Sharp Monica

An honest voice in Italian paradise.

Update from Florence: An Open Letter to Germans and Tourists

This chic Georgetown look DOES NOT TRANSLATE to Europe. Do not attempt.
Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

Dear Germans and Other Tourists in Florence, and you know who you are (look down at your feet),

NO ONE wants to see your feet. No one wants to see your toes, especially. I know it’s been a long haul, postponing the holiday of your dreams. Damn you, Covid! The last two years have been a slog for everyone, your homebound feet in particular. Everyone wanted to take a trip, go on an airplane, fly somewhere new and eat their ice cream. Some people took a trip anyway, precautions and actual statistics notwithstanding. Many others postponed trips until May 2022. All these people are now taking trips, and what’s more: IN SANDALS.

Now, the fifty-three day lockdown was hard, back in spring 2020. The months of waiting for a vaccine shot sucked. I would have gladly gotten one months in advance of when I actually did, on May 20, 2020. The nonstop trip plans and cancellations were the worst: Nice, Strasbourg, Portugal, Rome. Yes, I love to travel. Yes, I live in reality, and can easily read writing when it’s on the wall in 500-point font: DO NOT TAKE THE TRIP NOW. MAYBE LATER IS A BETTER TIME, A POSSIBLE TIME, TO TAKE THE TRIP. All these events and bumps in the road were very difficult. In fact, I cried when we had to cancel the Portugal trip in March because we all had Covid. It is my only regret and my only craving, I snuffled and shuddered to Jason. I get it. I like to travel too. A lot. Like, a ton.


I don’t know why this is bothering me so much. All across town I am exposed to hairy, pale, naked toes, crippled and crushed against one another like overcrowded miniature bananas. They are wearing Tevas. Merrills. Chacos. FLIP FLOPS. Havaianas, people, are you kidding me? THIS IS FLORENCE. Have you seen the streets? Okay, tourist toes are ugly, but what is uglier: the poop-strewn streets of Florence, covered also with urine puddles, trash that failed to land in a can, plopped ice cream.


Maybe, people think, my toes also need to travel. My toes have a right to breathe this sweet sweet Italian air! And I get it: they do. they absolutely do. But if you wish to recognize the this right for your toes, for god’s sake take them to Sanibel or Lake Michigan, take them to Corfu or the Mediterranean coast. DO NOT TAKE THEM TO FLORENCE. YOU WILL GET POOP ON YOUR TOES. How glamorous is that, strolling down Via Tornabuoni with pooptoes? Nothing screams “I just dropped ten thousand euros at Louis Vuitton” like pooptoes. Don’t even get me started on poopheel. I have seen it all. And I wish I hadn’t.

THERE IS A REASON THAT ITALIANS WEAR PROPER SHOES. THE STREETS ARE FILTHY. So, unless you have a pair of platform sandals that would make Hirohito himself sweat, find yourself a cute pair of kicks that lace up, and put them on. I don’t want to see young toes run free, or crippled toes unwind in the soft spring air. I want you to put on shoes and socks. I want you to walk around our city’s filth-strewn flagstone streets with the confidence that some stray dog’s poop is not finding its way between your toes.

Dear Germans, Americans, and other tourists, we are glad you’re here. We really are. But we don’t want to see your toes. It is for your own safety.

Thank you for reading my public plea. Consider yourself warned. Lace up.

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One Response

  1. This is one of many ways that Siena is so much better than Florence. We do clean up after our dogs. But I probably wouldn’t spread a picnic lunch across any of our streets.

    In any case, your commentary is quite amusing.

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