Thursday, February 10, 2011

Look, Lean but Don't Linger by the Bells

So, back in Italy, here's the iconic image of Pisa's Leaning Tower which, by the way, is open again after being closed for renovation and stabilization for eleven years. It takes some doing to get this photograph as you have to wind your way around nearly every tourist taking photos of each other, arms outstretched...

"holding" the structure up:

The tower is the bell tower for the adjacent cathedral and baptistry:

The white marble tower, Torre Pendente di Pisa, was built over 177 years and was restored to a safer tilt from 1990 to 2001 by digging soil out from underneath the high side.

Beautiful accents:

I thought you might like to see the tower's lovely, worn steps. They were definitely easier to climb in some places than others, presumably the assistance of gravity as you climb toward the low side makes the difference. It's amazing to think of the many people, rich, poor, famous and not who have climbed these narrow steps, among them Galileo and Mark Twain.

A lower balcony provides a nice view, a good chance to catch your breath, and a place to let the descending visitors pass:

The cathedral and baptistry are next to the tower:

A view of Pisa from the top:

I heard an announcement being made over a loudspeaker but could not hear what was being said. It was being repeated in different languages so I thought I'd move toward the center of the tower to hear better and maybe understand a word or two. Then, just as I was standing this close to the bell, straining to hear the announcement, I figured out what the speaker must have said: "If you're smart, you'll move away from the bells because they are about to strike noon." CLANG, CLANG, CLANG....

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