Friday, May 22, 2015

Italy Part 1 - Pisa & Florence

Welcome to Italy!  The drive from Nice to Italy was pretty incredible. We were taken over mountains, over massive bridges and through long tunnels drilled directly through mountains.

First stop.. Pisa! This was definitely another tick off my bucket list. Photo's don't really do it justice because it is on an even bigger lean in person, however I have added a couple photos in case you have never seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  The square around the tower was also really beautiful which was a pleasant surprise.

Florence was a nice introduction to Italian culture and beauty.  Instead of staying in the heart of the city like normal, we actually stayed at a campsite in Tuscany Hills which was about 40 minutes from Florence.  This was a nice experience to just chill out for a while and see some country scenery.

After our commute to Florence in the morning, we did our normal walking tour around the city. Usually our awesome Topdeck trip leader Kaz does the walking tour, however in many Italian cities there is a law where no outsiders can provide a guided tour. As such, we had a local tour guide from Florence taking us around to see a few of the main sights.

After the walking tour, we watched a leather demonstration and had some time to check out all of the leather products. Florence is well known for Leather so it was interesting to have a firsthand cultural experience like that.  

Another awesome experience was seeing Michelangelo's David sculpture. This is his interpretation of David in the David and Goliath story.  For those who haven't heard of it, David and Goliath is a story in the bible and it is the ultimate story of the underdog overcoming everyone's expectations. David is a young teenager armed with a rock and a slingshot who volunteers to fight Goliath who is a massive brute.  Goliath is unbeaten at this stage against many warriors and fighters armed with much more than slingshots. You can therefore imagine everyone's shock when Goliath volunteers and ultimately conquers Goliath.  After waiting an hour and a half in the line and being hungry, tired etc we were almost ready to walk away but it was definately worth it.  A couple photos are below.

After some shopping, we went back to the campsite to prepare for a dinner at Moma's House!  Moma is a lovely Italian lady who owns a winery up in the Tuscan Hills not too far from our campsite.  We had a fantastic night that involved trying out 3 different red wines and an incredible 16% dessert wine, a three course meal involving bruchsetta, traditional Italian homemade pasta where the sauce had been cooking for 3 days, and dessert as biscotti to dip into our dessert wine.  What a fantastic night with great good, great wine, and great people.

Seeing Pisa and Florence was a great part 1 to Italy!  Stay tuned for part 2 involving Orvieto, Rome, and Venice!!


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