Travels in Italy: Tuscany – Siena (May 30, 2015)

DSC02221.jpg

Attractions:

  • Piazzo del Campo
    • Palazzo Pubblico
    • Fonte Gaia
  • Duomo
Map of Tuscany (Tuscana) region of Italy (courtesy of Google Images)

Map of Tuscany (Tuscana) region of Italy (courtesy of Google Images)

We stopped briefly at Siena on our way back to Rome. This hillside town is where horse races took place. We entered the town at the Piazza del Campo, where we admired the medieval Palazzo Pubblico’s bell tower and the Fonte Gaia.

Interior of Palazzo Pubblico

DSC02200.jpg

We briefly stopped in a café for a latte. Afterwards, we explored the narrow streets. Old buildings lined the street and displayed brightly colored flags with animal symbols; each flag symbolizes the ancient rivalries of the influential families of the town. Continue reading

Travels in Italy: Tuscany – Florence (May 28-29, 2015)

DSC02097.jpg

Map of Tuscany (Tuscana) region of Italy (courtesy of Google Images)

Map of Tuscany (Tuscana) region of Italy (courtesy of Google Images)

Attractions:

  • Galleria dell’Academia
  • Duomo
  • Piazza della Signoria
  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Palazzo Pitti (Palatine Gallery)
  • Uffizi

Upon our arrival to Florence, our tour director took us to the Galleria dell’Academia, where we met our local guide. Founded in 1563, the Academia was the first school of drawing, painting, and sculpture in Europe. Today, it houses several Renaissance pieces by Florentine artists, including Michelangelo’s David and Boticelli’s Madonna del Mare. After hearing and reading about these famous works, it was a breathtaking experience to walk and gaze up at the magnificent works of art made by the local Florentine artists.

Galleria dell’Accademia - David

Afterwards, we were taken to the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore)—the iconic cathedral of the city—and briefed on the history of the cathedral but we did not go inside. Then we were allowed to spend the rest of the time on our own.

Brunelleschi's Dome

We explored the streets of Florence and visited the Piazza della Signoria, where the David was originally placed before being moved to the Academia for safekeeping. It now exhibits sculptures of Roman emperors. For dinner, we tried the famous Florentine steak at Ristorante Boccadama in located in the Piazza di Santa Croce. It was seasoned perfectly! Continue reading

Travels in Italy: Tuscany – Pisa (May 28, 2015)

DSC01715.jpg

Map of Tuscany (Tuscana) region of Italy (courtesy of Google Images)

Map of Tuscany (Tuscana) region of Italy (courtesy of Google Images)

The Tuscany region of Italy is known for red meat, pork, and olive oil. The people of the Tuscany region are also known for their broths and soups that are usually made from beans.

On our way toward Florence, we visited Pisa—an ancient medieval city. The most famous is the Leaning Tower (Torre Pendente).

Construction of the tower began in 1173 on sandy subsoil but the tower tilted before the third story was completed in 1274. The entire structure was completed in 1350 but it became dangerous for the public to venture in.

DSC01722.jpg

Today, the tower has been reinforced and the lean decreased by 14 inches. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was known to have performed experiments on the velocity of falling objects at the top of the tower.

Unfortunately, we only had two to three hours here, so we had a quick lunch and only got to explore the grounds near the tower. We were not able to climb to the top of the tower or visit the Duomo and Baptistry.

DSC01759.jpg

References

Machiavelli, F., Martin, S., Townsend, H., & Tyrrell, N. (Eds.). (2014). Italy. New York, NY: DK Eyewitness Travel.

Italy