A cheerful and intelligent waiter made the observation to us that apart from what is here for the tourists, Florence is not much good any more. He had bought a house out of town several years ago. The increasing numbers of tourists are increasingly rude and make the city dirty. Plus there is now such a large number of schools for foreigners and "pardon me for saying so, but most of them are Americans."
But it is the most remarkable of cities and has about it a special refinement, sense of colour and confidence.
And a self-importance. The labels to major art works are clearly addressed to those with at least masters degrees in fine arts (better mind you than the National Museum of Australia where the interpretation is apparently more important than anything else).
So to avoid the sin of ponderousness in writing about a place of great beauty and importance we should begin with Helen's observation in both Rome and Florence that dogs are more evident in the city centre than in an Australian city centre. And begin especially with a photo of a creature who in so many ways reminded Helen tearfully of George, reluctant to surrender his ball, back there in the dog home in rainy Nowra.
... and now for an assortment of actual Florentine canines, photos which put the big picture tourist items in homely perspective.