We spent the morning driving to Florence. We had to get out a few minutes walk from the heart of the city. Once we reached the first piazza, we found out there was going to be a big sports event that afternoon in the square, so a stadium had been constructed, police were getting ready to block off routes, and control crowds, and stores were closing in that particular piazza in about two hours. The first thing we did was go to a leather shop (Peruzzi) and see how the leather designs are created, and how the gold is laid into the designs.
We also got a lesson on fine leather, and then....of course, used the free facilities. Florence is known for it's leather, gold, and sun glasses. It was my favorite shopping location in Italy. We managed to find leather, and jewelery before leaving in the afternoon-I left the sun glasses for the next visit. There are also a lot of men, and women who sell knock-off purses (prints, glasses, jewelry etc) illegally from blankets all over major Italian Cities. They place their ware on a blanket, but quickly pick the purses up and leave when police come nearby. We tried to avoid them as much as possible, but they are pretty intent on getting you to look at their wares. We had some free time to shop, and eat, and then we met with our local guide for the day. We were each given our whisper head sets, and then we made our way into the rest of the town. Our guide pointed out the buildings that were important to the Medici family, Dante's old house, Galileo's resting place, and Michelangelo's David.
The REAL David actually now resides in a museum nearby, so the one on the square we photographed was an exact replica standing in the spot the original stood along with tons of original statues from other famous Italian artist. We also saw the Gates of Paradise in front of the Baptistery.
After our tour, Mom and I walked to the Arno River that overlooks the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge.
We shopped back to our next meeting point, and then went and found a gelato, and watched a local parade pass in period costumes.
2 days ago