• Amsterdam-Pisa v.v.

    At the beginning of this summer cruising-season we invited a befriended couple from the US to join us for about a week on our little ship. As the male half has lived in Italy in the past -and masters the language- he suggested us to join the two of them when holidaying in Italy for a month. We duly arranged for a flight to nearby…

  • Tourist House Ricci

    … Pisa and a room for four nights in Firenze/Florence. Flying from Amsterdam to Pisa (Transavia, a KLM-subsidiary) is considerably cheaper than directly to Firenze/Florence (KLM). Since our friends could pick us up using their rental car it was an easy choice. We plan to visit Pisa some other time – only saw the airport this time.

Tourist House Ricci is situated in the Via Dè Martelli, adjacent (just north) to the biggest attractions of the city, being the combination of Duomo, Campanile and Battistero. Our friends had a rented apartment in the Via Dei Servi, north-east of the Doumo – just a few blocks away from us. We started every day together with breakfast in their apartment. Tripadvisor awards Tourist House Ricci 4,5 out of 5 by the way. We agree.

  • ‘Dio crea Eva’/God creating Eve

    The next day, a Saturday, we bought tickets that allows one, to visit several attractions within 48 hours. As the ticket office is situated inside the Opera del Duomo Museum it’s the most obvious thing to visit this museum first – and that is what we did.

  • ’Madonna con bambino’/Maria tickling her son

    Among other things the museum houses the original works of art that were formerly applied to the outside of the Duomo/Campanile/Battistero. More about this later – when in line to enter the Campanile.

Pietà by Michelangelo (Buonarroti) (1475-1564). Michelangelo next-to-last sculpture. He did not finish it, no, even mutilated it, because at the end of 1555 (already 80(!) years old) he discovered flaws in the marble-block he was working on. The work was acquired in 1671 by Cosimo III de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and -after a period of peregrinations- eventually on display inside the Opera del Duomo Museum. Especially the right underside shows the unfinished state of this statue.

For lunch, the already mentioned Tripadvisor led us to ‘Panini Toscani’, situated next to the Duomo. Rightfully so, it was even worth being in line for over half an hour. There was a kind of ‘bouncer’ at the entrance, organizing a smooth operation inside the extremely narrow panini-shop. When it was our turn we discovered why the waiting seemed to be without an end. Inside was this man, almost an artist, feeding every small group of six (formed by the ever so friendly ‘bouncer’) with examples of his cold cuts and cheese. After that we all made our choice for one cold cut, a cheese and the type of bread we desired and while moving towards the exit we picked three extra’s – like pesto-sauce, dried tomatoes and the likes. After having paid all four of us savoured a top-class panini with a glass of red wine (3) and a bottle of beer (1).

After lunch, still Saturday the 28th of October, we entered the Duomo and after that planned to climb the nearby Campanile. When walking the Piazza del Duomo one’s impressed by all the marble that covers the Duomo, Campanile and Battistero alike. It’s almost beyond imagination how they all did it during the Medieval Period.

  • Campanile-tower

    It’s clearly visible here where the original works of art were taken from – see the third picture. Nowadays there are copies attached to all the buildings. A wise decision, we’d say. The…

  • Marble – and a queue

    …queue is an example of all the queues we’ve been part of. Most of the time everyone behaved civilized. There’s always the odd queue-jumper. We just looked in awe at all the marble.

  • Dome – it’s top

    When on top of the Campanile the view is simply stunning. Later on we’ll show you some pictures as taken from the top of the Duomo (yes!). This picture shows this very top – 10 meters higher than the…

  • Difference in height

    …Campanile-one. The prove is this picture, as seen on the inside of the Campanile’s upper level. We had to climb 414 steps, suffering from quite a lot of descending traffic. Turning. With rucksacks!

  • Piazza della Repubblica (I)

    The first picture was, again, taken from the top of the Campanile. The second one two days later, when we felt slightly exhausted after having seen only a small part of all…

  • Piazza della Repubblica (II)

    …the beauties on offer. The matching factor, of course is the merry-go-round. Either being a kid or a grown-up, a merry-go-round is always, well, a merry moving thing.

  • Restaurant outside

    The male half of our friends is very good at finding a restaurant offering high quality as well as presenting a reasonable bill after having had dinner (with drinks). This restaurant offers 20% discount, if booked beforehand (we seem to remember).

  • Restaurant inside

    We took a picture after leaving – just to remember for the future, see the second, ‘food-picture’. The food and drinks were simply excellent, next to lovely people serving us. You wonder about the bill? We could not believe our eyes: € 80,00!!

On Saturday we checked whether tickets for Firenze’s/Florence’s world-famous Galleria degli Uffizi were available on Sunday. Sold out! was the disappointing message. We decided for an early rise, a brisk walk and queuing – if given the chance. Well, we were lucky. After a not too long wait, less than an hour, we were able to buy tickets.

  • Herakles killing the centaur Nessus

    When visiting this museum it is really overwhelming what’s on display. Therefore just several randomly chosen works of art. The left one depicts Herakles (Hercules), killing Nessus after the latter tried to assault his wife Dejanira. For the full…

  • Nereide (a sea nymph) on a sea-horse

    ...story, see, more specific the part ‘Death of Heracles’. The second one is no less beautiful, but substantially less dramatic, and called ‘Nereide su un cavallo marino’.

  • Hermaphrodite

    The first statue looks like a sleeping woman from behind and even when looking at the front it takes a few seconds before realizing it’s a statue of a hermaphrodite. It’s Roman art, dating from the 1st century. ‘The character portrayed comes from Greek mythology and was the child of Hermes and Aphrodite. (Hence the name, ed.) The youth is lying on a lion pelt placed over a rocky surface. Half man and half woman, the bisexuality...

  • Sitting boy

    ...of Hermaphrodite is based on its union with the nymph Salmacis, who asked the gods to keep both their bodies in one in return for eternal love.’ For more, see The sitting boy is less of a mythological story. The name simply is ‘Boy with thorn’, also known as Spinario. Want to know more? See

  • Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

    This work of art, ‘Annunciazione’ (Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary) is thought to be Leonardo’s earliest complete work. Manfredi’s painting, named ‘Carita…

  • Bartolomeo Manfredi (1582-1622)

    …Romana’ (Roman Charity) reminded us of the same depiction we once noticed as a half-elevated sculpture in Gent (Ghent), Belgium. See Week 39, 2015, 9th picture.

  • Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652/3)

    The painting on the left ‘Giuditta decapita Oloferne’ (Judith slaying Holofernes) is signed Artemisia Lomi (her real name) but was in 1774 attributed to Caravaggio. Shortly thereafter it was rightly restored to the catalogue…

  • (Michelangelo Merisi, detto) Caravaggio (1571-1610)

    …of Artemisia’s work end ended op becoming her most famous work. On the right hand side a genuine, and famous, work of Caravaggio, ‘Bacco’ (Bacchus) – one of his early paintings.

Gerrit Honthorst (detto Gherardo delle Notti) (1592-1656). In The Netherlands he is called Gerard van Honthorst. Because he is a fellow countryman, even a fellow townman (Utrecht!), he deserves an unshared page. This painting’s name is ‘Adorazione del Bambino’ (Adoration of the child). More about the painter: And the painting:

  • Ponte Vecchio

    Firenze/Florence is cut in half by the river Arno. The first bridge, crossing the river, is simply called ‘Ponte Vecchio’ (Old Bridge). It’s a special bridge, because a lot of shops are built on top of it. The left picture is the spectacular view as seen from...

  • Jewellery shop

    ...Galleria degli Uffizi. The picture on the right-hand side makes clear what happens when entering the bridge. More specific: a jewelry shop, situated on top of the bridge. It makes for a nice through-view. (It ended up being a no-deal.)

Monday the 30st of October we visited the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in the morning. See Its walled in garden is an oasis of tranquility in the centre of the town.

The stairs inside the building, leading to its reading room. Design: Michelangelo (Buonarroti).

Here’s the reading room itself. All of it is utterly renaissance-style.

The required documents, often large, were spread out in front of the reader and -in accordance with an illustration we saw somewhere- covered by a piece of fabric to protect them (against fading, for instance?). The (changeable) list on the outside of a bench was a guide, informing about the contents to be found there.

It’s a lot of walking (and climbing) when in Firenze/Florence, seen in the light of a desire to visit several interesting places within the confined space of a few days. Monday’s afternoon was reserved for climbing the Dome – by the two men that is. As mentioned before we bought tickets that are valid for 48 hours on Saturday around noon. The time we were supposed to enter the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, well its Dome, was 12:00PM sharp. We were there – and denied access because we both were lacking a small but important document. Now what? We decided to go back to the ticket office and ask for a duplicate of the required documents. That proved to be possible (don’t dare to make any unfriendly remark about the Italians!) and we returned to the Dome-entrance on the double. Even though it was almost 12:30PM we were allowed to enter the building. Phew! This is the view down into the cathedral after having completed the straight part of the climb.

The straight part is followed, of course, by the bending dome-part. This picture gives a good impression what that looks like. It is less easy than this picture suggests but, despite the 463 steps, easier than the Campanile because (1) generally it is not as narrow and (2) most of the time oncoming traffic has its separate stairs.

The reward of climbing the dome is absolutely worth the trouble. Together with a part of the city around and behind it the Campanile -its visitors 10 meters below us- is clearly visible here.

  • Firenze/Florence (I)

    Two pictures of the view on offer when looking from the dome’s top. When looking at the shades and comparing the street-pattern to our map we think this is a view towards the east/east-southeast-direction.

  • Firenze/Florence (II)

    The second picture certainly was taken in the opposite direction, being the west/north-west-direction. It’s a bit easier to determine, because of the large square dead-end train-station in the centre.

  • Dead-end street

    Some trivialities must be part of this blog, too. At least that’s what we think. First there was this sign of a dead-end street, alternatively used by someone for a religious purpose. Another person added ‘life is porno’ to it. Even twice! We doubt it. Then, all of a sudden, there was ‘Assidea no Bolkestein’. Frits Bolkestein…

  • Frits Bolkestein

    … …is a Dutch former Europian Commissioner from 1999 until 2004. We were unable to find a translation for ‘Assidea’. Ass idea, however, means the idea of a donkey. He proposed, even realized, some controversial new rules. The Italians apparently did not forget him! See

On the 31st of October we said goodbye to our friends. It had been a short but great time. After that we took the train from Firenze/Florence to Pisa’s central train-station. From there to the airport by PisMover – a bit strange name in Dutch (and English?) but who cares? It has been really fantastic. In three full days we have maybe seen 10% (less?) of what’s on offer for the discerning visitor. We must, repeat must, go back another time. We hope to be able to entertain all of you followers again next month – Sunday the 3rd of December.