwards into the future.  The question that remains is if this act denies progress.  The influx of foreigners that is redefining Florence as a multicultural city will indisbutably have repercussions difficult as of now to predict. A city that doesn’t change isn’t authentic, its dead. What I have termed as cultural corrosion musn’t necessarily be viewed as a negative happening. Perhaps one can understand it as an exfoiliating process that wears away the dead skin of centuries of unchanged. Is it possible for Florence to go through another renaissance?

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