Shortly after 5AM, I peeked out of our stateroom window and could see dramatic lightning over the sea. I dressed and went to the deck in anticipation of our arrival. I saw the lighthouse and lights of Livorno. It seemed we were part of a procession of cruise ships docking that morning.
|The excursion buses were already lined up to take passengers to their destinations|
I decided I must see Uffizi Gallery, one of the world's foremost art collections, so I carefully listened to his directions on getting into the right line for an appointment tour. I would try to see the Galleria dell'Accademia to see Michaelangelo's David and his other masterworks, but it was across the city, so I'd have to play it by ear. In reality, I only got to the area marked by the blue marker below in the time I had.
|A map of Florence or Firenze. I walked in the area within the blue lines|
|A reproduction of Michaelangelo's David outside the Palazzo Vecchio|
|Piazza Santa Croce and the Basilica of Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in the world|
|The Palazzo Vecchio|
I walked up to see the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or il Duomo di Firenze, but it was under construction and I could not find an entrance. I took pictures of it from the outside.
I wandered the narrow winding streets back toward the Piazza della'Signoria and entered a couple of leather shops. I bought a nice leather belt for Ron and a leather wallet for a friend. I found three beautiful leather purses and another wallet in another shop. These will make nice gifts.
|A gift for a friend|
|A gift for my sister|
|A gift for my daughter|
|A gift for me|
|A gift for my other daughter|
I walked by a restaurant that advertised a Special Lunch of appetizer, salad, lasagna, and wine for 12 euro that enticed me to rest and get some nutrition. It was nearly time to get back to Sante Croce to reunite with my group. But first I purchased a bottle of Tuscany red wine for our stateroom and T-shirts for gifts. Florence was truly a beautiful city that needed at least a week to truly appreciate. Like Rome, there was too little time, but at least I got to spend time walking the wonderful streets for several hours.
|I walked back down the narrow Via del Neri toward the Piazza Santa Croce|
Meeting up with Sharon and Bob in the Plaza by 4:15PM, I shared a glass of wine with Sharon at the outdoor cafe while we waited for our tour guide. She and Bob had crossed the Arno on the Ponte Vecchio and visited the Palace Gardens. When all were assembled, we marched back to our bus by the Arno River.
|We drove through a neighborhood above the city with scenic views as we said goodbye to Firenze.|
We got back to the ship about 6:15PM, in time to depart by 7PM for our next Port of Call: Monte Carlo, Monaco.