People posing in Pisa

When our cruise ship docked at Livorno, Italy, we chose to visit Pisa and Florence for the day, paying for an “on your own tour”. That is, you pay for transport only and are escorted to a meeting place to return to at an appointed time so you can go off and do your own thing – as opposed to being herded around on a guided tour suffering information overload.

Arriving in Pisa (about an hour and a half from the port) we were sad to see it was raining. So before making the 10 or 15 minute walk from the coach parking area around the huge 12th century walls…

The city walls of Pisa

The city walls of Pisa

and through the city gate…

Walking to the Piazza dei Miracoli

Walking to the Piazza dei Miracoli

into the commonly called “Piazza dei Miracoli” or “Square of Miracles” (often mistakenly referred to as the Field of Miracles – but that’s something out of the Pinocchio story), I was happy to purchase an umbrella from one of the many illegal but eager merchants hovering about, having no qualms in haggling them down to just 3 euros.

We got our first glimpse of the famous tower (which is the bell tower for the cathedral) and, despite having been straightened slightly and reinforced in recent times (to prevent it from toppling over), it was definitely still leaning – now standing at about 4 degrees off centre.

First sighting of the tower

First sighting of the tower

As if to tease us, we were led away to a café – our designated meeting point. At least it was somewhere to escape from the steadily increasing rain. Then, armed with our newly acquired umbrellas, and trying to keep the raindrops off our camera lenses, we headed off for a closer look.

Heading in for a closer look

Heading in for a closer look

The medieval Torre Pendente di Pisa (Leaning Tower of Pisa) stands  in Piazza del Duomo (or “Cathedral Square” – which is the official name of the square) in an open expanse of roped-off lawns with the large cathedral..

Expanses of lawn at the Square of Miracles

Expanses of lawn at the Square of Miracles

and circular baptistery…

The Baptistery, Pisa

The Baptistery, Pisa

all making a grand spectacle against the backdrop of the more humble town buildings.

Outskirts of Pisa

Outskirts of Pisa

If we’d had more time we would have explored the museums and the cemetery (which sits on the far side), or wandered around Pisa, which I am told has a lot more to offer than just this famous square.

It certainly would have been a good day to climb the tower’s 297 steps (health issues aside), but to pre-order tickets for a specific day and time wasn’t practical on our limited timeframe. (Go to the official website: http://boxoffice.opapisa.it/Turisti/ to book between 20 and 12 days prior. There are ticket offices on-site, but good luck with that – even on this wet, off-season day the were hoards of visitors.)

Of course there were people in all sorts of peculiar poses for those funny photos with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, as if holding it up, pushing it over, or pinching it between their fingers.

Umbrellas and posers in Pisa

Umbrellas and posers in Pisa

We just had to join in the fun!

Tony posing in Pisa

Tony posing in Pisa

From some angles though, the tower doesn’t look like it’s leaning at all, so you have to choose the right viewpoint.

Is the tower still leaning?

Is the tower still leaning?

As always, I just love seeing first-hand those places we have all heard of so often, and marvelled at the detail in the architecture.

The cathedral Pisa

The cathedral Pisa

Detail of the baptistery

Detail of the baptistery

The company of new-found friends from our cruise made our morning spent in Pisa all the more memorable.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

And what of Florence? Well that’s a whole other story!

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About frenchfry36

South African by birth, British by right, Australian by oath, French by choice.
This entry was posted in Travel, World travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to People posing in Pisa

  1. denisedhall says:

    Fabulous Pictures Nola. Daryl and I just finished mapping out our trip in the Fall. With Pisa and Florence on our route. We can’t wait to go… Now to figure out how many nights in each place we visit… How many nights would you stay in Florence, as that will be the next stop, after Venice.
    Traveling is such fun, and I have enjoyed your blog immensely.

    • frenchfry36 says:

      Thank you for your continual encouragement Denise. As for how many nights in Florence – I always think 2 nights is absolute minimum to spend in any city (at least you get one full day with no time restrictions), but you can see heaps in 2 or 3 days (i.e. 3 or 4 nights). It all depends on your pace, your preferences and of course your purse!

  2. Debra Kolkka says:

    What a pity it was raining in Pisa. We had a very wet start to the year, right up until June. It is possible to book and climb on the same day. I have done it several times. Pisa is a great town to spend time in…you need to come back.

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