Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Leaning Tower of Pisa - is still leaning

Our next day destination was Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Just like the Eiffel Tower, I have heard of this historic monument since my childhood. In fact when I heard of it being leaning, I wondered whether it would be there when I grow up as then there were predictions of its falling down one day. But thankfully, it is still leaning and has no signs of falling and I finally had a chance to see it in all its grandeur and might.
My wife and son standing outside our Motel before leaving for Pisa
 The early morning deserted roads of Milan
We left Milan by road and headed towards Pisa - distance of some 285 kilometers and took us three and half hours to reach the town of Pisa. As I mentioned in my previous post, the roads in Italy are not of very quality. But road leading to Pisa was very pathetic - specially the last 20-30 kilometers and the speed limit was 30 KMPH due to its patchy and bumpy road. I wondered why the Italians could not have it repaired as Pisa is one of the famous tourist attractions of Italy.

The Pisa Tower (Torre di Pisa) or the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente di Pisa) is a campanile, or freestanding bell tower which is part of the city's cathedral surrounded by high rising walls. The tower rising to a height of some 55.86 metres developed a fault while it was still being built but for unknown reasons it continued to be built the same and was leaning right from the outset. Thus on the lower side, it stands 55.85 metres (the leaning side) and 55.67 metres on the higher side. Many efforts have been made, specially between 1990-2001 by putting counter weights to stabilize its unintended tilt. As of now the tower is horizontally displace 3.9 metres from its center.

We entered the Pisa town and the sign posts took us to the compound where the cathedral and the Pisa's Tower are located. Vehicles, other than special, are not allowed to enter the compound, so we parked our car outside the compound in a large car park. And it was here that I first caught a glimpse of the Tower for the first time in my life.
As we started moving towards the compound, the view of the Tower became cleaerer and seeing it bit by bit added to our enthusiasm till we reached inside the compound and saw its full might.

As per Wikipedia, the construction of the tower occurred in three stages over 199 years. Work on the ground floor of the white marble campanile began on August 14, 1173. The tower began to sink after construction had progressed to the second floor in 1178. 
The cathedral compound was already full with tourists and visitors enjoying the Pisa's landmark in full bright sunny day and mind you even in October it was quite hot and precipitating.
 My family and me joining them in a slefie

 The architecture from the close quarters - the entrance to the right is used for those adventuring to stair up to the top 

 The Pisa Tower side by side the city's cathedral
Like all historic and tourist intensive places, there are shops selling souvenirs and clothes exclusive to the city besides a number of eateries selling local Italian cuisines, pizza being the most sought out dish by the tourists. We too bought a few souvenirs and ate freshly baked pizza - something that we had never tasted like before.
 My wife poses in front of one of the souvenir's shops
 A homemade tram for the city tour of tourists

The old building dating back more than two hundred years now house motels and shops on ground floor

We had to travel to Florence to see the famous statue of David and thus hurriedly packed up our visit to Pisa - adding yet another nostalgia to our memory lane for it may not be possible to revisit Pisa again as there are many other destinations in Italy yo visit. But it is not all for Pisa visit as I will talk about the bronze man of Pisa in my next post. 

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