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I made a new friend – this “piglet” statue (erected in 1612) in the Mercato del Porcellino has been referred to as the Trevi Fountain of Florence. The nose is so shiny with the number of people that have pet it for good luck. The marketplace is part of the larger Mercato Nuovo, or New Market, which was built between 1547 and 1551 – the actual site had been used as a marketplace back to the 11th century. This open air market place was once the selling point for Gold, silk, meat and other fine goods – now it houses tourist-trap stalls. It’s an awesome place to visit at night after all of the merchants have left.

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Kristin tries her hand at petting the “piglet” – though the statue is actually of a wild boar. We learned later that the proper way to achieve good luck is to slide a coin off the snout so it falls into the grating below. Oops. At least all of the money collected goes to a children’s charity.

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