The Tower Of Pisa, It Leans And Much More

If Two Sleds With Different Weights Are Released From The Leaning ...
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It is an obligation to stand in front of the Tower of Pisa, just so it looks like you are holding up the tower! I have done this myself and have the picture to prove it! This ornate bell tower is famous because of a significant flaw in engineering and I hate to think if this never happened we might have missed this great photo opportunity so enjoyed by so many!

Let's look back for a moment, all the way back to 1173 when construction began. The tilt became worse as work on the building continued over two centuries - all to blame is the marshy soil of coastal Tuscany. In 2001 a $27 million restoration removed soil from beneath one side and shifted the top of the tower closer to vertical by 16 inches. What can I tell you about Pisa?- Read on...

An easy day trip from Florence, Pisa is only about a 1 hour train ride. After leaving the main exit of the Pisa (Centrale) station, you can stop at the tourist office on the left for a free town map (I habitually stop at ALL the tourist offices in EVERY town for the free info & maps). The tower is about a half-hour walk north, but you can take the bus as I did (three buses serve the Pisa Tower, A, #3 & #4) and stand with the locals. It is very entertaining and very inexpensive. You will be dropped off in front of the Field of Miracles, a piazza that is home to the tower, as well as to the Duomo and the Baptistry (both which also tilt by the way, but much less obviously). A taxi from the station is another option.

You can visit inside the tower, purchasing tickets that give you a pre-set 30 min. visit. Only 30 people can enter at one time. In the summer especially, reserve the tickets ahead at opapisa.it (your travel agent can do this for you as well). Even though it costs you a few extra dollars, it saves you time and assures you a chance to climb the steps. The pickup area is right next door to the tower at the Opera Museum.

You can easily kill time while waiting for you time slot at the multiple fun souvenir stands selling mugs and my favorite-tower snow globes! Of course, you need to take a picture as I did. You can also grab a pic-nic lunch and eat on the Duomo steps or on the grass (we had a lovely time people watching and enjoying a fun meal).

Once inside the tower, you will ascend the off-kilter circular staircase that can make you feel sea-sick (bobbing side to side). You will be climbing 294 steps and guards make sure you climb them fast and are strict about enforcing the 30 min time cycle. You will have about 20 minutes at the top of the tower to stop panting and enjoy the view, before they usher you back down.

If it is too early to eat before the tower climb, head over for an excellent lunch beyond the tower to Osteria die Cavalieri - a Slow Food approved restaurant for some great pasta! Feel like a light sandwich?-head over to the shoebox-size store called Divincibo, on the Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Now, aren't you glad you picked up that map????

FYI: Children 8 and up pay full admission price to climb the tower AND kid's under 8 are not allowed inside the tower.

Linda Schooley is a destination specialist and travel designer who offers independent travel itineraries. Clients who wish to experience European travel at their own speed and in their own way can do so using the daily itinerary plans that match clients interests and provide expert tips, as well as favorites places in each destination. You can check out the website at http://www.letsgotravel.cc and sign up for a free newsletter or join the blog!

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