In March, 2019, Paul was attending the DATE 19 (Design, Automation, and Test in Europe) conference in Florence, Italy. Ellen and Rachael went as well to enjoy the sights and history of Florence. We also took a short side-trip to Rome. Check out the photos - and be sure to click on them to see a larger view.
We left Boston on a rainy evening aboard British Airways on our way to Florence. We had a short layover in London, approaching with a view of the sunrise over a foggy London. Then we flew over the alps on our flight to Pisa followed by a short train ride to Florence. It was interesting presenting at a conference on advanced chip design in a 500 year old fort (Fortezza da Basso).
On the left, two views of the famous Ponte Vecchio, a bridge over the Arno with shops. It was the first bridge over the Arno, built in 966 and restored after a flood in 1345. Next is an evening photo of the Doumo, taken from the balcony of our hotel. Our room had windows facing both east and west, so we also had a view of a very pretty sunset over Florence.
One of the stops on our tour of the city was Piazzale Michelangelo, located on a hill overlooking Florence. This was the original site of Michelangelo's David, before it was moved indoors and replaced by a full size copy. On the left is Rachael checking out the statue. The other three photos in this group are views of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Of course we visited Michelangelo's David at the Accademia Gallery, one of the most famous statues in Florence. It was sculpted in marble between 1501 and 1504, and stands 17 feet tall (5.17 meters). Also at the Accademia Gallery was a room of plaster "proofs" of various sculptures. The shelves full of busts was an interesting view. Last is Giambologna’s "Rape of the Sabines", where each side has a different view.
Florence has lots of museums. One of the ones we visited was one of the many da Vinci museums. This particular one housed models of his inventions, built from diagrams in da Vinci's notebooks. On the left is a photo of an early tank, with shelter for the soldiers and canons mounted all around. Next is an early escalator, used by soldiers to scale the walls of forts (like the one where the conference was held, above). Last is an early rotisserie. Heat from the fire at the bottom would rise and turn the fan at the top. The gears transfered the motion to the spit, which would slowly rotate the food being cooked.
We also visited the Museo Galileo, housing many interesting scientific objects. First is a battery from the 19th century. Imagine carrying that around for your cell phone! How did people on the go tell time before watches were invented? With a pocket sundial, of course. Below the sundial part is a compass to be sure it's oriented correctly. Next is an Armillary Sphere. Completed in 1593, this large armillary sphere represents the "universal machine" of the world according to the concepts developed by Aristotle and perfected by Ptolemy. The terrestrial globe is placed at the center. Surprisingly, it even displays territories that were still relatively little known at the time. Next, Rachael is taking a photo of some of the globes on display. Of course, it wouldn't be Museo Galileo without a bust of the man himself! The museum included a display of technological devices from centuries ago. First is Botto's electric motor, ca. 1840. Next is a telephone transmitter from 1870, followed by a telegraph transmitter from 1840. Last is Rachael mimicking the pose in this bust of Amerigo Vespucci at Museo Galileo.
We also took a day trip to Rome. The first photo is the Arch of Constantine, the largest of the three triumphal arches in a good state of preservation. It's 69 feet high, and was built in 315 C.E. Next is Ellen and Rachael outside the Coliseum, then another view of the Coliseum. The towering circular building is the Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant'Angelo. The angel is on the bridge leading to the mausoleum. The last photo is St. Peters Basilica.
Alas, it was almost time to go home. One of the little pleasures was going out for gelato in the evening. Partway back to the hotel, Rachael noticed the cone looked a little like the torch on the Statue of Liberty, so she struck a pose. To get home, we took the train to Pisa, and snapped a photo of the leaning tower as we left the Pisa airport.