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Livorno, the capital of the Livorno province, in Tuscany is a busy commercial, industrial, and tourist center and is one of the most important ports in Italy. A fortified castle in thr Middle Ages, Livorno was developed in the 16th Century into a flourishing city by thr Medici. Points of interest include the Cathedral and the remains of the 17th Century city wall. Livorno is today considered the “Gateway to Pisa and Florence.” from NCL Daily Report

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This would end up being a very full day of activities for us as we had a private tour to see a number of attractions in the region which are often missed due to time. When we came in 2013, we completely missed out on visiting Pisa which was quite an experience to see as we started our day driving to Pisa as Livorno is really only a port town and gateway for tourists. While I saw a tower at a distance, there were few options to stay in the city as it was not even walking distance from the port.

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We started our trip to Pisa learning that Pisa was once much closer to the coast but that a series of events centuries ago, ceded the coastline by almost 10 kilometers! It gives us perspective as to our small time here on this earth and the way it is constantly evolving for humanity. We passes the city walls and arrived at the Plaza of the Knights which had a Maritime Museum and a Cathedral which were good starter pictures for what was around the corner.

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There have been few things that really impress me when traveling to famous tourist attractions as I believe that most are hyped and raise the expectations of travelers. However, walking towards the leaning tower of Pisa was not one of them as it is an impressive display of architecture and how things can go wrong. Of course the family and I had to take the selfies and photos of us holding the tower up but we stayed there about an hour just looking at the structure itself and those surrounding it.

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Our guide didn’t really go into detail about its origins and history but the fact that this attracts millions of people each year is not surprising as the place is setup perfectly for tourists to enjoy the experience. My daughter looked like a model just asking for pictures for all angles as it was perfect for them. We even felt the urge to call family back home in real time so they could see it as well. I am glad we were able to get to Pisa this time around!

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We then headed down the same river that Pisa shares to arrive at Florence. Florence is said to be the birthplace of the Renaissance which itself meant a rebirth of humanity after the difficult moddle ages. You can see as you walkthrough the streets how that part of history elevated mankind into a higher stage of consciousness and development. I never really understood its importance as a student as I only understood the artistic side of it; however, seeing it now in person as an adult with a family gives perspective of the miracle that life truly is.

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We visited the outside of most of the major attractions as the lines were ridiculous to even consider without sacrificing a visit to another place. We went past the Galleria where Michaelangelo’s David is housed as well as the Il Duomo Cathedral only to take some pictures. We also walked through much of the shopping district and ended at the Veckio Bridge (sorry if I am wrong on the name). The guide saw the passion and interest for shopping so ended up at the Gucci Gardens which is an exclusive store with Cafe that is also a museum for the exclusive brand. It was so exclusive that I tried to buy something for my wife and they said I needed to order it in advance!

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As usual, shopping made is hungry so we ended up at a recommended local restaurant known for its pasta and regional cuisine, wild boar. We had some tastes of the local specialty but most opted for the amazing pasta that Italy is known for. There is such a large difference between homemade pasta and boxed that it was well worth the calories taken to have as much pasta as I could while in Italy. I was also impressed these days that amounts paid for great food is not nearly as much as I had remembered. However, this is mosty due to how the Euro has fallen so much over the last 5-6 years since I was last here.

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Given the time needed to get back to Livorno, we only visited a number of other square and structures before heading back. I tried to get a little nap on the way as ot would be our last night on the ship and I still had my eyes set on revenge at the Casino as I was still losing and only had this last opportunity to do so. After getting some rest in room, I headed to the Casino for some Blackjack. While I could have done much better, I left winning double my original position but still down for the whole cruise. I had forgotten about the importance of leaving while you are ahead as it catches up quickly as all games are always made to benefit the house. I think it applies in many cases in investing as well except that scaling in and out of positions is much easier. Now that I know I ended at a lost, I just think about the Steem I could have bought instead!

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