We got up early and rode back to Rome. Most of us had a fair amount of Matlab/exam/journals/homework to catch up on, so we spent our afternoon doing that along with an hour of everyone looking at each other’s pictures. Yay for procrastination!
Woo! We made it to the leaning tower. Little did we know, there are other buildings surrounding the tower including a semi-famous cathedral. We had an extremely peppy tour guide who took us through the church and surrounding area while 10 of us at a time climbed the tour. I had not really realized just how slanted the tower really is. It’s hard to capture the lean in pictures. It really needs to be seen. I also had not known that the tower was built over a period of ~300 years. Pisa kept running out of money and the tower kept leaning more and more so they had to change things about its construction.
Following Pisa we travelled to picturesque Lucca where we grabbed a really great group lunch and had the afternoon to wander the city. It was extremely relaxed which was a nice change from the hustle and bustle of Athens, Rome, and Istanbul. Most of us rented bikes and rode around the city walls. It was a beautiful day and everyone felt relaxed afterwards.
After a group presentation on Leonardo da Vinci’s work, we went to Galileo’s museum. While not strictly his things, it holds a huge amount of scientific artifacts in addition to his telescopes and other apparatuses. It was amazing to see all the old mechanical tools. The craftsmanship that obviously went into them was incredible. As someone who has done a small amount of metalwork, I can’t really fathom how they handmade everything. This was probably one of my favorite museums we visited. We had class and homework time after a group lunch. Unfortunately we were in Florence on Monday i.e. when the museums are all pretty much closed. It made a good time for souvenir shopping.
Happy taxis in Florence.
Dante permanently scowls at Florence for kicking him out.
Santa Croce church. The facade is extremely ornate.
Today we travelled to Florence, or Firenze as the Italians call it. We left early (8:00 a.m.) and arrived around 11:00. We grabbed a quick bite (only 3 courses) at a local Italian restaurant before starting our first tour of the city. The tour guide informed us that we had just eaten below Dante’s – think Dante’s Inferno – apartment when he lived in Florence. Well, before he was kicked out. After a quick walk where we passed Michelangelo’s home apartment, we arrived at the cathedral Santa Croce. Steeped with history, the church contains Galileo and Michelangelo’s graves amongst others. They were adorned with women representing their crowning achievements. Within the church was also the statue that most likely inspired the Statue of Liberty.
A tour of the Leonardo da Vinci museum followed Santa Croce. None of his actual work was inside, but engineers had built replicas of many of his drawings. These were really fun because they were all interactive. We got to play with wooden wormscrews, bearings, and more. Replicas of his ornithopters and military equipment were also on display, but not interactive