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18
Oct-2015

Norwegian Spirit, Florence

Lin and Beth   /  

Florence 14th Oct Norwegian Spirit Wed
An early start as we are booked to travel from the port of Livorno to Florence and Karen has a busy schedule proposed.
The ship efficiently farewelled about 1000 passengers and our bus delivered us to Florence for our own tour and was to collect us at 4pm. The advantage of a ship booked trip is the ship will not leave without you, and Florence is a long way inland.
Tour allocation was like other ships with everybody collecting in the theatre and then tours being called to leave. Our bus was nearly full but Karen was able to scrounge a seat for Matthew. The drive in through Tuscan wine and olive country also had many hay and grazing areas. It took 90 minutes and our guide gave us some interesting facts about Florence. The 1966 flood from the Arno was 3m through the city and it took a long time to clean up the mud. We were dropped close to the city and our 1st appointment was the Uffizi Gallery. We have not been here before and were all blown away with the room after room of the best art available. The guide says the Uffizi has the greatest collection of Italian art anywhere and who are we to dispute this. Botteccili, Giotto, Uccello, de Vinci, and Michelangelo are all here.The last of the Medici family was a woman and as there was no successor she said in her will that her collection must stay in Florence so we have her to thank. We were lucky we booked as we skipped a queue of at least an hour. There were some wonderful views of the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio the bridge of goldsmiths that is the only old bridge in the city after WW2 resulted in the rest being bombed. There is a corridor over the bridge that stretches from the old palace to the new Medici palace called Petti palace. The secret corridor also led to the bridge replacing the meat annd fish merchants with gold shops as the royalty did not like the smell.
We walked up the the cobblestone Via to the Duomo and while Beth Caleb Matthew and I has a coffee/drink the others scaled the 450 steps to the top of the dome. We just saw inside the church which is enormous but austere inside. Karen Josh and Daniel loved the climb. So close to the paintings on the dome and a wonderful view of Florence.
Josh Daniel and I then visited the Church of Santa Croce which had marvellous paintings and statues. There are many important locals buried here including some Knights and Caleb would have loved their carved marble burial covers. The most important artist was Giotto.
The others took the leisurely stroll back past the leather shops.
We had been told by the guide that 3.40 was the return time, but not to worry of you are not back by then as she will be here at the same time tomorrow. The drive back included a road with a top view of the city and we then headed back.
Dinner was at main restaurant and again Matthew was a hit. The waiters love him and I am sure it is partly because they miss their families with long stints on the ship. Another great meal follower by a Rock & Roll show. What a day. Karen feels this is indulgent to enjoy some of the best Europe has to offer during the day, return to the safe ship to a beautifully prepared meal. Awaken need day to a breakfast you cannot even try it all, and be already in another great new city to explore.

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