Florence ended up being a rather lazy leg of my trip! I am appreciative of the relaxation of the few days in Florence, especially since I am now in the bustling city of Rome! While I was in Florence I took a day trip to the city of Pisa to see the famous tower, I wandered and window shopped in the outdoor markets in Florence, and I ‘hiked’ to a garden that overlooked the entire city! It was a neat sight to see! At the end of the post, I will share with you my ‘dud’ of a first day in Rome as well as some of my plans for the ancient city!
After a short train ride from Florence to Pisa and a short walk from the train station to the Duomo, I finally saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa! I can assure you, it is leaning. J I was surprised by the height of the tower. I imagined the tower to be much taller but it was rather short in my opinion. For a small fee you could climb to the top, but being afraid of heights I opted out of the climb to the top. After checking out the tower, we grabbed a quick lunch before heading to the Duomo. The Duomo in Pisa is quite different from other duomos and cathedrals I have visited on this trip. There was only a small amount of stained glass in the windows and the walls were covered in GIANT (rather modern looking) painted portraits of images depicting scenes from the Bible. I was unsure of the settings or stories behind many of the images though. Nonetheless, of course the Duomo was beautiful!
We didn’t feel the need to stay much long in Pisa, and soon after touring the Duomo we headed back to Florence for our AirBNB!
This was the first city that I have really experienced at night. After a late night gelato stop, Hailey and I wandered towards the Duomo to check out the building at night. Nighttime seems to make a building seem bigger and more intimate. You can see the shadows from each curve and dent and you see the colors of the marble much clearer – the greens and reds especially. It was beautiful to see such a large cathedral in much quieter and less touristy setting.
About a 30 minute walk from our AirBNB was a small garden/piazza that overlooked the city of Florence. The walk/hike was mainly uphill and culminated in a series of steps to the top. The views from the top were well worth the short hike however! It was amazing to look out over the city. In a lot of the Italian cities I have visited on this trip, it is easy to see the history of the city. It is equally fascinating to consider that this history – the old buildings, the ancient churches, the old bridges – are still be used regularly today. Italy brings a new definition to the idea of ‘living history’!
We got to the piazza near sundown and waited until the sun had set to look out on Florence at night. It was neat to look out and see the Duomo lit up as well as the lights reflecting off the water of the Arno River.
Rome! Strikes and Adds
I finally settled into Rome, the ancient city, yesterday afternoon! We are staying in a Bed and Breakfast about a 10 minute quiet walk from the Colosseum! After picking up some groceries, I settled in for the night and prepped for a busy week ahead of me. The next day (today/Friday) I was prepared to spend a day in Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica! It was only a short metro ride there. The first metro I approached was gated shut. No problem, probably maintenance! There was a metro near the AirBNB in Paris that was shut down due to construction! After a short walk, I found that the next metro stop was closed too! Turns out, transportation workers across the country were on a 24 hour strike! Being the resourceful person I am, I found a tram system that was still running and waited for a tram.
After waiting about an hour for the tram, and another fair amount of time on a tram with no moving air and lots of humans in 90 degree weather, I decided to turn around. I wouldn’t make it to the Vatican and back home in time at the rate we were going. In the end, I spend the majority of my time today navigating the Rome transportation system during a nationwide strike. What an adventure!
Hopefully everything is back and running tomorrow and my touring will continue! While in Rome I am hoping to visit Vatican City, I will attend a papal mass on Sunday, tour the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the Pantheon, make a wish at Trevi Fountain, hike the Spanish steps in the Piazza di Spagna and hopefully still find time to enjoy a plate of pasta or a cup of gelato while I am at it!
Rome will be a very busy few days! I will try my best to keep you all updated!