Pisa - Its Not Just About The Tower! | Designer Travel

Of course Pisa is known throughout the world as the site of the Leaning Tower, and I have to say I wasn’t quite prepared for the extent of its leaning!

The building of the commenced in 1173 but stopped abruptly ten years later when the first three tiers began to tilt. However in spite of this work began again in 1272 and the builders tried to compensate for the angle, but failed! The Tower was completed in 1373. Every year the Tower tilted an extra 1cm, until in 1993 and at 4.47 metres out of line, a massive feat of ingenious engineering, involving steel braces and soil removal, reversed the tilt by almost 44cm! We are assured this will hold the Tower steady for another 300 years! Meanwhile it is ‘helped’ by the thousands of visitors who pose for photographs pretending to push the Tower into a more upright position! The Tower is 54 meters high and it is possible to climb up the very steep approximately 300 steps to the top, from where I am assured, the view is wonderful! Its best to book in advance because numbers and times are limited.

But Pisa is really not just about the Tower, (actually a bell tower) it shares its site with three other beautiful buildings. Firstly there is the wonderful Duomo (cathedral) – built almost 1,000 years ago, the impressive, circular Battistero (Baptistery) which is the largest of its kind in Italy, and the Camposanto – an impressive monumental cemetery. They combine Moorish, Gothic and Roman architecture, are largely constructed of white marble and sit on a lovely green lawned area known as the Campo dei Miracoli or the Piazza dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) – truly an impressive site. There are of course the inevitable stalls selling Leaning Tower souveniers in every possible medium, but they were not intrusive, nor were they over-priced.

Away from the Field of Miracles, Pisa although a compact little city is crammed full of interesting and atmospheric churches and museums, galleries and works of art and has maintained a distinct Medieval feel. It has lots of quirky little alleyways and a lovely river.

Pisa is also a famed seat of learning with an important university and research schools. Their existence has inevitably brought another aspect to Pisa – the centre of town offers a vibrant street life, with lots of really nice cafes and bars, all of which make Pisa a city of contrasts and a pleasure to visit.

I will be delighted to tell you more about Pisa and its surrounding area. Please call me anytime on 023 80863663


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