Pisa and Florence – Contiki Mediterranean Quest Tour


After spending the night in La Spezia, we were on the road again! Before we arrived at the day’s final destination, Florence, we made a quick pit stop in Pisa to check out its famous leaning tower!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was not intentionally constructed with a tilt – the foundation of the tower was accidentally built on unstable ground in 1173, and it was all tilt from there. The tower has become an incredibly popular tourist attraction that draws thousands of people a day to act like fools in front of it (us included of course!) in order to get a classic Leaning Tower of Pisa picture. Although it is silly, it is definitely one of those must-do things while traveling in Italy. It is worth a mention that there are other notable buildings on the site as well, including the city’s cathedral.


After bidding farewell to the tower, and a few more hours of bus-driving later, we were standing in Florence’s Piazza Santa Croce, where once a year, something called Florentine Football goes down. Basically, this ‘historical’ game is an extremely brutal blend of soccer and rugby, where the only forms of violence not allowed are sucker punches and kicks to the head.  Also, interesting fact, even some popes used to play! Yikes. A quick YouTube search can probably give you a good idea at just how brutal this game gets, that is, if you really want to know.

Basilica of Santa Croce

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Piazza Santa Croce (the Florentine Football arena)


While in Florence, we learned that the city is most well known for three things: 1) art; 2) silver/gold; and 3) leather products. Desta felt that this may be the only time where she could say that the least expensive souvenir really was silver, so she decided to splurge a little and buy herself a well-crafted Florentine silver puzzle ring to commemorate her trip. Surprisingly, Dermot also bought himself some new jewelry – a nice black “man-band” to go along with Desta’s new Florentine bling.


After our jewelry purchases, we toured around the city and took in some of its amazing history, vistas, buildings, and of course, gelato (we never have time to take gelato pics because we’re too busy eating the gelato!).

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Two happy kids in Piazza della Signoria

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Palazzo Vecchio


Entrance to Palazzo Vecchio

Duomo of Florence (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore)


Contiki Tuscan Dinner and Night Out in Florence

Later in the evening, it was a time for another Contiki dinner and night out! We hopped on the coach bus and headed out to the Tuscan Hills, with a quick stop at Piazzale Michelangelo (which boasts the best panoramic view of the city of Florence) for a group photo op.



The boys


The girls



The view


When we arrived at the restaurant, our tour manager described the dinner we were about to have as an “italian wedding without the wedding” and as far as we know, he was pretty accurate. Several courses of food, singing, dancing, and a few massive bottles of wine later, dinner was done, and we were a very merry crew.


The bus took us right to our final stop of the night – Space Electronic Disco (yes, this was the name of the bar). We karaoke’d and danced all night with our Contiki friends, then it was back to our hostel for bed, as we had another early departure the next day. Definitely a much too short, but very memorable visit in Florence!

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