It wasn’t raining when I got up this morning. Yay! My walking tour of Florence started at 9:30. There was so much to take in that I can’t possibly remember it all so I just tried to take in the sights and experience as much as possible. We started the tour on Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence. It was built in 1345, 3 years before the plague. Small parts of it have been changed through the years as different rulers took control, but it remains essentially the same today. One of the biggest changes is that when it was originally built the merchants along the bridge sold meat. As they cleaned the meat they threw the “extra” pieces over the bridge into the Arno. Clearly this smelled terrible and eventually the duchess who lived downstream banned the sale of meat and said that only gold and silver could be sold on the bridge. This is still true today. From there we walked along the Arno to the Galleria degli Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio to take in the sculptures. On we walked to the Piazza del Duomo to see the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The guided tour was totally worth the money to have the history explained along the way! Yesterday I learned that daVinci helped in the completion of the dome on the Cathedral. His 3-speed hoist was used to place the golden cupola and cross on the top along with other machines for the placement of the blocks. The diameter of the dome is 45 meters (~120 feet) which is 3 meters more than the Pantheon in Rome. When the church was built they actually didn’t even know how they would finish dome… it was too big! A contest was held to find a suitable solution for the roofless building. From there we took a break for some gelato and then headed to the Galleria dell Academia to see Michelangelo’s David. The realism in the sculpture is stunning. You actually see the veins and bones “under” the marble. The guide pointed out that David is positioned so he is looking toward Rome, Florence’s “Goliath.” This was then end of my tour so I made my way across town to the train station to go to Pisa. I couldn’t get there fast enough because the rain had started again this time in sheets! I was drenched by the time my train left even though I had an umbrella.