Pisa ItalyThis trip is around 300 km each way. Pisa is well known for its unique leaning tower which seems to defy gravity and several earth tremors over the last 840 years. The Tower is a definite photo opportunity as it would be an attractive building even if it were vertical. Apparently the bell tower began to lean shortly after it was built in 1173, due to a poorly laid foundation on loose subsoil. The 55m (183-feet) high tower has a base diameter of 4m (13-feet) and has 294 steps on the inside. It is now leaning 3.9m (over 12 feet) from where it should be if it was perfectly upright. Extensive remedial work has been done, particularly since 1970, to ensure the Tower remains stable for the foreseeable future.
Although the leaning tower is Pisas number one attraction, there are plenty more wonderful sights to see. The Campo dei Miracoli is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world, with beautiful Romanesque architecture and rows of green and white stonework.
Every Italian city of note has a Duomo, and the Cathedral of Pisa is quite magnificent. Built in the 11th and 12th centuries, it has a Dome which is almost Islamic in style. Horizontal rows of black and white marble are used to great effect in the decoration. The pulpit is the work of Giovanni Pisanno and there is an Italian Gothic sculpture dating back to the 14th century. The leaning tower was built as the bell tower for the Duomo, as was the ornate Baptistery.
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Elegant spires, decorative coloured marble and rich sculptures were used to decorate the Santa Maria della Spina. The church is named after the thorn from the crown of Jesus Christ which was once preserved here. It is now on display at the Church of Saint Chiara. The Church of San Paolo a Ripa dArno is also worthy of a visit. Recently restored, it is known for its splendid 9th century Romanesque architecture, huge naves and medieval artwork.
Art lovers will enjoy the Palazzo Reale National Museum which houses many priceless works of art from the Medici, Lorena and Savoia courts. Official court portraits are on display, along with the work of many Italian and Flemish painters.
As an ancient port, excavations have unearthed many relics which are on display in the Pisa Museum of Ancient Ships.
This article was written by a freelance writer exclusively for DesenzanoItaly.com.
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