Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 4 - Livorno/Pisa/Florence

What an unbelievable day in some amazing cities. Looooove the Tuscany area.

We started our morning with a nice breakfast in the dining room and then met a family of 3 (mom, dad and 16 year-old daughter) to head off the ship for our tour.

It amazes me that we visit France one day, go to sleep and wake up to visit Italy. No unpacking, no changing hotels, no driving. No wonder people love to cruise!

The family we traveled with today was great. Susan and I hit it off and we all seemed to have the same pace for everything and got along wonderfully.

We met Michaele, our tour guide at the port and headed off. We drove about 20 minutes to Pisa. We arrived and saw the Leaning Tower. Wow, couldn't believe we we're actually there.

It was about 8:35 and I'm glad we got there early before the crowds hit. We all wanted to climb the tower so we headed straight to the ticket office. Kids under 8 couldn't go up so Brian stayed behind with Cameron and I paid 45 Euros for Alexander, Bella and I to climb it at 9:00 a.m.

Before climbing, we headed down the path to get the obligatory "old ing p the tower" poses.

We also snapped a few of the area.

Pisa's Duomo and Bapistry in the Field of Miracles.

We got a brief history lesson on the tower and headed up the 300+ marble steps to the top. It was a twisty, leany climb and what a view at the top!!

Near one of the bells at the top.

You can see the worn middles of the marble steps.

Since Cameron didn't get to climb, Brian stopped to buy him an Italy football Jersey.

After the tower, we headed on a beautiful, scenic view of the Tuscan countryside to Florence.

Olive Oil is big there. Here is a bunch of olive trees.

We made a stop to see the city of Florence from above before heading to the city center. In front is a bridge that was the no bridge to survive WWII. hitler said it was too beautiful to destroy. This is called Ponte Vecchio.

The dome in the middle is of the Santa Maria del Fiore or Duomo (house of God) in Florence.

We also went to Piazzle Michaelangelo which was a hilltop square to se stunning views of the city.

We drove down to the city center.

We headed straight to the Accademia. This is the museum with the Statue of David. You can't take pics inside but Wow is the statue impressive. It is 12 feet tall and awe-inspiring!

Here is a pink and yellow replica in the museum garden.

The streets throughout the city were narrow and crammed with people. Our driver was amazing the way he maneuvered through it all.

We headed to an authentic little place for lunch and enjoyed homemade pasta and amazing ravioli. Afterwards we headed into the city center.

This is the Bapistry and Duomo up close.

Doors to the Bapistry depicting scenes from the old and new testament.

Cameron was fascinated by nearby construction....

We walked around lots of little shops and I picked up a few mementos and then it was time for a gelato stop.

Alexander commented on how many naked pics there were in the museum and Cameron called the tower the "leaning tower or Penis" so combine that with condom machines on the street and there seemed to be a little more sexual feeling in the air in Italy.

We wandered the streets a little more before it was time to head back.

Leather is big in Florence too.

The city was amazing. Our tour guide was fantastic (we used and it was a perfect day. I would love to go back and spend more time there!!

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