Jeff's Blog - Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Pisa

Pisa was fun. It's a big city with a very small central square where all the sights are located. The Leaning Tower is so weird to stand inside of, even at the ground floor. That 5-degree lean is easily enough to set you just a little bit off balance. I think it was 250 steps spiraling around the inside of the outer wall to climb up to the top. The stone stairs were very worn; many had deep bowls carved into them by about 8 or 900 years of feet shuffling up and down them. No handrails; no way this would be open to the public in the USA. The view from the top was nice. Even though this is the bell tower for Pisa Cathedral, the big bells at the top didn't ring; I guess they have _some_ safety rules. The Cathedral was interesting; pretty cavernous, decorated with the alternating white and brown stones Pisa is famous for, with mosaics, sculptures, friezes, some stained glass, and, of course, a replica of the lantern which Galileo saw swinging back and forth like a pendulum, where he noticed that it didn't matter how far the pendulum swung, it always took the same time to swing from one end to the other. Later, he (probably didn't) drop two different sized objects off the Leaning Tower to prove that light objects and heavy objects fall at the same rate. The Bapistry of the church was large and cavernous. It was designed to have special acoustics and an employee comes out every half hour to demonstrate by singing. The echo is so long-lasting, that she can sing in harmony with herself and you hear the complete chords. I was really counting on seeing a few things in the cathedral museum, especially a statue of Caesar carved only 20 years after his death, therefore likely accurate, but... Drumroll... Closed for renovation until 2016. A couple other sites were just time-fillers before I caught my bus back to the train station, and my train for Siena, which I'm riding right now.

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