What do they know of Florence, that only Florence know? Quite a lot, it turns out, if you’re a cat. In Florence, cats do not walk alone, and all places are not alike – not in the least! A cat in Florence can rub against the marble toes of Michelangelo’s David in the piazza della Signoria, chase its tail in the shadow of Brunelleschi’s Dome or warm its tummy on the stone benches of Palazzo Strozzi. Like a child’s, a cat’s world is lived close to the ground. It is a world of legs and knees to avoid, steps to climb and places just out of reach. It is a world of narrow passages, hidden treasures and secret gardens full of mysterious fragrances.

The river Arno cuts the city in two, only to be stitched together again by its many bridges. A cat’s world moves forward in bursts of frenetic play, endless hunts and long periods of repose, eyes barely open to watch the Arno flowing lazily underneath the Ponte Vecchio. Like a child’s, a cat’s world is magical, and every city landmark has special hidden meaning. An ancient olive tree hides a forked branch where a cat can sit unobserved for hours.  Sober colonnades allow a cat to follow an unsuspecting monk the whole length of an ancient frescoed cloister without once being seen Even the Uffizi, invested daily by swarms of tourists, has its overground passages and its underground tunnels, its secret paths above, below and along the river.

This book is an invitation to share a cat’s world, and to discover Florence through a cat’s eyes. For a cat, Florence is an immoveable feast.

Dr. James Bradburne

Director General, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi