9 Pages


ByJames A. Clapp

Florence has always been a popular destination for suicides. In the summer of 1993 a girl jumped to her death from the top of the bell tower next to the Duomo. In Florence death seems at once less fearsome and more glamorous than in other places, perhaps thanks to the superabundance of mortified Christ's, many of them meet evil and grimacing, with raw looking wounds. Beginning in the 1960s, scholars of urban politics have criticized urban decision-makers for imposing policies that exacerbated the disadvantages suffered by low income, female, gay, and minority residents. In particular, they have condemned policies that favor downtown businesses while ignoring neighborhood needs and giving priority to tourist facilities and stadiums over schools and labor-intensive industries. The classical philosophers of Greece and Rome, and social thinkers even to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, recognized that the lives of urbanites were different from the lives of farm and village people.