We were told that the only reason to visit touristy Pisa is to see the famous leaning tower. On the way to Florence, we hopped off the train, bought a selfie stick from a local street vendor, took the picture, and gladly left the throng of visitors behind.

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We began our stay in Florence with a trip to Florence’s Cathedral, the Duomo, complete with stunning murals adorning its massive red-tiled dome. Entrance to the Duomo is free, but for the full experience we bought a ticket to climb the 463 steps to see the frescoes up close and personal. It’s a tight squeeze in places, with lots and lots of people, but we think well worth it for the views of the paintings and of the city.

Duomo

Duomo

The dome from the nearby tower.

the red-tiled dome from the nearby tower

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Murals

The further from the top the more grizzly they get!

the further from the top, the more grizzly the scenes!

One way up and the same way down. They pack as many tourists in at a time and you end up standing in tight quarters getting to know your new neighbor. Claustrophobic anyone?

one way up and the same way down. Claustrophobic anyone?

Florence from above.

Florence from above

Having visited The Louvre on a prior visit to Europe, we anticipated that a visit to the Accademia and Uffizi Galleries would prove equally impressive. We were not disappointed although, much like the The Louvre, we could not even begin to describe it all. The pictures below serve to illustrate only a very brief representation of sculpture and art that awaits the curious visitor.

The David

Michelangelo’s David

Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery

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The Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery

modern art!

The Piazza della Signoria, located near the Uffizi Gallery, is fascinating for its numerous sculptures. The Piazza is considered top among Florence’s important squares and we found it great for people watching as well.

Piazza del Signoria

Piazza del Signoria

Piazza del Signoria

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Hercules, Hercules

On our final day we headed to the Piazzale Michelangelo, famous for its panoramic view of Florence and which boasts a large replica of Michelangelo’s David in its center. We lingered, over gelato, to take it all in.

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Piazzale Michelangelo

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On our way back to the hotel, we stopped to climb Giotto’s Bell Tower. Giotto’s Camanile is a free standing bell tower located on the Piazza del Duomo. We found the 414 steps to get to the top somewhat challenging and tight, but for avid hikers not a problem.

Giotto's Bell Tower

Giottos Bell Tower

Giottos Bell Tower

Giottos Bell Tower

peering down the shaft

From the top

view from the top

Giottos Bell Tower

picture perfect frame

Giottos Bell Tower

Giottos Bell Tower

Visited April 2015.

Next Stop: Orvieto