The only reason for our stopover in Pisa was to go see and take pictures with the famed leaning tower (in which we looked positively ridiculous, not unlike these people). It was a good thing then, that we got a little lost and took the long way, so that I could snap a few photos of the town’s grounds and iron covers, complete with the Pisan cross.
The Florentine authorities seem to have lost the battle against the lovers’ custom to latch padlocks onto the Ponte Vecchio as a sign of their undying love. After attempts to remove them and prevent new locks from being put up, the bridge is once again covered by lucchetti d’amore, inscribed with the couples’ names. The most popular place to put them seems to be the railings of Benvenuto Cellini’s monument, which are decorated with fleurs-de-lis motifs.
(You can read more about this custom and the love-padlock-covered bridge in Ljubljana here.)
The fleur-de-lis is Florence’s emblem and can be seen everywhere around the city, from the its coat of arms to the manhole covers and the water drainage grates on the ground. Also known as the Florentine lily, its design is distinguishable from the conventional and widely used fleur-de-lis symbol by the stamens between its petals.
Of course, it rained in Venice, which somehow added to the feeling that the city was a film or theater set rather than a real place. The upside, though, was that the rain seemed to slightly subdue the manic crowds of tourists. For a few brief minutes, we got the Piazza San Marco all to ourselves and only had to share it with the pigeons.
Even though we only had time for a quick evening walk around the center of the city, it was enough to reveal that Bologna’s streets and sidewalks were positively brimming with beautiful mosaics, monumental plaques and medallions which indicated walking routes around the city.