Tuesday, October 1, 2013

ET 3.05 - Pisa, Italy

Actual date of this event: 14 September

What else is there in Pisa besides the Leaning Tower? Well, there is a few other things and most of it is all in the same location - in Piazza del Duomo.
The Duomo, entitled to St. Mary of Assumption, was the first building to be built in Piazza del Duomo. A fire in 1595 caused the church to be reconstructed. The cathedral, along with other buildings in Pisa, has tilted slightly since its construction.
The Battistero is located on the east end of Piazza del Duomo. It is possible to climb the dome which will give you a view of the Leaning Tower. It is the largest Baptistery in Italy.
 Campo Santo, the monumental cemetery, is located on the north end of Piazza del Duomo. It is said to be the most beautiful cemetery in the world and was built with sacred soil.
The Bell Tower is located on the west end of Piazza del Duomo. It was built to hold seven bells. In 1990, the tower was at a 5.5 degree tilt, which is the most it has ever been, but it is now at a 4 degree tilt.
Ospedale Nuovo di Santo Spirito, or New Hospital of Holy Spirit, is located on the south side of the Piazza del Duomo. It is now partly a museum as well as a hospital. (Sorry, no picture for this one.)

The best train station for Piazza del Duomo is Pisa S. Rossore rather than Pisa Centrale. Along the walk, we saw men setting up their stations with souvenirs to annoy tourists who walk along the street to the piazza. Eventually, we entered through the old city walls. The site was pretty jam packed with people, but we were in no rush.
Before leaving for Italy (which was thirteen days before we visited Pisa), I attempted to purchase tickets into all of the attractions, but it was booked up for three weeks. I thought that was crazy! But it was no big deal - we could just walk around and see everything and just relax as it was our last day in Italy since we were flying back to London that evening. We had been told by some people we chatted with in Cinque Terre that we could buy tickets on sight, but we decided against it since we had our backpacks and we didn't feel like carrying them into everything. We made a loop around everything.

We watched some folks do their funny poses in front of the Leaning Tower. Giggled as one guy tried to do some sort of flip and totally busted his butt.
Then, obviously, we had to do our own poses.

Usually Luke is an awesome photographer, but he was TERRIBLE at taking pictures of the Leaning Tower. You make the call - look at the ground to see which picture is more level.
Walking up closer to the base, I could see the tilt in the actual ground. The tower was closed to the public until the end of 2001, when it was declared stable for at least 300 years.

The sun was really burning down on us and our backpacks were beginning to drench our backs. We stopped for lunch where we had internet access for the first time since Florence! We took full advantage of that.
After a liter of beer, we went back to the piazza to people watch.

And make silly faces in front of the tower... I blame the liter of beer!
Then we found shade, and laid down for a bit in the grass with everyone else. My luggage makes a pretty good pillow.

Finally, we got up and walked toward the river. And then stopped again for a few drinks and some free wifi.

The afternoon was coming to a close, so we crossed the river and walked passed a market along the major shopping street in Pisa (Corso Italia).
Once we reached the train station, we decided that we would just walk to the airport rather than take the train since it was only a mile away. Now, I can say that I have walked to airport! How many people get to say they have done that? (How many people want to do that??? haha)
So... Pisa is very very touristy, but its expected. There isn't much to do there but see Piazza del Duomo. I was asked recently, "Would you say it is worth it?" Well, if it is on your way somewhere, yeah it is pretty cool, but no it is not something that I would say is a "must see" in your lifetime. It was exactly as I expected, except the tower was leaning more than I thought it would be. We had fun being goofy on our last day in Italy, though.

One last note: The Pisa Airport is the biggest mad house ever! If you ever fly out of Pisa and are leaving the Schengen, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, go through the passport check which is upstairs until it is time for your flight. The place was packed, and there was barely even anywhere to sit on the floor. It was crazy!

The Duomo's Bell Tower is not the only leaning tower in Pisa - two other towers lean due to marshy lands.

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Today, I have linked up with Bonnie at A Compass Rose for Travel Tuesday.

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