The day we left Sorrento, we made a stop at the ancient city of Pompei just in the shadow of Vesuvio or Mt. Vesuvius that erupted and covered the entire city and its inhabitants in ash. We arrived when they opened and it was a gorgeous day. We had a private tour with a guide who was so knowledgeable. Before we went on the tour I stopped in at the restroom and found this sign. I thought it was funny.
The grounds of the Pompei site are just amazing and it is still an excavation site. Basically the whole thing is a large walking tour and you wind around the grounds until you end up on a plateau above everything. You don't even realize you are climbing in elevation.
|The mosaic floors are incredible.|
At one point during the tour where it looked like we were in the middle of an ancient village, the guide asked the adults if we thought it was ok for him to take us through the red light district. It was fine with their teacher and so we went through. The walls outside of the brothel had pictures in a sort of menu of services so I guess the patrons could just point to what they wanted. It was hilarious.
|This is a dog that was tied up in their home and was trying to get away during the explosion.|
|This is where you end up and look out on everything.|
|That statue is on loan from somewhere else and is not original to Pompei.|
After lunch we were taken to the central train station in Naples. We would end up taking a high-speed train from there to Florence (Firenze) via Rome. Like all central train stations in European cities, Napoli Centrale was bustling with people trying to catch their trains to cities all across Italy and beyond.
The train was really nice and comfortable. I was seated next to a woman who kept coughing and it made me anxious that I would catch her funk. The ride was about an hour to Rome and 1.5 from there to Florence. The scenery was incredible.
|That is Vesuvio in the distance.|
|300 km/hour is pretty fast.|
|We arrived in Florence in the late afternoon.|
Our hotel was walking distance from the train station and we immediately hit the town once we dropped of our luggage. We went directly to the duomo cathedral and the cool thing is that you can't see it until you are right in front of it. Then you are hit with its magnificence. It's amazing with the pink and green marble everywhere.
A short walk from the Duomo is the Piazza della Signoria, which has a ton of beautiful statues around it and a fountain. The statue of David is a replica as the original is indoors in the Galleria dell'Accademia. But this is where David was for hundreds of years. Just the fact that there are these amazing statues out in the open tells you a lot about the culture and history of Florence. This is where things were happening and being created. So incredible! One of my favorite statues is the Rape of the Sabine Women. The movement and the intensity of it is quite emotional. For some reason I didn't take a picture of it. I guess it didn't occur to me.
|This is Hercules and Caucus with an interesting shadow.|
|This the replica of David.|
|On the Ponte Vecchio lots of people have written on a certain section of it. I thought this was cute because of the math.|
|This is the view from Ponte Vecchio|
|This local artist played a bunch of songs and he played "True Colors" and it was amazing.|
|This is the view from my room at the Hotel Croce di Malta|
|This is the view looking the other way.|
The next day we got to the Galleria dell'Accademia early so that we could see David. The line was going down the street. It was crazy. But we were able to enter the group line. The first thing you see when you enter is a plaster model of the Rape of the Sabine that Giambolgna used to create the actual statue. Then you enter another room where there are huge chunks of marble that are unfinished statues. I didn't realize it at first but in that room to the right and down the gallery is David. I was so enamored by the marble that I didn't see David. Then I looked down the hall and I was blown away. I was just not prepared for how huge the statue is and the way it is framed in the room it is in is just amazing. It is hard to believe that he is about 515 years old.
You are able to walk completely around the statue and view it from all angles. It's incredible and I was really moved by this piece of art. There were a lot of people in there, but we stayed for a while. One thing that I learned was that David's pupils are hearts. He was also created to go on the top of a building which is why his arms and hands are larger than they should be. He was meant to be viewed from below.
|There were lots of doggies in Florence.|
I was able to get away from the group for a little bit and I went to the Galileo Museum on my own. It was very cool and it put some mathematics and science into perspective for me. There were all kinds of contraptions and devices that were used at the time to create geometric shapes and take measurements. It was so cool for me especially being a mathematician.