Posted May 23rd, 2012, 10:01 PM
Livorno (Florence/Pisa) continued:
After mentioning that we wanted to try an authentic Italian trattoria for lunch, Gian made reservations for us at a restaurant near Santa Croce church
. We drove there and he gave us a quick overview of the area, but we chose not to enter the church, which had an admission fee. Instead, we used the time to enjoy a sit-down lunch. There was a 3-course lunch option for 15 euros that included bruschetta, pasta course, and meat course that was a good deal and enough food to split between 2 people. We again found out that there is no free tap water in Italy, so split a large bottle of water for 2 euros and were surprised when the bill included a 2 euro charge for a bread basket, something we think of as complimentary in the US. However, the food was very good and we couldn’t complain.
After lunch, my sister tried to buy a leather purse in the Santa Croce church area and got lost for a bit, but after we found her, Gian drove us to the Duomo
, which was my favorite site on the trip. The Duomo cathedral is free to enter and don’t be deterred if if looks like a long line – it moves quickly and they let batches of people in at a time. We only waited about 5 minutes. The painted inside of the Duomo is fantastic and completely unexpected. You can also go downstairs where there is a small gift shop and additional tour options to be purchased.
Gold doors on the Baptistery
Inside of cathedral
Painted ceiling of Duomo
Finally, Gian dropped us off near the Uffizi museum
where there is another David reproduction in plaster and other outdoor statues. From there, it’s a quick walk to the Ponte Vecchio
bridge and back to an outdoor market. The stalls mostly had similar items, but my sister and mom enjoyed looking through all the leather goods and purses.
Porcellino statue (boar) outside the market - rub his nose for good luck!
Gian asked if we enjoyed gelato and took us to an excellent gelato shop called Carraia that gave very large portions for 1.50 euros. He also showed me a nearby café to grab an espresso as I was dragging a bit. Apparently, so was everyone else because the van was silent as everyone slept on the ride back to Livorno! Our total tour took 9 hours and 15 minutes.
The Rome in Limo tour was fantastic and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them and Gian to anyone! My mom spoke with an exhausted-looking passenger as we got back on the ship and she complained that the NCL tour she had taken required a ton of walking and not much time at each site for $199 per person! In contrast, we were driven right up to each site, so minimized our walking while taking a more leisurely pace as well. I know that people are worried about getting back to the ship in time and all that, but Rome in Limo is so professional and well-established, that it really shouldn’t be a concern. They’ve definitely earned their great reputation!
Next up, Cannes/Nice!
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway - Inaugural CTN
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway - Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN
(Review w/ pics
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic - E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic - W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)