The festivities in town started early last night with petardi (firecrackers) going off before the sun even went down. Many of the shops had closed early even though many people were strolling the streets. We left Florence at 10pm to go to dinner and stayed out of the city last night. However, this morning when I woke up, I couldn’t wait to return so that I could rush around my beloved city and take some photos. I first headed West down the lungarno where I saw them putting up the sign that said, “Buon 2012” on the Ponte Vecchio. When I first arrived, they were just hanging the “Buon” sign. The street along the Arno, which was littered with broken glass, bottles, and plastic cups, but was virtually empty with only a handful of people out. The morning sun cast long shadows onto the street, but didn’t do much to warm up the air.