The Straight-up Tower of Pisa

IMG_7748What a rip off! They say it’s a leaning tower- but just look at this picture. It’s almost as straight as an arrow!

Of course, they say perspective is everything.

The production of the Tower of Pisa began in 1173, and took almost 200 years to finish. That’s why they named it Pisa, because it takes a lot of pizzas to feed two centuries worth of workers.

The structure began to sink in 1178, after construction had progressed to the second floor. This was due to a too-shallow three meter foundation which was set in weak, unstable subsoil. The fact that they used all those leftover pizza boxes for the foundation didn’t help either.

Ironically, the flaw that created the lean is what makes it an enormously popular tourist attraction. Which just goes to show you, sometimes it’s the flaws that make you beautiful!

IMG_7752Okay, now do you believe the thing really leans?

IMG_7442So here’s the real deal with the actual lean. It’s quite a remarkable-looking building, especially with its lean physique.

IMG_7438I suppose the residents take the tower for granted, but it’d be a pretty cool structure to see on your way to get groceries every day, even if it doesn’t look like it’s leaning from every angle.

IMG_7737They were kind enough to provide parking for jet fighters, so you can get there in any one of a number of ways apparently.

IMG_7739I don’t know how many of these people arrived via jet fighter, but there were sure plenty of ’em. Tourism in Italy seems to be thriving just fine.

IMG_7746Fortunately, Carolyn arrived just in time to keep the building from leaning further. Or is it “farther.” I hate those two words. Leaning “more.” That’s good enough. In Portuguese we just say “mais.” Mais leano.

IMG_7443Psh. Everyone saw what she was doing and so started posing for fake pictures to look just like it. But Carolyn is the only one really holding it up, as you can tell by comparing the two photos.

IMG_7440Those who haven’t visited Pisa may not realize that the area, called the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) doesn’t only consist of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but also features the Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistry, and the Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery), as well as a couple of museums. I can attest to the fact that the Square of Miracles works, because it sure seems like a miracle that we live in Portugal and can hop on a plane to Rome and Italy and Pisa and points beyond for the price of a nice dinner. Okay, maybe with a nice bottle of wine or two included, but that’s my kind of miracle!

IMG_7441The baptistry is in the foreground. Construction was begun in 1152. It is the largest baptistry in Italy.

IMG_7741This is the Pisa Cathedral, construction of which began in 1063. It is the largest cathedral in this picture.

IMG_7474This is Moses, or at least someone as old as him. Oh wait, the statue is of Moses. Ah, I thought you meant the other old bearded guy.

IMG_7754This piece is entitled Fallen Angel, and is a temporary piece of contemporary art on display in the square. It was original simply entitled Angel, but then, you know, it fell.

IMG_7765

Inside the Cathedral.

IMG_7761These are the stairs that take you to the top of the baptistry.

IMG_7781We swear they were this worn down before we stepped on ’em!

IMG_7758IMG_7756And these are the views that greeted us once we made it to the top. That’s a lot of space just for sprinkling water on a baby’s head!

IMG_7773Although the other buildings are beautiful, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the main attraction of course. You have to pay extra and make a reservation to climb up the tower, and so we did. Security was pretty tight; not even any little old bags were allowed. But they let Carolyn in. Phew!

IMG_7775This isn’t the way to the top.

IMG_7795This is.

IMG_7479Heights aren’t necessarily my thing. Actually, I’m not afraid of heights, per se, I’m just nervous about the landing.

IMG_7788Although I love the views you get from above. It’s like practicing being in heaven.

IMG_7792 (1)IMG_7786IMG_7784

IMG_7791 (1)I don’t remember going into the tower the first time I visited Pisa, but the top of it sure rings a bell! Note how the bells look like they’re hanging a bit crooked, they’re actually hanging straight.

IMG_7750Bucket list: Check!

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