Did you finish your trip report? I wondered if there were other ports? Great report and pics. Happy Birthday! What a great way to spend your 40th.Pisa and Florence
We had to get up a little earlier than normal for our excursion time today. It would have been easier and I would have been able to see more if the Italians had planned for my eventual pilgrimage and built these amazing cities on the coast, LOL!!!! Getting to each city has taken quite a bit of travel time, but on the plus side I can take a nap while we are driving back to the port. We decided today to just have a light breakfast in the concierge lounge instead of Cabana’s today, so that saved us some time as well.
We headed down the gangway to meet our tour group, we went back to Italy Tours today because they offered advance, skip the line tickets to Accademia to see the real David. I know you can see the replica in the Political Square, but I wanted to see the real thing. We met up, met the next family, and jumped in our van to head to Pisa. We arrived to an empty Pisa at about 8am, after Rome yesterday I was so happy to be able to have the entire square pretty much to ourselves. You can climb the Tower, but they didn’t open until 9am and our sweet tour guide told us it was 300 steps to the top! You can stand in the middle of the square, turn in a circle, and see all the buildings and that’s about it. Chris was completely fascinated by the Tower, it is really leaning, way more than it looks like in the pictures! We were supposed to spend an entire hour here, but everyone wanted to start making our way to Florence. There is the best little café right across from the square and I grabbed a fantastic cappuccino and chocolate croissant for my road snack, it was 3€, I still can’t get over how cheap everything is.
View attachment 410545
Pisa - my favorite picture of the trip
View attachment 410546
These cute desserts in the cafe across from Pisa
We made our way to Florence, this was definitely the most beautiful drive of the entire week, right in the heart of Tuscany. Instead of driving straight into the city, she stopped at an overlook to get pictures of Florence from above. It was a cloudless blue blue day with a slight breeze and a fantastic view, what’s not to love?
View attachment 410547
We took some snaps, got back in our van and headed into Florence to meet our tour guide. We actually had to pass in one of five main gates to enter Florence
View attachment 410555
Our first stop was the Basilica of Santa Croce, I was immediately drawn to its HUGE wooden doors that were completely hand carved. Back in the bus, time to move again!
View attachment 410548
We met our tour guide in the main square in Florence and again received the speakers and earbuds. Dang it, I forgot mine again! We made our way through the little winding streets in Florence towards Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence. We learned that the bridge has always been a little shopping center and just like in the past it primary sells jewelry! It was super fun to look at all the pretty jewelry, but hold on to your bags, it is very crowded!
View attachment 410554
Ponte Vecchio Bridge
Our next stop was the Political Square with all of the statues. Our guide thoroughly explained the statue of Perseus and the Head of Medusa, just fascinating. We also passed by the entrance of the Uffizi, I really wanted to go in but time prevented me from entering.
View attachment 410553
Entrance to the Uffizi
We headed to the Florence Cathedral and gawked at it’s size, I think Florence had the largest church in all of Florence and maybe even Italy. We passed by the replicas of the Doors of Paradise (the golden doors).
View attachment 410549
View attachment 410550
Doors of Paradise - replica
Time to meet David! We walked to Accademica Museum to see David, it was actually quite a ways away from everything else so just be prepared. Compared to the Sistine Chapel, getting to David was a breeze. He is flanked by a series of unfinished sculptures by Michelangelo, which is interesting because it gives insight into how he carved and sculpted. Just as I was awestruck by the Sistine Chapel and the Pieta, it was the same for seeing David. Michelangelo is a master at perfecting the tiny characteristics that make up a human: veins in the forearm, shape of the muscles, symmetry, canals in the ears, the interactions of muscle and bone. I felt I was looking at a real person and not just a sculpture. Again, this is something you just have to experience yourself.
View attachment 410551
Our guide took us to a fantastic restaurant for lunch. Since Florence is in Tuscany, I was required to have a glass of chianti with my lunch. Chris and I shared plates of freshly made pasta and of course gelato was required later. After lunch we were given about an hour and a half of free time until we took the minivan back to the port. At the required time we all poured into our van and sped back to port.
Today’s all ashore was 6:45, we got back around 6. The show for the evening was Once Upon a Song, yes we skipped it and went to the lounge for drinks and snacks instead. For dinner we were in Rapunzel’s Royal Table and tonight was the Lantern show. Rapunzel’s was my absolute favorite main dining experience of all 3 restaurants, it was just so much fun. I had more fun at the first Rapunzel’s show, Thug Night, but this show was more beautiful. I won’t give it away, you just have to see it for yourself. We knew that we were going to sleep in the next morning (yay!) so we were more relaxed tonight, no rush necessary.