Tuesday, July 05, 2011

I Remember ... A Tour of Florence

It was the fifth of July and early in the morning we called Brian to check on family. It was strange to hear fireworks in the background ... they were still celebrating the 4th back home @ 9:45 p.m. It was so good to talk to them. However, it was sad to hear the sale on their house may fall through. It was hard to be far from home during times such as these.
When we went down to breakfast we encountered a crowd due to other tour groups eating at the same time. It was hard to find a table or to eat with others in our group. The elevators were jammed with young students moving large suitcases from upper floors to the lobby. It was hard to get back to our room. We grabbed a few last minute things from our room and got ready to meet the tour bus. When we tried to use the elevator it never did reach our floor. We finally ran five flights of stairs and nearly missed our bus. Telly was just going to find out where we were. Now that was a little embarrassing ...
This day was starting out with intense heat and our first stop on our guided walking tour was the red-brick domed cathedral, The Duomo ... the centerpiece of the city and an engineering genius. This is the stuff Walt loves! Behind us was the Baptistery with it's beautiful bronze doors facing the Duomo. The doors were opened allowing us to take pictures ... what beautiful mosaics on the ceiling.

We walked over to the Piazza della Repubblica which is a large square sitting on the site of Florence's original Roman Forum and Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall ... a Florentine landmark. In this courtyard is the "fake" David. Michelangelo's David stood in this spot until 1873.

The last of our guided tour included a visit to Santa Croce Church, a 14th-century Franciscan church. It is here that we lit candles for neighbors ... at their request.

We had time on our own and despite the sweltering heat, we walked over Ponte Vecchio, Florence's most famous bridge. It is lined with shops that have traditionally sold gold and silver.

This was probably one of last cities to do souvenir shopping so we spent quite a bit of time checking out various stores. When the heat became unbearable we walked back to the hotel ... which felt like a long distance ... and enjoyed a nice lunch in the hotel cafe with others from our group.

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