Street art has a bad name: graffiti. Graffiti is often ugly, sometimes gang related, and always destructive of private property. Public art, art on the street, historic structures and other examples of art found on the street are seen as “real” art worthy of your attention. At times, street art and graffiti overlap. Still if you suspend judgement for a moment, leave the definitions and controversy behind and open your eyes the streets are full of art that you would normally miss as you rush to and fro in your daily routine. This is especially true in old cities such as Florence, Italy. During my last trip there I decided to slow down, open my eyes and attempt to see a Florence that had escaped me on earlier trips because I was in a hurry to see the things that I should see.
Some of the art is traditional public art but has faded over the centuries and has slowly disolved into the background. You have to look carefully to find it but it is everywhere if you just look.
Of course the more famous pieces are easy to find and see.
The newer additions are also easy to find even if they are not as welcomed. These are the pieces by the artists that operate on the boundary between street art and graffiti. You can classify them as you like but you cannot ignore them.
Of course, art is never without controversy. This includes art that is now considered classic.
I will leave the controversy for another day. For today, let me encourage you to put the guide book aside, slowdown and enjoy the art that is everywhere in the city you are visiting.