Ponte alle Grazie
OK, we're back. (Read through to the bottom for a link to a slide show of images of our trip.)
We were on vacation and I just couldn't tear myself away from that to keep this blog up to date. I thought I could pull it off, but I was wrong...sorry.
When last we visited we had received our globe trotting baggage followed by a drive to Lucca and back in the rain. Good times!
The next day the weather started out much better, so we decided to drive to Siena. We ended up driving south into a northbound storm, so when we got to Siena it was wet and windy and cold. We did not know that Siena was at an altitude capable of putting a certain accent on inclement weather. We will keep that factoid tucked away for future reference.
Friday, the weather being "postcard worthy", found us southbound yet again, but not to Siena. We visited the medieval (and still populated) castle, Castello di Monteriggioni. I took photos and my wife shopped. From there we went to San Gimignano, a Tuscan hill town known for its 13 or 14 (depending on which travel guide you have) towers. Travel guru, Rick Steves, refers to San Gimignano as a "tourist trap", and I can see what he's talking about, but it is quite picturesque and photogenic, and even Rick Steves is enamored of the sunsets from the town. I was glad we went. As in Castello di Monteriggioni, I photographed and my wife shopped. Do you see a trend developing here?
I got up early Saturday to find yet another picture postcard day. I walked down to the Arno river and, taking advantage of the "dawn's early light", got some shots of the Ponte Vecchio and other sights. We still had the car, but decided to stay in Florence. We walked around the old part of the city, taking in the sights, photographing and shopping; you know the drill.
While we still had the car we drove up to Pisa; it was a cloudy day that turned into some light rain late in the day. With all the clouds, I was more than a bit disappointed with the ambient light in such an historic and famous place, but even if the light had been perfect, I wouldn't have been able to get the images I wanted; there are people EVERYWHERE! And if that weren't enough, they're all getting photos of themselves holding up the tower; except for that one guy that's trying to push it over. Instead of being frustrated at not getting the images I wanted, I shifted my focus and turned my lens on the people.
The next day we went back to Lucca; the weather was very pleasant, and I got some decent images, but we got there during the middle of the day and everyplace seemed to be shutting down for a couple of hours. We walked around for a bit, then packed it in and went back to Firenze. We really liked Lucca and would like to spend some more time there; perhaps even staying there.
We turned in our car a day early; there was really no place else we wanted to go, and we were quite satisfied with staying in Firenze and "becoming one" with our new, if temporary, home.
What's left to say? We left Florence on Friday, February 25th and now we're home...making plans for our return. If you're interested, here's a link to a good number of the images from this trip I found to be "share worthy" (the "Vatican" images were taken a couple of years ago):