Sept. 3, 2012
Day Three In Florence Photo Gallery
Today we walked to the Museum of Academia where the statue of David is kept. Let me just say right now that it is truly an amazing piece of artwork. It was made all from one block of marble, and stands 16 feet tall. Michelangelo was able to get all the right proportions for the body because he and Leonardo da Vinci studied dead bodies. Even though that was illegal back then, they were friends with the owner of a mortuary who apparently decided that since it was for science he'd risk it. I couldn't take any pictures of it though because, as our tour guide told us, the museum wants people to buy pictures they have for sale there rather than take your own. The museum is the third-most visited in the entire world. Even though there are only a couple hundred thousand citizens of Florence, over 3.2 million people come to see the statue of David per year. Our tour guide was so cool that he even gave the tour for the cast of Jersey Shore when they came to Italy!
After showing us David he took us around Florence and shared a brief history of the different buildings and the different artists that are associated with the city. He even showed us the longest standing school in Florence where da Vinci and Galileo both used rooms for their studies before it became a school. Our guide and his father and his grandfather all went to this school too. How cool would it be to say you went to school where famous people used to paint/study the sky?!
Following the tour we went shopping some more, and I was able to finish all my gift buying. I must say, Im pretty proud of my purchases. Then we headed back to the hotel to get ready to go see the town of Pisa. The bus ride was over an hour long, so we watched Under the Tuscan Sun on the way. Once again, it is so cool to see scenes in movies that you've been to or are currently driving through (we watched Angels and Demons when we drove from Rome to Florence)!
Buses aren't allowed in the city so we parked the bus and had to take a shuttle over about five minutes to actually get there. Just even walking off the bus there were already people coming over to sell us things, whether it was purses, watches, umbrella ... anything! Once we got to Pisa, we had about 30 min before our tour began. Some of us went to restrooms (which they call "toilettes" here), and had to pay 50 cents in order to use them! At least it was a decently clean bathroom though so, as Devon noted that, "we got our money's worth" ☺. We then walked over to the Leaning Tower and took pictures in front of it. We all tried to do the kind where it looks like were leaning on it/trying to hold the building up. It took a little work but we figured it out eventually! After our little bit of free time we headed over to the front of the tower to meet up with our new tour guide. She walked us around the Baptistry and the chapel and told us some of the history about them, as well as the tower. Apart from those three, there's also a hospital and a cemetery that make up the little circle of main buildings in the Miracle Square.
We learned how architecture has never been studied in Pisa's schools, and one could see why, considering their main attraction originally leaned 5 degrees sideways. The tower was built to house bells for the chapel. An unknown architect built the first three floors of the tower, then took the money and fled the city. It wasn't until 100 years later another architect added on to it, hoping to counteract the extreme lean by building the final three levels the opposite direction.
After our condensed history lesson we were able to climb the tower. 217 steps later we reached the top (I counted). By about step 50 my legs were burning but it wasn't really that bad once we got to the top. We took lots of pictures, and even did a little bit of our music video up there too. It was absolutely beautiful. You could see practically the whole city, and the university's soccer field was close by so you could even watch some of a game.
Once we got back to Florence, we had dinner at a seemingly hole-in-the-wall place, but the restaurant seemed to be busy regardless. Our first course was three different kinds of bruschetta. We had steak and green beans and potatoes for our main course and it was SO GOOD. We finished dinner then walked back to the hotel. We're leaving for Stresa tomorrow so we had to do laundry (in the tub with detergent) and start packing a bit.
I wont have much to say tomorrow. The team wants to go shopping for last minute things in the morning, then were busing to the gym, which is a good four and a half, five hours away. Then we play against Team Basket Crema, and we drive to Stresa, which is another two hours or so more. I'll let you know how we do though!