June 2, 2012
The Riveria spent two days in the Italian port of Livorno. On the first day we did a tour of Florence and on the second day we did a tour of Pisa.
Our tour of Florence
Located on the River Arno, Florence, or Firenze, is a true, classic Italian city and the birthplace of the Renaissance. Built around Il Duomo, one of Italyʹs most fascinating Cathedrals, Florence offers the some of the most spectacular art museums, architecture and photo opportunities in the world today. Florenceʹs artistic wealth can be attributed to one family in particular; the Medicis. Rulers of the city for over three centuries, they were directly responsible for the cultivation of Renaissance art in Florence, as well as the vast quantity of spectacular buildings that remain standing to this day.
This tour will depart the pier for the drive to Florence, where guests will walk to the Galleria dellʹAccademia. Upon arrival, you will find the sheer colossal size of Michelangeloʹs statue of David to be truly awe-inspiring. Nestled in a vaulted space that permits a free and unencumbered view from all angles, the grandeur of the statue is further enhanced by its turned head and intense gaze. Built by the Medicis in the late-16th century, the Uffizi is home to the most revered picture gallery in Italy, with representative works by the Italian masters Cimabue, Giotto, Duccio, Simone Martini, Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo. You will also see the exquisite works of Flemish, Spanish, Venetian, French, and German artists.
After visiting the two museums, you will enjoy a delicious lunch at the Hotel Savoy or Grand hotel Baglioni. Both properties offer unparalleled luxury and style in the heart of Florence. The venue locations are centrally located in close proximity of the museums and Florenceʹs main fashion streets, making them an ideal base from which to visit the key attractions of this beautiful and historic city.
After your sumptuous repast, some free time will be made in the afternoon to browse the world-class shops of Via Tornabuoni and Via della Vigna Nuova, including Armani, Bulgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianni Versace, Gucci, Prada and more.
At the conclusion of your unforgettable day in Florence, you will re-board your coach for the return drive to the pier and ship.
Ask people what they remember most about Florence and it will most certainly be the statue of
Lionel oops David. The sheer size of this work of art is incredible. We were not allowed to take photographs inside the Galleria dell’Accademia so the picture below was taken outside of a replica. Go figure, Winsome took more pictures of David than Lionel did!!!
This was once again another very long tiring day as the bus drive from the ship into Florence was 2 hours – so another 4 hours on the road.
Florence is a beautiful city and we greatly enjoyed the museums. The works of the Italian masters are magical but by the end of our visits we were possibly skirting with Stendhal Syndrome, the giddiness and confusion supposed caused when one looks at great works of art. The condition is named after 19th century French Author Stendhal who wrote of feeling utterly overwhemled by the Renaissance masterpieces he saw during a trip to Florence in 1817. Thanks Ken for making us aware of this syndrome! Also pictured below are the beautiful Basilica di Santa Croce and the Duomo di Firenze.
The Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan church of Florence, Italy. Situated on the Piazza Santa Croce to the east of the Duomo, it is best known for its Florentine artwork and its tombs of illustrious dead, including Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli.Built in 1294, to a design by the great architect Arnolfo di Cambio, the Basilica has lived through seven centuries of history, augmenting its artistic heritage as a result of exceptional contributions, to the point of becoming one of the best-loved and most visited sites in Florence.
The Duomo di Firenze, the Florence Cathedral, was built between 1296 and 1436. The cathedral is one of the largest in the world. Its imposing dome, attributed to the Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi, still dominates the city.
June 3 2012
Our tour of Pisa
Once a great maritime power and the rival of Venice and Genoa, Pisa is best known today for the famed Leaning Tower. This tour begins at the Piazza del Duomo, which is a revered World Heritage site containing four of masterpieces of medieval architecture-a cathedral, baptistery, campanile (the Leaning Tower) and cemetery. Your first stop is the Duomo, the five-naved basilica within the Field of Miracles. Begun in 1064, the vast interior contains granite columns, mosaics, and a magnificent pulpit carved by Giovanni Pisano. The Romanesque Baptistery, the largest in Italy, has an immense interior that produces peculiar acoustics. Another highlight is the magnificent Romanesque campanile, which took nearly 200 years to construct, but began to tilt as soon as the third level was completed because the settling sub-soil was unable to withstand the towerʹs weight. At the northern end of the complex lies the walled cemetery, which while damaged during World War II, has been largely restored to its original magnificence. After this portion of the tour, you will have free time to wander through the historic heart of Pisa for shopping and other diversions.
Lionel really wanted to climb the tower but unfortunately our guide did not inform us that we should sign up as soon as we arrived in the square. By the time the guided part of the tour had concluded and he went to sign up the first available slot was after the departure time of the tour bus. In the picture below: On the left is The Baptistry, a building used for baptsims and is dedicated to John the Baptist. In the middle is The Duomo, a medieval cathedral dating back to 1064. The building to the right, the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most photographed buildings in Europe. They began constructing it 1173 and it was built over the course of 177 years. Shortly after construction started the southern part of the building started to sink due to poor subsoil and a weak foundation. Construction was halted for over 90 years to allow the building to stabalize before completing the construction.
Winsome looks up from the floor of the Baptistry