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Pisa's only claim to fame is the leaning bell tower of the local cathedral.  Begun in 1173, the tower soon began to lean, due to the unstable nature of the ground on which it was built, and various repairs have been done over the centuries, the most ambitious being completed  just recently.   The tower has not been reopened to visitors yet, which is just as well.  I had no desire to climb the 273 steps to the top just to see the view.

Here are photos of the main square and the tower.

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After our short visit in Pisa, we headed on to Florence, the capital of Tuscany and the cradle of The Renaissance.   It is said that 30 percent of the world's most important works of art are housed here.  Among it's most famous citizens was Michelangelo.   Florence is also the home of the famous Medici family, who governed the city during the 16th Century.  The city is renowned for fine leather goods of all sorts, and many of the tour members went on a shopping spree.  We stayed at the Sheraton Firenze Hotel.

The most famous single sculpture in the city (perhaps in the world) is Michelangelo's David.  (The photo is from a museum web page.  No pictures are allowed in the area where the original statue is housed.)

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Here are pictures of the Duomo, a church dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore and is typical of Italian Gothic architecture. The present building was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio (c. 1245-1302), one of the greatest architect-sculptors of his age.  The last photo is of the magnificent bronze door to the church's baptistery.  This one takes a while to load, but I wanted you to see the detail.

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Then, another Gothic church, Santa Croce, begun in 1294.  The church was completed in 1441.

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Here are some other pictures I took in Florence.  The first is a statute of Zeus.  The David I photographed is a reproduction.  The last picture is at an outdoor restaurant where we had dinner.

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We spent two nights in this beautiful city.  But now, it's time to move on to Verona and Venice.