Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Region of Tuscany

We disembarked our ship at 8 am and met Luis who drove us to Florence. Luis spoke some English but not alot, which was alright since he was our driver and not our tour guide. As he was driving us to the city we discovered he did know two words in English very well - "Stupid driver!" Along the way we saw alot of terra cotta houses and olive trees.

We met our tour guide, Isabella, who took us on a 2 hour walking tour of Florence. She spoke excellent English and was very pleasant. Florence is known as the Renaissance City and everywhere we turned there was a famous statue or beautiful building. We saw the Cathedral or Duomo which is covered in multi colored marble. Outside the Duomo is the Bell Tower and the Baptistery which was decorated with white and green marble.

Although we did not go inside the Uffizi Gallery it is one of the world's most famous museums where you can find works of nearly every Renaissance master.  The Academia is nearby where you can find Michelangelo's David. The original is inside and there is a replica outside.  Not far is the Ponte Vecchio a 14th century bridge. Long ago goldsmiths and silversmiths built their shops on the bridge. We also went into a 14th century church where the walls are lined with many tombs including Galileo, Michelango and Rossini.

After our tour we stopped for some gelato and met our driver to take us to Pisa. There are three main buildings here, the Cathedral, Baptistry and the Bell Tower which is the famous Leaning Tower. Galileo was a native of Pisa and used the Cathedral to study the movement of the pendulum and the Leaning Tower to work out his laws of gravity and acceleration. It is now leaning 14 ft. to one side due to the settling of the subsoil. It was fun to watch the many people trying to get a picture of themselves holding up the tower by holding the camera just right.

 Luis then drove us the 20 minutes to our ship where we embarked just in time for dinner.
Tomorrow is a very full day of sightseeing in Rome!

Can you find the cat in this picture?

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