After Lucca we hopped on a train over to the coastline to visit Viareggio, a resort city. Viareggio sits on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea (totally thought it was the Mediterranean at the time) bummer. We went for Carnevale--- not expecting it to cost 15 euro to enter a fence that contained said celebration. We did not pay, but now I regret it. We wandered around and looked at people in really funny costumes (think the children's fuzzy dalmation costumes.... only for adults).
I was stubborn and demanded that we find the beach and after awhile of searching we came across a opening in a fence and climbed through and many other tourists did the same! It was worth it to see the sea and then huge snow capped mountains in the distance.
We also saw some amazing floats while peeking through the fence into the Carnevale. The floats were enormous and spun, were animated, shot confetti into the streets.... it was crazy! Apparently Viareggio is famous for its floats. Other than the floats and the brief visit to the ocean I wasn't very impressed with the city... but I am sure it would be more fun in the summer.
Lucca is a small city in Tuscany founded by Etruscans, later to become a Roman colony. My favorite part of Lucca was seeing the Piazza where an amphitheatre once stood. The buildings are curved in a perfect ellipse despite the structure being long gone. In 1805 Lucca was taken over my Napoleon and he put his sister Elisa in charge. The famous composer Puccini was born in Lucca. Lucca also has several important churches, but unfortunately when I was there the churches were closed for tourists because of services. Also, the streets were pretty deserted because we went on a Sunday and it was also the weekend of the Carnevale celebration in Viareggio.
Lucca was very pretty but also sort of odd. We had to climb through some really sketchy passageways in the wall to enter the city, but the architecture was definitely worthwhile.
The Bargello is a former prison that now houses many famous works of art. Executions used to take place in the courtyard. In the museum are several pieces by Michelangelo (which I will have to return to see because the room was closed) and Donatello's David. Also, there were the competing designs by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi for the design of the Florence Baptistery doors.
The Palazzo Vecchio is right in front of the Piazza della Signoria (where the fake David statue stands). It means Old Palace and is the town hall of Florence but also a museum. The rooms are lavishly decorated and several rooms are named for the frescoes on the ceiling devoted to different gods and mythological stories. Hercules was pictured a lot in the rooms and I guess his story is symbolically bound to Florence and the Medici.
Boboli Gardens + Pitti Palace
Sorry it has taken me so long to post anything! I have been busy and going through some crazy stuff! I began a new internship today at a start-up newspaper. It is not what I wanted originally at all but I am relieved to work somewhere new. Many know already that I quit my previous internship for personal and professional reasons that I rather not discuss in my blog. Let's just say I am unbelievably happy for my new opportunity.
I will go back and post about my adventures in Rome and Venezia when I can. I have been waiting to post because I want to do a little more research behind some of the art and architecture I saw there before I share with everyone else. Thanks for your patience!! Besides, it is more fun for me to post pictures than to attempt to write :)
Today was a beautiful day
(STORY TO COME SOON I HOPE)
I can't believe it has taken me so long to post! After I got back from Rome last weekend I discovered we no longer had free wifi! So it will take me awhile to find time to post.
Two weeks ago after Monteggiorni and Siena we went to San Gimignano which was my favorite city. San Gimignano was once surrounded by 30 towers and now 13 remain. A carnivale for children was going on and this made the city my favorite. Children were dressed up in elaborate costumes compared to our Halloween standards and had silly string and shaving cream fights. I cannot believe how much confetti filled the streets. My friend Elise and I got in a confetti fight instead of following our tour guide. It was only children playing and we decided that the "big kids" needed to play too. We were covered in confetti for the rest of the trip but on the way out we got our entire group to join in plus our tour guides. We played with some children too who were absolutely loving the confetti. Two weeks later I am still finding confetti in my purse and coat pockets.
In San Gimignano we mostly explored and did some more climbing and saw some incredible views. Each look out we went to the view got better and better. I couldn't believe that it could get better than Fiesole. I didn't learn much about San Gimignano but I still had a great time!