Spring Break Part 3: Florence and Pisa

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*Please note: This post was first published on the blog I kept in 2011 while studying abroad*

So our adventure in Florence started out with a very long walk, which perfectly set the tone for our two days in Florence (although at least this walk was on level ground and not uphill). Our train ticket’s arrival station was located farther from our hostel than the main train station. However, since the train was going on to Naples we weren’t sure if it would stop at the main station so we got off and walked about forty-five minutes to our hostel.

In our hostel we shared a room with two other people. One was a girl from St. Louis who was studying abroad in Madrid and the other was a guy from somewhere in Eastern Asia who was studying abroad in Barcelona.  It was rather funny having all three of the major Spanish fútbol teams represented in our hostel.

That first night in Florence we wandered around and found the Basilica di San Lorenzo which is a beautiful building! I personally preferred Milan’s Duomo, but Florence’s cathedral comes in at a close second.

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We then found dinner at a sandwich place. Watch out if you’re grabbing food in Italy. It’s often cheaper to eat at the bar and if you sit down they might charge you extra for the table (they only charged us 50 cents extra but it was still annoying).

Also, forget about free bathrooms when sightseeing unless you’re in a restaurant that happens to have them. Near the monuments and in train stations you have to pay around 1-1.50 euros.

After dinner we wandered towards Palazzo Vecchio and then stopped by an internet cafe on our way home. To our relief we finally received an email saying our ferry to Greece had been rebooked and we wouldn’t have to figure out how to get to Greece! It was excellent news after almost a full week of worrying.

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Palazzo Vecchio

The next day, we went to Ponte Vecchio, the famous bridge in Florence.

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We passed by Pitti Palace and then climbed up a hill (more like a small mountain to me) to Piazzale Michelangelo where you can see the entire city! There was also a wedding reception going on for a Japanese couple so we stopped and watched that.

Next we went to the church of San Minato al Monte which was beautiful even if someone was doing creepy scale on the organ rather than playing real music until a minute before we left. After that we went back down the hill and climbed another only to find the fort we were in search of didn’t have an entrance (at least not one we could find) so we were a bit disappointed.

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San Minato al Monte

After lunch the three of us separated with Carla and I going to some parks and Diana going to museums. Carla and I found a really cool dragon sculpture thing in one of the parks that went up the stairway. I can’t really describe it so you will just have to look at the picture below.

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We then went back to the Piazzale Michelangelo and the church of San Minato to watch the sunset and it was pretty amazing!

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The next morning we were up pretty early to catch a train to Pisa where we took fun pictures with the Tower of Pisa. There’s really not much to do in Pisa other than take pictures next to the tower so I don’t recommend planning to be there for an entire day.  After we finished taking pictures we stuck around for an hour or so and got some lunch before heading back to the train station to go to Rome!

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