The next day there was a bus outing from the campground to Florence which worked perfect for us as we had a tour booked for that afternoon. The bus dropped us off at the train station and our first action was to get some food -- it wasn't lunch and wasn't breakfast. We went to Burger King -- I think the kids were ready for some American food. After that, we had about three hours until our tour began. We decided to go Basilica di San Lorenzo as it wasn't far from the train station. We didn't want to get lost.
Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of the older churches in Florence and is the burial place for principal members of the Medici family. We had read some about the Medici family in our history this year, Mystery of History. We are currently reading Michelangelo by Diane Stanley which gives not only Michelangelo's story but also bits of Florence.
The front isn't that beautiful as the facade was never finished.
It isn't that expensive to go it. We decided to go to both the church and the library and as we were pausing and figuring the lady selling tickets said that both the kids could go in free.
As you walk up to the library, we got this view of the Duomo which really stands out in the skyline.
This is the Laurentian library which was designed by Michelangelo. It was completed after he left Florence but based on his instruction.
Off the reading room was a dome.
After wandering through the library, we went to the chapel. We were given a tablet that had a bit of tour on it. That helped us to understand what we were looking at.
Every where you look there is art. I did give J an assignment to do for Fine Arts credit.
The church was not that crowded so we were able to just sit a bit.
We got a drink and started back to the train station to meet our tour guide. I saw this on the way. We didn't stop but we were tempted.
We had a walking tour of Florence. Our first destination was the Duomo. We walked around and the tour guide pointed our various features.
The construction of the Duomo began in 1296. (Yes, that is before Columbus sailed to the New World.)
I think Miss K liked the Golden Ball. According to our tour guide the ball fell off twice and both times it landed in the same place. Miss K is still talking about the golden ball.
Our tour did included Skip the Line tickets to Galleria dell'Accademia. That was adding a bit more fine arts to our tour. Our guide did an excellent job of showing some of the works of art and then we went around the corner and saw Michelangelo's David. It was an amazing piece of art to look at. We looked from a distance and then walked closer and around it. Michelangelo was 26 when he began this sculpture. He started with some work that someone else had begun. He took that and brought David to life out of a piece of marble.
Our next stop was gelato. This shop had about 50 flavours. Miss K got her usual chocolate. I tried snicker and my usual lemon. Our tour guide told us that gelato was invented in Florence.
We continued walking through the city. We saw the flag of Florence because the next day was a Florence holiday. We managed to be in Florence the day before the Florence holiday and in Rome on a Rome holiday.
We then walked to Piazza della Signoria which is in front of Palazzo Vecchio. In front of this building is where the original David was for many years until it was moved indoors.
There is also loggia die Lanz which is a antique sculpture garden.
Then we walked to Ponte Vecchio which is a bridge but this is a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River. The shops used to be butchers (reminds me of the Shambles in York) but now it is jewellers, gold, and souvenir sellers. The bridge was spared during World War II.
We were finished with our tour and we began the walk back to the train station and continued to see various bits of history in Florence like a place where they used to torture people which is now a market selling bags and clothing which my son thinks is just a new form of torture, having to go shopping.
We didn't stop for pizza though I wished we had instead we ended the day with McDonald's. J did say that both Burger King and McDonalds taste better there. It also is a chance to use a bathroom. Your receipt is ticket for a free bathroom and when you are wandering around the city that is a good deal.