The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the Campanile of the Cathedral of Pisa and stands (or leans!) on the square which also contains the Cathedral and the Baptistery. The Tower is world-famous for it’s slant, and it is true that it makes you gasp in unbelief when you first catch sight of it. The Tower’s “lean” is due to the soft ground that it has been built on and it also affects the Cathedral building and the Baptistery, although to a lesser degree. The “lean” of the Tower is around 3.9 metres at the top, this is about 3.9 degrees now although before restoration work it was around 5.5 degrees. The height of the Tower is 55.86m on it’s low side and 56,70m on the high side. The walls at the base are 4.09m thick and 2.48m at the top. It’s weight is estimated to be 14,500 metric tonnes, and it has 296 steps. The three buildings sit around the Piazza Duomo in the centre of Pisa and are all built of white marble. The centre of the Piazza is grassed and the walkways are filled with tourists eager to have their photo taken “supporting” the Tower with their arms.
Along the far side there are shops and restaurants and also a large museum and ticket office. Work has been carried out over the last few years to secure the building and make it safe, huge chains have been attached to the building under ground and it has been pulled up by about 15 inches.The first 5 storeys were built from 1174 and then, for reasons unknown it was left for a hundred years before adding another two storeys in 1273, it then stood unfinished for a while longer before the Belltower was finally added and the tower was completed. Inside the circular building that is the Baptistery, an altar stands in the centre and a stone set of stairs can be climbed up to the gallery which gives a good view of the building from up high and there is also a photo opportunity of the Cathedral complete with Tower behind, from one of the windows. a short walk to the Cathedral the main body of which dates back to the 11th century, it was enlarged in the 12th century (you can see the difference in the brickwork outside). Inside the Cathedral you can admire the wonderfully ornate wooden ceiling and the magnificent altar with its mosaics in the dome is outstandingly beautiful.
This is a region where “La Dolce Vita” springs to mind as you look around at the wonderful landscape of olive groves, rolling hillsides blanketed in grape vines, lazy sheep idylly lolling about and smell the fragrant herbs that feature in many of the regions fantastic dishes. Tuscan cuisine is simple and uses products dictated by the seasons
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