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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Day 9: Florence - Rome

Florence or Firenze in Italian, was once capital city of Italy and also center of the arts. At that time, the government was the Medici family and they were very supportive to the artists and hence, the arts were flourished. It produced two famous artists for all time: Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Before the city tour, we visited a leather workshop and jewellery shop. Florence is famous for its Florentina box and jewelleries made from gold or silver. Contrary to the guide books, the leather crafts were not cheap.

Basilica of Santa Croce

The church is dated back to the thirteenth century (note: most building in Florence has history of a few hundred years)

Piazza della Signoria
It is a square where all the important buildings and statues are located. They are Palazzo Vecchio (town hall), Uffizi (museum), copy of David, fountain of Neptune and Loggia dei Lanzi which has 15 statues.

Palazzo Vecchio


Leonardo da Vinci

Michaelangelo at Uffizi facade

Galileo Galilei

Copy of David in front of Uffizi (the real one is at Accademia)

Fountain of Neptune

Loggia dei Lanzi

Perseus with the head of Medusa

At the back of Perseus head is the face of the sculptor himself.

The construction of this cathedral took six centuries. It is one of the oldest and the third largest cathedral in the world.

The magnificient Duomo

Ponte Vecchio

In 15th century, traders of gold and silver set up their shops at this bridge and some of the shops still exist now.

Piazza Michelangelo
From here we could see the skyline of Florence.

The complete view of Duomo

Piazza Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

I had lasagna for lunch and it was the best I've ever had. Usually in Singapore I won't order lasagna but this one was really different. I've also learned that in Italy, we have to pay service charge of 15% if we sit at the premises even though it is just a plain small eateries. So most people just stand and eat. And if we eat in a restaurant, we need to pay service and cover charge, and if we sit outdoor, we have to pay more. So it is really expensive if let's say we want to enjoy a cup of coffee in front of Duomo. Also, sometimes the food from small eateries is actually an instant food, they just microwaved it!! I learnt about the instant food incident the hard way :(

We had a walking tour that night and we saw some famous monuments. They were awesome.

Egyptian obelisk near Spanish steps

Pantheon a 2000-year old temple

Basilica of St. Peter at Vatican


From what we had seen so far, Rome was a very old city, everything was so ancient and the monuments looked like they were going to collapse!! You'll see what I mean on the next posting.

I had a chance to get some gelati (Italian ice cream) here.. oh my.. they were so good. I had three big scoops for Euro 1.5 (SGD 3). Forgot to take the photo of it, coz I was too excited. :P

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