The trip to Florence almost took longer than the amount of time we had to enjoy the city. We started with a bus ride from port to the train station (about 45 minutes); then took a train through Pisa to Florence [Firenze] (about 70 minutes). The total for that roundtrip was over 3 hours if you add in the waiting to get tickets etcetera. We had 3.5 hours in the city itself. We had enough planned to have lasted 6-8 hours. So we head-shedded and decided to cut everything except the Uffizi Museum.
The train dropped us off at 11:30 so we all opted to eat before we ventured into the city. We walked across the street and ducked into panini shops until we found something everyone could eat. For the first time in our trip we had found a place where no one in the place spoke English. Oddly enough, this made no difference in ordering or paying. I guess certain forms of communications are universal.
We stopped by a hotel for one of Kathy’s clients (who is coming soon), and picked up a tourist map. The map said we were only a short hop, skip, and jump away from the Uffizi so we jumped, hopped, and skipped to it. Along we the way we ran into the Duomo. This was one BIG chapel and adjoining building from so far back in time.
The Uffizi was a well decorated and lavish old building. The earliest addition to their collection (that I found) was from the early 15th century. This place has been collecting artwork for centuries (literally)!
The security personnel were very child friendly. As soon as we cleared the metal detectors they rushed us to the entrance and then to the elevators [bypassing all the other people waiting in line]. The collection started with a huge assortment of roman statues and Renaissance models [oil paintings], then moved into the realm of renaissance nudes. The kids were good with the roman statues - they knew who a lot them were (there were no labels), but it was only with a studied eye that I could discern they were uncomfortable with the nude bodies. I remember being uncomfortable talking to my parents about stuff like that as 13 year old, so I tried the best I could to calm their nerves by discussing the “more risque” of them. I started with Braissque’s (sp?) “The Nude” and its associated conspiracy. They were both intrigued and it helped to ease them into the fact that we were all looking at art (and not have them thinking about nudity). At some point on the second floor [the beginning of the gallery] we saw the bridge in Florence which had burned and been rebuilt.
After seeing everything upstairs we moved downstairs to see what all 3 of us kids wanted to see - The Medusa by Carvaggio. We had to walk through a lot of Biblical artwork to get there. Because of that I learned that Lexi really likes to know the story of each of the Saints (even though she isn’t a Catholic).
We finally got to the Carvaggio section. The shield front was exactly like we thought it would be. The back was so different from what we expected, though. All the leather was missing and there was a section of paint (which blended very nicely with the Rick Riordan Book - “The 39 Clues”).
The train ride home didn’t have the AC so it was a long and hot ride back to the cruise ship. Once we were there, Lexi and I took the time to do some rock climbing. Then Alexis and myself went to the rock wall. Neither of us was able to complete the wall’s 90 turns. Then Angie, Misty, and Myself went to eat and come back to bed.
|Lexi starting her climb on the challenging side.|
|She didn't make it very far up because it was |
an adult course and her arms weren't long enough.
|Ray starting his climb|
|He didn't get much further than Lexi|
We had two places we wanted to visit in Florence: Medici Chapels and Uffizi Museum. Unfortunately the boat required us to be back earlier than planned because of some security issue at the industry port we pulled into. We decided to skip the Medici Chapel and go for the Uffizi which is what the kids really wanted to see. It was a bit of a journey to the museum, but it was an interesting walk. Florence is known for their art, and it was displayed throughout the city in various means.
The kids really enjoyed the museum. Lexi and Neil were both in awe by seeing some of the master's works of art. They knew a lot about the artists as well because of what they have learned in school. I always love how I get more information out of our kids about things we see than the information plaques. There were a few pieces they really wanted to see in the museum, so as time drew short we found these special pieces. Since there was no cameras allowed in the Uffizi, we managed to take a picture from the roof top cafe that shows the Duomo.
After we got back to the ship, Lexi and Ray tried the rock wall. Both of them decided to do the challenging course, but it proved to be too challenging. Lexi was doing great until she realized her arms and legs were too short to reach over the up-side-down step. Ray has never been great at rock walls, so he didn't get very far either. While Misty and I were laughing at them, we watched the boat pull out of port.