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Europe Trip 2010: Florence (Copy)

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BC: Farewell Florence! Onto Assisi and Rome!

FC: Europe Trip 2010 Florence

1: In April of 2010, I took a group of 20 students and 12 other chaperones on an international field trip across Europe. We began in London, England, then traveled on to Paris, France. We took an overnight train to Florence to experience the beauty and splendor of Italy. After Florence we were to travel on to Assisi and Rome before heading home. What an experience!

2: On the overnight train from Paris to Florence. It sounded exciting and glamorous,. but interestingly, was not...

3: Here we are , squished in our little berths with itchy blankets and tiny pillows, scared to go into the nasty bathrooms.... but we made do and had fun. Morena, Taylor and I bunked with two ladies from Connecticut, also traveling with Explorica.

4: We arrived in Florence in the late morning, and I was struck immediately by how 'Renaissance' the town appeared. Horses and carriages greeted us at the station, and as we strolled to our first destination, I marveled at the structures: Giotto's Bell Tower. the Duomo...

5: Churches and four hundred year old hotels, along with statues of every historical Renaissance figure greeted us as we made our way through the winding streets of Florence.

6: Some of the initial sights of Florence, including the Medici palace and square. | Fountain of Neptune

7: Our first stop in Florence was to visit a real leather workshop, as Florence is renowned worldwide as a quality leather producer. The workshop was called Leonardo's, and we were given a lesson on how leather is made, what the classic Florentine style of leather looks like, and how to recognize real leather vs. fake leather.

8: Leonardo's also featured a very nice courtyard area, where most of us waited while many people went shopping and purchased some genuine Florentine leather items (I bought a purse for myself and a monogrammed wallet for Joey.) We also saw some Florentine police!

9: We split up for lunch, and Morena, Taylor and I headed to Piazza Santa Croce to find some tasty pasta, which we did! We ate at a little outdoor restaurant that was set right into the open square, and enjoyed live music and a puppet show as we ate.

10: After lunch we wandered around Piazza Santa Croce, and found a nice gelato store. Gelato soon turned out to be everyone's favorite thing about Italy!

11: Left: Watching the entertainment in Piazza Santa Croce. Right: A statue of Cosimo Medici in the Medici Square,. Piazza della Signoria. Bottom: In Piazza della Signoria, there is an outdoor statue museum, featuring many pieces of art. | Perseus and the head of Medusa

12: The copy of Michelangelo's David outside the Medici palace in Piazza della Signoria. Brett and I are scandalized by all the nudity!

13: The Loggia Dei Lanzi, a stage-like area in Piazza della Signoria just beside the famous Uffizi Museum, containing many gorgeous sculptures. | Nothing was allowed in the Loggia Dei Lanzi - no sitting, no eating, no guitar playing...

14: You didn't need to pay to go to a museum in Florence - there was so much free art just sitting around outside for all to see! However, we did manage to hit a couple of places anyway....

15: There were even LIVE statues, which were fun to watch. Ranelle and I managed to become a part of the living statue display! We then walked under the famous Uffizi museum to find Pont Vecchio.

16: As we walked to Pont Vecchio,. we found more interesting things to see - statues of Niccolo Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei, as well as random locks and a carousel.

17: Pont Vecchio, a large bridge with buildings, shops,.and even apartments built right on it!

18: The shops and buildings on Pont Vecchio - it looked very medieval!

19: The view off Pont Vecchio of one of the other seven bridges in Florence. | Merel gets tired. She has arthritis in her knee, and so we really had to watch her and the amount of walking she did.

21: Giotto's Bell Tower

22: Views from around Giotto's Campanile (Bell Tower) and the Scrovegni Church., also known as the Lily of Florence.

24: The doors to the Lily of Florence, and a nice shot of the dome (Duomo). We were also able to go inside and take some pictures of the interior.

25: Inside the Cathedral, we have some cool sights. The giant clock which had its own unique clockface, unlike any I'd ever seen. The inside of the dome was covered in beautiful paintings, and the stained glass windows were beautiful!

26: We were allowed to go up to the top of either the Duomo or the Bell Tower. We chose to climb the Duomo stairs, all 400 of them! | The candle trees inside the church, as well as a few more shots of the Duomo...

27: Views of the city of Florence as seen from the top of the Duomo.

28: More views. I love Florence!

29: Some last shots before dinner. | Piazza della Signoria early in the a.m. before it is covered with people.

30: Pont Vecchio in the evening. Very beautiful!

31: The Gates of Paradise, and another statue of David.

32: Going for gelato yet again - this time we discovered the secret to really tasty chocolate gelato - giant Nutella! Europeans sure love their Nutella! On the opposite page, our group poses in front of the Medici palace, and below the girls and I take a wee break.

35: Opposite Page The girls and I found a very cool wire artisan who made necklaces, signatures, and even motorbikes out of wire. We bought gifts for ourselves and others I carried Merel through most of Florence! This Page: In the Uffizi museum, where there was an entire Botticelli section - including "The Birth of Venus", my absolute favorite painting ever!

36: The next and final stop in Florence was the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze, with Michelangelo's real David. It was HUGE!

37: More beautiful statues - in fact, rooms upon rooms of statues!

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