We hopped on the bus bright and early as we had several places to see. Our first stop was Pisa. It was not what we expected; it was better! It really was leaning at a pretty steep pitch and neither of us wanted to hike up (or pay the Euro’s). The tower has 7 tiers. The first 3 floors began to sink shortly after being built because they were so heavy. In the early days Pisa was an important port city, so the surrounding soil tended to be soft and not the best for supporting a marble structure such as a tall tower. Building stopped for a while until another architect came along and added 3 more marble stories. You can imagine that it began to tilt even more! By the time the bell tower was added a total of 300 years had gone by since the original building began. We could not believe the detail and ornateness of the tower. You needed to see it up close to appreciate its true beauty. They say it is structurally safe now, but we figured we’d pass despite the amazing views there must have been from the top. Walking the perimeter was fine for us!
Off in the distance we could see mountains that looked to be snow-covered, but in reality they were huge marble mountains! No wonder Italy has magnificent marble structures everywhere.
From Pisa we headed to the great city of Florence. The drive was so pretty as we passed green rolling hills with rows and rows of vineyards. Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to many famous artists, scientists, poets, and of course, Pinocchio! During the Renaissance it was the wealthiest and most politically influential city of the region.
Walking the streets was a wonderful treat. These pictures were taken inside one of the famous shopping areas. Museums, cathedrals, fountains, and monuments were in abundance. So much culture and history everywhere we looked!
Since Florence is also known for its leather we went to a leather factory. I will admit, we purchased a few little leather items. We had no intention of making such purchases, but when in Italy… Too bad leather goods aren’t as inexpensive as all the gelato we consumed!
We also went to Santa Croce, the church where Michelangelo, da Vinci, Marconi, and dozens other famous men were buried. It was almost like an indoor cemetery. What a beautiful church. Simple compared with other Duomo’s we’d seen, and almost like another museum. The marble carvings and tributes to the deceased were tasteful and very elegant.
Our final stop in the city was Galleria dell ‘Accademia where the famous statue of David was on display. It was incredible to think that Michelangelo created such a magnificent statue out of one huge slab of marble. Can you imagine what thoughts must have gone through his mind each time he struck his chisel on the brick of marble? Like the Pieta in Rome, the statue of David was something I never thought I would get to see in person. What an amazing site!
We ended the evening with a magnificent prime rib dinner at a local restaurant. We had some great wine and champagne along with a brief tour of the underground wine seller of years gone by. We brought some wine home so we can continue to enjoy Tuscan wines. Exhausted by yet another long day of walking and overloading of the senses, we fell asleep the minute we hit the pillows. According to my Fitbit, we managed to put in exactly 19,000 steps that day! It felt like it too!!