We're still here, in Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance and a city well-known for its art and architecture.
Now, back when we were in Rome, there were a lot of tourists, but not THRONGS of tourists in any one place. In retrospect, I think this is because there are so many things to see in Rome . . . but they're all spread out . . . so people don't get terribly congested.
In Florence, though . . . it's another story! There is MUCH to see in Florence, and it's all crammed together in a very small area. So crowds of tourists are all trying to see the same things -- all in the same place. There are throngs EVERYwhere in Florence! Here's a typical street scene, just across the Ponte Vecchio bridge. (See what I mean?)
My sister and I took to calling it "RenaissanceLand" -- because it reminded us of Disney Land (like . . . right before the parades). There were always big crowds of tourists at all the major sights. It was overwhelming and exhausting, just getting around.
But totally worth it!
We took a small group walking tour with a wonderful guide on our second day in Florence. It was delightful! She showed us all the best things in Florence, shared interesting stories, and - best of all - knew all the shortcuts!
In Florence, though, it really is all about the art! My favorites . . .
David (the real one this time. . . which is so much more awesome than you imagine it will be. . . ).
The Baptistry doors (and especially the Gates of Paradise).
And the Duomo -- the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. So beautiful and so impressive!
But now, my friends, we have wine to drink and pizza to eat! (For soon we head to Venice. . . )