Walking the streets of Florence can be very dangerous if you aren’t paying attention. There is busy traffic and motorcycles squeezing through everywhere, with sidewalks only big enough to walk in single file. There are a couple ways to stay safer when trekking the city.
One important thing to remember is to stay on the sidewalk. This can be tough, especially when others decide to stand in the middle and have conversations. Don’t be afraid to say excuse me and make your way through. Also, patience is key. While walking behind someone rather slow, don’t step onto traffic to cross them but consider slowing your pace down and enjoying what is around you. Americans are more used to walking face paced and getting from one place to another as fast as possible, but for Italians this is not the case.
It may be okay in your home country to walk throughout the city with headphones, but it is not safe to do so here in Florence. Not only will you not be able to hear cars coming or honking at you, but also you wont be able to hear someone talking to you or warning you not to cross. It is much safer to take out your headphones, and enjoy the sounds of the city.
Many crosswalks here have the green light for pedestrians, which is very helpful. Never cross when that light is red, because even after looking both ways a Vespa or biker could sneak up. Even if the light is green, look both ways and make sure traffic is not turning right onto your crosswalk. Where there are areas without lights, be sure to look both ways several times before making your way across the street.
Looking both ways, staying on the sidewalk and taking out your headphones will keep you on track to being safer on your walks around Florence.