Another DIY tour.
Getting to Pisa Tower
We paid $14 for the cruise shuttle bus to get to the train station. The train to Pisa took about 15 min. We than transferred to a local bus Lam Rosa to Miracoli Piazza. (Campo die Miracoli, Field of Miracles)
Field of Miracle and the Leaning Tower
Each of us stand in front of the Leaning Tower to take pictures. Lots of other tourists are doing the same thing. We are all posing with hands pressed against the tower. What a funny sight. As you can see in the pictures, the tower is circular, white and has many columns around each floors. There is a cathedral next to it and another building with a round dome on top. There three structures stood on a flat grassy plain surrounded by a stone wall. There was not enough time to go inside the cathedral. We quickly got the souvenirs and run back to the train station and catch the 10:54 am train onto Florence.
An hour train ride later we walked from the Firenze SMN train station towards Duomo. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The area near the train station was somewhat rundown. It was a Sunday and the cathedral was closed. We circled around the cathedral and looked all around it. The cathedral is so big. I'd say it is about the size of a Manhattan mid-town block. The front facade is covered with intricate multicolor marble inlays. There are many sculptures of saints. The front door is a huge bronze door with sculpted pictures of scenes. Some of the scenes looked like battles or could be from the Bible. All the exterior walls have fine details around the many windows and recesses. High above the top of the cathedral is a huge dome which is an architectural marvel of that time. Next to the front facade is a tall tower. You can go up to the top, but we did not have enough time so we skipped it.
Piazza della Signora
Next we walked to Piazza della Signora which is the square where the copy of statue of David stands. A marathon just finished when we arrived and the square was full of people. There are too many statues made by Cellini to take pictures of. I felt like I was doing a documentary taking pictures of everything around me. A water fountain with a sea god and horses stands at one side of the plaza near Statue of David. The other side of the plaza is a large outdoor cafe.
Ufizzi Museum and Gallery
A short distance away is the Ufizzi Gallery. The medieval and renaissance collection here is second to Louvre Museum. The long line is notorious. I didn’t book the reservation online because there is just not enough time to go in.
The Ponte Vecchio is the bridge where you can find a lot of jewelry shops. I read somewhere that it used to be meat shops on the bridge. But the royalties in the ancient days traveling on the bridge did not like the smell or the looks of it and ordered the meat merchants to leave and only allowed jewelry smiths to be there. Now there are mostly jewelry shops there and some small art galleries. There are some people selling fake brand name bags on the street. It was hot that day and was a great time to taste some gelato. From here we headed to Santa Croce.
This is the cathedral where Michelangelo and Galileo was buried. It was also closed on Sunday. The facade is mostly white. This church is much smaller than Duomo. The side and back of the church is not so well maintained. There were people hanging around in the shadowy side street. I heard it was closed to tourist recently due to vandalism.
Back to train station
We walked the same way we came to return to the Firenze SMN (San Maria Novello) train station and made our way back to the ship.