After spending 2 days in Rome, we took a train to Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. After arriving at the Pisa Centrale train station, it was just an half hour walk to the Leaning Tower.
We took a quick detour to view the mural of Keith Haring: Tuttomondo – the theme is that of peace & harmony in the world.
My first impression was is this for real? Is it really leaning?!? Yep, it sure was! The ‘lean” is about 15 feet and became apparent during construction : the culprit was soft land on one side that was insufficient to hold the tower’s weight!
After an airport-style security check, I was climbing the tower. The first thing that became apparent is that the entire tower is crooked…including the stairs! They are made from marble, rather slippery, and ‘grooved’ from the many people who have climbed over the years. It was quite disorienting to climb and I often caught myself laughing a couple of time because it was such an unusual sensation.
There are 294 steps on the north side and 296 steps on the south side. I was a little concerned about the fact that there was no solid wall or barricade, only a (presumably strong) wire fence, and YES, I was rather scared the whole time I was up there! From the top you simply have breathtaking views of the Piazza dei Miracoli as well as The Baptistry and the Duomo!
After a few more circuits around the observation level, I was craving level ground and descended quickly! It’s incredible how disorienting even a slight tilt can be. I’m so glad that I climbed the tower and experience an iconic structure in such a direct way…but I’m also emerged with a newfound respect for engineering and proper planning!
But we couldn’t leave the Leaning Tower of Pisa without doing the ‘perpective photo shoot’ – you know the ones…where it looks like you’re kicking down the leaning or tower, or saving it from topping over, or just holding it up!