It would be the last stop before the 24 day cruise ended, and it would be one of the longest days off the ship while we explored Florence, Italy. Our ship docked in Livorno, Italy. From there it would be a 1 hour and 45 minute bus ride to Florence before we were let out on our own to explore all of Florence in just a little over 5 hours. No problem, we had a plan.

After our 15 minute walk into town, ( buses can’t drive in town ) we were left off at the steps of the Basilica Santa Croce and told to be back there at 3:15 pm. It was go time. Step one of our plan was to pick up our Firenzecard which allowed us quicker access to the sites we planned on visiting. The Firenz card is really a great deal if you plan on spending a couple days in Florence visiting the famous venues. It was also worth the 72 Euros to avoid the sometimes hours long lines to get in famous site. ( just checked, the card is now 85 Euros ) With a little help from friendly police officers, we were able to find the store to pick up our cards. Our first stop would be the Uffizi Gallery.

Florence Italy - local artist displays his work outside Uffizi gallery.

Before viewing artwork from some of the most famous artists in the world inside the Uffizi Gallery, we got to see artwork from a local artist outside. Using the Firenze card got us inside the Gallery in about 10-15 minutes. The regular line was MUCH LONGER.

Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli ( painted in mid 1480's ) - Uffizi Gallery - Florence Italy

Known as the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli ( painted in mid 1480’s ) with girl standing in front. Judging by the crowd in front of the paint, this would be the most popular image in the Uffizi Gallery.

Painting of possibly Columbus hanging in Uffizi Gallery - Florence Italy

This was my favorite painting in the gallery. I still haven’t been able to find out the artist or subject. Hopefully one of the many thousands who will view this blog post will let me know in the comments.

The Adoration of the Magi 1423 Gentile da Fabriano  (1370–1427) Birth name: Gentile di Niccolò di Giovanni Massi - Uffizi Gallery - Florence Italy

The Adoration of the Magi 1423 Gentile da Fabriano  (1370–1427) Birth name: Gentile di Niccolò di Giovanni Massi with hand.

Duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro (1422-1482) and his wife Battista Sforza (1446-1472) portrait by Piero della Francesca - Uffizi Gallery - Florence Italy.

Duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro (1422-1482) and his wife Battista Sforza (1446-1472) by Piero della Francesca.

Sandro Botticelli - The Slander of Apelles - The Calumny of Apelles - 1494 - Uffizi Gallery - Florence Italy

Sandro Botticelli – The Slander of Apelles – The Calumny of Apelles – 1494

Circular painting showing the adoration of the three Kings to the baby Jesus in the arms of the Madonna - Uffizi Gallery - Florence Italy

The adoration of the three Kings to the baby Jesus in the arms of the Madonna.

Portrait of Francesco delle Opere is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Pietro Perugino, dating to 1494 - Uffizi Gallery - Florence Italy

The Portrait of Francesco delle Opere is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Pietro Perugino, dating to 1494 and housed in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

 Statue - Roman Art - Semi-colossal Marble head of Zeus from the late 2nd Century AD - Uffizi Gallery - Florence Italy

Roman Art – Semi-colossal Marble head of Zeus from the late 2nd Century AD. This statue which can be dated to the Antonine era, harks back to style of Zeus, which the most famous example is by Otricoli which is in the Vatican museums.

Elegant doors of the Duomo in Florence Italy - Florence Duomo - Main door at Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral

Elegant main door at Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral ( Duomo )

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