Sunday, 21 February 2010


The morning after reaching Florence (straight from the snow), we went to Pisa to see the tower we had always heard about. We really should have allowed a full day just to go to Pisa but we underestimated how long it would take to get to La Thuille to Florence.

We went by train from Florence to Pisa, a short 1 hour trip with trains leaving every 30 minutes.

Ipods and DS's work wonders on the trains, I explored the My Chemical Romance cd "The Black Parade" on that trip (I still see the images going past when I listen to the songs). Once in Pisa, it's a 30 minute walk from the station to the tower - yes there are buses but we wanted to see what the town was like.

You have to have a few photo's of behaving a bit stupidly in front of this building. It is a spectacular tower.
I always thought it was just on a bit of a tilt - but this shows just how much it is on a lean. You have to be at least 8 to climb the tower, we figured this must be for a good reason (ie fall through something), so we skipped the climb. There was an excellent system in place for climbing tickets - you go to the ticket office and they give you the 15 minute time slot that the queue is up to (ie, we could buy a ticket for 2 hours time, but could wander around and not line up for 2 hours).

The obligatory photo - sorry. The tower was built as a bell tower for the Duomo and started in 1173. It was lopsided by 3rd story - where they tried to compensate and build up the other side. But the extra weight made it worse and they thought it might fall over, so they reduced the weight in early 2000 so that it was stable.

The battistero behind the duomo was also a stunning building - the whole thing exceptionally gothic. J and I really appreciate anything made of stone, given our background we have an appreciation of the effort that has gone into the construction of a structure this huge (I know, I need to see the pyramids.

This is behind the duomo -look at the angle on that tower.....

The front of the duomo.

A wider shot (I have no idea why this has been taken from the ground - ask one of the kids).

The amazing door on the back of the duomo - it's a romanesque panel that depicts scenes from the life of Christ and is from the 14th century.

How breathtaking is the detail on this wall?

Another door - another amazingly carved surface.

Just one of many mosaic's. We didn't take the kids inside - there were many other churches they were going to be dragged into - why over do it?

Isn't that amazing?
The walk back was down charming little streets like above. Not tough and almost deserted (guess everyone goes by bus from station to main sights).

The Arno river, just north of the central train station. Looks a bit dreary on a rainy winters day, but rustic to say the least. Stunning buildings on either side (that you can't see). Will go back when this one is a bit older.

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