Saturday, April 20, 2019

Day 4 – Wed, April 10, 2019 – Livorno, Italy – Crystal Serenity – Monte Carlo to Venice

Livorno is often considered a gateway to Florence and Pisa. We decided to visit Florence because Brenda had not visited it before. So, today was all about a tour from Italy Tours. We had an early departure, so we ordered a continental breakfast from room service.

We stepped off the ship at the port at 7:30 and found our guide. She was going to drive us into Florence (known in Italian as Firenze) where we would get a walking tour by a local guide for a few hours and then some free time to have lunch and do what we liked. We joined another couple (Mother and Daughter) and headed inland. We drove on the on the FiLiPi Highway (Firenze, Livorno, Pisa).

Our first stop was at San Michele a Torri, a small Tuscan winery a few miles outside of Florence. This winery had very nice views of the valley.

Our next stop was an overlook of the city. The views were incredible, Florence is breathtakingly beautiful.

Before we got into the center of Florence, we stopped at the Piazzi de Santa Croce. It was dominated by a huge church. Alex grabbed a coffee as we hung out.

Notice Alex, Brenda and Julie in the lower right.
Once we got to the center, our plan was a several hour walk with a different guide through the sites, and then find a place for lunch. The driver was going to pick us up at 3pm. We were dropped off and picked up in Piazza della Repubblica. Our guide showed us the various sites in short loop around the area, including the Bapistry of St. John the Baptist, the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church and Museum of Orsanmichele, the Medici Palace which is now the Uffizi Gallery (from the outside) with its David statue in front, and the Ponte Vecchio covered bridge (over the Arno River).



Golden Door on Bapistry

Bell tower

We saw several stores with chocolate waterfalls in the background.

Piazza della Signoria


The covered walkway between the palaces

Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Dante

Ponte Vecchio

More of the covered walkway

Nice view
The golden door on the Bapistry was created in the 1400's by Lorenzo Ghiberti. It was at a time when they were learning how to do art and in this case relief work. BTW, this is a replica to keep the original safe in a museum.

One thread was the Medici Family, which ruled Florence for over 400 years. Florence was run by many guilds (today we'd call them unions) dedicated to banking, shipping, clothing, etc. The Medici family started in shipping and started loaning money. They ended up doing banking and became the most powerful family and rulers. Their palace was spectacular. Cosimo I de' Medici married Eleonora di Toledo of Naples. She was rich and used to the finer things in life and hated the Medici Palace. She bought the Pitti Palace across the Arno (about a kilometer away). Cosimo wanted to be able to spend time in both places and constructed a walkway high up above all of the building so he could walk directly between the two buildings, including going over the Ponte Vecchio. The covered bridge always had shops and Medici didn't like that they were common and declared only jewelry shops could be on the bridge and today that is what is along there. We essentially walked along and under this walkway for the rest of the tour.

Lunch was next after the walking tour and we stopped at Mammamia Restaurant for some pizza and a bottle of wine (a Ruffino Chianti). It was quite wonderful.

We then headed over to the Pitti Palace to tour the Boboli Gardens. We only had about an hour, but wandered up the hill to see the views. It was a spectacular view and wonderful gardens.

After that, it was back to the ship and get ready for pre-dinner drinks in the Avenue Saloon and dinner in Waterside. We had gotten friendly with the sommelier Mila and she managed to get us a bottle of the wonderful wine we had the previous night in Prego.

Julie had:

BBQ Tiger Shrimp

Mixed Garden Greens and Green Goddess Dressing

Wagyu Flat Iron Steak

Raspberry and Vanilla Trifle
While Bob had:

Tomato Soup (with mini Macs and Cheese Sandwich)
Bob had the same salad and steak entree as Julie.

Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Steps: 16,035 Miles: 7.0


  1. Julie's dessert looks very tempting!

  2. She thought it was pretty great. She had four favorite desserts on Crystal and thought that they were the same between the two ships. She was wrong, so had to find a new set. This might be on the list, not sure.

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