Florence, Siena, Pisa

Florence Travel Blog

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Florence from above

Florence is a completely different story. Those delighted - forgive me, but it failed to become anything more than nice to me. It had neither Roman scale nor Venetian charm and seemed to be just one of numerous old beautiful Italian towns. I would never say I didn't like it but when I think back now I can't find anything special defining the image of Florence in my mind. Duomo was magnificent, the view from above the Campanile was wonderful and I spent truly unforgettable moments sitting at the Ponte Vecchio but what else do I remember about the place? 

Uffizi Gallery was a disappointment - million of Madonnas in every room and the exhibition ended right at the point when it could have got interesting (I am no art expert at all but 18-19th centuries painting is far more vivid and appealing to my eye).

Duomo front details
I was worried about pre-reservation but everything turned out to be quite easy. There were two queues at the entrance – a very long one for usual admittance and a very short one for those who'd chosen to pay few extra euro and get entrance time specified on their tickets allowing to skip the line. I didn't hesitate long and bought a reservation for admittance in a couple of hours which I leisurely spent wandering around the town.

Bright impressions were left by a one-day journey to Siena which spontaneously included Pisa as well. Nothing expected and then you are much more open to pleasant surprises on your way. First of all, I love traveling by train with changing landscapes in the window, comfort of my seat and heart-to-heart talk.

Loggia dei Lanzi - open-air museum
And as my life is normally planned and organized it feels simply exciting not to know where you will end up today and what you will discover! I liked Siena - a small cosy town that makes you feel homely and relaxed. It is funny that I experienced my worst queue there :). The access to the tower at the Piazza del Campo (and I climbed every tower I came across during my trip) was restricted to the fixed number of people at a time and I was unlucky to arrive just after they had done another batch and closed the gates. There were only few people in front of me and I thought it couldn't take long to wait for the next session. I have no idea what was the matter but I spent around 40 minutes waiting! I was even at the point of leaving once but after having wasted half an hour it seemed irrational not to complete the mission. Was the view worth the waiting? Absolutely, but even more was the refreshing breeze atop 8)

Siena Cathedral was beautiful and I loved the gigantic books displayed inside.

Siena - medieval cathedral vs nowadays technology
Churches have always been collections of the most precious and exquisite creations of a man and the more proofs of that I see the more deceived I feel - there should be no place for such outrageous material wealth in the temple of soul... But leaving religion disputes to another place and time... maybe we should all be thankful to the Church for sponsoring and preserving so many incredible works of art :)

Sightseeing was completed in the early evening and I decided I had enough time for a short trip to Pisa once I was so close to it. It was a bit risky but I thought the tower couldn't be far from the station and in the worst case I could overnight in town. Upon arrival I spotted the last train to Florence in the timetable and headed to the principal destination of all tourists.

Pisa Tower
By the time I had reached the Leaning Tower the sky was completely dark (at least that was unusual - all my pictures of the tower are blurred :D). I had read in my guidebook that repair works to stop the tower from falling were being implemented and was trying to see supporting cables around it but found none. Still wonder if that was due to the darkness or my book was just unreliable. The inadequacy of the entrance fee caused me to think again how ungracious Italian tourism ministry was to visitors - making money at every possible opportunity. In my trip I got so used to be charged big amounts for entering small places that it felt like luck to go somewhere free..

So the tower was conquered and I hurried back to the station. A reader can easily guess after all these details of my excursion that there was no last train.

Ponte Vecchio
Or rather it was in the timetable but with a small asterix and a note below in Italian that must have specified some special conditions excluding that very day from the running time. Only guessing though as at that hour there was nobody at the station to ask (no information desk!?). My only hope - the display board promised a night bus to Florence and after a couple of hours which I spent on a bench outside, exhausted but still chin-up, I succeeded in departing from Pisa. Phew :)

 The next stop in my itinerary after Florence was a truly unique place – Venice. So there I went, without any further impediments but with wonderful expectations as my Mom was going to join me there.

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Florence from above
Florence from above
Duomo front details
Duomo front details
Loggia dei Lanzi - open-air museum
Loggia dei Lanzi - open-air museum
Siena - medieval cathedral vs nowa…
Siena - medieval cathedral vs now…
Pisa Tower
Pisa Tower
Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio
Usual objects of art - violence, t…
Usual objects of art - violence, …
More sculptured violence
More sculptured violence
Siena Cathedral inside
Siena Cathedral inside
Pisa at sunset
Pisa at sunset
Florence
photo by: monky