Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is situated on the Arno, a small stream, which. during the rainy season, only partially fills its bed. The city has no unsightly suburbs such as detract from the beauty of our American cities, and is, moreover, kept with exquisite neatness. There is no city in Europe in which Americans feel so much at home, and the American colony is, consequently, very large. The Arno is crossed by many bridges, some of which are very old, one dating from the thirteenth century. The Ponte Vecchio is very picturesque on account of its being lined on both sides by rows of booths which overhang the water. One of the most noted buildings is the Palazzo Vecchio, where the councils of the city formerly met, and where the Medici, for a time, had apartments. The tower of this building dominates the city, and is the most prominent feature in every picture. Near this is the Uffizzi palace with its famous picture gallery. Here are many art treasures, including the Venus di Medici, found in the villa of Hadrian at Rome, the statue of Niobe, and numerous others. The great glory of Florence is the Duomo, or cathedral, built of black and white marble, with a tower, said to be the handsomest in the world. The baptistry of this church contains a number of famous bronze doors, one pair of which occupied the artist for twenty years.
Views of many other churches and statues were also shown, giving altogether a most clear and satisfactory idea of the city. Pisa is situated on the Arno nearer the sea. The city is noted for a group of buildings surrounding the Duomo, or cathedral, which dates from the eleventh century. In this church is the identical lamp from whose movements Galileo deduced the laws of the pendulum. The baptistry is a very handsome building, but the chief interest centers in the well known "Leaning Tower," from whose summit Galileo made his experiments on falling bodies. The attitude of this tower is probably due to the insufficient foundations laid by the builders, which caused it to settle while in process of construction. Sienna, the other principal city of Tuscany, is noted mainly for its cathedral, planned to be the largest in the world. The present edifice is only the transept, the nave having been begun but never completed. The church contains the most beautiful pulpit in Italy, and the interior is splendidly ornamented.