The fifth day of our Disney Cruise and our vacation was more than halfway over. It was time to explore our last port in Italy – Livorno to see Florence and Pisa. Tackling a museum, two cities, and some famous sights in one day were on our to-do list.
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Waking up on the Disney Magic
By this time, our jet lag was worn off, and we were adjusting to the time zone. We had another early morning docking at 7:00 am, but luckily for us, we weren’t meeting our guide, Michael, until 7:30 am.
Private Excursion to Florence
Our last and final private excursion with Italy tours was Pisa and Florence, we had a long list to do. We quickly told Michael that we had 3 long days in Barcelona, plus a long day exploring Pompeii and Rome, so we wanted something a little slower paced and the freedom to walk around.
Michael fulfilled our requests perfectly, we drove through the countryside admiring all of the different vineyards and rolling hills of Tuscany. While we were on this trip, the three of us decided that we wanted to do a wine tour in Italy on an upcoming trip to explore the different towns near Florence.
Taking a Break and Drinking Coffee
The road trip took a little over an hour and a half, and Michael stopped at the Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence, a replica of Michelangelo’s David so that we could see the statue, get a coffee and run to the restroom.
We stopped by Bar Play, one of the small restaurants in the area within walking distance, and grabbed a couple of coffees and used the bathroom. Unfortunately, the bathroom was down a couple of stairs and was quite steep to get to, but we were able to manage.
While looking at the menu, I noticed that there were two different prices one for dining in, and one for drinking at the bar. Since we were not hanging out in that area for long, we opted to get our coffees at the bar (which was also the lower price).
After caffeinating ourselves up, we walked over to soak up all of Florence. Getting ready to take on a full day right ahead of us.
Michelangelo’s David at the Acadia
We booked Skip-the-Line tickets at the Acadia on our own since we received discounts for traveling with someone with a disability. However, most of the other places we visited allowed for anyone who had a disability to buy discounted tickets, but The Acadia only want to sell tickets to Europeans. Luckily for us, Michael smoothed things over with them and convinced them to let us in with the tickets we purchased.
When we were walking in, we had two bottles of water in the wheelchair, which got flagged and they wanted us to throw them away. We were allowed to keep one bottle with us but had the throw the other bottle away. Make sure you do not have any water in your bag because you will need to drink it or toss it to enter the museum.
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We skipped the audio tour and used Rick Steven’s audio tour again. I really enjoyed using my own phone for the audio tour because I can use my favorite earphones and it saves a lot of money in the long run. I do enjoy renting audio tours, but sometimes they are subpar, and the earbuds hurt my ears.
We were visiting at the end of May, which is the beginning of high season in Italy. The Museum was quite crowded and warm, but we were able to easily navigate with our wheelchair walker combo.
When you first walk into the hall with David and see Michaelangelo’s statue for the first time its remarkable how much room the statue takes up. Honestly, my eye was on the statue the whole time, I couldn’t even tell you what else was in the hall!
Rick Steven’s audio tour had us start at one end of the room and slowly walk around the statue. Through the tour, we learned a few fascinating facts including that a guy attacked the left foot of the statue in 1991.
After being in the hall with David, we ventured to the Gipsoteca Bartolini, 19th-century hall to see all of the plaster models for other statues.
Walking Around Florence
Once we were done with Accademia, we met up with Michael and drove around Florence to see some of the highlights. He told us about a few different leather markets in the area and gave us some pointers for walking around the city.
We were dropped off right by Piazza Della Repubblica and walked over to The Baptistery of St. John to see the famous golden doors. These doors were one of the things mom wanted to see while she was Florence.
After seeing the doors, we made our way to one of the leather markets.
The Leather Market – Mercato di San Lorenzo
Ally wanted to buy a leather purse from Italy, so we wandered over to Mercato di San Lorenzo, the leather market, to browse. We first walked down the open air market and notice that everyone had the same bags over and over. Many of the merchants were not from Italy which was very disappointing.
After walking a block or so down the street, we made our way to some of the stores that line the street. Here we saw many beautiful leather purses that were decently priced, however with the dollar to euro exchange we ended up not buying any handbags.
One great find that I found in Florence was the brand Valentia which I saw at TJMaxx and Marshall’s multiple times. Seeing this brand in Italy gave me the confidence to purchase the bag (at a lower price too) while I was back in the United States. Y’all TJMaxx and Marshall’s spoiled me.
Eating at the Market
It started raining, so we jumped inside of Mercato Centrale (Central Market) to avoid the rain and to find something to eat. One of the best things about this entire trip has been the food! Everyone was trying to get off of the street to avoid the rain, so we ran to the first food spot that we saw.
Most of the tables were taken so, we sat down at a teeny tiny table, and embraced the uncomfortable. Looking at the chalkboard menu, we decided the best thing to eat would be chartreuse, cheese, and olives and of courses a bottle of Chianti.
Our food arrived, and the platter was huge and everything with delicious. I had never had a meat and cheese tray that was so large and filling. We got a food tray enough for three people, and indeed it was plenty of food. Especially with the extra bread and olive oil, our waiter gave us.
Sitting next to us, we met a couple that was also visiting Florence, and they were eating Ribollita, one of the must-try foods in Florence. They were excited that we found the Mercato Centrale on our first day in Florence because many tourists tend to miss this experience.
After dinner, we bought a couple more bottles of wine to bring home to the Ship and to bring back home in special bubble wrap as souvenirs.
After lunch, we started walking towards our meeting spot with Michael, and we popped into a Gelato spot (For those who are reading the entire trip report, yes, I basically had coffee and gelato every day).
Michael told us that if we are getting gelato and the lemon is bright yellow, run away! The gelato is not high quality, and the lemon should be a light yellow, white color.
Of course – we had to take a street selfie with our last Gelato in Italy! Naturally, I got a hazelnut and chocolate gelato.
Driving to Pisa
The moment we got in the car, the heavens opened, and it began to rain. Pisa is about 30 minutes from Livorno, so we saved seeing the tower for last. The drive from Florence to Pisa was a full rainy hour, and we saw tons of tourists on the interstate all falling asleep in their private vans like us. I do have to say. When getting from point A to B in the rain, it is great to have your own private driver in a foreign country!
We brought an umbrella and a few rain jackets with us to protect us from the rain, luckily for us we didn’t have to use them for long.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
After our road trip, we arrived in the town of Pisa! The rain ceased, and we were ready to see one of the most famous sites in Italy.
When getting out of the car, Michael gave us two tips: 1 Do not buy anything from the street vendors since it is illegal to buy from them 2. Do not sign any petitions because it is a scam where they ask you for money. Taking our tour guide’s tip to heart, we strolled over to the Leaning Tower.
The Leaning Tower is not handicapable, so we opted to walk around the grounds and take photos of the tower. The summer storm in the background allowed us to get some interesting shots – so I’m pretty happy that it rained on this day of vacation!
After taking our typical tourist shots, we strolled around the town square to do a little shopping. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve bought fewer souvenirs. Most of the time we just buy some food products, wine or beer, clothes, or coffee mugs. While we were in Florence, Ally fell in love with all of the Pinocchios, so she bought us each a small souvenir to remember our time in Italy by.
Beware of Scams while Sightseeing
On our way back to Michael’s vans, we ended up seeing a group of men asking for people to sign petitions. I noticed that some people were signing the petition and after a brief discussion handed over some cash. Even though I don’t sign petitions back home, I was glad that Michael gave us the warning
Back on Disney Magic
We had so much fun with Michael all day. He was very into cars and thoroughly explained the difference between all of the Fiats. He even tried teaching us a little Italian all day and explained the difference between Ciao and Arrivederci.
Michael explained to us that Ciao is reserved for friends and you should only use it when you are with someone you know. He then dropped us off at the ship and gave each of us hugs because we were friends after spending a whole day together.
Pirate’s Night Dinner in Lumiere’s
In Alaska, we didn’t have a Pirate’s Night, we had a Frozen night. I was so excited to see everyone dressed up in their pirate gear. We asked our server if we were supposed to wear our costumes to dinner or just to the deck party and he told us after (just to let you know there were tons of people dressed up to the 9s in their pirate costumes!)
For an appetizer, I had the Lightly breaded baked eggplant filled with Sweet Ricotta and Mozzarella served on Sauce.
Learning early on that I am not a fan of any of the soups but love salads, I asked to get the Smoked Duck Breast Salad (without the duck) with Frisee, Lollo Rosso, Radicchio leaves with walnuts and shredded apples topped with a creamy lemon dressing.
My entree was the Fettuccine with Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Chicken encrusted in Parmesan Cheese with Sweet Peppers and Mushrooms in a cheddar cheese sauce.
Finally, My Dessert was the Chocolate Lava Cake served with Double Chocolate Sauce and Vanilla Ice cream.
Pirate’s Night Deck Party
Excited for the “late night” Pirates in the Caribbean Deck Party, we returned to our cabin to get ready for the excitement. Allison went to bed early because she wasn’t feeling well and I went to the deck party myself.
Being more of an observer than someone participating in the Deck Party, Pirates night is fun! All of the kids are hopped up on sugar and dancing all over the pool deck.
Pirate Night lasts from 10:15-11 pm and there is a pirate buffet from 10:#0-11:15 pm in cabanas. I wasn’t really hungry, and I wanted to see these exclusive fireworks at sea so I positioned myself in a good spot so I could see everything that was going on with the deck party but would also get a good shot of the fireworks.
Immediately after the show was over, everyone rushed to Cabanas for the feast. I grabbed a couple of things to bring to the room – A Disney Turkey Leg, two small burritos, Ice cream, cheesecake, cookies and a tart. Mom and I had a small feast in the room lulling us to sleep to prepare for the next day of visiting France and Monaco.
Stay tuned this summer to read about all of my trip reports for our May 25, 2018, Mediterranean Cruise out of Barcelona.
Day 7 Sea Day
Day 8 Disembarkation – Barcelona, Spain
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