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8 June 2004, Tuesday

After leaving Pisa, we headed to Florence and checked into the Majestic Hotel.  From our room we could see the church of Santa Maria Novella across the Piazza dell'Unita Italiana directly below our room.  From the other window, we could see the dome of the Duomo and Giotto's Bell Tower.

9 June 2004, Wednesday

In the morning we went to see Michaelangelo's David at Galleria dell'Accademia.  While there we also saw his unfinished sculptures, called Prisoners or Slaves.  Since David was meant to be displayed outside, the size of it indoors was amazing, 16 feet tall.  There was also a room with plaster models created by other sculptures as a practice before they transferred their work to marble. 

Next we visited the Duomo, also known as Santa Maria del Fiore.  We then walked to the Piazza della Signoria where a replica of David stands in place of the original.  We saw a number of other statues in the same piazza.  We passed through the leather district on our way to the Piazza Santa Croce.

During our free afternoon, we went to the Archaeology Museum to see the bronze statues and other exhibits.  We also climbed the 414 steps of Giotto's Bell Tower for a magnificent view of the city.  We headed back to the Piazza Santa Croce for wine and olive oil tasting.  We passed on the group dinner and ate at il Bargello in Piazza della Signoria.  After dinner we walked to the Piazza della Repubblica and the carousel.  We walked down to see the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno River.  We saw the grassy piazza of the Santa Maria Novella.

10 June 2004, Thursday

We departed Florence for our first stop in Genoa.