Life moves slowly in Florence; from year to year, some things do not change. There are still huge mobs of tourists; the ambulanti continue to work the streets, hawking goo, bad prints of questionable art, umbrellas when it rains, and, the new innovation, selfie-sticks. The same gypsy women with battered plastic drinking cups still try to shake down the tourists for spare change, and in the evenings, flower peddlers carry long-stemmed roses to sell to the more romantically-inclined gentlemen. It's still the same vendor who slices wedges of the best Pecorino Toscano in the Mercato Centrale, and half a market away, the old nut guy still flogs pistachios, peanuts, and pine nuts.
Another fixture in Florence is a musical trio that I've labeled "the hardest working band in Florence." These three gentlemen, a bald bassist, a violinist on a folding camp stool, and a dour guitarist, are an ever-present presence in Florence. In the evenings, they play for loose euros in the Piazza Duomo, or, alternatively, the Piazza della Repubblica. They have a nice range of songs, and a CD that no one ever seems to purchase.
Occasionally you will find them in the Piazza Santa Croce around noon, plucking, strumming, and bowing beneath the crackling hot sun. It seems like a tough way to make a living: how much money can they make from tips, especially after dividing it three ways? On the other hand, no one ever claimed it would be easy to be a city treasure. What price fame?