The book Secret Florence (Niccolo Rinaldi) has been useful in exploring this city, and also in explaining some of the things I’ve seen.
For example, I’ve passed this fine statue of Ferdinando I in the Piazza Santisimma Annunziata quite a number of times. It wasn’t until I was flipping through Secret Florence that I became aware of what was on the pedestal.
It’s a swarm of bees around the central queen bee. This apparently is meant to symbolise “the State as a community, as a place of industry and disciplined organisation, … the supremacy of the queen bee (a symbol of the authority of the Grand Duke Ferdinando)” But, hey, we knew all that, right?
You can test your powers of concentration by counting the number of bees, without pointing to them, or touching them. Parents here are said to reward their children if they can do this. I’m not about to bribe you, though.
The book says there are 91 bees, but you have to determine whether or not this includes the queen bee. Have fun!