Circolo Borghese

For many years, soon to be decades, the Circolo Borghese has been making life hell for anyone unfortunate enough to live at Via dei Pandolfini 27 in Florence. Every night, after finishing work around 11 pm, until the small hours of the next morning, the staff holds loud marathon parties on the premises of the Circolo Borghese, which face the courtyard shared with the legal residents. This involves men shouting at the tops of their voices for hours on end, loud music, raucous singing, drunken women screeching, ending around 5 am with the sound of beer cans and bottles being thrown down into the yard below as dawn breaks over another day in Florence. There is never a night when it is possible to sleep because of the anti-social behaviour of the Circolo Borghese, which occupies the same building as the Borghese Palace Art Hotel at Via Ghibellina 174/r.

How can this be possible when both Italian and European law expressly forbids any noise later than 10 pm and before 8 am? The problem is that the authorities in Florence have long since turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the problem of nocturnal disturbances. The current mayor, Matteo Renzi, has privately indicated that the income generated from Florence’s bars and clubs far outweighs the disadvantages to the good people living in the historical centre – the very people he was elected to defend. Unfortunately, the manager of the Circolo Borghese is very well aware of this, so takes no action against his staff.

Who is the manager of the Circolo Borghese, the person ultimately responsible for inflicting all these problems on the local inhabitants? He is an unpleasant old man with the appearance of a goat, who is always quick to appear whenever any complaints are made about his staff; the only problem is that his anger is directed at you! He is always on duty, so cannot be said to be ignorant of the terrible noise that is kept up from dark until dawn. When one complains that it is impossible to sleep because of the racket caused by his staff, he glares at you malevolently, somehow managing to make himself look even more goat-like, if that is possible. On one occasion, a much-respected and cultured eighty-nine year-old woman, whose family has lived in the building for longer than Italy has existed as a unified kingdom/republic, went to him to complain about the noise. This had no effect and the anti-social behaviour continued as before. One can only hope that there is a special circle in hell reserved for this goat-like man and his odious staff.

And hell really is the only way that one can describe Via dei Pandolfini 27. If the presence of the Circolo Borghese were not enough, you also have the slyest, most anti-social family living on the ground floor. The slimy, lying academic drop-out Forese and his clearly half-witted mother Barbara are your typical “neighbours from hell” who feel that it is their duty in life to cause as much disturbance to their neighbours as is possible. If you are sitting quietly at home, they feel they simply must inflict themselves on you in every possible way, whether it is encouraging their dog to bark non-stop in the daytime or holding their own loud conversations in the courtyard at all hours of the night, as they sway unsteadily on their feet. And you can be sure that no pearls of wisdom come from their mouths! Interestingly, your ears are afflicted year in year out, day and night, but never once will you hear anything that has any content, anything that is above the level of a cat yowling or a donkey braying. Add to this mix the old crone upstairs, who starts washing her balcony and moving her furniture around at 6 am every morning, before loudly sloshing water down into the courtyard below, and you have a veritable Gehenna!

How ironic that a location that is equidistant from the former addresses of both Dante and Michelangelo, half-way between Brunelleschi’s famous dome and Galileo’s tomb in Santa Croce, should in the twenty-first century be turned into a living hell by the anti-social staff of the Circolo Borghese, headed by its goat-like manager, and the very descendants of those who once contributed to the great architecture and proud history of the city on the Arno – but who are now the complete antithesis of all that the Renaissance and the Enlightenment once stood for, a symbol of the degenerated reality and ugly face of modern Florence. Their only goal in life is no longer to create great works of art and literature, but to inflict as much misery as possible, day and night, on all those who live around them. Why? The sad truth is that this is because they are no longer capable of doing anything else...

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