As a result of this experience, I now walk down busy Florentine streets with my hands firmly placed over my back pockets, looking like some sort of constipated building inspector. Most nerve-racking for me is the famed Ponte Vecchio, a Hieronymus Boschian scene of beckoning trinket-hawkers, trilling gypsy beggars, and glass-eyed cargo-shorted tourists in visors and sweat-colored polos. The jangle of novelty key chains can be heard for miles. While revisiting the city last spring I hurried past it all in characteristic paranoiac style and waited for my friends some blocks ahead.
Imagine my surprise to discover, just a skip away from the Ponte Vecchio, the clean white storefront of 5 e Cinque, a modest, health-conscious, and well-appointed natural wine bar, the city's only one, as far as I know.