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Selfie snappers can't distract from Leaning Tower of Pisa

THOUSANDS of people visit Pisa every day in summer for nearly the exact same reason: to stand before the Leaning Tower (Torre Pendente) and hold their hands up as if supporting it, while their mates take a photo. 

It is all but impossible to get a clear photo of the tower because of the thousands of people milling about it with their hands held up. But I tried and succeeded. Slightly.

Despite the crush of the crowds, this globally recognised Italian icon in Pisa is worth seeing - and a snap or two. Standing at 56 metres, it is the bell tower of the Duomo, one of three buildings that make up the Piazza dei Miracoli, formally known as Piazza del Duomo.

It has one heck of a lean and looks set to tilt right over. 

Building of it began in 1173 - a very long time ago - and immediately the tower began leaning, something to do with the soil and weak foundations. I believe the original architect ran away in fright at his failure.

It was not until a hundred or more years later that masons and artists tried to strengthen the foundations - but that didn't work either! And then a war intervened, preventing further construction, and on and on the problems went for another 100 years.

But thankfully, a major stabilisation undertaking in the 90s means the tower will remain at its magnificent lean and lean no further for at least another 300 years.

If only the original architect and town locals, who had the vision to build a grand tower, could see it today! There would be much spinning in graves over the major global attraction their building-failure has become.

We first saw the tower in the 70s, when we couldn't get very close to it for safety reasons.

We have faded photos of us standing far away on a lawned area. Now you can get very close, right up to it in fact, and gaze in wonder and admiration. The tower is beautifully cleaned, gleaming in fact, and it is quite frankly, marvellous.

In the summer, the Duomo square is without shade and the temperatures are not friendly. Best to check it all out as quickly as you can, have your photo taken with your hands in the air, and then retreat to one of the nearby cafes for a glass of wine and a pizza. Many of the cafes have good views of the tower and idling away an hour in comfort watching the crowds mill around the tower like busy ants, is very appealing. 

If you can see through all the hands!

Topics:  european vacation leaning tower of pisa tour de europe


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