Before I actually saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I had imagined it to be standing all alone. (Never mind the pictures I must have seen before, with all the buildings surrounding. Our memory and imagination are more powerful than the bare facts;-)) When you approach the area with the Tower, you encounter a wall surrounding what is called Piazza dei Miracoli. And it is by no mistake that Piazza dei Miracoli bears this very name. It really is full of miracles. In fact it looks like one huge miracle. It truly is an awesome sight. The ivory, as it seems, buildings look beautiful on green grass.
It is not so easy to climb Torre Pendente di Pisa (it’s the name of the Tower in Italian). Apparently, there is some limit of climbers per hour. Alas, we didn’t have enough time there to wait. Maybe another time?
The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa’s construction began in 1173 and finished in 1350. Quite a long period, isn’t it? All that because of numerous wars (and I’ve heard one was with Venice!). The original architect of the Tower was Bonanno Pisano. There were many Pisanos but you must understand that it simply means “of Pisa” ;-))
And it was already in 1178 that the lean began to show. It’s interesting that the tower was supposed to be Campanile, which means the bell tower. Well, quite impossible to serve this task, being so sloped as the Tower is, I guess.
The funny thing about the Tower is that is looks leaning only at a certain angle. There are quite a few places from where it seems perfectly straight. Nevertheless, the Tower was endangered by falling down unless some steps were undertaken. So they were. Look at this strange machine.
This cantilever was used to keep the Tower in position. If you want to have a look at it yourself, look for the toilets. It’s nearby;-))
Apart from the Leaning Tower, there are three more miracles on the square. The first is the medieval Duomo (the Cathedral). It is magnificent both outside and inside. When you enter it, you can find the so-called Galileo’s lamp (which, in fact, is not the original one). It’s said that when he looked at it, the theory of the movement of the pendulum came to his mind.
Another interesting thing is the marble pulpit sculpted by Giovanni Pisano (you see? another artist “of Pisa”).
But the whole Cathedral is worth experiencing, breathing in the atmosphere and gasping… Especially while looking at the coffer ceiling and all the architectural nuances.
The remaining two miracles are the Baptistery (where you can admire another pulpit by… yes, another Pisano, this time Giovanni’s father, Nicola;-))
and the Camposanto. The latter served as a cemetery. You can see the wall surrounding it in the next picture.
I think most people go to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. I don’t know about them but I know what happened to me. I was astonished to find three more miracles which were maybe not as spectacular, but not less breathtaking as the famous Tower. It’s a good idea to try to encompass the four miracles and to appreciate all of them.
P.S. Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) is often mistaken for Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) which comes from Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio. Well, we certainly did not mistake this pomegranate tree we passed on our way in Pisa for the one with sequins;-))
- bell tower
- Bonanno Pisano
- Campo dei Miracoli
- Giovanni Pisano
- Leaning Tower
- Nicola Pisano
- Piazza dei Miracoli