Day 16 - 7/25/13 - Florence

Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, flourished under the Medici rule, becoming a beacon of art, culture, and finance. Its rich history is reflected in its stunning architecture and world-class museums.

To get there we had previously purchased two student and two first-class Eurail passes. This distinction only mattered on this trip. As parents, we enjoyed champagne in first class while the kids had peanuts. We’d saved a mini champagne bottle for this occasion. When Matt popped the cork, it caught everyone’s attention. Our main concern was ensuring we all disembarked at the right stop, which, to Mom’s relief, we did.

Many European churches, including Florence’s Duomo, require visitors to dress modestly, particularly women. Bare arms, legs, and cleavage must be covered. The Duomo goes a step further, offering paper dresses for inadequately dressed tourists. We humorously dubbed these the “paper dresses of shame”. Fortunately, none of us required them.

Florence History

Florence, Italy, birthplace of the Renaissance, was founded by the Romans in 59 BC. It flourished under the rule of the Medici family in the 15th and 16th centuries, becoming a hub of arts, culture, and finance. Renowned artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci contributed to its glory. The city was also the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1871. Today, Florence’s rich history is reflected in its numerous museums, palaces, and architectural wonders, making it one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

Florence Cathedral Outside

Florence Cathedral Inside




Street Art


Rosellen and Keira bought admission to the Medici Chapel, behind the Duomo. She found it a very moving experience and more details are in her comment below. This is a sweet ending to an important chapter of our tour because tomorrow we pivot to her family history in Tocco da Casauria. To get there we would spend one night in Rome, rent a car, and drive one hour East to Tocco.

I had recently reread the fictionalized biography called “The Agony and Ecstasy” in preparation for this trip. The book details the creation of all his most prominent works including the sarcophagus in the Medici Chapel, the David and the Pieta

The Night to Day and Dawn to Dusk figures were especially powerful. I had just reread that passage in the book, but to see the figures in person was simply breathtaking. I think it was the scale and exquisite detail since each was larger than life. Never one to shy away from heavy subjects, Michael Angelo was a master of expressing nuance and the full range of complex emotions. I can only attribute his talent to God himself.
We have no pictures of our own because I remember that there were signs everywhere prohibiting photography.