Under the Tuscan Sun (or lack thereof)

Last weekend I went to Tuscany with my friends Kim and Maddie to see Pisa and Florence. We traveled from Milan to Pisa by train to see the famous Leaning Tower in person. Of course we had to get some great cheesy pictures. Unfortunately I forgot my camera battery in Milan so this blog post will have crappy iphone 4 quality photos. Nevertheless it was wonderful to see tourists from all over the world standing in awkward positions trying to get the perfect shot pushing or kicking shot.

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Leaning Tourists

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After spending a couple hours in Pisa we took a quick train to Florence where we walked to our hostel to check in. We were stay at the Hostel Santa Monaca which was an old church converted into a hostel. Since the Generator in Venice was kinda of a hotel Santa Monaca felt really lame but it was clean, safe and in a pretty good location so that’s all you can ask for at that price. After checking in we went walk through the famous site of Florence on our way to an apperitivo suggested by the hostel. We past Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo and Baptistry. The Duomo was massive and very beautiful but was decorated in an interesting style (some may thing “Church in Pajamas”) but was incredible to see especially in contrast with the blue night sky.

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Ponte Vecchio

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The next day after having a sorely needed coffee we headed to the Accademia to see the one and only Michelangelo’s David. Luckily as suggested by a friend I had reserved tickets and we were able to bypass a massive line to enter the museum. The sculpture of David was way bigger than I had imagined! At 17 feet tall it dwarfed all the other sculptures in the museum. I could now see why it took Michelangelo 3 years to complete. There were also 4 unfinished sculptures called The Prisoners that allowed me to see the amount of work and planning that sculpting on marble required in that day.

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Afterwards we bought to Duomo Museum passes that allowed us entry into Giotto’s Campanile (Tower), the Duomo and Bapistry. First we decided to climb the tower which as about 400 stairs! But the view of Florence from the top was amazing and my legs were incredibly sore afterwards. We then saw the inside of the Baptistry which had incredible painted ceilings and wall, then refueled with gelato and pizza before we climbed the Duomo to see the city from the top of the Dome.  After seeing the sights we hit up the San Lorenzo market to get some souvenirs and rub the boars snout you can come back to Florence. For dinner we went to Trattoria Tito which had very authentic Tuscan cuisine. Kim and Maddie had the huge 3 lb Florentine Steak while I had some incredible Tuscan vegetable soup and pasta. It was probably the best most authentic meal that I had in all of Italy.

The next morning we got up early to beat the line at the Uffizi Gallery since we didn’t have any reserved tickets. Luckily there was no line at 9:30 am and we got in hassle free. The Gallery itself was amazing! It had all the busts of Roman emperors and greek sculptures that I studied in my Roman Archaeology class back at UT. The Gallery also had some incredible paintings and history. Botticelli’s Birth of Venus which is arguably the most popular painting there was inspired by another sculpture that Botticelli saw when he visited the same museum! Florence was incredible for me and I’m sure would be heaven for any art lover. Hopefully for my next trip I won’t forget my camera and will take some pictures that do Florence and Tuscany the justice they deserve.

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View from the Tower
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Ceiling of the Baptistry
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Selfie with Maddie at the top of the Duomo
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View of Florence from the Duomo
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