Why the the Leaning Tower of Pisa does not fall over is a mystery to a casual tourist such as I. Visiting Italy several years ago we were surprised to arrive in Pisa and see a large police and military presence around the Leaning Tower.
Perhaps we were about to be eye witnesses to the ultimate crash of the monument? Either a fabulous photo opportunity or a chance to assess Italy’s emergency response system.
As it turned out the Leaning Tower of Pisa was not plunging to it’s historic finale. Just another national holiday in Italy which there seemed to be an inordinate amount during our three week stay.
A military parade began with marching band participants sporting black feathered helmets. I admit to glancing about Pisa for cold, naked birds. After a short march the band turned abruptly 180 degrees and ran down the street across from Pisa’s Leaning Tower in full sprint, madly playing their instruments with feathers flying behind them.
They ran as if the Leaning Tower were falling right at their heels. Baffled at what it all meant we carried on to important matters such as propping up the sad structure.
We spent several hours in Pisa taking photos of each other attempting to push up or push down the Leaning Tower. That evening likely 10,000 or so other tourists were looking at their own photo of the same heroic attempts.
Construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa began in 1173. Taking 199 years to build, the tower had already began to sink by the time construction reached the second floor. One would have to think that might have been a sign there were going to be problems but then what do I know about construction?
For the following century the Republic of Pisa became rather tied up in battles with Florence, Genoa and Lucca. The good news during all the warring was that the ground had time to settle providing a more solid base.
When the engineers got back to work, the upper floors were constructed with one side taller than the other. A century to ponder the problem created some ingenious solutions. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually curved as a result.
How to Get to Pisa’s Leaning Tower
From the Centrale train station in Pisa the tower is approximately 1.5kms. Walk away from the station towards the big Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Turn left here into Via Nino Bixio, and then right into Via Francesco Crispi. Follow this road to the river, go over the Arno river on the Solferino bridge, and then go straight down Via Roma which brings you directly to Pisa’s Leaning Tower
If you prefer to go by bus, buy tickets in the news kiosk in the train station. The bus stop is directly across from the train station in front of Jolly Hotel. The bus you need is a LAM Rossa (rossa = red) bus. The Pisa LAM buses are usually orange in color so look for a red LAM sign on the bus. Confusing I know and influenced our decision to walk. Get off at the Torre bus stop.
Would you like to make the attempt to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa? If you already have feel free to share your photo or post in the comments below. Any thoughts on what the feathered hats and the sprint retreat of the marching band meant?