Leaning Tower of Pisa (and Florence too!)

Here’s how it happens: Brittany makes plans. Then she tells them to Chris. Chris adds his, “Well if you’re going to do ‘X’ you might as well do ‘Y’.

And there you have it, our initial plan for Europe was changed from one month in three cities to 1-2 weeks in eleven different countries. And that is exactly what happened to the plans for today. I had these nice simple plans to have a day trip to Pisa. Chris says, “Well, if you’re going all the way to Pisa, it’s just a short train ride over to Florence.” Whew, Pisa AND Florence in one day?!? It can’t be done. So, we hit Pisa in the morning and then Florence in the afternoon/early evening. It was a long, but super fun day.

It was also a true test of my planning skills because many of these activities had to be planned months in advance to 1) save money and 2) not wait in line for hours and hours. Exactly which train should we take from Pisa to Florence? At precisely what time will we be at the Accademia museum? How long will we want to spend at the Uffizi Gallery? I googled all of those things, and thankfully someone out there has a ‘people usually spend about XX amount of time in this museum’ answer.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is another famous building that I taught Charlotte about before we left for Europe. She recognized the building immediately once we got there. She thinks this building is so cool that she still talks about it, and she builds it with her blocks or rocks or sand.

The picture of my sister uses this cool effect on our camera. I kind of like using it for iconic buildings.

They sure love their Aunt Courtney. She’s so fun to have around.

The Baptistery has amazing acoustics. Every half hour the guard sings a short melody and because of the long echo he can harmonize with his previously sung notes. It’s incredible.

This is my favorite view of the leaning tower. It’s a great angle to show just how far over the tower is leaning.

We had to be super punctual today to make the whole schedule work and to catch all the right trains. While we probably would have liked another 5 minutes here and there, we had enough time to see everything. After snapping our last photo of Pisa, we rushed off to find a place to grab sandwiches to eat on the train to Florence.

Seeing Michelangelo’s unfinished works were almost as cool as seeing the famous sculptures he finished. It shows the progression and you can start to imagine how these amazing sculptures came to be. I think it’s easy to take it for granted because it’s already finished and looks amazing. But to see one that still needs work shows just how hard it must be to shape it so precisely.

This is the Florence Cathedral, the Duomo. What’s most interesting about this cathedral is the amazing dome. After construction had been underway for over 100 years they still had no dome (or the exact method/design for the dome) as it required a dome taller and wider than had ever been built before. They didn’t know how to build the dome yet. So, they started building the cathedral in 1296 and the dome was started many years later in 1420 after they figured out how to build it. So much for having a plan before you start…

This picture is looking up at the inside of the dome.

After the Florence Cathedral we promptly headed over to the Uffizi Art Gallery. This gallery is not as famous as the Louvre, but it’s pretty high on the list of incredible art galleries.

I remember studying this painting in my AP Art History class. I always thought it was kind of creepy. The alien baby is strange and then there’s her neck. What’s up with her neck? The painting is even called Madonna with the Long Neck. But why? Kinda weird.

I have a picture almost just like this one from my first trip to Europe as a teenager. Looking back through the picture album I always liked this picture because the buildings are so unique and interesting to look at. But I could never remember exactly where the picture was taken, just ‘somewhere in Italy.’ Well — *Note to Self* this was taken near the Uffizi Gallery overlooking the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

And if all that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, we still had to get dinner and take a 2+ hour train ride back to Rome, then catch a bus to our apartment. What a loooong, exciting day. I think we’ll take it easy tomorrow.

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