Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Florence and Pisa in a day is a bit of a rush – to say the least. Having docked at Livorno, I joined the coach for the drive through Tuscany to Florence about 2 hours drive inland. What I remember most about Florence is the number of statues and the number of tourists. Unfortunately you can’t go anywhere which boasts anything famous without being part of a mob, and unless you have lots of time to spare, it sometimes means you don’t have time to queue to get into all the places. (And who really wants to queue for an hour or more!). Of course the Duomo is a magnificent building, and I managed to climb the 400 + steps of the Bell Tower next to it, to look out over the city. The octagonal Baptistery was just across the square with the Gates to Paradise (I’m happy to wait for a while before being invited through those) . I walked over the Ponte Vecchio – one of the many bridges over the River Arno – and wasn’t tempted by all the jewellers’ shops which are actually on the bridge, all selling gold. I kept my eyes closed. Leaving Florence, the coach headed back towards the coast and stopped at Pisa on the way. I can say I saw the leaning tower but it was a bit of a rush being given only about 45 minutes. Enough time to walk around it and take some photos – not that all the world doesn’t know what it looks like. Still, I have crossed it off my “must see once in a lifetime” wish list. Back to the ship for the last night at sea. Last stop Rome.