Day 12 - Friday, June 22 - Florence. 

In Florence today, we will follow our local guide to the magnificent Cathedral, Giotto's Bell Tower, the Baptistry's heavy bronze "Gate of Paradise" and the sculpture-studded Signoria Square.  To top the day off, we will admire Michelangelo's celebrated David in the Academy of Fine Arts. We will also visit the famous Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace.  Dinner at the hotel. Overnight Florence.

Today we travel back to Firenze to view some of the famous works of art. We had a very restful night at our hotel so we were refreshed and ready to continue our tour today. When we arrived in Florence is was very hot. Our first stop was to see the statue David. I never realized how large it was. There were not pictures allowed inside the museums so you'll have to hope someone sent you a postcard. Security was quite tight as you had to go through metal detectors and have your handbags x-rayed. We continued on a walking tour through Florence before taking a small break. We headed off to the Uffizi Gallery. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable of all the art pieces. They told us we would have to climb four flights of stairs to reach the galleries. They failed to tell us that each flight was at least twice the size of a flight of stairs at home. We took time for a short lunch and then headed off to the Pitti Palace. We crossed the Arno on a bridge that was entirely lined with stores, mostly gold and jewelry. You almost needed sunglasses to cross. After arriving at the Pitti Palace we discovered that there were at least three more European staircases to climb. We should all be in great shape when we get home. The art collection was mind boggling. I have never seen such a large private collection. After the tour we made our way back across the bridge to meet our bus. It was approximately a two mile walk. God bless Gino who met us with the bus on the street where it is illegal to load passengers. Many of us may not have made it back without passing out. We did get a bit of a break in the weather because it clouded up a bit and almost rained.  We all boarded very quickly and were whisked off to our lovely hotel in the mountains.

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