Tuesday, January 30, 2007

La Torre Pendente

Said Big Ben to the Leaning Tower of Pisa: "If you have the inclination, I have the time..."

I thought I'd take a breather from my recent political commentaries and return to memories of travel. Whoever said that there was nothing to see in Pisa aside from the tower simply did not know what they were talking about. And even if there was nothing but the famous tower, it really is quite an astonishing accomplishment and worth a peek.

A little history on the tower: The tower of Pisa is the bell tower for the cathedral seen in the photo below. Construction commenced in 1173 and continued (with two very long interruptions) for about two hundred years. From what I can tell, we are still uncertain as to who the architect of this project was, although there have been various speculations.

What seems to be most unusual about the tower, aside from the lean, is that normally bell towers are built along the facade or along one side of the church. Here, however, the tower is a total disconnect to the other buildings in the vicinity.

Back to the lean: The inclination of the tower is what has most fascinated visitors over the centuries partially due in fact that the reasons behind the inclination are still very much a mystery. At one time it was thought that perhaps the lean was consciously desired by the architect. However, it doesn't take long in walking around Pisa to suspect that this is most likely not the case. Just about everything seems to be leaning somewhat in one direction or another.

I absolutely love the picture above as I feel as if the tower is just taking a little peek around the corner. I haven't yet mentioned the workmanship of these buildings. They are made of marble and limestone. Even the sidewalk around the grounds is made of marble. It really is quite stunning.
This picture seems so typical of many side streets in Pisa. The streets are narrow and it really is much more convenient and probably quicker to take your bike. I found the walk along the river stunningly beautiful. Who wouldn't be inspired?


The Fool said...

Ah, a bit of eye-candy as I wake up this morning...yes, a nice interjection. ;)

Nice framing/angles on the photos. The black and white makes it.

And no cheezy insert as a tourist pushing over the Tower...

Oh, to bicycle Europe...


Carla said...

Fool, there was no lack of tourists pretending to hold up the tower or push it down. I have to wonder how well those photos actually turn out.

Toby said...

I tried very hard to find the link I looked at just yesterday, it was a montage of pics of people trying to take pics of pushing over the tower. As you can imagine the angles were all wrong and it made everyone look very silly. I couldn't find it. I'll keep looking. I'll be back.

Toby said...

Not the exact link I was looking for, but here is a good example. LOL

Carla said...

Thanks Toby, that was great! That's exactly what it looked like, although perhaps not quite as many tourists in December.