Friday, June 21, 2013

Bella Italia: Pisa (and a drive by of Carrara)

We just spent a short afternoon in Pisa, on our way from Venice to Cinque Terre. And if you know anything about the geography of Italy, you know Venice and Cinque Terre are on complete opposite sides of the country. But Italy is such that we could drive from one side to the other in one afternoon--so handy! So we detoured just one hour south to Pisa, where we were treated by the sights you'll see below. The weather was beautiful; the scenery was gorgeous; the subjects were willing; it was a wonderful afternoon.

We walked through the gate and voila --there it was!! I know it's just a tower that's leaning, but I can't describe my excitement at actually seeing it in person. The actual tower! Not just a picture--!! Italy just finished renovating the tower and spent 30 million over 10 years to shore it up and make sure it would safely lean for years to come.
Front to back: Field of Miracles (grassy area), Baptistery, Duomo, Leaning Tower
The Field of Miracles is said to encompass the major points of man's life: birth (Baptistery), marriage (Duomo), recognition of work well done (Tower) and death (Cemetery (not pictured). The Field got its name during the building of the Duomo because of the grandness of the undertaking. And grand it is!
Lean, glorious lean!


Obligatory pictures--lots of fun

For some reason, E didn't want to "hold it up." But Jon snapped this gem anyway.

Even M got in on the fun.
 There are tacky tourist traps all around the Field of Miracles and even leading up to the wall, which you see in the background below. But it didn't matter--everyone was having a great time and everyone was taking the obligatory pictures. It amazes me that Italy doesn't charge to enter the courtyard where the tower is. If you want to climb the tower, it's 15E and you have to order your tickets in advance. Also, no one under the age of 6 could climb the tower, so we just enjoyed the awesome scenery.

The hour's drive to Cinque Terre took us past a very exciting town (in my opinion). Jon wasn't as excited, and maybe you aren't either, but I was fascinated to see all the cut marble waiting transport to all points outside Carrara.

Who wants some marble?

Amazing--see the strip mining operation in the mountains in the background?

Closer shot of the strip mining for marble
 And just to whet your appetite for what's next, here's a shot of La Spezia, the gateway to Cinque Terre. Italian Riviera, here we come!


Nana said...

Your grandfather Gundy would have been so proud that you wanted to see the strip mining. He used to take our family for drives and we always ended up in the strip mines. Only his strip mines were coal. That's where he worked. I'm glad to see you have some of his genes even though it's marble!

Tom said...

Tom :

Stunning pictures!

Tom said...

Tom :

Stunning pictures!