Published: September 24th 2009September 24th 2009
For some reason I had it in my head that the leaning tower of Pisa was in the middle of a small square. Was I ever wrong! It's actually in the middle of a LARGE and very green square which it shares with a church, a baptistry, an artistic cemetary and a whole host of street vendors.
I also didn't know that you can actually climb the tower (for 15 euro mind you). I'm so glad I did it though! The view from the top is one of the best I've seen. You really feel that you're in Tuscany once you see all the red and orange roofs. Luckily it was a perfectly clear day so we could see very far. Lots of mountains in this area. I'd heard that once inside the tower you didn't really feel that it was on an angle. WRONG! I felt slightly drunk! :) You can definitely feel the slope, it's a strange feeling. The climb itself isn't as bad as I'd expected either. There are fairly deep grooves in the steps from so many people climbing them.
In the same square there's also a cemetary which was once famous for it's frescos
and sculptures. It was seen as a combination cemetary and art gallery. Sadly for a number of reasons much of it's grandeour has been moved or destroyed by fire but they're in the process of restoring it. I particularly liked the depiction of the devil on one of the walls (you can see him in my photo's).
In the church was an incredibly carved pulpit, very detailed. But what I found funny was that it was held up by carved lions and they looked like they were in such pain! Hehe.
One annoying thing about some of these touristy places in Italy though is the number of African migrants trying to sell you imitation watches, bags and jewellery. They're everywhere! But I guess that sort of thing happens all over the world.
I didn't actually stay in Pisa I just commuted in for the day so I didn't see the rest of the city (though many people say not to bother). I had a wonderful time though. The white tower and its surrounding buildings are quite striking against the sea of grass around them. A perfect day. :D
There are more photos below