We woke up early in the morning and boarded a flight from London to Pisa. We spent the morning there, and then took a train to Florence for the rest of the day. I got to go to Florence for a weekend while I was studying in London, but it was so fun to go back with Julie and get our first taste of Italy. I have to say my favorite thing about Italy (other than the pizza and gelato) is the fact that it looks just like you always imagined it would. Everything is just old, but a beautiful kind of old; narrow winding cobblestone streets surrounded by beautiful old buildings all with old window shutters. I love the window shutters in Italy. You’ll probably notice a few in the pictures coming up. I have to say we loved the people too…Italians just seem so happy, friendly, and willing to listen to us in broken Italian trying to ask for things. We kind of just communicated by smiling and pointing at stuff – and they smiled and pointed at stuff back at us.
So we jumped on a train to Pisa from the airport to see this:
Not really sure how much more there is to Pisa that this, but wow this tower is weird. It’s always weird to see something in photos and textbooks your whole life, and then actually see it in person.
Julie was really excited about this part. But serious, she is holding that whole thing up with her finger. Not quite as cool as when I did it with my feet in 2006, but still pretty cool.
That sucker seriously is leaning. It seems like more now than last time I saw it (I know that isn’t true, but look at it).
Inside the duomo that is next to the tower. The interiors of these buildings in Italy are just amazing. I love the style of architecture. I think gothic architecture is beautfiul, but the renaissance style in Italy and the amount of light in those churches just make them so amazing.
After seeing the tower, we missed the train to Florence we were trying to get to, but quickly realized how hungry we were and found a little hole in the wall pizzeria. Wow. The way that they make those crusts just makes any other pizza you’ve had in your life kind of like blah. mmm.
We made the next train and headed to Florence. Immediately you just feel like you went 200 years back in time (or 500) – see what I mean by the shutters and everything looking just like you imagined it would. We walked down to the Duomo and just sat there in awe for a while. The whole exterior is so intricate. It makes me kind of sad at how architecture has digressed – they took the time to hand carve every detail – whereas we now just slap up some walls and call it a building (which will fall over in 25 years).
No two are alike.
Look at the detail.
No shortage of tourists. Look at that street though, isn’t that just beautiful?
The Baptistery Doors. It took Lorenzo Ghiberti 21 years to make these. Click the link or here is a little bit compliments of Wikipedia “It took Ghiberti 21 years to complete these doors. These gilded bronze doors consist of twenty-eight panels, with twenty panels depicting the life of Christ from the New Testament. The eight lower panels show the four evangelists and the Church Fathers Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Gregory and Saint Augustine. The panels are surrounded by a framework of foliage in the door case and gilded busts of prophets and sibyls at the intersections of the panels. Originally installed on the east side, in place of Pisano's doors, they were later moved to the north side. They are described by Antonio Paolucci as "the most important event in the history of Florentine art in the first quarter of the 15th century"”.
No description necessary. Strawberry, Coconut, and Mixed Berry Gelato. The first of about 25 trips to the Gelateria.
Another awesome Italy quirk: look at these buses – they are everywhere and they fit about 10 people.
That is sheer delight on Julie’s face right there.
Next we went to Galleria dell'Accademia to see the David. That brought a serious line, but we took turns waiting while the other person walked around. This is door that you pass in the line. You can tell a LOT of people have waited by this door over time. It was worth the wait. I had seen it before, but I am so glad I saw it again with Julie. She knows anatomy and to see her in awe as she looked at it helped me to appreciate it more. Julie should be writing this but the way that Michelangelo portrays David and the detail is incredible. To start with a huge chunk or marble, and turn it into such a masterpiece – was there anything Michelangelo couldn’t do?
Ponte Vecchio. Translation “Old Bridge” Ha. Really cool bridge over the river in Florence full of old jewelry shops.
I saw this and I was like “this is Italy”
Sunset on Florence. We jumped on a train to Rome that evening. Trains in Europe are amazing. Why can’t the US take a lesson. Northeast Regional is a piece. This train from Florence to Rome was so nice, and so efficient. Just bought some tickets, jumped on – no security line – and we were zipping along to Rome.
Rome is coming next. Stay tuned. It is full on autumn here in DC. Lovin it.
Post on London below; if you haven't already seen it - click on "Older Post" below and it will show up.