Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Italy - Pisa (2006)

Day 4: 3rd May 2006

I was fallen deeply in love with a sight of Pisa, the famous leaning tower in Italy and started to built a silly dream to witness the rest of 7 wonders of the world. When I returned home, I informed hubby who later agreed to have family vacation in China where we visited The Great Wall of China on 5th December 2006. On 4th July 2009, I went alone to see the 3rd wonders, The Taj Mahal in Agra, India. It was only 3 sites achieved thus far. Another 4 to go.

We put a night at the Hotel Hortensis situated in Umbria, having address at via Enrico Berlinguer, 4, Cannara Province of Perugia a night before. The hotel is about 20 minutes drive from Assisi historical city. On 4th day, we headed to Citta' Di Pissa at 8.30am and we reached the site at 12.30 noon. Depending on the route and chosen road (260 - 280km in distance), some might travel a bit faster in less than 3 hours but it was a 4 hours journey for us in a bus, from Perugia in central region to Italian region of Tuscany.  

The map of Pisa site

Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its leaning tower (it is actually the bell tower of the city's cathedral), the city of over 88 thousand residents (around 200,000 with the metropolitan area) contains more than 20 other historic churches, several palaces and various bridges across the River Arno. Important to note that there are 3 important buildings within Pisa site, The Duomo, The Baptistery and The Bell Tower.

Overall vie of The Piazza del Duomo ("Cathedral Square")

The Piazza del Duomo ("Cathedral Square") is a wide walled area, recognized as one of the main centers for medieval art in the world. It is a sacred area as a Catholic Christian religion being dominated by 4 great sacred edifices: the Duomo (cathedral), the Campanile (the cathedral's free standing bell tower), the Baptistery and the Campo Santo (the monumental graveyard). Partly paved and partly grassed, it hosts also other buildings such as the old hospital and the Museum of the  Cathedral Square museum.

The heart of the Piazza del Duomo is, obviously the Duomo, the medieval cathedral of the Archdiocese of Pisa, entitled to Santa Maria Assunta (St. Mary of the Assumption). This is a 5 naved cathedral with a three-naved transept. The church is known also as the Primatial, the archbishop of Pisa being a Primate since 1092. Its Construction began in 1064 by the architect Busketo which set the model for the distinctive Pisan Romanesque style of architecture. The mosaics of the interior, as well as the pointed arches, show a strong Byzantine influence. The façade of grey marble and white stone set with discs of coloured marble, was built by a master named Rainaldo, as indicated by an inscription above the middle door.

1 of the entrance door of Duomo

The Baptistery, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, stands opposite the west end of the Duomo. The round Romanesque building begun construction in the mid 12th century as stated in 1 of the wall that "In the month of August 1153 was set up here...". It was built in Romanesque style by an architect known as Diotisalvi, who worked also in the church of the Holy Sepulchre in the city. His name is mentioned on a pillar inside, as Diotosalvi magister. The construction was not, however, finished until the 14th century, when the loggia, the top storey and the dome were added in Gothic style by Nicola Pisano and Giovanni Pisano.

It is the largest baptistery in Italy. Its circumference measures 107.25 m. Taking into account the statue of St. John the Baptist on top of the dome, it is even a few centimetres higher than the Leaning Tower. The portal, facing the façade of the cathedral, is flanked by 2 classical columns, while the inner jambs are executed in Byzantine style. The lintel is divided in 2 tiers. The lower one depicts several episodes in the life of St. John the Baptist, while the upper one shows Christ between the Madonna and St John the Baptist, flanked by angels and the evangelists.

the historic door of The Baptistery

The Baptistery

The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply the Tower of Pisa is the Campanile, or freestanding Bell Tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt to one side. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa's Cathedral Square after the Cathedral and the Baptistery. The tower's tilt began during construction, caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to properly support the structure's weight. The tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed, and gradually increased until the structure was stabilized (and the tilt partially corrected) by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The Bell Tower and the Fountain

The height of the tower is 55.86 m measured from the ground on the low side and 56.70 m on the high side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m and at the top 2.48 m. Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons. The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the 7th floor has 2 fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is displaced horizontally 3.9 metres from where it would be if the structure were perfectly vertical.

Shopping arcade seated nearby to the 3 monuments

Depending on how details you would want to explore the Piazza, for those who are not wishes to stay long after sufficient photos and videos may explore the shopping arcade just nearby the Bell Tower. There are various stalls selling local gift items that you can bring back to the love 1 back home, but be careful when bargaining as Italian does not like to negotiate. Unlike Asian, the seller normally puts the price at a higher rates allowing the buyer to bargain as low as possible. Not here in Italy, they will be very rude to you if you wanted to waste their time. I bought a miniature of Bell Tower as a memento and it was good to remind that I was there in 2006.

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