By Juliana Inglese, Marist Italy FFE 2014-15
Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I pass Piazza della Repubblica. I have class at the Strozzi classroom building and make the trek through the Piazza, usually on my way home. I therefore always pass the Carousel. As residents of Florence, we’ve all seen it, maybe some have even ridden it, as I did for the first time a few days ago. Now, I didn’t come down off my metal horse and have an epiphany about the meaning of life, but I did have a smile on my face and a comfortable seat for a minute.
The famous Carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, has 20 horses and two gold painted “king’s carriages”. The carousel is made of wood and is painted in joyful reds and blues. It also gives residence to two flowerpots with fresh flowers in them. This is the antique carousel of the Picci family, as is shown in a panel on the top, and it goes around and around almost every day, from about 10 in the morning to about 8 at night. The carousel is run by Carlo Picci, who is the fourth generation of the family to run the carousel (the fifth generation helps, and the sixth is still at the stage of riding the carousel more than running it, but they seem to exhibit an enthusiastic attraction). The carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica dates from the beginning of the 20th century and has been beautifully restored.
There are many exciting and alluring exhibits and museums here in Florence, educating you about past Dukes and Kings, their Duchesses and Queens, and all the royal children. But maybe one day you can bring yourself back into your own history, not thousands of years, but just ten or so. Step back into your childhood, when Carousals were an alien machine with bright flashing lights and golden illuminated horses and when all you were worried about was nothing in particular. There was only the faint scare of perhaps falling off your steed, but once the soft music started humming and your pony started flowing up and down it was like a lullaby. Of course, now riding the Carousal, with endless little bodies scurrying around to get the best horse, and the faint sound of babies crying, show that times have certainly changed. But riding the Carousal, even at eighteen, still made me happy and the break from walking around all day was a sigh of relief. We all know it’s something to check off the list so why not? It’s one euro, one minute, one break, one laugh, and one smile. What more could you ask for in our busy and rushing atmospheres?