Europe 2013- Day 15- Italy- Classical Italy

After a very fine night in Florence, I woke the next morning to find grey skies and scattered showers. On my schedule, I’d left the morning free to explore Florence, not knowing how much time I would have had the previous evening to do so.

I returned to Florence’s main square to admire the city’s main cathedral- The Duomo.

The massive Gothic cathedral dates back to 1296. It’s dome remains the largest stone dome ever constructed. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, each facade of the building exhibits some of the most amazing and ornate artwork.

During the walk I’d taken the previous evening, I’d taken many photos of Florence’s iconic bridge, Ponte Vecchio. The bridge, which connects the shortest span of the River Arno, has shops and stands on both sides. In it’s earliest days, these were mostly butcher’s shops- today, these shops are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir shops. On the other side of the river lies the Pitti Palace, once the home of Florence’s influential De Medici family, now a museum space that is one of Europe’s largest.

After getting comprehensively soggy enjoying the city, I headed toward the train station, but not before grabbing my favorite Italian lunch, gelato. 🙂

By the time I’d taken the short train ride to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pisa, the rain had ceased.

Pisa is most famous site is the Leaning Tower. While the tower is iconic and well-know, I have always found the Piazza dei Miracoli’s two other building, the Baptistry and the Duomo, the real scene-stealers.

After checking into my hotel in La Spezia, I knew I wouldn’t have the time to explore more than one town of the Cinque Terre. So I decided to take the short train ride to the southernmost of the towns, Riomaggiore.

I arrived so late in the evening that I only had time for a short walk around the steep streets of the city, and an amazing meal of stuffed mussels. I also was able to watch a gorgeous sunset over the Mediterranean.

As I boarded the train to head back to my hotel, I was excited to see all of the Cinque Terre the next day.

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