We caught an early local train for a 80min ride to the small town of Lucca, notable for its intact 16th century city wall. We walked around the pretty town for a couple of hours, then returned to Florence.
We weakened and decided to book a private guide for a Duomo tour in the afternoon - figuring we can't come to Florence without checking out the major attraction!
Tomorrow we train to Bologna then fly to Moscow to commence the Russian leg of our travels.
Lucca wallsThe small city-state of Lucca was threatened by the expansionist Florentines, so they built a 4.3km wall using the best technology of the early 16th century. They weren't attacked so I guess they were successful.
Wall walkThe top of the wall has been transformed into a pleasant walking/bike path around the quaint city.
Streets of LuccaLucca is a pretty, medieval city. Much more laid-back than the larger cities we have visited. Robyn was impressed with the shopping too.
Florence DuomoWe had a good look inside the cathedral, the crypt, the Baptistry and the large museum. Thankfully the dome walk (464 steps) was booked out. Surprisingly, the inside was the least decorated of any of the large cathedrals we have visited. I don't recall the why of it. Also it looked much smaller inside than it appears outside. After it was finished in the 1400s Medici decided he didn't like the gothic facade. This was removed back to the base brickwork, but for one reason or another the new facade wasn't built until the late 19th century.
Duomo domeImpressive, although a number of large cracks were evident. Because of its size, the dome couldn't be constructed as 'normal' using timber scaffolding. The architect studied the Pantheon in Rome which also had a large dome, to get engineering inspiration. In the end Brunelleschi convinced the city fathers that he knew what he was doing but he ensured his longevity on the 18-year build by keeping most of the plans in his head.
DonatelloHis wooden version of a penitent Mary Magdalene is quite controversial, with strong opinions on both sides. I thought it was riveting.