Friday, August 21, 2015

Vacay 2015--Port of Livorno/City of Florence

The fourth day of our Mediterranean cruise found us docked at the Port of Livorno, which was touted as 'the gateway to the historic cities of Florence and Pisa'. Once again, the cruise line offered a plethora of shore excursions.  Hubby Tony and I really had to give this one a lot of thought, but in the end we chose one that gave us a guided tour of Florence and time on our own to explore the city.

Right after breakfast we boarded a bus for the 90-minute trip to Florence.  The day's tour guide was a native of Livorno.  She apologized for the seediness of the industrial area we had to drive through to reach the highway, and said most of the town was very nice.  Along the way to Florence she gave us facts about the area we passed through.

When we reached the city the bus had to let us out on the perimeter because the old city streets were so narrow.

City streets

The tour lasted for almost two hours.  Our guide did a great job showing us the city highlights, including the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, which was completed in the 15th century. Legend is that the church was founded by St. Francis.


The tour did not include the inside of the Basilica, but Tony and I visited it during our free time.  In addition to the beautiful Gothic architecture and stained glass windows, the sanctuary contains the tombs of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo.

Machiavelli resting place

Unfortunately, the Baptistery (a separate building across the Piazza del Duomo)  was being renovated in anticipation of a visit by Pope Francis in November.  The building was covered with plastic adorned with a replica of the original.  The tour guide told us that one of the highlights of the building is its bronze doors.  I'll have to wait until my net trip to Florence to experience them.

Baptistery under wraps
Next we moved to the Piazza Della Signoria, the city's main square.  There we saw a replica of  Michelangelo's David, standing in the original location.  The authentic statue is now in a museum (and we chose not to stand in a very long line to see it).


Right before our tour ended our guide took us to the Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Arno River.  The bridge dates to the 1300s, and was the only structure across the Arno River that wasn't destroyed in World War II.

Ponte Vecchio bridge

Five years ago today: Are You Paying Attention?


  1. What a wonderful day of sightseeing! Thanks for sharing Kathy. The weather looks great too.

    1. You're welcome! The weather was just like it would have been in St. Louis in early August--hot and humid (but, thankfully, no rain).

  2. Florence is one of the many cities on my "must visit someday" list. Lovely!

    1. I feel like I just got a taste of this wonderful city, and will have to go back again for more!

  3. Very cool that you feel you had a taste of a wonderful city. And you did. Very, very cool.