Exploring Pisa Family Style
This trip to visit Pisa was a day trip we took from Florence, which was where our condo rental was located. Our goal for this day trip was to visit the Leaning Tower area and then to move on to the Livorno area where we wanted to spend some quality time at Calambrone Beach.
Driving to Pisa was straightforward, however the final miles were on city streets and conditions were very crowded. Parking was a major challenge, as the tourists had already taken up every available parking place for blocks surrounding the Piazza del Duomo. You will need a good source of information about where to go and you should have your mobile mapping device set - or you might wind up driving aimlessly around Pisa!
WARNING: Do yourself a favor and do some research about driving & parking in the vicinity of the Leaning Tower,
that area is now auto restricted and parking is available but most are not located nearby. Your research will also reveal that
cars are sometimes broken into, so you need to be careful where you park and what you leave in your car.
Click here to read information about parking in Pisa.
Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa or simply the Tower of Pisa (Torre di Pisa [ˈtorre di ˈpiːza]) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt. The tower is situated behind the Pisa Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in the city's Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo), after the cathedral and the Pisa Baptistry.
The construction of the tower began in 1173 and lasted for almost 200 years due to various interruptions and corrections. The tower was designed to be a freestanding bell tower for the adjacent cathedral, but its tilt began during its construction, leading to numerous attempts to correct it.
The tower is 183.27 feet on the "low side" and 185.93 feet on the "high side". There are 294 steps from the base to the top, where there is a fantastic panoramic of Pisa and its surroundings.
Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees. This means the top of the tower is displaced horizontally 3.9 metres (12 ft 10 in) from the centre.
There is a limit of 45 people on the tower at any point in time, due obviously to their desire not to stress
the "leaning" anymore than they need to. So the tickets (which are expensive) are issued for a specific
date and time. You have to amuse yourself until your time comes up.
You can purchase your tickets in advance from this site.
Pisa Cathedral is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa, Italy, the oldest of the three structures in the plaza followed by the Pisa Baptistry and the Campanile known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The cathedral is a notable example of Romanesque architecture, in particular the style known as Pisan Romanesque. Consecrated in 1118, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Pisa. Construction began in 1063 and was completed in 1092. Additional enlargements and a new facade were built in the 12th century and the roof was replaced after damage from a fire in 1595.
Piazza del Duomo Grounds
The views of the area surrounding the Pisa Cathedral and the Leaning Tower as you ascend the Tower are excellent. However, if you stand on the "down-hill side" of the Tower the feeling is a little worrisome, because you are leaning at an angle that is very noticeable!
The view of the horizon is 16.6 miles from this height of 183.3 feet, and the views of the city of Pisa are also very good.
Pisa Baptistery of St. John
A Roman Catholic ecclesiastical building in Pisa, Italy. Construction started in 1152 to replace an older baptistery, and when it was completed in 1363, it became the second building, in chronological order, in the Piazza dei Miracoli, near the Duomo di Pisa and the cathedral's free-standing campanile, the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The baptistery was designed by Diotisalvi, whose signature can be read on two pillars inside the building, with the date 1153.
The largest baptistery in Italy, it is 54.86 meters high, with a diameter of 34.13 meters. The Pisa Baptistery is an example of the transition from the Romanesque style to the Gothic style: the lower section is in the Romanesque style, with rounded arches, while the upper sections are in the Gothic style, with pointed arches. The Baptistery is constructed of marble, as is common in Italian architecture.
An Aqueduct Recreation
On the drive back to Florence from Pisa (Italian E80/A11/E76), we were surprised to see an aqueduct crossing the Autostrada! This is not a "Roman Artifact", it is the Medici Aqueduct of Asciano and construction started in 1592. This aqueduct contains 900 arches and is over six kilometes long. It was constructed to provide the city of Pisa with water from the Pisan Mountains near Lucca.
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