I am sure that I have said this before, and it is quite likely that I will say it again in the future; Europe is a place so rich in sights to see. This is a fact evident in my multiple posts on Lisbon, and Cadiz along with numerous days filled with sights in a number of other European cities. It is even more so when you are in an area such as Tuscany and visiting two fairly remarkable cities, first the city of Florence followed by the city of Pisa.
After lunch, it was time to visit the Basilica of Santa Croce, while this may not mean a lot to most people it does have a lot of historic prominence. It is the principal Franciscan Church in Florence and a Minor Basilica of the Roman Catholic church. However it is also the burial place of a number of very famous people over the centuries, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini. It was quite interesting to see the monuments erected inside for each of these people.
To the side of the church is what used to be the dormitory of the Franciscan Friars, however today it houses the Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School). While not such an impressive building, having this building here creates a wonderful courtyard that would have been a nice peaceful place to walk in the past.
To round out the time in Florence, we were given some free time to take a look around the city. It was not much, however over lunch I had taken a look at the map, and pin pointed a couple of interesting places. As it turned out the way the sights were portrayed on the map and the actual places were not so well aligned and with the time I had, there was not really anything much extra I got to see.
It was time to get back to the bus and head off to the second part of the day, which was another walking tour to Pisa, for a visit to the Leaning tower of Pisa. Over the past few years there has been a lot of work undertaken to improve the stability of the tower, which before restoration work was undertaken leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees. Today the tower is more stabilised and leans at just 3.99 degrees.
Restoring the Leaning Tower of Pisa, was no small task, however the restoration will allow the tower to remain without fear of falling and to be displayed in all the glory of its white marble exterior. It is really an amazing building to see, I just wish there had been time to actually go up the tower, however again the negative side of being on a cruise, the limited time to see the sights.
Like the Cathedral in Florence, the Cathedral in Pisa has a separate building which is the Baptistery. Due to a much better layout and much smaller crowd of people it was a lot easier to get the complete picture of the building. In this case the Baptistery is a round building, constructed out of white marble to match the Cathedral and Leaning Tower of Pisa, with a red tile roof.
Finally on the way back to the bus I came across a sight that just is one of those picture moments that is kind of cliché, however I thought it nice. It also seemed to be the sort of picture that really expressed a part of the area.
Tuscany is just as beautiful as it is portrayed in the movies, and it could be very easy just to come and stay and really not want to leave. There is a seemingly relaxed atmosphere from what I could tell, however this is maybe the case when you are looking at such an area from the outside as a traveller, rather than a local resident.