Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Just a taste of Pisa...

After leaving Carrara we went to Pisa. Pisa's got a fascinating history and we didn't get to spend nearly an adequate amount of time there. We shall definitely return. I must say however that the way they drive is maddening. The Romans really have got pedestrian and vehicular interaction figured out. These Pisans are much too calm and organized and systematic. In Rome if you see a truck approaching oh maybe 20 meters away you merely step out into the street and cross. The truck will see you, hit the brakes and pass on by after you've crossed. You don't even really have to look. The Romans may come careening around corners with one hand on the wheel but you know their foot's covering the brake and you can just go, and leave the "Porca miseria how am I not going to have a collision?" question to the motorist. After all YOU'RE the one busy taking pictures, looking at shop windows, and obviously have no time to pay attention to traffic. Those of you who have visited us in Rome know what I'm talking about and don't try to hide in the corner, because I've seen the grey appear on your head after dragging you across some intersections here. But I digress. As I mentioned earlier these Pisans are much too organized. They expect you to line up at the crosswalk, press the button and wait for the light to turn green. Should you dare cross before it does so, you will get scandalized gasps from the college students behind you on their bicycles, letting you know they're scarred for life. And that's what I've got to say about Pisan traffic. I'm not saying I like complete chaos...I've been to Naples and that's absolutely whacked. Those people drive worse than Romans and don't particularly have an aversion to hitting a pedestrian. You take your life in your hands walking the streets of Naples. Rome is the perfect medium between Naples and Pisa, the cordial, mutual respect exhibited by driver and pedestrian, the understanding by the motorist that a nasty accident in the middle of the street will only make them late for work and that they're better off mashing the brake pedal and letting you go on your way.

By the time we got to Pisa the sun was already setting and it was completely down by the time we walked to the "Campo dei Miracoli" where the famous leaning tower is. Thus, these pictures were taken in the dark. This is a shot of the actual Cathedral of Pisa, and the Baptistry, two lovely edifices that often get left unmentioned because of their sister tower.

Here's the same shot with a bunch of tourists in front of it......dang tourists....

Ah. The tower. The leaning tower leans because of weak subsoil and a poor foundation. It's got a tilt of nearly 4 degrees, which means that the top of the tower is more than 12 feet from where it should be if aligned correctly.

No...can't see the whole tower just yet. Another look back at the Cathedral.

And a shot of the Cathedral from the front. Construction was begun in 1064. Unfortunately we weren't able to go in because it was closed...which necessitates another trip to Pisa.

Here it is...the leaning tower. It was amazing how tilted it was. There are 7 levels, each with a bell tuned to each note of the musical scale.

After leaving the area of the tower, we traveled down the river Arno where I got this shot of the main bridge and its reflection in the water below.

And some more tourists....

Last stop before we headed home was the outdoor Christmas market. We enjoyed browsing the stalls then traveled back to Sarteano.

1 comment:

Aggie said...

great reflective bridge shot.