One of our first stops in Italy was to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I hope my picture of it gives you a good laugh, like it does me. I’m not sure why the picture turned out like this, but you can tell from the people at the bottom of the picture, I wasn’t holding the camera level.
It’s very possible I was trying to take a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa showing it standing straight up. That sounds exactly like something I would do. I just didn’t do it quite right.
Construction on the Leaning Tower of Pisa began in 1173 and was completed in the mid 1300’s. It is a freestanding bell tower, part of Pisa’s cathedral complex of four buildings.
When I visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa in 1979, it was leaning at a 10 degree angle. However, beginning in 1990, the Tower underwent a stabilization procedure. According to towerofpisa.org, the tower now leans at a 3. 99 degree angle. To give you an idea, that is more than 5 meters off perpendicular.
Did you know that tower actually began leaning during construction? This was noticed by workers as they built the second floor. So, the upper floors were built with one side shorter than the other side to offset this leaning. As a result of this “correction”, the building is said to be curved as well as leaning. You can read more about the stabilization process here.
The views from the top of the tower are beautiful, and we were lucky enough to be there on a sunny, clear day. But I have to say when I saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it was smaller than I thought it would be.
If you want to visit, just know there are 251 steps to get to the top. And from what I can tell from researching online, it now costs about $20 to go to the top of the tower. Experts say the tower will not fall over for about 200 years, so you’ll have to get there before then.
Our next stop was Florence. There we saw the statue of David, carved by Michelangelo. Before my trip, I read a number of the books recommended by the tour company, including “The Agony and The Ecstasy.” Reading this book was when I first learned Michelangelo and other artists dissected cadavers to improve their knowledge of the human body. I couldn’t help but recall this fact as I gazed at Michelangelo’s masterpiece in Florence.
I was also surprised how tall the statue of David stood. Not counting the base, it is seventeen feet tall. It is amazing to think this intricate statue was once a very large block of marble.
I don’t remember too much of what else we did in Florence. We went around the town, seeing different sights. But I do remember our group laughing as we saw every kind of retail establishment possible named after the iconic Michelangelo. Michelangelo’s Duds and Suds. Michelangelo’s Five and Dime. Michelangelo’s Quick-Mart. Michelangelo’s Diner. Michelangelo’s Coffee and Donuts. Michelangelo’s Dry Cleaning. There was more to his legacy than I realized!
We also saw Michelangelo’s final resting place. Here was a legacy much more befitting for the great artist. His impressive tomb is inside the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence.
Next up: Roaming around in Rome