Tuesday, June 7th: Florence, Italy
The day started off with the same asian family to share a cab to the train station, where we took a train from Livorno to Florence. Warren had told me, “it’s your day, we can do whatever you want”. All I really wanted was a nice Italian meal, a picture with the leaning tower of Pisa and some cute scarves, which I did find. :-)
We hopped of the train in Pisa and Warren started his stop watch to calculate for 1 hour (the trains only came once an hour). We wanted to have plenty of time in Florence, so Pisa needed to be a quick trip. Taxis were barren. Warren spotted a train that Rick had listed as a way to get to the leaning tower, so we sprinted (through the rain) to the bus and hopped on. I asked the girl next to me if it was heading to Pisa, and we had the right bus, but the wrong direction. We got off at the next stop to where we found a lone, empty taxi – thank you! He took us to the tower where we walked around a few minutes and both got one of those classic pictures of us trying to hold up the structure. We were so cool. We saw another bus, confirmed its direction, then got it to head back to the train station. Pisa took all of 54 minutes, where we caught the next train about 6 mins later.
In Florence, we wandered off the train, through an underground passageway to the other side of the square, past some churches, where we stumbled into the Duomo and Baptistery. The Baptistery is known for its massive bronze doors, and the Duomo for its massive dome atop the Cathedral of Santa Mara del Fiore.
We heard the line for Accademia would be long to see Michalengo’s “David”, so we headed to the museum. Word on the street was right. It was over a 2 hour wait. Our taxi driver had told us to buy a reservation ticket for anytime, then go through the reservation door bc they never check the time. But all the rezzie tickets were sold out, and that line seemed even longer with all the tours! So we decided that a picture with the replica would have to do bc we didn’t have 2 hours to spare when there was so much more of the city to see.
Wandering through the streets we found many churches, a hospital, statues and even a catholic funeral taking place. We made our way back to the Duomo Museum where we purchased a tour and walked right in (skipping the line) to the Cathedral. The tour was the best idea we had all day. The floor was what was most impressive. It is the original and from higher up, you can see the unique designs that represent special religious meanings. Our tour guide took us up to the roof and different look out points to the city. Warren was pleasantly surprised and liked Florence much more than he thought he would. Now HE wanted to see other things too, and it became “our” day. :-)
Next we tried to find a Rick recommendation for lunch, but after wandering the narrow streets for a half hour we gave up and settled for pizza and a sandwich. We were short on time, so it probably worked out better this way anyhow. We sat in the Piazza Signoria to eat and then took some pics with the replica statues of David and Perseus, holding Medusa’s head.
What Warren loved most about Florence was that it is a walking town. There are some cars and taxis, also scooters, but they cant all fit on some of the narrow side winding streets. We walked through a small street to get to the Santa Croce Church (where Michelangelo is buried), to which we found it was closed.
So, we moved on to find my scarves. Warren had heard there was great shopping on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, so we walked along the waterline to it. It sprinkled on and off and when rain would come, everyone ran for cover under the awnings of shops. On the bridge were stores mostly with jewelry, so we did a quick walk through, picked up our most expensive and least tasty gelato of the trip and strolled back towards the train station through shops that contained……scarves! I was very happy.
The 3:30 train back to Livorno had been cancelled, and we arrived for the 4:30 train hoping it would be on track. We met a couple production guys for a Blue Man Theater tour on another boat that was docked at the same port. They are treated like royalty on cruise ships from what they were telling us. Much better than our server and cabin attendant, who could only the leave the ship 2 hours a day and slept under water level in a shared cabin. We cant figure out why they do it, bc I don’t think the money is much better and they have to be away from the their families for months at a time. For these production guys though – sounds like cake. They get to travel and have all their room and board free.
We were going to share a train with them back to our ship (theirs was parked next to ours), but we ran into our trusty asian family and split a cab with them back to the boat. Florence. Pisa. Check.