DWARF ENVY (Florence)

Heigh-ho! Heigh-ho!

You are across the river, on the outer edge of the Oltrarno district (Florence's "Left Bank"). In the never-neverland above Piazza Tasso and below Piazza Bellosguardo. (The exact location has been concealed, in order to protect the identity of the...contenders.)

      Nearby Via di San Francesco di Paola.

You are in the heart of one of Florence's micro-neighborhoods, with its own history and its own traditions...and apparently its own seething feuds. (Never forget that Italy is the land of the Montagues and the Capulets, not mention the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Not to mention Torino and Juventus, and Milan and Inter. Not to mention Gucci and Armani, and Fendi and Ferragamo. Did someone whisper "Sofia Loren and Gina Lollabrigida"?)

Florence: Public Art (by Private Initiative).

Two households both alike in dignity (or lack thereof)... A few doors apart... With their competing arrays of Disneyiana...

The street, alas, is too narrow for us to squeeze them both into the same frame. But the two Biancanevi (Snow Whites, to you) could pretty nearly reach out and wring each other's neck.

One house has the year-round yellow tulips (certainly a nice touch), but seems a dwarf or two short of a full deck.

Meanwhile, the other has the fresh paint job and that terrific terrace over the garage. Not to mention the stirring display of the tricolore...

Still, passions run high... And what happens in Via D******* B********* stays in Via  D******* B*********. 

Speaking as a friend, I wouldn't advise you to get involved.

More Mysteries of Florence?

Three Views of Florence © Lyle Goldberg

PLUS: A High Art Alternative...

Vicenza: Villa Valmarana ai Nani,
with its famous dwarves on the garden wall.

You can find this and many other wonderful photos of Venice and the Veneto at:


  1. This was so much fun. Thanks for sharing your find.
    ~ Christine

  2. Just when I thought your blogs couldn't possibly be more witty, or deliciously humorous....you did it again!! I can't decide which post is my most favorite...but this is getting high marks....what is up with the poor dwarfs chubby ankles being chained down? The dwarfs must be in high demand, for black market distribution?

  3. I did wonder if anyone would spot the Dwarf in Chains! (Is that "Grumpy"? Iconography was never my strong suit as an art historian.) My personal theory is that he was recaptured after an attempted escape. And I note that several of his colleagues are indeed missing from the other set. As we all know, it's a jungle out there...

  4. What a smashing blog, lovely photos, I'm totally jealous!

  5. Thanks! And isn't that your namesake up at the top of the post? (I am afraid that my dwarfology isn't all that it might be.) I, too, am in perpetual awe of my brother's photos. I just hope that he never wises up and moves on to bigger and better things!

  6. What a delightful and amusing bog, and with a historical "sting in the tail". The photos are beautiful, and I love the way you loop back to the dwarves on the wall of Villa Valmerana ai Nani — brilliant.
    Rosemarie Mulcahy

  7. Truth be told: It was August and more or less everyone in Via D******* B********* was away on holiday. My brother and I drove up with a load of dwarves in the back of a van, spotted two likely houses, set up the photo op. And then we were out of there—with no one the wiser.