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Our Wakes: 2016

Florence and Pisa: Province of Toscanea (7- 11 May 2016) The province of Tuscany has numerous  well known places and we stopped over in Florence and Pisa. We sailed to the Pisa marina located next to the mouth of the Arno river. This place is easily recognizable as there are numerous fishermen's houses with big square nets that are deposited at the bottom of the river and hoisted at regular intervals to collected the trapped fish. In Florence we had to decide what to visit as there are numerous places that are famous. We also had to take into account the hours as on Mondays, museums are closed. The first day we went to the famous Pallazio Vecchio that was one of the most active places in Italy during the great days of Florence when the Medicis family was controlling the city. This family was also highly interested in art and was able to attract famous artists that have made the city so interesting to visit. During the times of the Medicis family, Michellangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli  lived there, to name the most famous ones.  After visiting the Palazzio Vechio we went to the famous Ponte Vecchio. This bridge, over the river Arno, connects the 2 sides of the city of Florence. This bridge is full of jewelry shops . History tells us that the Medicis family complained about the smell of the fish and meat shops. They ordered the merchants to move elsewhere and allowed only jewelry to be sold on the bridge from then on.  In the afternoon we moved to the Palazzio Pitti were we strolled in the gardens overlooking the city. The second day was a Monday and all the museums were closed so we decided to start our visit  at the Cathedral  of Santa Croce. A large collection of various religious paintings is on display in this cathedral, all very impressive, but the place also contains the tombs of such famous Italians as Galileo, Marconi, Michelangelo, Fermi and Machiavelli. In every corner of this place there are remarkable artifacts. In the sacristy, you can find a precious relic of   St Francis of Assissi. The relic is a piece of his belt that is now well protected. After Santa Croce we moved to the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore also known as the Duomo. This place does not contain a lot of objects but the outside is richly decorated with white marble and worth seeing. Next to this Cathedral you also have the Baptistry with it’s very impressive bronze doors depicting several moments in the bible. To finish our day, we went to the Medici Chapel were the sarcophagi of the Medici Family can be seen. This place illustrates very well how the Medici family hired the most talented artists to decorate the place. You will find the walls of the place covered bin beautiful marble and other precious stones that are combined into beautiful panels. On top of most of the sarcophagi there are many statues by Michelangelo. We only regret that due to restoration work some parts of the inside were hidden by scaffolding. Apparently, the place is in need of extensive restoration if the next generations want to be able to visit it. In the basement of the Chapel, you will find a very large collection of religious relics of various saints. The interesting thing is not the piece of bone it contains but the case that contains the relic. A lot of gold and silver protect the relics. The day after, we visited the Uffizi Gallery. This is one of the most visited places in Florence and a must to visit. Booking your tickets in advance is highly recommended if you want to avoid long lines. As soon as you enter you will be overwhelmed by the religious paintings and statues that are kept in this museum. But most of the people come here to see the paintings of Botticelli with the birth of Venus and the Spring. The painting of the annunciation and the visit by the three kings to Jesus painted by Leonardo da Vinci  are also a highlight of this visit. To close the visit you will also see one of the rare paintings of Michelangelo on a wooden panel called “Tondo Toni” that is still in his original wooden frame. To close our visit in Tuscany, we needed to visit Pisa and the famous tower, The place is well preserved and so clean that you could easily imagine that it is cleaned with soap every day. Around the tower you also have a few other remarkable buildings such as the cathedral of the Baptistry and a convent. If you visit the place, spend some time looking at the richly decorated doors, all very impressive. 
Pisa
Ponte Vecchio
Gardens Palazzio Pitti
Santa Croce
Belt of St Franciscus
Galileo Tomb
Duomo
Baptistry Doors
Medicis Chapel
Relic
Uffizi Gallery
Birth of Venus
Tondo Tori
Pallazio Vecchio
David
Typical Arno river net
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