‘Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.’ – Francis Bacon
I was not first introduced to the leaning tower of Pisa in Superman III though I loved that scene, in which Superman straightens the leaning tower of Pisa and then leans it back in the end. In one of the many travels of my father he brought a souvenir from Pisa, a replica of the leaning tower that functioned as a lamp and I remember playing with it trying to straight it out.
We arrived in Pisa late in the afternoon to retire for the day in Grand Hotel Duomo Pisa. The building was a bit tired with simple and not exceptionally equipped rooms but with signs of past grandeur. The communal areas are elegant, but what makes it interesting is its position, it’s a stone throw away from the Piazza dei Miracoli (formally known as Piazza del Duomo), Considered in 1987 as UNESCO World Heritage Site the square is dominated by four great sacred edifices; the Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistry, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery). Outside the piazza are souvenirs shops and restaurants where we spent the evening for drinks and snacks. Pisa is more like a sleepy town, laid back and less people, the ambiance is perfect for alfresco dining.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa took 344 years to build, beginning in August 1173. When construction on the second floor had begun in 1173 it begun to lean due to one side sinking into the soft ground. The construction of the tower has seen 2 wars and the building ceased. In 2008 engineers stated that the Tower had stopped moving and will be stable for at least 200 years more. This is the first time in its history that it has not been slowly leaning further to one side.
In the morning we are given ample time to go to Piazza Dei Miracoli – the “field of miracles” to take picture and be captivated of these four masterpieces of medieval architecture that had a great influence on monumental art in Italy . The facade of grey and marble white stone on partly paved and partly grassed square was such a sight to see. The feeling I had while standing in front of the leaning tower, beholding its’ distinctive tilt is the same feeling I had observing the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower such world landmarks can give you goosebumps! And of course, I had to buy my own souvenir lamp.