Florence

Day 101- Pisa and Michelangelo’s David

Today, since it’s only about an hour drive from Florence, we decided to hop over to Piza to see- you guessed it- the Leaning Tower of Pisa!  

We have of course seen many photos of the tower, but seeing it in person, we were surprised at just how far it leans!  

The tower is at a 5 degree tilt, which doesn’t sound like much, but for a building that tall the tilt becomes very obvious!    The tower was actually built over two centuries from 1132 to 1372. When they first started, the foundation sunk and gave it the tilt. They then stopped for a century because the city was engaged in several military conflicts with surrounding cities. When they restarted construction, the ground had settled and they started to make the top floors taller on one side than the other to balance it out. So, the building is actually slightly curved! Also, if they hadn’t halted construction for all of those years and instead kept building right away, it probably would have toppled!   This interesting piece of architecture was built as a bell tower for the cathedral next to it and has 7 stories- one for each note in a major scale.  

The tower is at a 5 degree tilt, which doesn’t sound like much, but for a building that tall the tilt becomes very obvious!  

The tower was actually built over two centuries from 1132 to 1372. When they first started, the foundation sunk and gave it the tilt. They then stopped for a century because the city was engaged in several military conflicts with surrounding cities. When they restarted construction, the ground had settled and they started to make the top floors taller on one side than the other to balance it out. So, the building is actually slightly curved! Also, if they hadn’t halted construction for all of those years and instead kept building right away, it probably would have toppled! 

This interesting piece of architecture was built as a bell tower for the cathedral next to it and has 7 stories- one for each note in a major scale.  

This is the Cathedral of Pisa! We were surprised at how big and beautiful it was considering how small Pisa is. 

This is the Cathedral of Pisa! We were surprised at how big and beautiful it was considering how small Pisa is. 

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Since there really wasn’t much else to do in Pisa, we drove back to Florence. We then went to the Galleria dell’Academia, the museum where we saw Michelangelo’s David sculpture! It was so much bigger than it appears in photos! 

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While at the museum, we saw several works my Michelangelo along with many many other sculptures! 

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Once we finished, we found a cheap pasta place for dinner and then called it a night!  

Day 100- Road Trip to Florence

This morning we had quite the adventure! We walked through the rain to catch the boat taxi to the airport (where we will be picking up our rental car!). However, when we got close we realized that the water was coming up onto the sidewalk! We then sloshed through the water that was coming up in waves over our ankles to the dock.  

We just missed the boat and so we had to wait for half an hour. Since we didn’t want to go back through the water, we switched between rocking back and forth in the little boat house and standing in the rain on the dock. I preferred the rocky boat house because the rain and wind were very cold, but Alexander preferred the dock because the boat house made him very motion sick!  

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After our 30 minute wait, we finally made it onto the boat and headed over the waves to the airport!  

Once we made it to the airport, we were able to get our cute Audi A3 that we will be driving through Italy for the next 5 days! It was sooo nice being able to just throw our bags in the back instead of carrying them, and getting to move at our own pace!  

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The first stop on our Italian Road Trip is Florence! We arrived in the late afternoon and checked right into our B&B. After getting settled for a couple minutes, we headed out to see as much of Florence as we could in the short time we are here. Thankfully, our B&B is very close to all of the big sights! 

The first place we stopped was the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (aka the Duomo di Firenze)! The green and pink marble exterior were accented by the beautiful evening light. We walked a full 360 degrees around the entire thing because we just wanted to keep looking at it! 

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We also visited the Palazzo Vecchio! We really really wanted to see the Hall of 500 inside because of the artwork that adorns the walls and ceiling. Unfortunately, it appeared to be closed off for some event that we surprisingly weren’t invited to! 

We then continued towards the water where we saw the Ponte Vecchio, a famous bridge with many little jewelry shops. I thought it was an odd looking thing, but still very cool.  

We then continued towards the water where we saw the Ponte Vecchio, a famous bridge with many little jewelry shops. I thought it was an odd looking thing, but still very cool.  

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On the way back in the direction of our B&B we passed through a couple market streets with people selling all sorts of things. Once we got out, we stopped at a little cafe for dinner. We were able to each get a cocktail and a buffet dinner for only 8 Euros each! Since we got there right when the buffet started, we had our pick of a variety of pastas and pastries!