Italian Adventure–Part II, Florence and Pisa

On Saturday morning we headed out, once again, into the streets of Florence.  Our goal was to get to the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge.  The Ponte Vecchio spans the Arno River in Florence and is best known for having shops built on the bridge.   Ok, literally, at some points, The shops are hanging over the edges of the bridge.  Let me show you what I mean.

Ponte Vecchio

And one of me

The Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence

And at a closer look...

Ye Gads!

Not so sure I’d want my store hanging over the edges of the bridge like that, but seeing as it was built in Roman times I’m sure it’s okay…right?  As Russ says, “Just don’t send your fat cousin back into the storage room to get something.”  Haha right, Russ.

Anyway, it’s kind of cool to think of going to the bridge to shop.  The stores used to be for things like butcher shops, but now they’re primarily for jewelry sellers.

Russ and the Ponte Vecchio

We spent some more time just tramping around Florence, exploring several markets (leather and cooking goods) and enjoying the views of the narrow streets opening up into expansive piazzas.

Houses along the Arno River

We enjoyed the proliferance of the national flag, something you just don't see much of in Germany

Florence

Leather Goods

Olive Oil and Wine Market on the Right

Before we said “goodbye” to the capital city of Tuscany, we headed up to Piazzale Michelangelo which overlooks the entire city.  The view really shows how massive the Duomo is!

The Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo

Looking over Florence

The Hills Surrounding Florence

One last look--bye Florence!

Us

We hopped in the car(Fiat Panda for all of you who are wondering, aka Russ’s uncles) and started toward Pisa. Pisa was, by far, the most touristy destination in our travels.  It’s not that there were so many people there, in fact, Russ was amazed at how few people there were.  It was the market there; touristy shirts, aprons, buttons, pins…you name it, they were trying to shove it in your face.  People approaching left and right, pushing fake sunglasses and purses.  “Hey Lady, you like Prada?”  Ugh!  Needless to say, we were annoyed by having to walk the gauntlet to even get to the tower.  But it was worth it.

Pisa's Leaning Tower

Cool!

Yep, to Russ's chagrin, I made him take the typical cheesy tourist perspective photo

And because no one in the world is allowed to touch Russ's camera, we only have pictures like this

For those of you who don’t know, the Tower of Pisa leans because it actually started sinking after it was built.  It was started on soil that just wasn’t stable enough, and it would definitely have come crashing down had Pisa not had a convenient, almost-Century-long break on building due to battles with surrounding cities.  The break allowed the soil to settle, and when the builders resumed, they started building one side longer than the other in order to compensate.  The tower is actually the bell-tower of the nearby cathedral.

Pisa's Cathedral

Piazza del Duomo

Baptistry

The tower peeks out from behind the cathedral

From Pisa we headed to a place we’d be staying for a few days, a place that is very special to Russ’s family.  Gargonza, a castle complex that has been converted into apartments and hotel rooms, is special enough to warrant it’s own post.  Stay tuned; we’ll enjoy some present day and historical looks at Castello di Gargonza. 🙂

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Che bello!

    Looks like you’re having a great time! I love living vicariously through the two of you. But if I think about it too much, I get depressed because it’d be exceedingly more fantastic to actually BE there with you–not just imagining it from afar.

    Mi manchi!

    Reply

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