Seeing as all but two of our weekends are booked up for the rest of the semester, either from day, weekend, or spring break trips, Lisa and I decided there was no time like the present to go see this leaning tower for ourselves. Luckily, Pisa is only an hour and five euro away by train, so we wandered over there today around noon.
After an hour ride (during which I had convinced myself that we had somehow gotten on the wrong train) we made it to Pisa and discovered it is VERY VERY tiny. We walked from the train station, on one side of the river, to the far end of the city where the Duomo and the bell tower are in about fifteen minutes. Very strange. But as we finished up our walk, this came into view:
It really leans! The tower is actually a really gorgeous piece of architecture, which appeals to me, and it leans at a comically steep angle which makes it look kind of childish and Disney-fied, which also appeals to me. I was amused.
For those not in the know, construction on the bell tower of Pisa began in August of 1173, but stopped for mysterious reasons five years later. It’s thought that the Pisaens became distracted by various wars and could no longer bother with silly things like a bell tower that would serve to warn their city of danger in times of say, war. In 1272, construction began again and this time they tried to compensate for the lean by building one side longer than the other, causing the tower to lean in the other direction. In person, you can really tell that the tower is curved! Building halted again in 1284, to be picked up again 1319. The actual bells weren’t added until 1372, and the largest of the bells wasn’t added until 1655. There are seven bells, one for each note on a musical scale, and seven stories.
Of course we had to take the typical tourist picture:
We took one of me, too, but it’s on Lisa’s camera. I’ll put it up after I steal it from her! I like how you can see other tourists doing the exact. same. thing. in the background. There were literally lines of people holding up the tower!
After finding gelato and people watching for a while, we went into the Cathedral.
It was really beautiful, but Lisa and I have seen so many Cathedrals lately that we were done in about twenty minutes. Actually, we were done with all of Pisa in about two and a half hours! It’s so tiny that there isn’t much wandering to be done, and we used up an extra half hour by walking to and from the train station instead of taking the bus that shuttles loads of tourists to and fro. I googled “things to do in Pisa” a few nights ago, and literally the only suggestions to be had were the Cathedral, the Tower, and the Baptistery, all of which are in the same Piazza. Pisa really is famous for one thing and one thing only: The Tower. That Leans.
I’m really glad we went, don’t get me wrong. It was a very surreal moment to stand looking at something that I’ve known about my entire life. Plus, the Tower isn’t one of those things that disappoints in person. It really leans!
So we hopped back on the 5:30 train and were home in time for dinner! My kind of day trip.