Day 10 of our Tour saw us travel through the plains of Lombardy passing by rice paddies and the forested Apennine Mountains. We caught glimpses of Genoa as our destination of Pisa in Tuscany approached. On our arrival we caught a tourist train to the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles). We had been warned about the hawkers selling all manner of wares and souvenirs but it really was a sight to behold. After pushing our way through we joined the throngs of tourists keen to get their first glimpse of the Leaning Tower. To enter the walled Square you have to enter the Lions Gate a huge wide steel structure.
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 the magnificence of the Monuments including the Cathedral and Bapistery, have been admired for centuries. Inside the edifices the significance of the religious history is evident. Paintings, sculptures, gold artifacts, figurines on the ceilings and walls, stained glass windows are breath-taking. You can climb to the top of the leaning tower but there was a queue and there wasn’t time.
Making our way back through the crowds of tourists and hawkers, we boarded the tourist train back to our coach. Next stop Florence, capital City of the Tuscany region of Italy.
I was in no way prepared for this fascinating City. From the history, art, culture to the Cathedrals, churches, sculptures, shopping, food I was mesmerised. Also known as the ‘birthplace of the Renaissance’ and ‘Athens of Italy’ the most known landmark Is the domed Cathedral Santa Marie del Fiore. Beautiful bridges dot the City traversing the Arno river which courses through the City. All but the Ponte Vecchio were destroyed by the retreating germans towards the end of WW11 in a bid to prolong the war.
Michelangelo, sculptor, architect and poet, famous for his painting of the Sistine Chapel and the Sculpture of David among many other significant works of art was born here but lived most of his life in Rome. Sculptures abound throughout the City on almost every corner.
Upmarket shops line the streets selling a diverse range of merchandise including leather goods, jewellery, silk scarfs, designer clothes shoes and boots and so much more. Truly a shopper’s paradise. I could not resist. We were given a demonstration at a world renowned leather goods store. I bought a burgundy leather jacket with contrasting collar and cuffs and a tie belt. An indulgence but one I will treasure and I know it will wear well. I also bought a matching wallet both initialised.
Sights and sounds along the narrow laneways and cobbled streets with tourists ambling around and taking advantage of the outdoor restaurants, searching for souvenirs and designer label shopping is exhilarating.
I went into the interior of the incredibly beautiful Basilica Di Santa Croce (Cathedral of Florence). The sheer magnificence took my breath away. I was so moved many times I stood in reverence and awe at what I was seeing. The frescoes (a technique of mural paintings) used in Roman times and by the great Reconnaissance Italian painters, the sculptures, the figurines, the stained glass windows, the floor and ceiling paintings and mosaics and so much more; photos cannot do justice to the mastery, skill and beauty represented here.
Cathedral of Florence
My impressions of Florence – a visual extravaganza, exploding all of the senses. To get a real sense of the essence of the City zoom in on the photos. I. enjoyed my time there immensely. However I felt we only just touched the surface. So much more to explore. I hope in the future to return.
Thanks for sharing my journey. Next stop the captivating Tuscan hill Town of SAN Gimignano.
Rhonda – the Australian Travelling Nomad.