I have been to Pisa twice.
The first time was in 1999 during my very first trip to Europe. I stopped there on my way to Lucca after leaving Vernazza (Cinque Terre). When arriving at the train station, I locked my bags up in a storage locker, took the bus to the Piazza dei Miracoli, and saw la Torre pendente di Pisa (the Leaning Tower of Pisa) for the very first time. Although I was thrilled to see this amazing tower in person, I was also quite shocked by the *Disneyland atmosphere* of the area. The place was packed with tourists and silly little stands selling trinkets. I knew in advance that the tower was closed for climbing but I still had to at least see it in person. I did not spend much time in Pisa during that visit although I did take a quick peek inside the Cathedral and the Baptistery.
The following year, I returned to Pisa on a daytrip from Vernazza. During this visit, I spent more time inside the Cathedral, I heard the the custodian on duty demonstrate the echo effects inside the Baptistery, and I visited one of the museums (I believe it was the Opera Museum). I had a wonderful time that day. I still however did not veer outside of the Piazza dei Miracoli except to take the bus back to the train station. Again the tower was unfortunately not open for climbing.
This summer I am very excited about returning to Pisa for a daytrip while staying in Lucca AND I am going to finally climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the most famous tower in all of Italy!!
If I have counted correctly, I have climbed 23 towers in Italy. This is not counting the towers that are only accessible by elevator, the towers which in my book do not really count as towers to climb like the tower I visited last year in Genova. I have also climbed the church domes of the Duomo in Florence and St. Peter's Basilica. Someday, I will do a post about all of the towers I have climbed.
I need to make a reservation to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I am thinking of doing a 7pm climb. A climb at dusk was recommended to me by a few fellow Slow Travelers on the Slow Travel Board. I am hoping 7 pm will be a good time. That way, I can get back to Lucca for dinner and I won't have to worry about missing the last train back to Lucca that evening.
Not only am I extremely excited about climbing this very famous tower but I am also excited to finally explore more of Pisa. Gloria (fellow Slow Traveler) has written wonderful information about what to do in Pisa on her Behind the Tower blog. She has also written this great article: Pisa, More than the Leaning Tower! for Slow Travel. The best part is that I am also planning to meet Gloria the afternoon of my visit to Pisa for a gelato and a walk around Pisa. That is like the icing in the cake!!! I have so enjoyed all of Gloria's posts over the years on Slow Travel and am very excited to finally meet her in person.
This is a photo I took back in 1999 during my very first visit to Pisa (with a film camera). I must have tipped my camera to one side while taking this photo in order to make the tower level (like a good photographer should). I had no idea I did this until I returned home and had my photos developed! This is the scanned version of my photo, which I then adjusted to make the tower lean again using Photoshop Elements.
Happy Weekend everyone!!!