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Maurice Greer’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 24 Oct 2009

Location: Siena area, Italy

MapToday we finally made it to Florence on our last full day in this area. We parked close to the old city centre and walked towards the TI to find a map. On the way we passed some elegant buildings, much nicer than what we saw in Siena. We walked through the Piazza Pitti with its large stone Palazzo Pitti, now a museum. Then we crossed over the River Arno looking upstream to a bridge with buildings along it, which we later discovered was Ponte Vecchio. We passed many other interesting buildings and, after getting a map, had lunch in the Piazza in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, a large building faced in dark green and white marble stripes. Next we walked to the Duomo, an even larger church, again faced with dark green and white stripes and some pink accents. Unfortunately it was closed today so we had to be content viewing its grand exterior and bell tower, very ornate with its marble statues and decorations. We visited many other sites on the tourist map north of the river, mostly churches and piazzas, but the most spectacular ones were Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza della Signoria. The latter has an “open museum”, an open-sided building containing many marble and bronze statues of varying sizes. Nearby, in the square, is Neptune’s Fountain and many other interesting sculptures. Next we walked to Piazza St. Croce and its Basilica of the same name finished in light marble with an interesting star-shaped feature near the top. We walked back along the river, crossing over Ponte Vecchio, lined with jewellery shops on each side of the pedestrian walkway, and open sections in the middle for views to the river. Unfortunately we missed a lot of the interesting sites that Florence has to offer as it would take several days to cover it all. It was already dark so we drove back towards Siena and Rosia. We turned off the main road and found the walled village of Monteriggioni, which we had visited a few days ago, so we had dinner in a nice restaurant there.