This past July I was able to travel to Florence, Italy for a 20th anniversary reunion with a group of study abroad alumni. The trip involved a potent mix of nostalgic recollection and eye-opening discovery of how much the seemingly timeless city had changed since my last visit. One of the internal changes that colored how I re-engaged with the place was how my brain has been rewired to scan the urban landscape for milk crates as part of an ongoing photography project.
The scooter still reigns supreme on the streets of Florence, but there does seem to be a significantly higher number of bicycles lining the curbs and traversing the cobblestones than I remembered. After initially resisting the urge to photograph every milk crate I spied mounted to a bike frame I soon gave in to my snap-happy tendencies.
This being Italy, some of the most common crates are dedicated to hauling bottled mineral water.
Outside of restaurants and cafes you can find water company-branded crates being repurposed at vendor stalls in the city’s open-air markets.
Among actual dairy companies, the Mukki brand seems to manufacture the milk crate of choice in Tuscany.
You can spot the forest green Mukki crate all over the city. The Mukki crate’s ubiquity makes it seem like the Florentine analogue of Pittsburgh’s iconic orange Turner Dairy Farms milk crates.
Naturally, the Mukki crates are also a prevalent bike accessory
The green Mukki crates seem to hold dairy dominance in Florence, but you can find other milk-branded containers in a variety of colors.
The orange Latte Maremma crates in particular offered a reminder of home.