Our second city visited was Florence.  Florence is the art center of Italy and an absolutely beautiful city as well.  It was a bit crowded, being tourist season, but it was still very enjoyable and I'd say it was my favorite of the cities we visited.  Venice was incredible because of its uniqueness (there really is nothing else like it), but for some reason Florence was still my favorite.  It was relaxing, quiet, and very friendly.  There was a lot there that we couldn't do due to our schedule.  Maybe that's it...it sticks with me because we really didn't "finish" it -- far from it.  I'd say we needed another 3 or 4 days to absorb it all at a comfortable pace.

Click on any of these thumbnail images to see a larger version...

Kathy and me on our hotel room's balcony.

The next 4 pictures are the famous Ponte Vecchio (meaning Old Bridge).  Long ago, there was the old bridge and the new bridge that crossed the river.  The Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge not destroyed by the Nazis.  What makes it unique is that it has lots of shops literally hanging off of the sides of the bridge that have somehow survived many floods.

Here you can see the Ponte Veccio in the distances with all of the shops hanging off of it.

This is what the bridge itself looks like.  There are no automobiles on it (anymore?), but there is the occasional bicycle...and lots of pedestrians.

The little shops that look like shacks falling off of the sides are in reality very nice -- most of which sell fine jewelry!

Santa Croce is this beautiful church (built 1294) that was near our hotel.  We stopped by late in the day when there weren't many people around.  I didn't realize it was worth going back to until just now when I looked it up to find its spelling.  It actually contains some beautiful art and is the burial place of Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli.  Oh well...Next time.

Can you see Kathy?  This gives you some perspective of the size.  Kathy is standing in front of the main door!  Click on it to see her a little better in the larger picture.

Kathy happily eating her favorite food: cheese pizza.

I wish I remembered exactly what this was.  Kathy is sitting at the foot if it.  It mentions Galileo.  I don't know if it is a memorial, or indicates the location of something historical, but it is near Michelangelo's memorial.

Click on the large images to go to a page containing more pictures:

City Views

Florence is a very photogenic city.  We took quite a few great pictures of it.


Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens is this huge area that has tiered gardens and several fountains and statues throughout it. 


Palazzo Vechio and the Uffizi Gallery

No, this isn't the "real" David.  It is a replica standing in the Palazzo Vecchio where the original was located until 1873, adjacent to the Uffizi museum which houses an amazing collection of Renaissance paintings.



The Duomo is the icon of Florence.  Gigantic, and tremendously ornate, it attracts visitors from all over.



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