Dare i numeri in Florence – During the nineteenth century, Florence experienced sudden massive urban changes with a great increase in business activities, evolving from being simple carts or stalls with people working just outside family homes, to regular shops, the way we know today. The municipality decided therefore that a method was needed to distinguish between home and business addresses.
Home or Business
Renumbering the entire city was, of course, out of the question. As a result, even nowadays, buildings in Firenze operate on two numbering systems. Residential buildings have numbers either written in black (nero) or with an N for Nero next to it ( no matter what the real colour of the number on the plate)
Rosso & Nero
Buildings housing commercial activities on the other hand, have red numbers or followed by an R for rosso. Old buildings tend to have numbers engraved into the façade, and with the passing of time, as you can imagine, the numbers are anything but red.
So be prepared to get lost…not only that, but the addresses in Florence also do not necessarily match what you would expect: a 31r may not be necessarily next to 32r or n but you could find it across the street from, let’s say, 57n.
This is just to say that, if you have an important appointment and need to be on time, get ahead in advance, arm yourself with patience and, if you get stuck, always smile and ask around…
Dare i numeri
There is an Italian “Modo di dire” (way of saying) “dare i numeri“that is used metaphorically to indicate doing or talking nonsense. The saying derives from the custom of astrologers to interpret dreams and communicate the corresponding numbers to play the lottery, but it could easily come from the address system in Florence…
Wearing comfy shoes is always advisable 🙂