Aug. 26, 2008
Welcome to "Buon Giorno!" a daily diary of the Loyola women's basketball team's trip to Italy. Check back to loyolagreyhounds.com for daily photo galleries and updates on the trip.
Day Five and Six - Photo Gallery
Day Five Update
Day Four Update
Day Four - Photo Gallery
Day Three Update
Day Three - Photo Gallery
Day Two - Photo Gallery
Day Two Update
Day One Update
Day One - Photo Gallery
MONTECATINI TERMI, Italy - It was a little bittersweet on the morning of the sixth day to leave the Grand Hotel San Marino. A wonderful hotel in a beautiful location where the Loyola travel party had time to relax, enjoy the spectacular cuisine, people and sights, but it was time to move on to new adventures.
The Greyhounds boarded the bus at 8:30 in the morning and headed down the switchbacks to the Italian countryside and south toward Florence in Central Italy.
A three-hour trip went by quickly as the team either caught a nap, or watched the rolling hills go by outside the window.
Once in Florence, the bus dropped the group off just outside the historical center of the city. With just over an hour of free time to have lunch and take in a little shopping, the team readied for a tour of the city.
The first stop after lunch was the Academy of Fine Arts and Michelangelo's classic statue, David.
A timeless work of art that took four years to construct, Michelangelo was amazingly only 29 years of when he completed the sculpture. After a tour guide gave a thorough explanation of the statue and its history, the Gryehounds had time to tour the rest of the museum that was filled with many other sculptures and paintings.
Upon leaving the Academy, the group headed to the center of the city to continue the plaza.
Florence was known as the `Cradle of the Renaissance,' during the time period and has architecture and history that rivals any city in the world.
First stop on the tour was the primary cathedral in the city, Santa Maria del Fiore. Next to the church was the famous Florence Baptistry. Built to accommodate full immersion baptisms during the Renaissance, the Baptistry has solid bronze doors that took over 40 years to construct and depict scenes from the Old Testament.
After leaving the area of the Baptistry, the group wandered down shop-lined streets and to the main piazza in the city. There, some of the original Vatican government buildings still stand, as well as a recreation of David and other works by Michelangelo and other sculptors.
The tour guide finished her work, and the Greyhounds split into groups to enjoy a few more hours of free time in the city.
One of the hot spots was to head to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. Lined with some of the finest jewelry shops in the world, the bridge provides high-end window shopping.
Other attractions were shopping in many of the clothing shops and for souvenirs to be given to those at home.
When walking back to the piazza to meet and go to the bus, the team stopped to watch a man working as a mime. He mimicked the movements of many tourists and even drew kisses from many of those walking by.
After departing Florence, the team headed to the Tuscan hill town of Montecatini Termi and its fourth hotel of the trip. A dinner of various pastas, fresh salads and fruit, pork tenderloin and potatoes was welcomed by the group.
The stay in Montecatini will be brief, however, as the team heads to its final destination of the tour on Wednesday morning, Rome.
Be sure to check back for more details of the tour. Ciao!