Saturday, May 19, 2012
First Full Day in Firenze
We had an exciting full day in Florence starting with the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, the original offices of the Duomo that now houses works by Donatello and original pieces that were in the cathedral.
We then skipped the massive line, at least 100 yards long, to enter the cathedral and headed straight for the Mercato Centrale (central market) for shopping and lunch. The streets are lined with Italian leather belts, jackets and purses, clothes, trinkets and other (mostly) touristy merchandise. Many of us ate fresh bread, meat, cheese, pasta and fruit from the numerous vendors inside the massive 19th century building.
After lunch we met and walked to the Academia, which houses Michelangelo's "David" and many other famous works. We were lucky enough to have pre-booked our tickets and bypassed a line that stretched around the museum.
Today was out also our first day for student presentations that will occur in each town we stop in. Each student was assigned a group and the group picked a building, piazza, work of art or other significant item to talk about as if they were the tour guides on the trip. The six students who gave their presentations today did an incredible job informing us on Piazza Republica and Santa Maria Novella, where we toured before splitting up for the evening.
We can officially use the phrase "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" after tomorrow, which will be our Trenitalia Train to Pisa and Lucca.