Aug 17, 2013
FLORENCE, Italy - The University of Nevada men's basketball team and travel party went on a guided tour of parts of Florence on Saturday morning. The radios used for communication today were more appealing, blue not the red lanyard that was used in Venice.
The most impressive sight was the Accademia Gallery that houses Michelangelo's David and many of his other works. Even several that was not completed. It was not the original site of the David as it was moved from the public square into the gallery in 1873. The group did walk to the location where the David was originally and there was replica statue in its place along with several other statues including Neptune and one of Perseus after he killed Medusa. Originally Michelangelo was a painter but turned to sculpting. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos of the 17-foot David, some museums and churches allow the taking of photos while others forbid it.
One of the most fabulous churches we have seen during our trip was the The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore which is the main church of Florence. It was begun in 1296 and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris. The pope is scheduled to make a visit in 2015. They need some extra time to clean and do some repairs.
With the long lines we did not enter the church but some returned later to find shorter lines and took advantage of the opportunity and snap a few photos inside. Check them out in today's photo gallery. Simply amazing especially the ceiling in dome. Ladies be prepared to cover up if the guards deem you are not appropriately dressed. You can see the cover they provide in the gallery.
While walking to the river we spotted some living statues. With a little coaxing a few of the players took a photo which is also in the gallery.
We made our way to the Arno River to see the Ponte Vecchio bridge that crosses the river. It was believed to have been built in Roman times. Several times it was destroyed by flood but was always rebuilt. It was the only bridge in Florence not destroyed by the Germans during their retreat of August 4, 1944 but they destroyed the buildings around the bridge to block their escape route. Several shops and stores are now housed within the bridge.
That concluded our guided tour and we made our way back to the hotel. Upon arrival the players and rest of the group were free to explore the city the rest of the day. Many went shopping at local stores or squares that contained numerous little tents where every imaginable purchase could be made pertaining to Italy. Others again enjoyed a fine Italian meal. Some of the players ventured out and had a hamburger at the Hard Rock. Can't take the US out of the players. Several gelatos were had by all throughout the day.
Tomorrow we travel to Rome and the players return to the court with a 9 p.m. game. Check back tomorrow for more on the game and trip to Italy.