Pisa – More than a cliche

By Carol / June 6, 2011 /

“Be sure you get a cheesy photo with the leaning tower,” my friend told me when she heard we were headed to Pisa. I was all over it.  In my mind, Pisa is a cliché because of the Leaning Tower and I was ready to play along.

When we arrived at the Piazza di Miracoli, it was the very first thing we did. We posed for the cheesy photos of us – and thousands of our closest friends – either pretending to hold the tower up or attempting to kick it down. It was actually quite funny. It appeared that everyone who came to the tower had the same idea. Take a silly picture.

But there’s much more to see than the Leaning Tower, and even though we’re mildly ‘churched out,’ we’re glad we bought the tickets and toured the Duomo, the Baptistry, and the Camposanto (cemetery).

The Tower is actually the campanile for the church, something neither of us realized. Efforts to keep it from tipping over are an architectural marvel. We learned this in a museum video. The Baptistry is an acoustic masterpiece, a point demonstrated by one of the staff who went to the center of the building and sang clear notes that resonated through this huge building, echoing back in harmonizing tones. In our opinion, the art work in the Duomo and the Camposanto put the famed Ufizzi Museum in Florence to shame.


The Camposanto is an indoor cemetery. It was amazing to walk on graves from the 1300’s. This building was fire bombed in during WWII and restoration continues on the murals that once covered the walls. We were drawn to a statue of Fibonacci – of Fibonacci Numbers fame. We noticed all his fingers were missing. Then we noticed that his cloak had small marble patches throughout. No doubt a victim of the bombing, the restoration allowed us to see the beauty of the statue and reflect on the effort to preserve and remember the man and the art.

Based on the fact that we never had to wait in line or fight our way to the front to see any of this led us to believe the vast majority of visitors to the tower never make it beyond the cliché. They don’t know what they’re missing.


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