Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pisa & Lucca

Today was another long day packed full of wonderful things.  We all left early this morning for Pisa and Lucca.  We started the day with a guided tour of Pisa.  This is a photo of the Field of Miracles.  To Pisans, it represents the circle of life.  The round building in the center is the Baptistry where all Pisan babies are baptized.  The building immediately behind it is the Cathedral with its leaning bell tower.  Most parishioners would be married here.  To the right, and not in the picture, is a museum that once served as the town's only hospital.  And to the left, the long white building, is the Mausoleum or cemetery.  So, you see, from birth to death all represented in the town's square.

But everyone comes to see the leaning tower!!  We learned today that there were 3 architects involved in the project.  The first one finished only the first 3 tiers.  Then the project ran out of money.  Since the tower was obviously all ready leaning, he skipped town and went to Sicily where he never attempted another tower in his lifetime!  The second architect finished all but the top tier. But then war broke out between the Pisans and the Genoans and he was killed along with many Pisans.  Seventy-five years later, a third architect placed the top tier on the tower.  It is the only part of the tower which is straight.  But the tower isn't alone.  EVERY building on the square except for the Mausoleum LEANS!  As Louisianans we can appreciate the concept of "soft soil."  Most of the structures are made predominantly, if not entirely, of marble, and the soft soil simply can't support the weight. 
After a fun and interesting morning in Pisa, we re-boarded the bus and headed to Lucca.  Lucca is a small walled city between Pisa and Florence.  It was delightful!  And much less crowded.  It was nice to be out of the tourist bustle for a little while.
As you can tell, it was another fun, but LONG day.  Tonight everyone is resting up for our weekend at Cinque Terre.  I'll be offline for a few days, but will post pictures when I get back on Sunday.  

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