JC and I decided we’d spend a full week in Florence to experience more of the culture and have time for a couple of day-trips.

One of our day-trips was to the romantic and mesmerizing city of Venice, which you can read about here.

Our other day-trip was out to Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa!  The cathedral’s freestanding bell tower reaches a height of 186 feet and is known for its unintended tilt.  This “lean” was caused by the ground on one side being too soft and unable to support the tower.  The lean was finally stabilized in the early 21st century.  Visitors can climb up almost 300 steps to the top if they wish.  It was truly remarkable finally seeing it in person!

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We then walked through the town to get to the central train station, which gave us a better appreciation for the city and local life.  One big canal runs through the city offering some great photo opps!

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Back in Florence, we visited Uffizi, a prominent art museum showcasing statues and artwork from famous artists such as: Leo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Monaco, etc. Standing before these masterpieces was certainly remarkable and quite memorable.  It was incredible to gaze and analyze the original workmanship of such talented artists.

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Just outside Uffizi is the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open aired gallery facing the Piazza della Signoria featuring many renaissance statues including: Perseus holding Medusa’s severed head, Hercules and Nessus, and the Rape of the Sabine Women.

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Back on the other side of Uffizi is a highly visited pedestrian bridge spanning over the Arno River called Ponte Vecchio.  This picturesque medieval bridge is lined with jewelry stores, souvenir shops and other vendors.

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Crossing the bridge to the other side of the Arno River is Piazzele Michelangelo, a 19th century piazza on a hilltop providing panoramic views of the city below.  Here you’ll also find a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David statue.

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On the way down we stumbled upon the campsite that JC had stayed 10 years prior.  This brought back some great memories for JC and it was neat to see where he “roughed it” during his own European adventure a decade ago.  Unfortunately the campsite was in the process of relocating to a new location so it wasn’t open but we were able to peek in a bit.

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One of the most iconic landmarks in the city of Florence is its pink, green and white striped marble cathedral, the Duomo, honored after Santa Maria del Fiore.  The cathedral took two centuries to be deemed complete and is quite unique and magnificent to gaze at!

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Just behind the Duomo, we had an incredible lunch at Panini Toscani.  The owner made our experience memorable by treating us as VIPS, taking the time to cut fresh slices of meat and cheese for us to sample and informing us of each piece so we could select exactly what we liked for our sandwich.  He devoted his time and provided such precision, knowledge and passion making for a wonderful experience!

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We finally had a chance to go see the Statue of David.  It was much bigger than I expected and such an incredible masterpiece to witness in person.  The museum exhibited other uncompleted statues by Michelangelo as well.  A must while in Florence!

Florence

It was here in Florence that we discovered the way Italians drink their coffee.  They will typically order an espresso shot at a coffee bar (normally machiatto), sip on it for about 1-2 minutes then head off to their destination.  Ordering coffee with milk is very rare and more of an “American” thing to do, supposedly.

Florence was rich, captivating and beautiful! Very glad we decided to spend a full week so we could see it all and not be rushed!

Dates Visited: 10/14-10/21, 2016