Florence and Pisa, Italy
After leaving the French Riviera our cruise ship headed down the coast towards Italy. We pulled into an Italian port and promptly disembarked. We were on a 8 person tour van for our tour of Pisa and Florence. Our first stop was Pisa and the leaning tower that has made the city so famous. The complex around the tower included a beautiful church and baptistry as well, but everyone was flocking towards the tower to take their pictures with it.
After we were done taking pictures in Pisa we headed towards Florence (Firenza as the locals call it).
In Florence there was so much to do and see that we ended up running out of time. Some of the highlights included the Duomo (pictured below), The Ponte Vecchio bridge, The Accademia where Michelangelo’s David is held, as well as the various plazas and shopping districts that we walked through.
Florence is definitely a beautiful city I would love to go back to some day.
When we went to view the David there are signs everywhere about not taking pictures, but my wife was able to sneak one anyway (without flash of course!).
It really is an impressive piece of sculpture.
We traveled from Florence to the port of Rome at Civitavecchia. For our excursion into Rome we boarded another 8 person van and zoomed into the city. One thing we noticed on our trip is that the drivers in Europe are completely insane! Scooters zooming in and out of traffic, cars and vans going down streets that weren’t meant for vehicles. We were white knuckling it much of the time.
Our first stop in Rome was the Colosseum. They told us about how the building used to be covered in white marble, and was probably quite the sight. At some point after Rome became a Christian nation they removed the marble to re-purpose it to build churches and other houses of worship. The building is still quite impressive though.
One of our next stops was the ancient Pantheon, built around 120 AD. The building was originally built as a pagan temple to all the gods, but was re-purposed as a Chrisitian church hundreds of years later. The building is so much bigger than I thought it to be, and its domed interior with skylight is impressive as well. A must see if you ever go to Rome.
One of the last stops on our tour was the Vatican. While we were there we went to the Vatican museum and saw the Sistine Chapel, as well as the great St. Peter’s Basillica. The Sistine Chapel was awe-inspiring, and while you were in the room viewing the paintings on the ceiling you were supposed to be silent. The guards in the room kept having to clap and ask people for silence.. “silencio!”.
Next we stopped at St. Peter’s which was probably the most massive and beautiful church I’ve ever been in. Everything in that place was a work of art from the high altar in front to the frescoes and other artwork on the ceilings. I only wish we had more time while we were there to explore the magnificent building.
Naples, The Amalfi Coast and Pompeii
Our next stop was on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, as well as a stop in Pompeii. The Amalfi Coast was our first destination, and in my opinion it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Of all the places we visited we decided that this was one of the ones we wanted to re-visit some day. The soaring cliffs, seaside villages and tiny cafes were all so picturesque that it was hard to take a bad picture there. Here’s a picture I took of Positano, Italy – one of my favorite villages on the coast. Other places we visited include Ravello, Sorrento, Majora and Amalfi.
After going up the coast we went in towards the ancient unearthed city of Pompeii. When you enter the site you are instantly struck with how large of a site Pompeii is. You are basically walking in an ancient city – as it was on the day that it died in 79 AD. There are houses, shops, temples and so many other buildings it really is quite eery. The most eery was viewing the bodies that were found in the ruins, still contorted in the poses that they died in when Vesuvius erupted so long ago.
Next on our cruise..
Next on our travelogue we’ll visit Santorini and Athens, Greece, as well as Dubrovnik Croatia and Venice, Italy. Stay tuned for more!