Marina called! She's been getting the whirlwind tour of Italy and had a hard time getting to a phone for a while. They left Rome and headed to Florence, where they did not get a room with a view, but they were very close to the Arno. In Florence they saw Michaelangelo's David, as well as some of the artist's unfinished work still partially trapped in marble. They watched a leatherworking demonstration too. Apparently, this area is well known for it's leather boxes, which have been around since the time of Catherine de Medici.
From Florence, they went on a side trip to Pisa, where she took the obligatory photo holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They also saw the cathedral and baptistery which are adjacent to the tower.
After Florence and Pisa, they headed toward Venice, stopping first at Verona. In Verona they saw Juliet's balcony and the Arena, which is a smaller amphitheater similar to the Colosseum.
Onward to Venice, where Marina's group has seen St. Mark's Square and they took a gondola ride. They also saw a glass blowing demonstration of Murano glass. And Marina finally found a moment (and a phone) to call me! She said many people are walking around in costume for Carnival. I can't wait to see her pictures.
Next: San Marino and Assisi