Kindness is a Gift for both Giver and Receiver
"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."
- Mark Twain
We arrived in Florence recently and on our first morning here, John and I went out for a long walk. No destination in mind as we walked over one of the bridges that cross the Arno River and then toward wherever our feet carried us. Those are some of the best walks. You never know what you will discover.
Somewhere along the way, we noticed an interesting building. Not a tourist site but we knew it was something and we were curious. We tried to find it on Google Maps but nothing came up. We noticed another interesting building directly across the street with an armed guard in front of the open doorway. I thought he would certainly know what the building was that we were curious about. We crossed the street and approached the guard, asking my typical introductory sentence while traveling, "Parli Inglese?". We received the common response of a hand gesture signifying "I know a little bit of English." Most of the Italians who use this gesture speak English pretty well.
We asked him about the building across the street which turned out to be where they archive contractual documents for mortgages. Then we asked him what the building was that he was guarding. He smiled and shared that it is the Italian version of Fort Knox where they store all the gold bars, the Italian Treasury, its official title being "The State Treasury Service." He has been guarding these doors for the past seven years.
We ended up talking with him for about 20 minutes, about our trip, Florence, Venice, and he also gave us some tips of other things to see. I asked him if there was anything interesting in the lobby of the treasury that would be okay to photograph. He said, Yes, there was a statute of a very important man, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour. In researching later, I found he lived from 1810-1861, was an Italian statesman and a leading figure in the movement toward Italian unification, who became the first Prime Minister of Italy (The President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic). Photo below.
It was a highlight of our first morning in Florence to encounter such kindness and we greatly enjoyed our conversation with Enrico. Grazie mille, Enrico, for your graciousness and for allowing me to make a photograph of you for our blog.