I think everyone must have heard of the leaning tower of Pisa. We had both learned about it when we were in school and obviously admired several pictures of it so we were both excited to be finally going to see this iconic tower in the flesh.
We had a look at the sosta’s (Aires) in the area and most of them had negative reviews about the motorhome being broken into. So we didn’t fancy staying in Pisa, instead we found a great sosta in Lucca. We got the train from Lucca to Pisa in less than 30 minutes.
Although its called the leaning tower of Pisa it was never used for defending the city; it is part of the religious complex in the Duomo square and acts as its bell tower. It houses 7 bells; one for each musical note and it has played an active role in both human and divine timekeeping. The tower is known worldwide for its architectural beauty and its extraordinary tilt. Once you have stood staring at this masterpiece for a while you can understand why it is classed as one of the 7 Wonders of the World and joined the UNSECO World Heritage collection in 1987.
Neither of us had actually appreciated how big the tower was, it stands at 58.36 metres high and has an external diameter of 15 metres.
The tower stands right behind the cathedral which was founded in 1064 but the building was not finally completed until the last quarter of 12th century.
The cathedral is another magnificent building, externally it is decorated in alternating black and white stripes with an Arab influence and a massive use of reused materials from Roman monuments that emphasised the greatness of Pisa.
Internally the cathedral is beautiful, the decorations are rich and sumptuous. The interior dome and the walls of the cathedral have just undergone a restoration programme that started in Sept 2015 and only finished in May 2018. This meant that the Cathedral returned to its maximum splendour in time for the 900th anniversary of the Consecration which was in Sept 2018.
The other building that stands next to the cathedral is the Baptistry of San Giovanni which was founded in 1152. This fascinating building was constructed to endow the cathedral with a worthy adjunct that would be in harmony with the majestic buildings that already stood opposite.
With the days getting shorter it meant that we could go and grab ourselves a drink and then we could have a look at the architecture with a night time perspective. The buildings look equally as impressive and it meant that most of the tourists had gone and we almost had ‘The Miracle of Squares’ to ourselves.
We walked the long way back to the train station so that we could have a look around the rest of Pisa. We walked passed the University of Pisa and several other historic churches until we came to the River Arno and finally arrived back at the train station.
We had a lovely day in Pisa and although we spent the vast majority of our day at ‘The Square of Miracles’ there’s certainly more to see in Pisa if you venture a little further.