Florence/Pisa, Italy (9.16.09 – 9.18.09)

Florence:
I arrived in Florence at about 3 o’ clock PM. As instructed on the hostel booking sight, I left the train station and caught the number 23 bus. Upon descending from the number 23 bus, as instructed to do so on the website, I got off of the bus… only to find that my immediate surroundings did not correlate as expected with that which the instructions made me expect to see. After wandering back and forth up the street, upon which the bus dropped me off, in seemingly endless torrential rain, I eventually sought cover under a veranda. I called the hostel and soon found that the bus had skipped one of its stops, meaning that I mistook its sixth stop for its fifth. I crossed the river, and immediately saw all of the landmarks that I had been told to watch out for. After finding my hostel and settling in (see: dumping my bags and getting on the internet), I left the hostel to explore Florence, in what daylight hours I had left. I headed into the center of town, making sure to stop for gelato along the way, and headed  back towards the train station in which I had arrived. Within minutes, I found myself at the Duomo, officially known as the Cattedrale Di Santa Maria del Fiore… one of the most astonishing and striking structures I have ever laid eyes upon. This magnificent cathedral is easily spotted because of not only its impressive size, but its beautiful white, red and green marble facade (picture to follow). After admiring the Duomo, I headed towards the Uffizi Gallery, in hopes of being able to browse the galleries before closing time… and sure enough, I was able to do exactly that. The Uffizi Gallery is full of Medieval, and highly religious art. Among my favorites were The Annunciation, and the famous The Birth of Venus. There was one work that was easily classified as one of the most horrifying pieces I’ve ever seen, which you can find here. The Annunciation was… just exquisite: full of incredible detail that drew me in and kept me staring and examining for well over fifteen minutes. After the Uffizi Gallery, I went to the store, and then returned to my hostel, to have another quiet night in, but not before admiring my riverside view of Florence.
The next morning, Thursday the 17th (for those keeping track), I decided that a daytrip to Pisa was in order… and as chance would have it, my two Chilean room mates had the exact same plan in mind… so off we went! After a train ride, and a twenty minute walk, we had found the tilted attraction we sought. We admired for only a few minutes before seeking the ticket booth. The time was around 1 o’ clock… and upon going to purchase tickets to climb the Tower, we discovered that the next available tours were not until 3:40! It was quite a while to wait, but also provided ample time to eat lunch, and take ridiculous, and predictable touristy photos. Our photos taken in all sorts of ridiculous poses, soon enough, it was our time to ascend the Tower of Pisa. I was skeptical about spending 15 Euro to climb this sight that was the result of poor structural planning… but upon climbing, it was clear that it was absolutely worth it. Pisa is beautiful, and bounded by mountains, which adds to its colorful scenery. The time each group spends in the tower is carefully regulated, to ensure that there are not too many people in the tower at once, to ensure that its structural integrity is not further compromised. After leaving the Tower, we headed back to the central Pisa station, and decided to stop in Lucca on our way back to Florence. Our stop was brief, as we had a train schedule to adhere to, but long enough to go for gelato, and walk briskly around the city and its medieval city walls that still stand. After our quick encounter, we were back on a train, and headed back to Florence. Upon return, food was certainly in order after our long day. The boys ran to the store to get food, and upon their return, we all bore witness to their complete and utter lack of culinary skill… so off to the kitchen I went. Our dinner was simple and consisted of pasta with pesto and sausages… but it was filling and hearty. We considered going out, but the call of sleep drowned out the cries of alcoholic beverages calling our names. Bed time it was… we were all off to new cities in the morning.
Morning came, and the boys left before me. Before long, my bags were packed once again, and off I headed to the train station from which I would leave for Milano.

1.daybridge

My view of Florence, by day.

2.duomodome

The Duomo! Just exquisite…

3.duomofront

And from the front…

4.duomofrontagain

And again…

5.lizduomo

And once more, for good measure… and OH! I’ve started wearing different clothes. 🙂

6.sunsetbridge

A Tuscan sunset

7.firstviewtower

Our first view of the Tower.

8.fourpointsomething

Hanging out at an acute 86.01 degrees.

9.cathedral

The Cathedral in front of the Tower of Pisa

10.checkoutmalean

Check out ma’ lean

11.totheground

I felt really ridiculous trying to take this picture…

pushitdown

Razing Europe to the ground… one city at a time

12.backagainstthewall

The walkways got more and more narrow, the higher in the tower you got. We were just letting some people pass by… but it made for a funny picture

13.pisa

The view of Pisa from the top of the Tower… it’s really beautiful. I love how colorful everything is!

14.tower

And one more picture of the Tower…

15.luccacathedral

Ricardo and I in front of the Lucca Cathedral!

16.bridgebynight

And, Florence by night… the end!

Milano coming soon!

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2 responses to “Florence/Pisa, Italy (9.16.09 – 9.18.09)

  1. The Leaning Tower can also teach us about our visual processing system.

    http://www.grand-illusions.com/opticalillusions/leaning_towers/

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