After talking to the team, Florence seemed to be a crowd favorite, and it is very easy to understand why. We started our walk into the city along beautiful River Arno. Elena, our Italian tour guide, brought us to the Piazza della Signoria, where the “fake” Statue of David is located. (The real Statue of David is located in Florence, but in the Accademia Gallery.) After a brief walk through the city, we were given some free time. Most of our group headed to the Accademia Gallery to see the real Statue of David, but it was over an hour wait to get into the museum. Since we had a limited amount of time to tour, we decided to continue exploring the city.
Our next adventure was a trip to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which possesses elements of both Gothic architecture and Renaissance architecture. There is a gigantic tower to the right of the main entrance, and we climbed it. It costs 10 euros to climb to the top, and it’s a tiring trip, but is was completely worth it. There is only one way up and one way down, so it gets crowded and congested in the small stairway as well. However, the view trumps all of the work, sweat and feelings of claustrophobia.
It was quite common for the group to have at least one cup of gelato a day on the tour. We got a gelato after going up the cathedral to hold us over until it was time for pizza, which was also a common theme of the tour.
We ended our tour of the city with a wine tasting at Enoteca Pontevecchio. Laura, who owns the business with her husband, was very educational and we tried several different types of red wine, white wine, cheese, and balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and marmalade, which is specific to the region of Tuscany. I am bringing home several different types of wine, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to my family.
It was a day of almost 19,000 steps and an overall unforgettable introduction to the city.
Follow University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point volleyball head coach Abbey Sutherland as she travels to Italy to coach a team of collegiate all-stars with the American International Sports Teams program. Sutherland is in her third season as the head coach at UW-Stevens Point and has led the Pointers to back-to-back national semifinal appearances in her first two seasons.