After journeying through Rome, we finally began our 12-day Mediterranean and Greek Isles Cruise. We boarded our ship, the Crown Princess, and sailed for our first stop — Livorno, Italy. From Livorno, travellers usually visit nearby Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa or take a train to Florence. It is difficult to do both because cruisers are usually at a port for less than a day, and the train to Florence would already take approximately 1 1/2 hours. We decided to skip Pisa and just visit Florence because a trip to Italy would not be complete without a visit to beautiful Florence! Plus, some of our family really had their hearts set on seeing Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Accademia Gallery — definitely well worth the trip to see this colossal 17 foot statue and hear the story behind it.
Florence was the city where most of our family’s excitement and memorable experiences occurred. It is the city where my sisters-in-law almost missed the train and got left in Livorno, and the city where my niece fainted. Ironically, my niece needed to be taken by taxi off the bridge we were standing on when I took the topmost picture — a bridge that our tour guide said a vehicle had never driven over, adding that my niece had truly made history! After it was all said and done, my niece said of all the cities we visited, she loved Florence the best.
Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and renown for its great history, culture, architecture and beauty. It was one of the most wealthiest cities of medieval Europe and is the birthplace of the Renaissance.
Although it was extremely hot in Florence, and we walked and walked and then walked some more, it was definitely a rich experience with great memories and a terrific tour guide (who was extremely knowledgeable and engaging even for a 6-year old, and who also used his italian connections to get our niece off the bridge). My in-laws camped out at the Hard Rock Cafe for most of the tour, as it was just too hot and there was too much walking for them. Funny to imagine two older Chinese folks chillin’ at the Hard Rock in Italy.
I simply loved all the piazzas and grand architecture. Florence was a seamless blend of old and new, ancient and modern — truly an extraordinary city!