Thursday, June 7, 2012
We made a day trip to Pisa. Pictures of the famous leaning tower and immediate surrounding area would lead you to believe that the entire city is adorned with white polished marble sparkling as one might envision heaven to be. Au Contraire, Mon Frère. What you see in these photos is the only section of Pisa that looks like this. From our driving tour it appeared as if the tower and two adjacent buildings were the beginning of some amazing project that was abandoned. The rest of the city is dark and old. We found that the tower was about all we wanted to see in Pisa and that was fine because it was not a disappointment. It's gorgeous and it leans something fierce. Before 2001 it leaned about 5.5 degrees and after some restoration it now leans about 3.99 degrees (that means the top is almost 13 feet off from being perfectly vertical.) It really looks like it's going to topple over at any minute. They have a strict age limit to climb up the tower (not that we wanted to anyway) so we just walked the perfectly manicured lawn and took our silly pictures holding up the tower and watched other people's acts of acrobats as they too took these ridiculous photos. They also have a unique fountain with three very large cherubs that we admired for some time. The tower is a free standing bell tower for the cathedral it stands next to. It took 177 years to complete the tower. Work began in 1173 and it only took 5 years for the subsoil and flawed designed to cause it to lean. I would highly recommend seeing it if you are in Tuscany but since it only takes an hour or so to enjoy it, why not then head to Lucca? It's an amazing little city only 20 minutes from the tower by car. That's what we did! Here we are entering the it's famous intact Renaissance-era city walls. It is quite enchanting. We couldn't figure out if we could park within the walls so we parked outside the city walls and walked in. This city dates back to before 180 BC. Below is an old Roman amphitheater whose outlines can still be seen in the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro. We happily had lunch there. You can see the buildings are in an oval shape. Marcella stole everyone's hearts walking by as she "walked" her new kitty balloon down the old streets. You can walk or bike on top of the gorgeous city walls which is what we tried to do until the kids started to melt down. Nap time! There are some great parks there too so you can rest as the kids play. It's no wonder Napoleon conquered Lucca and made his sister queen. Do you think Wesley would do the same for Marcella? I needed a little jolt to get me home so my hubby got me some pocket espresso at the gas station. It tastes like liquid chocolate and even though you look kind of ridiculous drinking from the tiny straw, it works! Our exhausted little troopers taking their much deserved nap! Can't wait to show you the next trip!