We finally got to sleep in this morning… 8:30 am wake up call! Our group went to a leather shop as our first stop. There, we learned about the Florence jewelry boxes that are hand made in the area. The process itself takes several weeks and even more depending on the size of the box. They begin by covering a wooden mold with raw cowhide that has been soaked in water to soften it. Then the cowhide is dried in a low heat oven. This causes the cowhide to shrink and harden into the shape of the box. They repeat this process adding more layers to the box to get its desired thickness. It is made as a single piece, using small peg nails that stay in the leather. Once all of the layers are in place, they can paint it and shine it with wax. The last step is to cut the 3 sides into the box to create the opening and leave a natural hinge. Then the original wooden mold is taken out and the box is finished. Quite the process. Also we learned that leather doesn’t actually have a smell… it’s cow skin, so since skin has no odor, the typical leather smell is that of the cleaning chemicals  and paints used on the leather.

After the leather shop we headed into one of the town squares to take a walking tour of the city. We started in the city center, where the Medici family castle is. In the square outside of the castle (which is now a municipal building and museum) are hundreds of statues. These statues range in size from the David replica which is 17 feet tall, to the small bust statues of the Medicis themselves. One could spend an entire day in that square alone looking at the different sculptures and the detailing of the castle itself.

Our tour guide took us around the area, giving a brief history lesson and pointing out attractions we may want to check out during our free time. It was neat to hear about how Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinici, Micchiavelli,  and Galileo all lived under the same roof in the Medici family castle at the time. Apparently Da Vinci and Michelangelo hated each other.  After the tour we went to the Galleria degli Uffizi. This Museum is home to thousands of works of art mostly from the Renaissance period. We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the museum, but here are some of the statues that were outside.

After the Uffizi, we walked around for a bit and checked out some of a churches. Then we went to see The David which is housed in a separate museum. We were shocked at the size of the actual piece in real life. It’s massive. Again, no pictures because we didn’t want to get arrested! After hours of walking, our feet were killing us, so we went back to the hotel and rested than grabbed some pizza at a little cafe restaurant.

Ponte Vecchio (old bridge)

brail map of florence

No jersey shore sightings today, although we did find the pizza place that they are working at

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