Our next stop was Pisa.
This, of course, is what everyone goes to see in Pisa – the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower is open (you can see some people at the top in the photo), but we did not attempt the climb since we’d done the tower in Lucca the day before, and our legs weren’t really up to it. The tower was smaller than I’d expected. Not that it isn’t big, but I guess since you usually see photos of the tower alone, it’s hard to judge the size. What did impress me was how beautiful the marble is that it’s built from. Photos could never do justice to the luster and glow, and it was incredible to see it close up.
The leaning tower is the bell tower for the Cathedral in the Piazza dei Miracoli – the plaza where the cathedral and bell tower (above left), and the baptistry (above center) are located. It’s also where there are enormous crowds (above right) – evidently most tourists just visit this square and leave. Outside of the square, there were hardly any tourists around. And with good reason, I suppose – the rest of the city just wasn’t as interesting to us as the other cities we visited. Out of all of the places we went, we liked this one the least. I suppose it would be hard to be in the area and not go see the Leaning Tower, but for someone on a tight time schedule, Pisa is the place I would leave out.
The interior of the cathedral was gorgeous, with the huge coffered ceiling, and I loved the elaborate bronze door:
Next we visited Knights’ Square where we saw the beautiful Palazzo della Carovana, which now houses the main building of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, a higher learning institution:
Another lovely sight is the view of the river Arno. Notice the blue building on the left – a color you don’t often see in Tuscany. Our guide told us that the reason it’s blue is because they were able to show that it was the original color of the building – otherwise it could not be painted that color:
And the market was a colorful treat – full of all sorts of interesting and colorful fruits and vegetables.