A Pilgrimage to the Marian and Eucharistic Miracle Shrines of Western Europe

Date: 14OCT (Friday) PADUA – PISA – FLORENCE. (Day 12)

We stayed here in Padova, Italy until this morning at Crowned Plaza Hotel. Crowne Plazaimg_20161013_083635 Hotel is an excellent starting point to visit cultural cities like Venice and Verona not to forget Padova. All 179 spacious hotel bedrooms and suites are fully air conditioned and equipped with high speed internet access and flat screen TV. Campiello restaurant is an outstanding place to dine with a variety of tasty dishes freshly prepared with and, together with Fr. Estong, good wine.

img_20161014_071202We ate our breakfast at 6:47AM here in the hotel and luggage out at the same. We left Padova, Italy at 8:24AM and travelled south to Pisa and to view the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Cathedral. The distance between Padova (Padua) and Pisa is 222 kilometers. Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, straddling the River Arnojust before it empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its iconic Leaning Tower (the bell tower of the city’s cathedral), the city of over 90,834 residents (around 200,000 with the metropolitan area) contains more than 20 other historic churches, several medieval palaces and various bridges across the River Arno. Much of the city’s architecture was financed from its history as one of the Italian maritime republics.

It was a rainy morning when we left Padova and the temperature was at 8.9ˑC. While on our way to Pisa, we prayed the Morning Prayer lead by Group 3. After Morning Prayer, Bible bullets were distributed and I got this: “You know when I sit and stand. You understand my thoughts from afar,” (Psalm 139:2).

We stopped at an autogrill for our toilet break at 10AM and bought orange juice (2,60 Euro)img_20161014_101859-the-stopover-where-we-a-20mins-toilet-break-and-bought-choc-jui and chocolate (3,99 Euro). Then left this autogrill here in Cantagallo and continued our travel to Pisa at 10:20AM. While on our way from this autogrill, the rain began to pour again. From this place we passed by 29 tunnels, most of them were long tunnels and then we arrived Pisa at around 12:10PM. From where the bus was parked, we rode on a train-liked bus that brought us to the leaning Tower of Pisa for about 5 minutes and then started the tour and had pictures in the Leaning Tower.

For the vast majority of visitors the sole reason is the famous leaning tower which is located in Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square) just to the north of the city center. Piazza dei Miracoli is a pedestrian area, free to access with the main attractions within the square, plus tourist offices, gift shops and exhibitions as well as ticket offices. The Leaning Tower of Pisa or simply the Tower of Pisa (Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the Cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt. Already tilting when it was completed in 1372, the 56m white-marble cylinder is the bell tower of the Romanesque, striped-marble cathedral that rises next to it in the Piazza dei Miracoli. Also in the piazza is the Baptistry, whose renowned acoustics are demonstrated by amateur singers daily.

img_20161014_123705The Leaning Tower is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) after the Cathedral and the Pisa Baptistry. The tower’s tilt began during construction, caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to properly support the structure’s weight. The tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed, and gradually increased until the structure was stabilized and the tilt partially corrected by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The height of the tower is 55.86 meters (183.27 feet) from the ground on the low side and 56.67 meters (185.93 feet) on the high side. The width of the walls at the base is 2.44 m (8 ft 0.06 in). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons (16,000 short tons). The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is displaced horizontally 3.9 meters (12 ft 10 in) from the centre.

After viewing and taking pictures in this Leaning Tower of Pisa, we ate, together with Inday Siva and Nieda Ramos in a Burger King and I bought Maximum barbeque burger worh 8,20 Euro at 1:15PM. After we ate our lunch we went back to where our tour leader from the Philippines, Monty, told us.  We left the Leaning Tower place, rode again on a train-liked bus that brought us to where our tour bus parked. We left Pisa at 2PM and travelled again to Florence. The distance between Pisa and Florence is 83 kilometers.

While we were inside the bus, we prayed the Holy Rosary and it rained again on our way to Florence, Italy.

We reached Florence at around 3:20PM and our Mass would be at 4:45PM and out tour guide waited for us for a walking tour of the Old Town. Visit the Basilica of Sta. Croce, Duomo, and view the Baptistery and Giotto’s bell tower.. Before going to the Church we had a tour around the old city of Florence. Florence represents one of the most charming and important art cities in Italy; visited every year by thousands of tourists from all around the world. Florentia, this is its ancient name, is the town that marked the history of our country and of Europe, it’s no coincidence that Florence became, for a few years, the capital of Italy. Cradle of Italian language and culture, it represents the symbol of Renaissance as well, Florence experienced the greatest  splendor during the fifteenth and the sixteenth century in reason of its political power and of its rich cultural and artistic flowering.

During the Medici Dynasty and in particular during the Lordship of Lorenzo il Magnifico and Cosimo I, the town became one of the most important cultural poles of attraction in Europe. Florence has been inscribed on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List, its historical town center gathers monuments, religious buildings, architectural works and gardens that are unique in the all world, designed by ingenious artists such as  Giotto, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo and many others. The Piazza del Duomo is the ideal starting point for those who wish to visit the cathedral, the magnificent Giotto’s Campanile, the baptistery and the Opera del Duomo museum.

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the Metropolitan City of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,083 inhabitants, expanding to over 1,520,000 in the metropolitan area.

Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called “the Athens of the Middle Ages,” A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.

The Historic Center of Florence attracts 13 million tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world’s 89th most visited in 2012, with 1.8 million visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics. Due to Florence’s artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Florence is an important city in Italian fashion, being ranked in the top 51 fashion capitals of the world; furthermore, it is a major national economic centre, as well as a tourist and industrial hub. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy.

We had our tour in the old city of Florence. Florence is known as the “cradle of the Renaissance: (la culla del Rinascimento) for its monuments, churches, and buildings. The best-known site of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city which we visited and had pictures, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo, whose dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile (partly designed by Giotto) and the Baptistery buildings are also highlights. The dome, 600 years after its completion, is still the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world.

According to our tour guide, many significant episodes in the history of art and political changes were staged here, such as: In 1301, Dante Alighieri was sent into exile from here (commemorated by a plaque on one of the walls of the Uffizi).

Until we reached Sta. Croce for our 4:45PM Mass but we arrived late at 5PM. Reconsideration was asked but the in-charge did not approve our motion for reconsideration and so we went to Grand Hotel Mediterraneo and checked in between 5:50PM and 6:35PM. Room 267 was assigned to me and Fr. Estong and waited for our dinner at around 7PM.

Thanks be to God, a good news was relayed to us that Bishop Gutierrez had already checked out from the hospital in Nice, France. He is staying in a monastery. According to the Bishop, he would meet us in Rome airport on the 19th of November, 2016.

img_20161014_175421-we-stayed-here-overnightAfter our dinner, at 8:30PM, we had our Mass in one of the halls of Grand Hotel Mediterraneo, Florence, Italy. After the Mass we rested for tomorrow’s activity. We were not able to make pasyal-pasyal in Florence due to heavy rain.

For more pictures, please see this link:   My facebook

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