Wednesday and Thursday we took daytrips.... Florence and Verona. Now I must say that I LOVED the day in Florence. Verona I spent too much time dealing with a group of youth who didn't behave as we'd want them to.
Most everyone liked Verona better, I must reserve judgement for a time that I can visit Verona and appreciate it.
We had tour guides in both places and I wrote down some interesting facts that I learned:
The symbol of Florence is the red iris on a white background.
The nickname for the Neptune Fountain in Florence translates from Italian to English as - big white man.
The statue of a Medici holding Medusa's head (also in Florence) is to show that if you cross them, this is what will happen to you.
There is a replica of the David outside of the Ufizzi museum in Florence.
To get to the top of the cathedral in Florence, one must climb 463 steps. (sadly one must also pay 8 € for this privilidge and so my group and I chose not to)
The Baptistry of the cathedral in Florence has doors in gold. They are said to be a replica of the gates to paradise.
In Verona outside of the town square is an arch, hanging from this arch is the rib of a whale. The Turkish enemy ships would hang up these ribs as a warning. However when Italians fought them (and won) they would bring one back to their home, to showcase their victory.
In Verona there is a mailbox (no not for letters to Juliet) that looks like a head. The hole is in the mouth. If someone cheated you (ie: cut a measure of cloth too short), then you could report them that way so that they could be punished.
The most impressive part of Florence was seeing the David. Wowowowowoowowowow! He is nearly 16 feet tall and amazing. According to the description, "Michaelangelo saw a chunk of marble lying around as the cathedral was being finished, so he asked if he could use it to make a sculpture." I love the simplicity of that description! As you walk around the David you can see his sling shot, you can see the stone in his hand. Just incredible. I loved it!
I also loved the squares, the cathedral was beautiful, the bridge (although all the cute little shops turned out to just be jewelry stores) and more. Florence was incredible.
Verona had a very interesting character. The Arena was quite impressive and I really loved how in one area you saw a number of things dating back to various centuries.
Photos to follow...