Day 2: Friday, March 21
Today started early with a walking tour of Florence. We were guided around town and treated to the sights. We started with the library near our hotel and eventually ended up at the Accademia Gallery where Michelangelo’s David is. Along the way we also saw Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Mercato Nuovo, and the famous Duomo of Florence. The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, but it is huge. It over looks two other areas where there are many sculptures including a replica of the David. Ponte Vecchio is a stone bridge over the Arno river; the same river our hotel was on. The bridge now has shops for jewelry and souvenirs, but our tour guide said there used to be butchers on the bridge who would throw scraps and stuff into the river and make the town stink. The Duomo is officially called the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. It took 140 years to completely finish and the famous dome was completed by someone different than the rest of the cathedral after winning a bid to finish it. It is also constantly being cleaned because once cleaners reach the end they have to start all over again.
In the afternoon we toured Visconti pens. Dante Del Vecchio, the founder of Visconti, greeted us and took us on a tour of the small but very impressive Visconti factory. We learned history and got to see concept designs of previous pens. It was really interesting to see a luxury brand have such little operations. Not all pens are hand made, but you could tell Dante is very passionate about what he does.
When we got back to the hotel after Visconti we changed and then hiked back up to the Piazzale Michelangelo to try and watch the sunset with some wine. On the way up we got gelato for the walk and it was delicious! When we got to the top, though, it was a little too cloudy and we didn’t really get a proper sunset. We ate dinner Ina cute little restaurant and I shared a pizza that was way better than the grab and go pizza we had for lunch. That night we found a really cool/hipster bar called Mug and the karaoke bar called a The Red Garter.