Yesterday was a huge day! I had assumed that they would pick us up in a tour bus and we would drive to the Tower, in Pisa, stop, get out and take photos and then zoom back to Florence.
There were eleven tourists squished into the tiniest tour bus with a very good guide who pointed out things of interest on the one & quarter hour trip. She was quite busy translating into English for the majority of us and then Spanish for three people. (She also spoke German and of course Italian – coming across people who speak more than 2 languages is always a little humbling I think). As we were pulling into Pisa she mentioned that we had a 10 minute walk from the carpark. Oh-oh!
My son & I muddled along at the back of the group – under pressure I think I walked a bit quicker than I have been.
The area of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is known as the Field of Miracles (Campo dei Miracoli) – there are actually four buildings – an incredibly impressive cathedral, the Leaning Tower (which is actually the bell tower to the cathedral), the Baptistery and the Camposanto Cemetery.
The Tower was much smaller than I had imagined but then I had not realised that it was just a bell tower! Legend has it that Galileo (Pisa born) threw objects off the Tower and timed their fall.
The Cathedral was amazing – commenced in 1063 – the nave is 320 feet and the ceiling is gilded. The pulpit is 15 feet tall.
The Baptistery is the biggest in Italy and has great acoustics – we were given an example of this with a soprano singing.
The Camposanto Cemetery is famous for its "Holy Land" dirt which supposedly reduces a body to skeleton in a day.
The writer of Pinocchio was born near Pisa and there were heaps of little Pinocchio tourist items – yes I bought a couple LOL – they were the first "things" I bought in Italy.
I was so tired when we got back to Florence that I could hardly drag myself out for dinner. I love that so many places here have marquees heated with gas heaters so that you can still enjoy the outdoor dining experience: