Saturday, August 6, 2011

My feelings for Italia...that’s amore.

Sorry for my failure to keep up with my blog the last four days of the trip. The internet was never working on the ship. Anyways, I’m now on the plane from Amsterdam to Atlanta. We flew from Barcelona to Amsterdam first this morning. From only looking out the plane window, I am dying to go back and actually visit Amsterdam. I left off with Cannes/Nice, so that means the next day was Florence. Is it too early for me to register for Muhlenberg’s theatre study abroad program in Florence? We took about a two hour bus ride through the beautiful Tuscan countryside from our port, La Spezia, to get to Florence. The cruise was a blast and really made the trip more relaxed, but I, who obsesses over doing and seeing everything when I visit a new place, am not the best cruise traveler. Basically, I just really need to go back to Italy. Once we arrived in Florence, we walked around the Santa Croce square, featuring the Basilica di Santa Croce, so beautiful it didn’t look real when the tuscan sun was shining down on it. From there, we headed to Uffizi, one of the world’s greatest renaissance art museums, only to discover that it along with most other art museums (including Galleria dell ‘Accademia, which holds Michelangelo’s famous David) were closed on Mondays. Fortunately, right next to Uffizi is Plazza della Signoria, a beautiful square featuring amazing renaissance sculpture. David originally stood here. A mock now stands where the original once did, but all the other art in the square is original. On the other side of the famous square, we found the Palazzo Vecchio, a museum that was actually open on Monday’s. The “old palace” was home to Cosimo and the Medici family and dates back to the 13th century. The rooms featured one beautiful frescoe after the next. Since we didn’t get to see the real David, the highlight of Palazzo Vecchio was probably Michelangelo’s sculpture, Genius of Victory. When we finally drug ourselves out of the museum, we enjoyed an amazing Italian lunch back in the Plazza della Signoria square, looking out on the sculptures in the beautiful square and trying to stay away from the pigeons. After lunch, we meandered through the charming Florence streets and alley’s, making our way to Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, which somehow, with it’s amazing colors, appeared even less real than Santa Croce. We walked around the outside of the cathedral and the Battistero San Giovanni (baptistery), but due to our time crunch and the insanely long lines we were unable to go inside either. However, we did have time to climb the cathedral’s bell tower or cupola, which reaches just above the baptistery’s famous dome. The view was one of the best of the trip, showcasing all of Florence and going into the gorgeous Tuscan countryside as well. When we got down from the tower, we rushed back to the bus, leaving Florence having begun to fall in love with Italy and only dying to come back to Tuscany. 

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