The Leaning Tower of Pisa

On August 9, 1173, construction began on the Tower of Pisa which was originally designed as a bell tower. The partial building stood upright for over 5 years, but just after the third floor was completed in 1178, the tower began to lean slightly.Dug only three meters into the ground, the foundation was built on a dense clay mixture which proved to be too weak to hold the tower upright.
Construction went on hold for a hundred years. The government was focusing on a brutal war with Genoa and people were hoping the soil would settle and strengthen over time.
After the 100 year break, Giovanni di Simone added on four more floors to the tower in 1272 causing it to lean even more. Years went by and wars came and went. During WWII, American troops were ordered to destroy any and all buildings in the surrounding areas to avoid sniper attacks. A retreat (just in time) saved the national monument from destruction!
In 1964, a counterweight of 800 tons was installed and in 1990, the bells were removed and the structure was anchored. In 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was open for tourists.
We did not get to go up in it because Lennon wasn’t allowed because of a stupid age restriction. Boooo! – so we decided as a family that we leave no man left behind! hee. We’ll just have to go back in a few years to get to the top!









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The Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower in Florence



The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) is the main church in Florence. It is commonly called the Duomo. Construction began in 1296 in the Gothic style. It was completed in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. To this day, it remains the largest brick dome ever built.

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I need to put more sunscreen on and Maddux needs to stop photo-bombing!!!


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Bronze Doors in Florence

This information was taken from a website on Florence art- I could not have remembered all this:
“The magnificent sets of doors in gilded bronze that were to become even more famous than the temple itself were all originally designed and made for this entrance. Andrea da Pontedera, known as Andrea Pisano, was the first artist to work here and only took seven years (1330-1336) to complete his pair of doors: this was quite a noteworthy performance if we remember that this was the first time that a bronze cast of this size had ever been carried out in Gothic art.”

The door below is the bronze door on The Duomo (the Florence Cathedral.)


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Em took this photo. I love that she got the old lady in yellow in it.


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We “pretty much” saw David

20130611-013026.jpg This is a copy of the statue of David. It is located outside of Palazzo Vecchio.

20130611-013148.jpg We didn’t have the time to wait in line for tickets to get into the gallery to see David -so I went in the exit (just for a quick second) and saw him through the crack in the door (the door that is in the above photo.) To me, that counts!!! If you look super close and squint your eyes a bit, you might be able to see him, too!

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Remembering Florence in 2002 with Emme, Sally and Allie

These photos were taken inside Palazzo Vecchio.



Emerson, Nana (Jesse’s mom Sally) and I traveled to visit Allie (my friend in Austria with Baby Walter) when she was studying Renaissance Art in Florence in 2002 when Emerson was about 7 or 8 months old. Allie has her doctorate now which means she knows a hell of a lot about this stuff. When we visited her eleven years ago, we went to many museums, churches and galleries where we had her as our own personal tour guide. I am so sad to say that I couldn’t remember much when Jesse asked me questions about different things we were seeing this time around. Em didn’t remember a thing, so she couldn’t help me out! hee. I did remember the incredible energy of the city, the large amounts of pasta and bread we ate, the yummy vino, the freaky torture museum, the snakes that attacked Sally, the mosquitoes that attacked me and all the laughing we all did!

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Loggia dei Lanzi

The area behind us is basically an open-air sculpture gallery of antique and Renaissance art. While we were admiring the sculptures, Maddux kept asking why people fought naked back then.






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Lennon’s turn with the camera!



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Palazzo Vecchio- the town hall of Florence


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