The “No Door Doors”

February 6, 2009 / Local Interest
Florence
florencedoors2Hmm…? Interesting architectural anomalies or Florentine Renaissance Macchiavellian cleverness? Regardless, you will be hard pressed to find these anywhere else but on the streets of Florence.

These are what I call “No Door Doors”, entryways that have handles, mail slots, and even a street numbers. However, extreme care was taken to make these doors blend in with the surrounding space, so that a casual pedestrian zips right by unaware that they are even there.

Centuries ago palazzi were taxed based on the number of windows and doors they contained, so some historians speculate that these “non”-doors, as well as bricked up windows, were a way to avoid taxation. Another reason for their existence could be that as large palazzi were divided by inheritance, instead of just putting a door where one clearly was not architecturally designed to go, the new owners created an entry without disturbing the symmetry and aesthetics of the building.

Whatever the reasons, these “No Door Doors” are quite unique features of Florentine architecture. So next time you are in Florence and want to see some of the city’s unique hidden treasures, head over to the Via de’ Bardi in the Oltrarno, an easy walk from the Ponte Vecchio.

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— Gratefully contributed by Douglas E. Morris, the author of Open Road’s Best of Italy, Florence Made Easy, Rome Made Easy, and Venice Made Easy. He has lived in Italy for over ten years and currently resides in Viterbo. You can contact the author through his website: www.TheItalyGuide.com.

by Douglas Morris

Author of Open Road’s Best of Italy. He has lived in Italy for over ten years and currently resides in Viterbo. You can contact the author through his website: www.TheItalyGuide.com.

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