Summer of 2010

Cheung Family trip to Italy

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July 3/Day 3: A day in Florence "Cradle of the Renaissance"

The next day, we boarded the bus and travelled the short trip to
Florence.  We were all excited to explore this famous city.
Note the plaque on the wall behind Agnes.

This museum holds one of the most famous collections including the original
"David" statue by Michelangelo.  Yet its exterior is very modest and this
stone plaque is all that marks the building.  It is in a narrow alley,
and looks very unassuming.

Photography inside the Galleria Dell' Accademia is forbidden,
so we have no photograph of the original David.
However, after exploring the museum, we walked
to the Piaza Della Signoria and photographed
a copy.

The David statue is very impressive and stands 17 feet tall.  It depicts David from the David and Goliath story.  He holds a stone in his right hand that will be thrown in the sling which he holds in his left.  The sling drapes over his left shoulder down his back.
Originally, the statue faced Rome, in a message of defiance against the Pope.

Video for Day 3.
Around this square, I had one of my favorite moments of the Italy trip.  Just in front of the
Uffizi Gallery (far right in the above picture of David), we encountered a street musician
with an amplified acoustic guitar.  His name was Tadeusz Machalski.  He played
beautifully, and the setting of the historical buildings and sculptures along
with his music was just magical.  We sat and listened for many minutes.

We then walked to the Florence Baptistery.
Its doors were called the "Gates of Paradise"
by Michelangelo. They can be seen in the background.

The door is made with beautiful bas-relief panels that are gilded with gold.

The Baptistery is right across from the Florence Cathedral.

This is inside the Florence Cathedral.

After the historical sites, we did some shopping.  Robin was
asked to model this amazing reversible suede coat at
the Coccinelle leather store.  Florence is known for
fine leather and gold items.  This one was $1600
(she did not purchase it).

My Mom bought me a leather belt and the store monogramed my initials into
it for no charge.  It is done by a hot knife with the letters slid into it.
This is then pressed into the leather with a sheet of gold leaf.

We then walked to Piazza San Croce, where the Basilica of San Croce stands.

There, we had lunch in a small pizzeria.

One interesting aspect of many cities such as Venice and Florence is
that where historical buildings are being restored, the entire building
is covered with scaffolding featuring a printed sheet that has the
photograph of the underlying building.  This very effectively
hides the ugly scaffolding.  These facades often
feature advertising by the sponsor of the restoration.

Some of us walked to historical Ponte Vecchio.

Other tourists appear to have curious habit of leaving locks around the Ponte.
There are signs prohibiting this practice with a 50 Euro fine.

It was a really nice day, and we enjoyed the view of the bridge.

After all that exploring, we stopped for a Gelato break.  Yumm.

That evening, we had dinner at our hotel.  It was our plainest dinner of the trip.

After dinner, we walked to the Funicular for a trip to Montecatini Alto.

Time lapse photo of the view above.  It was very beautiful.

We found a delightful square at the top of the hill, and it was a surprise discovery.

The next day, we would encounter a building that we saved
from a disastrous collapse!

Click below to find out how it ends....

Next day

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