. Arrive in Florence pretty smoothly then find the hotel and check in. The place is different, it is an old converted mansion. Room is very nice and big but there is no shower or curtain. The tub has a handheld shower head that you can wash with but nowhere to hang it so after our shower we need to line all the animals up 2by2 and get them on the arc. We love florence, the twenty minute walk from our hotel to the Doumo is peaceful and green and surrounded by beautiful archetecture with lively Piazzas. We grab some dinner and Chianti walk the city for a while before turning in on the first night. Next day is spent checking out the major Piazza's, shopping (mainly at english bookshops - with no english langauge TV we are shredding through 2 to 3 books each/week). Grab some lunch and then check out the Basilica Santa Maria (Doumo). This is a beatiful church and the dome is huge Sistene Chapel-esque painting on it. As Cathedrals go I think so far it is number 2 slotting ahead of Saint Marks (Venice) but still behind St Peters (Vatican). It is really hot and Jen opts out of climbing the 463 steps to the top. I head up and the whole way up I think how right she was not to do it, it is hot, cramped and slow because of the people in front of me. Then I got out to the first interior level and realize how amazingly high up I am from the floor below and get a close up view of the amazing artwork on the dome. Now I am wishing I could yell down to get Jen to come up, Then I get to the outside and it is the most amazing view over Florence
. I snap some pics and then just take a seat and admire the amazing view for 20 minutes or so. After dinner tonight we decide to go local and hang out at San Sporito square and over by the university with bunch of shady characters to have a beer then go for a walk. Last full day in Florence we go to the Galleria Accademia to see Michelangelo's 'David'. We walk across Ponte Vecchio which is such a cool bridge from the outside with house like buildings built on it but when you go across you realize they are all jewelry shops so it kind of loses its appeal. Also, all of the love locks had just been cut off so Jen was a little bummed (usually thousands of locks with people's names on them as a symbol of there love). Get to the museum and the line is 10+ blocks long (no joke) but thank God we had a reservation so our line was only around 50 people. It is amazing to be in the presence of such a great sculpture you don't realize how large and impressive it is until you are staring it in the face. Jen is on photo duty because she can do the stealthy Paparazzi pics. She gets busted a couple times but keeps going and in the end gets some great shots. There is not much else in the museum that impresses us and frankly I kind of think some of the Bellini stuff we saw in Galleria Burghese may have been more impressive than even David. After waiting all that time and going to yet another meuseum we bag Galleria Uffazi and get some dinner. Now the night before we saw a ton of people hanging out in this park by the river near our hotel and we want in
. So we say screw it walk down there and approach a couple guys because one had dreadies so we figured he would be laid back. We get there and realize the guys are pretty young but are having good time so we sit down and chill. A little while into the conversation we realize these kids are only 16. We are having fun but try to leave after about 2 hrs or so. They keep getting us to stay and party with them it was really fun (kind of an Old School Mitchapalooza moment). When we leave (little after 2 am) the first thing we say too each other (almost simultaneously) is we were praying they didn't ask how old we were and that I could have almost been their father!!! There is so much more to say about Florence but it wasn't as much of a we saw this or did that kind of place for us. We just had so much fun chilling in the city, meeting some people, eating and drinking. By far the nicest Italians we have met so far and it was a very clean city. Glad we rubbed Il Porcellino's nose because that is meant to garauntee our return to florence. Now that we have done Florence we are off to the Tuscan country side and all that great wine!
We are leaving Cinque Terre behind and looking forward to seeing Florence, However first stop on the way is Pisa. We have heard that there is not much to do in Pisa but that the Piazza is a must see (Leaning Towers there). So we stroll into town park illegally walk to the center and check it out. It is pretty cool and you get one of those I am looking at something really famous moments but then it is over and you realize you are in a sea of other people that are here taking a photo of a sinking tower, everyone holding their arms in the air like an idiot prentending they are supporting the tower - this is pretty funny because in their photo holding up the towere there is likely hundreds of other people just standing on the lawn with their arms up. Well we survived the traffic, heat and masses and are happy that we saw the tower (one of those tick the box moments) and now we are back on track to Florence. Luckily today we got up pretty early and on the road because Pisa took much longer then we thought (we have been sleeping in more and more lately because we eat dinner at 10 and are up past 3am most nights)