The main facade of the Duomo has so many elaborate intricate carvings. Below is my attempt to capture some of those details.Going South from the Duomo is the Arno River. It is a river that cuts through Florence from East to West and crossed by several old bridges. Below is a view of the beautiful calm river from Florence’s most famous bridge, Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge seen below) is Florence’s oldest surviving bridge (from 1345). The bridge was originally occupied by blacksmiths, butchers, and tanners who used the river as a waste disposal dump site. The stench and noise created by these workers got so bad that a Duke evicted them out in the late 1500s. Replaced by goldsmiths and jewelers as new tenants, this bridge today is still lined with these shops from one end to another. Another short train ride South East of Florence lands us to the fifth city, Siena. It was once a capital and rival city to Florence during medieval times. While Florence ultimately won the battle for political and economic superiority after Siena’s population reduced by two-thirds during the Black Death in the mid 1300s, Siena still competes with Florence as the prettiest medieval town. Siena’s Duomo, seen below, directly competes with its neighbor Florence’s Duomo for grandeur and lavishness. This Duomo’s interior reminded me of Egyptian sphinx and Middle Eastern architecture when I saw the horizontal zebra lines and blue painted domes with gold stars. Climbing another narrow spiral staircase up to the top of the Duomo gives a rewarding view of the beautiful Tuscan hillside in the distance and Siena’s Il Campo plaza seen below on the right.