Florence, rich city, gets married to art and fashion.

Personalities like Roberto Cavalli, a famous Italian designer, have their boutiques in Tornabuoni street, surrounded by other important brands like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Damiani, Prada…

Here, everyday, strangers and wealthy people spend their money looking for a fashionable dress or for a multifunctional bag.

In Santa Maria Novella station, it’s a continuous coming and going of people.

And yet, in the middle of this ferment, somebody isn’t seen, somebody is never noted, as he was invisible. Or he is looked with contempt or suspicion.

Antonio, the homeless without shoes, is one of the many inhabitants of SMN station.

Antonio, with his story, has opened us a window on the reality, which is not shown on television or written in the city guide books.

A reality made also of people which live Florence fighting for their dignity, everyday.Antonio is 61. Fourteen years ago he left Frosinone, his wife and fourteen children.

He used to work in a restaurant. Nobody has come looking for him, them included. “They always had a grudge against me”, he says.
Now his life consist in walks around the station, without shoes, with his trolley full of junks, which is his home. Some little jobs in the cemeteries, to dress corpse, “after I had kept their dentures to sell”, he says proudly.

Even though his precarious way of living, the humour always follows him. And that is a great availability. But he can also launch accusations. He makes it against police which – he says – controls him excessively, against the cleaning company which rummages in his trolley and throws out his mysterious cheques.
Pruning of reality, fancies, jokes: it’s difficult to understand where the truth finishes. One thing is sure.Antonio is a person who impresses on the memory.And, like Baudelaire wrote long time ago, “I think of sailors on some forgotten; Isle of captives; vanquished . . . and of many more”. But who can say who are the winners?

Article By Eliana Di Donato, Simona Francione, Matteo Fanelli, Annalisa Cecionesi


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