Published: July 2nd 2009
July 2nd 2009
Cruisin’ in the Mediterranean Day 4.
Ahhhh, Tuscany! Stunning countryside made up of large hazy hills, fields of bright sunflowers, green olive trees, grape vines & cypress trees and terra cotta roofs. Those large hills are where Michelangelo got his marble for his statues. Tuscany is somewhere I would come back to for a relaxing vacation in the sun. I know we’ve been travelling north, but OMG it’s been hot! By midmorning I thought I saw a sign that said it was already 33 degrees Celsius. Today is no cooler than yesterday in Rome though. There are fountains in the cities that you can have a sip of water or splash some water on your face. They’re not hard to find, look for the people at them, the fountains are usually very elaborate and I have pictures of them from Barcelona to here. But again the pics are having trouble to load so I will give up trying to load them for a few days and then hopefully go back to load them on the right pages …:P They are amazing, I want you to see them.
We head by bus to Florence, Michelangelo studied here and there is
a replica of the statue of David.
The smell of leather is everywhere here. Tuscany is where almost all Italian leather is made and it is soooo soft. At one point we are able to wander on our own for a little while for shopping. I found a leather school and wandered in, why not… all they can do is kick me out. They don’t though and I did catch a bit of a tour. This leather school “Scuola del Cuoio” is famous and people still come here to study. This school was started with the help of Franciscan friars and local families to create artisans from the children left orphaned after WW2. I watched a master leather craftsman show us how he heats the embossing tools to punch gold leaf into the leather. He doesn’t know how hot the tools have to get, he just goes by the sound of the hiss when he dips it into water before applying it to the leather. The extra gold leaf is whiped off the leather with long pieces of cotton. Once a year, they have the cotton burned and the gold is recycled from it. I watch them describe how
a purse is handmade, we touch the ostrich leather used. The purse we’re looking at with no gold on it, but has lambskin leather though the inside… valued at over 1000 Euros. But they say in the shops such as Gucci it would be 4 times that cost. Hope none of you are expecting me to bring that home. Unfortunately long before the tour ends, I have to leave and head back to the rest of the group for lunch.
We eat lunch in a grotto, which is a cellar and it’s cool down there. Then we head to Pisa and I’ve heard it’s not that great to see. But, I disagree I thought the city was very nice. We’re sailing to France now. Talk to you tomorrow!
There are more photos below