Bon giorno principessa! Whenever I think Italian, the movie Life is Beautiful (La vita è bella) comes to mind. The 1997 Italian movie by Roberto Benigni who directed, co-wrote and acted as the main character won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The movie retold the horrors of the Jewish holocaust set against a father's love for his son to keep the latter's spirits up while being held captive in a concentration camp. The show had me soaking through boxes of tissues. And I wasn't alone. The love of my life at that point watched the movie with me and nothing beats the feeling of having a love one hold your hand and share in the intense emotions of the moment.
Passion coursed through our clapsed hands as we identified with the universal theme that love gives us the power to unlock our impossibilities and conquer the dire. It's so fun to cry with with your gf, bf, wife or husband! So nice to be able to trust another person with your vulnerabilities.
Incidentally, 1997 was the year we got hitched and went on a 14-day trip to Europe as a sort of 'honeymoon'. The romantic scene where the vast expanse of snow covered landscape rushing past us while we secretly snuggled at the back of the bus to draw warmth from each other is eternally etched in my mind. I don't believe break-ups should be sour because while there are unhappiness, there are also countless moments of sweetness. I prefer to remember the wonderful episodes of longing tenderness.
Anyway, why am I bringing up all these things that happened more than a decade ago? Well, simply because Pisa and Florence were the places I came to associate my ex of 7 years with. Re-visiting the sights and places again brought back so much romantic history of my own, mapped onto age-old buildings and artefacts. If only love is just as everlasting...
Italy - The Cradle of Medieval Art
Italy's Latin name, Italia, is derived from the Greek term, Víteliú, which means "land of young cattle". To me, the country has always been the centre of European art and history where the decorum of Christianity and Catholicism that shaped the Western world radiates from.
It's a beautiful place packed at every corner with ancient architectural marvels. Even though I've been here before, the grandeur and genius of the aged structures never cease to take my breath away.
|Arrived at the port of Pisa, Italy, on the third day of the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas cruise at 7:00am.|
|About an half hour's drive to the Tower of Pisa from the port.|
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Known as the Torre pendente di Pisa in Italian, this famous tower keeps the world guessing with abated breath when it might topple over! From decades of relentless rescue efforts to halt further leaning of the tower, it was announced in 2008 that the Tower of Pisa will remaining standing for at least another 200 years.
|The Cathedral Square of Pisa that houses the city's cathedral, baptistry and the bell tower, which is the famous Leaning Tower.|
|My "I've been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa" shot for this trip. I was told that we were lucky to visit at this time because the scaffolding that gripped the tower during restoration works only came off about a week ago! So heng (lucky)!|
Our visit to the Cathedral Square lasted only a short 30 minutes and we came really early to beat the crowds that start streaming in at about 9:30 am. The last time I was here, I didn't have time to see the interior of the cathedral and baptistry. Same for this visit. So I wasn't particularly blown away.
My parents who were booked on a half-day tour for the Leaning Tower told me after some shots they got rather bored and just sat at one of the cafes by the side to clock the end of the visitation.
The sun was in a good mood that day and we completed our quick tour without hiccups and proceeded back to our van for the next location. Ours was a van because there were only 12 of us on this tour.
From a tumbling erection, we rode about an hour and came to Florence, arriving first at the Michelangelo Square. The hill-top summit provided an excellent panoramic view of possibly the most awe-inspiring arts capital of the world!
|This is the first of 3 statues of David we will encounter in Florence. This replica is made of bronze while the original marble version is housed at the Accademia Gallery.|
|After a brief 15-minute stop at Micheangelo Square, we made our way downhill to get up-close with this ancient city that retained its olden day charm.|
This is the first of 2 parts for my post about the shore tour to Pisa and Florence because there's just so much to capture and talk about! In the next part, I'll share with you the magnificence of the Uffizi Gallery, Piazza della Signoria (Square of the Gods), our carbo-laden lunch, and the grand dame, Florence Cathedral. Stay tuned!