Having walked all the walks we could from San Gimignano, we moved our Plan B ‘base camp’ to Lucca. It just so happened that Pisa was along the way and heck, while we were passing through, it only made sense to see if the tower was still leaning. I’m happy to report, it is!
We were concerned that we’d have to carry our backpacks around with us on our self-guided city walking tour, but there was a convenient left-luggage office right in the train station and once free of our 20+ pound packs, we were free agents to wander at will.
We headed directly to the tower, just in case it was tired of leaning and decided to straighten up and we’d miss the whole thing. It was easy to find … lots of signs, Maps.me and the crowds were all heading in that direction.
According to Wiki and the brochures I reviewed, the Torre pendente di Pisa was built over a period of 200 years (1173-mid-1300s) and is actually the campanile or freestanding bell tower, of the Duomo of Pisa (cathedral) ‘known worldwide for its nearly four-degree lean, the result of an unstable foundation. The tower is situated behind the cathedral and is the third oldest structure in the city's Cathedral Square, after the cathedral and the Pisa Baptistry..’ Here’s a few more historical facts about the tower.
It’s pretty darned impressive when you’re standing in front of it and looking up. Hundreds of tourists were ooohing and aaaahing right along with us, trying to take selfies or talk a complete stranger into taking their picture (worked for us). Lots of folks were attempting to position themselves with an angled photo that looked as if they were holding up the tower. We tried, lost patience with the crowds and moved on.
The Piazza del Duomo is very spacious and all the streets leading off it are lined with shops and boutiques and restaurants and bistros. Hawkers were everywhere, selling souvenirs, selfie-sticks, enticing folks to eat here or there, offering carriage rides.
All too soon, it was time to recoup our luggage and catch a train to Lucca, our new base camp about a half hour away. We took our time strolling back to the station to view the River Arno and a beautiful little church, Santa Maria della Spina.
We couldn’t bear to leave, however, without a stop for gelato. Italian ice cream is soooo good. One of the benefits of walking every day is being able to eat ice cream pretty much whenever we want. Yum!
Join us next time for a close-up look at our new ‘base camp city’, Lucca, a charming, medieval walled city.