Neil and Denise in Florence...
September September 3, 2004
We arrived in Florence (Firenze) Friday afternoon. We checked into the Hotel Nuova Italia then headed south past the Santa Maria Novella, which looked completely different from the back side, where a piazza had obelisks on top of tortoises. We made it to the river Arno, here viewed from the Ponte Vecchio. From there we went to see the Pallazzo Vecchio, with its famous tower, where we enjoyed a nice lunch while viewing the art. With fading light, we dashed east to the Basilica Santa Croce, with a large piazza looking back toward the tower.

September 4
September 4, 2004
Saturday we spent the day exploring Florence by foot. We viewed art and the interiors of churches. We shopped several mercattos along the way. We absorbed the Duomo and Baptistery, with their rich frescas inside and marble architecture outside. We viewed the original Michelangelo's David, housed in the Gallery of the Accademia. And we got to view the inside of his amazing Church.
September 5
September 5, 2004
Sunday, we took a regional bus to the Tuscan village of Siena, with its giant piazza and spectacular cathedral. Remus, shown here nursing with his brother Romulus, founded Siena in ancient times. The dome inside this church glowed with gold stars. The pulpit, carved from brown marble, towered above the parish. Even the alcoves glowed with bright frescas. Back in Florence, we fed a coin to this boar for good luck. The nearby guild ministry included these marble sculptures bordering the street.

September 6
September 6, 2004
Monday we sped into the Tuscany on our rented Vespa scooter and rode south through the Chianti vinyards to Greve. Along the way we stopped at Impruneto, one of a million ancient villages spread across the land. We stopped often to look at the views, and we had a great time riding the scooter along the country roads. It was a bit challenging getting in and out of Florence on the scooter, though.
September 7
September 7, 2004
Tuesday morning Neil explored down by the Arno, and looked at art. We finally got inside the Santa Maria Novello to view its beautiful ceiling. Then we took a train to Pisa to climb the marble stairs spiraling to the top, where the bells hang. This tower still serves its only intended purpose; to climb and see the view!
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