RE: FLORENCE TOUR ALSO!
I booked it! Who wants to share? Hubby and I would LOVE company! No grumpy people need apply. Happy travelers only. Price much friendlier than the "big bus" from the cruise company.
Read description from www.portcompass.com
Florence (Livorno), Italy
Comprehensive Florence and Pisa
Order code: LIM-FDLTL
Approx. 9-10 hours
US$ 99 (42% to 71% lower than comparable tours offered by ships)
Minimum number of passengers: 6 (Ask us how you can Grow-A-Group!)
This is a private tour conducted in a Mercedes minivan or minibus. Our tour includes the return transfer (1.5 hours each way) from Livorno to Florence. Lunch is at your own expense. Since this is a custom tour and the itinerary below is merely a suggestion, any entrance fees are payable separately, depending on the actual attractions you select. Includes services of a driver-guide who will provide basic narration. If you require the services of a specialist guide, one can be arranged at an extra cost. Subject to traffic conditions and your actual ship schedule, itinerary and duration may be modified as neccesary to fit your needs.
This tour has been designed for guests who wish to combine a comprehensive tour of Florence with the world famous Miracle Square of Pisa. Your driver-guide will pick you up at the ship's pier in Livorno. You will visit the university town of Pisa where you will have a brief stop by the Field of Miracles for photographs and to marvel at the exterior of the Campanile, better known as the Leaning Tower. This famous Bell Tower leans over 16 feet out of perpendicular! Efforts to stabilize the building are made constantly together with a continued monitoring process of the structure.
Drive via the modern highway to Florence. Situated on both banks of the Arno River and surrounded by the Appennine Hills, the city had an impact not only on the culture of Italy but on all of Europe. Upon reaching the city, you will pause at Piazzale Michelangelo for a spectacular view of Florence, the entire Arno Valley and the Ponte Vecchio crossing the Arno River.You'll visit the Church of Santa Croce, known as Italy's Westminster Abbey. Its 14th-century interior is one of the finest examples of Florentine Gothic decoration and much of the Italian monarchy is buried there, including other famous sons like Michelangelo. Note that the Church of Santa Croce is closed on Sundays, during special events, and mass services. If you decide to visit this attraction, entrance fee of Euro 3 is payable there).
Afterwards, continue to "Accademia Museum" to view one of Michelangelo's most treasured creations, the statue of "David." Having survived the outdoor elements of Signoria Square, the magnificent sculpture was moved inside the museum in 1873, where it remains today. Also on display in the museum are paintings by Botticelli, Daddi, and Raphael. If you wish to visit Accademia, we can secure your tickets in advance so that you can avoid the long lines (Euro 6.5 + 3 advance booking fee is extra). Your guide will describe its main attractions before you tour the interior of the museum on your own. You will be dropped off just 30 feet from the entrance and met at the exit gate when you leave Accademia. The allocated time for Accademia is 30-40mins based on this itinerary. However, this is a custom tour, so you can certainly choose to stay longer if you would rather forgo other attractions.
After the Museum, continue on a walking tour (less than 1/3 mile) to the main square of Florence, S.Maria del Fiore. At the Piazza del Duomo, learn about the stunning features of the Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, along with its magnificent Baptistery and the Campanile (Giotto's bell tower). The fourth largest church in the world, the Duomo was consecrated in 1436, although its fašade dates from the 19th century. The exterior design is of beautiful green and white marble and its magnificent dome, created by Filippo Brunelleschi, is a masterpiece. The east doors, which depict scenes from the Old Testament, are often referred to as the "Gates of Paradise."
Then enjoy a stroll along the narrows streets visiting Palazzo Vecchio (the residence of the Medici family) and the elegant Ponte Vecchio. Meaning "old bridge," the Ponte Vecchio dates back to 1345, when it was built to replace a bridge that was swept away by a horrible flood. Today, the bridge is visited by many tourists, and is home to gold and jewelry vendors. Time permitting, you will also visit Palazzo Pitti and the S.Lorenzo district, famous for its leather market where you will be able to shop at leisure.
Although our use of smaller vehicles will cut down on walking time, please be aware that there will still be moderately long walks, sometimes over cobblestoned surfaces. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Most of the major sites are wheelchair-accessible and our guide has a Handicap Permit available for access into restricted areas when transporting handicapped passengers.