We spent a criminally short time in Florence...less than the 24 hours spent in Venice! Our plan had originally been to spend 2 days there, but we were so enchanted by the Cinque Terre that an extra day got added to our time there.

But we did our best to see Florence's major attractions in one afternoon...

Not knowing that we had still more adventure ahead of us on our trip home (our casually late departure from Florence made us miss our connection in Paris, which ended up with us at the wrong airport in Houston!), we were pretty pleased at the good bit of sight-seeing we'd been able to cram into our short time in Florence.

Early the next morning we boarded our plane back to the land of E Pluribus Unum...and on the 4th of July at that!


As anyone who's ever taken history of art knows, the main attraction in Florence is the amazing Duomo (Cathedral), on the left, and that's where we headed first.

What a fabulously beautiful building, in addition to being such a significant historical structure. And it's so much bigger than it looked on Dr. Brown's slides in the lecture hall back at Rice!


But you can do more than just admire the exterior...

Baptistry dome interior
Baptistry dome

That's right, we actually climbed the gorgeous Campanile tower...

...and, on a gorgeous day like we were blessed with, what amazing views !

Campanile ticket

Just on the right, and in the panorama on the right above, you can see another of Florence's iconic buildings, the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace).

Fortunately we had time for a quick, closer look at this beauty, too...

Palazzo Vecchio
top of Baptistry
Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio

In the Campanile panorama on the left above, you'll see another Florence landmark, Santa Croce.

Kathy and the kids rested on the square there with a refreshing gelato while Henry took the Palazzo Vecchio shots.

He came back and took these of lovely Santa Croce, too... well as a new bridge, and some recreational real estate squeezed onto the riverbank...
soccer field
fresco on hotel room wall

...not before, however, dropping our bags at our hotel.

Yes, the fresco in the photo on the left was not in a Florence museum but on our room's wall!

Only in Florence, we suspect, will you get such interior decoration in reasonably priced lodgings (my notes say it was the Pensione Burchiardi).

Santa Croce
Santa Croce
Of course, those talented Renaissance Florentines weren't only architects. We also took in some monumental sculpture on display. (Note: the "David" is a copy; the original is safe in a museum that we didn't have time to visit. However, according to Wikipedia, where we saw it is the original location of the real thing.)
copy of David

Worn out from our frenetic sight-seeing, the kids sacked out early in the room/museum. But Henry and Kathy were more reluctant to see this wonderful adventure end.

We walked to a restaurant on the other side of the Arno for a late supper, where Henry was able to capture this magical view of Florence:

Florence after sunset
family boarding the plane

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We also took a quick look at the river Arno and its famous Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge)...