the numbering system on Florence’s streets

here is one for you.  I love Florence, but…

Florence, and two other cities in Italy, has an unusual system for numbering their homes, businesses and buildings along their streets.

their system is contrary to what most cities do. most cities have a system where each block starts a new set of sequential numbers usually beginning with the next 100.  so, for example, the first house or building on a block would be 100, and then the next one will be 102.  usually the even numbers are on one side of the street, and the odd numbers on the other side.

this continues until the next block when the process starts over again, but with 200.  the next building would be 202.  you get the idea.

well, in Florence, they do it differently.

first of all they distinguish between residential and commercial buildings.  the residential get black numbering, and the commercial ones get red numbering.



then they give the same numbers out for different buildings on the same street, depending whether they are residential or commercial.  so, a typical street would work like this.

the first building would be 100, and the second building would be 102, and the third building would be 104, and so on, assuming that they are all of one class — either all residential or all commercial.  if by chance, there are different types of buildings on the same block it can get very confusing.

for example, the first building is a residential building and is numbered 100. the second building is also residential and is numbered 102. if the third building is deemed to be a commercial building it will be numbered 100, but the number will be in red paint, not black paint.

let’s say the fourth and fifth buildings are residential and number 104 and 106 and the numbers are displayed in black.  if the next building is a commercial building, its number will be 102.  yes, 102, albeit in red.

if this is not confusing enough, take this in.  over the years the red on the commercial building numbers has faded and today look like a dull grey, close to black.

if that is not enough, then catch this.  what do you think is the definition of “commercial”?  over the years and with different government bureaucracies the definition has changed.  so on one street you can have a hotel be considered “commercial” and then further down the same street another hotel could be considered “residential”.

the result is total chaos, unless you live there and know who lives and works where.  then it all works.

there are so many things to love about Florence, and in this case, you have to love that it is a relatively small city so most people who live and work there know the city like the back of their hand.

if you are a visitor to Florence, this numbering system will provide you with some anxious and confusing moments.

what would life be like if we did not have new challenges to face each day?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *