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Arriving in Florence

Our introduction to Florence – the center of Tuscany

Background

Our first trip to Florence was part of an Italy Tour in Fall of 2017. Florence is the birthplace of Renessaince, home to some of the best museums in Italy and the largest city in Tuscany.

Getting There

We arrived to Florence from Venice via Bologna in train. The trip took about 2.5 hours. We booked the tickets months before online back in our home in Atlanta, GA, USA. Train reservations are fairly easy via the train italia website.

Below is a clip of our train passing Bologna.

Passing Bologna on the way to Florence

Galleria dell’Academia

We stayed at a Air BnB rental in Florence. The city center was a 15 min walk and the train station was a 20 min walk. We could also opt for a taxi or bus.

Our first stop next morning was Galleria dell’Academia which houses one of the most famous sculpture – Michelangelo’s David. The lines at the entrance goes around the block, so it was good we did our reservation online a week before. Below is a picture of Glenda on the reservation line as some street musicians entertain us by the sidewalk.

Here are some pictures from the museum including the sculptures – David and ‘Sabine Woman’ .

The museum’s gift shop was pretty good. And just 10 minutes walk from the Academia Gallery takes us to the historic city center. More on that in the next blog! Below is the highlight video of our visit to this world famous museum. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel or add the Tuscany Playlist in your favorites to view all the videos from tbis region.

Academia Gallery in Florence

Mexico Cruise 2017 – Carnival Fantasy

Video blog of our trip to Cozumel

We took the Carnival Fantasy on a memorable cruise to Cozumel, Mexico on January 2017. It was the largest vacationing group we had in a cruise so far with myself, my wife, all 5 of our kids and my Dad.

The video blog above details our experience at the wonderful Carnival Fantasy. We left from Mobile, Alabama and reached Cozumel a day and a half later.

Hope you enjoy the tour of the ship in the video!

Nassau, Bahamas

Video blog of our trip to Nassau in 2012

We took a trip to Nassau during a carnival cruise to the Bahamas. This was our first time in the island.

Most cruise ships offer a guided excursion in Nassau. You can also do your own short tour of downtown Nassau which is just few minutes walk from the cruise port. Hope you enjoy the video clip!

Milan Cathedral

An audio-visual tour of Duomo de Milano

Milan Cathedral (Duomo de Milano) is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan. The cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the largest church in Italy and the third largest in the world.

The main square surrounding the cathedral is a major tourist hub littered with famous fashion stores, the beautiful Victor Emmanuel II mall, museums, concert/event space, a major metro stop and shops and restaurants.

The cathedral tour has 2 sections. The amazing and historic interior. And the beautiful terrace with its Gothic architecture.

Leonardo da Vinci spent a major part of his career in Milan. Some of his engineering works are still in display at the Cathedral.

The sculpture “Saint Bartholomew Flayed” is a major tourist attraction.

A few hundred gargoyles and other smaller statues adorn the exterior of the magnificent cathedral.

Each of the tall aspires is dedicated to a famous person. During the allied bombing campaign in world war II only two aspires were damaged. Milanese attribute that to divine intervention!

The terrace atop the cathedral hosts concert events and offers an amazing view of Milan.

Basilica di San Fedele, Como

Video blog about the oldest church in Como, Italy

The Basilica of San Fedele is the oldest church in Como, Italy . It is located in the city center and is dedicated to Saint Fidelis martyr. It derives from an earlier Christian church from the 7th century, dedicated to Euphemia.

We visited this ancient church as part of a walking tour in 2017 on a trip to Lake Como. The square facing the church is the oldest surviving area of the city dating back to Roman times in the 5th century.

Como was the birthplace of many historical figures in Roman times, including the poet Caecilius mentioned by Catullus in the 1st century BCE and writers Pliny the Elder and the Younger. The image below shows some of these historical figures depicted in the impressive front facade of the Como Cathedral, built in later medival period.

Later famous historical figures from Como include Pope Innocent XI, scientist Alessandro Volta, and Cosima Liszt, second wife of Richard Wagner and long-term director of the Bayreuth Festival.

Grand Turk

Video blog of our trip to the Turks and Caicos

Grand Turk Island is an island in the Turks and Caicos Islands. We visited the island in 2016 on a Carnival Cruise. Grand Turk contains the territory’s capital, Cockburn Town and the JAGS McCartney International Airport. During the early 1960s NASA Gemini space program had several capsule landing on Atlantic near the island. An interesting memorial of these missions are showcased near the Carnival Cruise terminal.

Marseilles – Basilique Notredame de la Garde

video blog of the most iconic church of Marseille

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde is a Catholic basilica in Marseille, France built in 19th century. The site of a popular Assumption Day pilgrimage, it is the most visited site in Marseille. It was built on the foundations of an ancient fort at the highest natural altitude of 149 meters (489 ft). Buildings in Marseille are not allowed to exceed this height. It is built from limestone outcropping on the south side of the Old Port of Marseille and offers the only panoramic view of the entire city including the old port, cruise port, isles of Monte Christo, the famous fish market and old town Marseille.