Saturday, July 22, 2000 Day 7
We had a later start today. We went to San Gimignano. It is a quaint, little medieval city - the famous city of towers, perched on a hill amid the beautiful Chianti countryside.
Wild Boar is popular here as shown in first picture.
This is the man who sits at the restroom area. You put money in his basket and he provides you with toilet paper:
From San Gimignano we go to Pisa. PISA has been known for just one thing - the Leaning Tower, the favorite shorthand image for the idea of Italy. It is indeed a freakishly beautiful building, a sight whose impact no amount of prior knowledge can blunt Yet it's just a single component of the city's amazing religious core - the Campo dei Miracoli - where the Duomo, Baptistery and Camposanto complete an unrivaled quartet of medieval masterpieces. Yes, the Tower leans. This most famous example of Pisan Romanesque architecture was leaning even before its completion. Notice how the architect, for lack of a better solution, kinked up the top section. The 294 tilted steps to the top are closed while engineers work to keep the bell tower from toppling. The formerly clean and tidy area around the tower is now a construction zone. Steam pipes drying out the subsoil and huge weights are working together to stop the leaning (but not straighten out the tower).
"Pisa Cathedral with Baptistery, Campanile and Campo Santo, together form one of the most famous building groups in the world. The cathedral is one of the finest of the Romanesque period and has a strongly marked individuality. It resembles other early basilican churches in plan, with long rows of columns connected by arches, double aisles, and a nave which has the usual timber roof. The exterior has bands of red and white marble, and the ground story is faced with wall relief by tiers of wall passages which rise one above another right into the gable. The transepts, each with an apse at the end, were an advance on the simple basilican plan. The elliptical dome over the crossing is of later date. The building depends for its interest on its general proportions and on the delicacy of its ornamental features, rather than on any new structural development, such as may be seen in northern Italy."
Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p315.
We are greeted by our guide, Laura. The leaning tower of Pisa is quite a sight. The Cathedral, il Duomo is also pictured here. Inside the duomo, you will see a carosel of statues. If anyone remembers anything about the significance of this I would appreciate it. My notes are not as detailed as the beginning.
The Baptistry is pictured here as well as the doors of the Duomo.
After this we head back to the hotel for supper. Tonight's supper was not one of the best. It was salmon.