The city of Florence is considered the “birthplace of the Italian Renaissance” and the “Athens of the Middle Ages”.
Florence was home to the infamous Medici family from the 14th century to the 18th century.
Leonardo da Vinci, polymath; NiccoloMachievelli, poet and philosopher; Galileo Galilei, astronomer and physicist; Amerigo Vespucci, explorer; Donatello, sculptor; Rafael, painter; Robert Cavalla, fashion designer; and Guccio Gucci, fashion designer and founder of the Gucci label all lived in Florence.
In 1339, Florence became the first city in Europe to have paved streets.
Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge in Florence to have survived WWII intact. Hitler declared it was too beautiful to destroy.
Regional dishes include: CrostiniToscani, sliced bread rounds topped with chicken pate; ( which is very good)</li></ul>Well known for having the Academia museum which holds Michelangelo’s David ( This sculpture is enormous and only took 3 years to create. <br />
Façade of the Cathedral 1n 1436 was dedicated by Pope Eugene the IV to Santa Maria del Fiore. The façade was designed by Emilio de Fabris. <br />The Baptistery was consecrated to St. John the Baptist and was the Cathedral of Florence until 1128<br />Fountain of Neptune <br />Lorenzo Ghiberti’s most famous work it took him 27 years to complete. The 10 panels represent the old testament. <br />
Ponte Vecchio “vecchio” means old and is the oldest bridge in town. In 1333 was destroyed by a flood and rebuilt to current design in 1345.<br />The Church of Santa Croce which holds the remains of some of the most famous people such as Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli to name a few <br />Galileos tomb <br />Michelangelos tomb<br />
Sienna<br />Siena is a city in Tuscany , Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena .<br /> It is one of the nation’s most visited tourist attractions. Siena is famous for it’s cuisine,art museums,<br /> medieval cityscape the horse race known as the palio.<br />Siena retains a ward-centric culture from medieval times. Each ward (contrada) is represented by an animal or mascot, and has its own boundary and distinct identity. Ward rivalries are most rampant during the annual horse race (Palio) in the Piazza del Campo.When a person is born they receive to baptism one of the christian nature and the other for their Contrada which they remain a member of their entire lives. <br />
Catherine of Siena’s skull is here , the rest of her body remains in Rome<br />The Cathedral <br />Catherine of Siena had visions from the time she was a child. She joined a Dominican order when she was a teenager, and devoted herself to working with the poor and the sick. She developed a following and dictated her ideas on spirituality and devotion in what became known as her Letters. She became a central figure in church politics, and persuaded Gregory XI to return to Rome from Avignon. This did not halt the Great Western Schism, however, during which she supported Urban VI. She was canonized by Pope Pius II in 1461, and in 1970 became one of two women to be named Doctor of the Church <br />.<br />This is used for the baptism into a constrada.<br />
Piazza Del Campo regular <br />Piazza del Campo set up for the Palio<br />
San Gimignano<br />San Gimignano rose from an ancient etruscan settlement around a seventh century parish and a castle gave to the Volterra’s episcope in 929; during the XII century became a city-republic. Its first walls were born in 998, when San Gimignano became a business centre along the Francigena Way.<br />
Entrance to San Gimignano<br />Cisterna’s Square <br />View from restaurant we ate lunch at <br />
Venice <br />The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The name comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice out the window before being taken down to their cells.<br />In Venice people travel by gondola, or water bus, or water taxi. Venice is built on 118 small islands in a lagoon and has canals instead of roads. There are nearly 400 bridges crossing the canals. The Carnival in Venice is famous, and everyone dresses up in masks and 18th cenury costume.<br />
Basilica San Marco <br />Exterior of Doge’s palace <br />Bridge of Sighs <br />Interior Doge’s Palace <br />
St. Marcus Square <br />Riding in a Gondola<br />Rialto bridge<br />
Assisi <br />It was the birthplace of St.Francis , who founded the Franciscan religious orderinthe town in 1208, and St.Clare (Chiarad'Offreducci), the founder of the Poor Sisters, which later became the Order of Poor Clares after her death. The 19th-century Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was also born in Assisi.<br />
Interiors views of the Basilica of St. Frances much of these frescos were done by an artist named Giotto <br />Some pictures were not taken by me since photography was not allowed <br />
Rome<br />Rome started out as a small village located in what is now the country of Italy. Its roots trace back to the ninth century BC, although the traditional mythical date of birth for Rome is April 21, 753 BC. The name Rome comes from origins that are disputed among historians, but it is generally thought to have come from the Etruscan language. Etruscan was the major language spoken in this area when Rome was founded, and it is believed that the founders of the village/city were probably Etruscan and later assimilated into an Italic population. In around 500 BC, the Romans residing in the city gained their independence from the controlling Etruscans and were well on their way to creating an empire.<br />By 44 BC, the Roman Empire was established, and the city of Rome was its capital. Estimates state that in the facts about Rome, Italy, at one point in this early era the city may have had a population of up to 3.5 million people. The population soon declined, however, after the peak in the second century AD. Plagues and other misfortunes killed off members of the population and drove others away from the city of Rome. Medieval Rome saw the city falling into disrepair, even though some of the emperors tried to grant money to subsidize repairs. In later parts of the Middle Ages, religion bolstered the area, making Catholicism an important part of Rome, as the pope found a home here and the Holy Roman Empire was established.<br />
Piazza Novena this is where we got the best gelato , and this square has church dedicated to St. Agnes this is where she was martyred and her skull can be inside the church. ( There was a funeral so we could not go in . )<br />
Naples and Sorrento <br />Sights from Naples <br />Sorrento<br />Mt. Vesuvius from Naples <br />
Isle of Capri <br />The Island of Capri is one of the most picturesque and visited locations in Campania. Its unique beauties were celebrated in ancient times and later published for the world in Homer's works: Odysseus (known in Latin as Ulysses) sailing past the island, narrowly escaped the fate of those who hear the voices of the Sirens.<br />Thus the island has a mythical charm, as well as its natural treasures, through the writings and legends of Ancient Greece. Its breathtaking landscapes and beauty stretch from the rocky caves around the island to the edge of the horizon, and has been an inspiration to poets, lovers and travelers throughout the centuries. Geologically speaking, the island is Karst, underlaid with limestone which has been eroded by dissolution over the years forming fantastical ridges towers and sinkholes in the rock. This process over time separated Capri from the mainland.<br />The sea emerging below is very deep, and harsh jagged caves have formed there. The most famous of these is the GrottaAzzurra or the "Blue Grotto", now known to have been a Roman bathing place. This lagoon is haunted by a dazzling shifting turquoise blue. Small openings in the back of the cave admit daylight which, reflecting on the limestone floor and walls, creates a fantastical and magical atmosphere. It has attracted visitors and inspired awe from all who have seen its ancient limestone walls and learned of the history of this oceanic cave.<br />In contrast to the intimate space and vivid color of the cavern, are the three peaks further out to sea, emerging from the azure blue water, pointing toward the sky. These peaks are known collectively as the Faraglioni. Their names are: Stella, di Mezzo and Scopolo or Fuori (meaning outside, probably because it is the furthest away). These three splendid fragments of Capri are known technically as stacks and are formed when erosion causes a solid land mass to divide and it becomes separated by water, or when a cave or natural rocky arch collapses. A fragment of the land is then isolated from its original body in the shape of a vertical column or steep rock rising out of the sea. The Faraglioni are famed for their breathtaking beauty and home of a variety of rare wildlife.<br />