Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pisa and Florence, Italy

Let's jump @ Piazza del Duomo
One of the school lessons that I liked at the elementary school is pengetahuan umum or general knowledge.  I think it used to be part of history lesson. 
Some of the questions are related to names of the head of the countries, world events, famous sites from other countries, etc.
The most common question on Italy is always about the famous leaning tower… I raised my hand quickly to answer that question, and I could leave the classroom five minute earlier than my classmates - J
The Cathedral @ Pisa

Pisa is the capital city of Province of Pisa and is situated in Tuscany, Central Italy.  Tuscany or in Italian it is called Toscana.  This region is known with its beautiful landscape, history, art and is the birth place of the Italian Renaissance.

Beautiful place inspires creativity – that might be the background story of Hollywood movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”.

As for me, beautiful place encourages me to do nothing… nothing but just admiring gorgeous view, watching people passing by, feeling the happiness in their hearts.
As soon as I walked into Cathedral Square, I could see the Tower from far…
Indeed, the Tower which is a bell tower accompanies the Cathedral of Pisa is leaning. It was built vertically, but the foundation was built on unstable soil, therefore it began leaning soon after construction in 11th century.
Leaning parameter inside the tower
We are lucky that the tower is not being renovated.  Otherwise we will have seen the tower surrounded by scaffholding like it used to be for years", Mr. Right said.

The Tower is operated professionally.  A certain limited of time is allocated to one group of certain persons who can go up to the top of the Tower.  Some officers inform the tourists to go down when the time is up and the other group goes up.

Let's go up!
The tower measures about 55 meters. Inside the tower, there are almost 300 steps to the top! Remember this Tower was started construction in 11th century and only finished two centuries later. In those days, no lift was invented - J

Panoramic View from top of the Leaning Tower, Pisa
The roof of the houses in the nearby areas, reddish, it is Tuscany!  “Accidentally I got tanned in Pisa!” but the sun did not discourage me to enjoy the view…

Unfortunately, the allocated time for our group was up and we had to go down…
Look down from top of Pisa Tower
Pisa adventure continued with walking under the shades of the Cathedral. The church decoration is magnificent…

Interior view of the Duomo

Interior view of the Duomo

As a note, I would say that visiting Pisa Tower is very doable for budgeted traveler. There is no fee entering the Cathedral complex, we can walk around the big garden and take gorgeous photos at the complex with the Tower background. The tickets are to enter the inside part of Cathedral and the Leaning Tower only. Even McDonald has a store next to the entrance -:)

Interior view of the Duomo

One of the paintings inside the Duomo

Firenze = Florence? Most cities in Italy have two names, in English and Italian.

Enjoying summer in Florence in convertible car was a perfect idea. When we entered the city and got stopped at the traffic light, a beggar came closer to our car. As much as I wanted to give him a coin, the fastest coin I could reach was apparently the 500 VND coin (Vietnamese Dong) which is equal to 2 cents in EUR, meanwhile the light turned to green and there was a car behind us. My biggest apology.
The view of Florence
Finding the hotel was a little bit of challenge because of the one way street. We turned left too quickly and the hotel is on the right side. We had to go drive around to find that street again, got lost in a street which apparently a parking lot, went back again and re-found the main street… went along that street until the street becomes smaller and smaller…

Like this lobby area!
It looks like a gallery!

Finally we arrived in our hotel in one of Florence’s oldest streets. Next to it, there is a building for parking. It is small comparing to Indonesian parking building! However it is perhaps a regular size of in Italy. Parking in such a limited space is another challenge, not to mention that most cars parked there are luxurious brand.

How lucky we’re finding this hotel! Borghese Palace Hotel is a unique architecture; a mixture of the old-world charms of an historic Florentine palazzo and an appreciation of things modern – that’s how they describe it.

Italian, why would not I speak this romantic language like Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love? Most words which end with “E” or “O” sound exotic… 

Have you heard about Calcio Storico Fiorentino? I will tell you the story in the next posting. But now, let’s take a walk to Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – or - Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore 0r Opera Duomo Firenze.

View from top of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The Cathedral is within walking distance to the hotel. Most streets look similar and having no GPS (even with one) I got lost easily!

We climbed up to the top of the Dome and wow… from there I could see the 360 degree of Florence. What typical is the color of the roof tile. The clay gives reddish color.
Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) - those are the shops!
Across the Old Bridge

Surrounding area of the Old Bridge

Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is a famous bridge over Arno River in Florence. Other than historical site, this bridge is now occupied by jewelries/art/souvenirs shops.

The statue in the middle of the Old Bridge

Bridge was first appears in the document in 996! It was destroyed by flood, reconstructed, swept away again and rebuilt again… Unlike all other bridges in Florence, this bridge was not destroyed by the Germans during the World War II.  
Shops near the Old Bridge
Souvenir Shop
Walking around Florence and holding hands with Mr. Right considered as the most precious moments in my life. Florence is very pretty and I ran out of words…

There are many museums, churches, old buildings or just town squares – and they are beautified with famous statues and gorgeous ornaments.
Yes, it's a door of an old building
Ornaments in a door of an old building

Next posting:

Lanjutttt….. As I said earlier, the next posting is about Calcio Storico Fiorentino.

It is Florence traditional sport whose players dress up in traditional clothing.

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