Truth be told, if it weren’t for the Leaning Tower, Pisa would barely be on the map.
But Pisa is actually situated on a pretty little coastal spot, and it has a sedate respectability of glory days gone by that reminded me of Salisbury.
Ah, that’s uncanny. I had made this mental comparison based on fleeting impressions while touring the city by bus. But now that I’m doing a quick historical comparison, it turns out that Pisa was at its peak in the 1200s, and Salisbury’s Cathedral dates back to a similar time, 1258. Coincidence? Perhaps, perhaps.
These buildings date back to the late 1100s; the first stones of the Tower of Pisa were laid in 1173, though due to obvious engineering problems it wasn’t completed for another 200 years. I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the Romanesque architecture was, and how impressive the entirety of the scene is — the Baptistery in the foreground, the Duomo behind, and the Leaning Tower peeking out from its slanted perch.
A and I did the stereotypical breeze-by experience: we stopped by Pisa for about two hours. We took a bus from Pisa Centrale to Campo dei Milagro (the Field of Miracles) which encompasses these three main buildings.
Yes, we even did the stereotypical prop-up-the-tower pose. I’ll spare you mine; I honestly felt pretty cheesy doing it, especially knowing that this is what you really look like once you remove the frame.
Then we just sat here a while, soaking it all in, until we had to catch the train to our next stop: the breathtakingly beautiful Cinque Terre.