Half a day in Pisa – with the “Bending Tower”

EASTER SUNDAY! 🙂

Today we were leaving the San Marino area, to head back to Pisa for our night there. I was excited. I’ve always wanted to see the Leaning Tower, so this was great! After a super busy day the night before, we were all asleep by 9:30. I didn’t set an alarm to wake up. I knew the kids wouldn’t sleep overly late, and we only had to check out by 11:00 – there was no way they were sleeping until 11:00.. I rolled over in the morning to check my phone, and it was 9:15 – I was the first one up. I got myself ready first and let everyone finish their sleep (they all awoke about twenty minutes later – on their own).

Got our bags together, and we were checked out by 10:15. The drive to Pisa was easy again, and we only stopped near the beginning of the trip for a coffee and desert type of pastries – croissants, donuts type of food. Remember, it’s Easter Sunday, so no actual restaurants were open along the way, only gas station type of places – which sufficed until Pisa.

In Pisa we had a campground as our hotel. It was something like 100$cnd for the night, which for Easter Sunday, I was NOT complaining! When booking, I knew that getting to Pisa would not be that far, but probably from the looks of the map, bus or train necessary. When we checked in, I got a map of the campground and the area – we were 800m from the Leaning Tower. 800m!! So I paid a cheap room, within walking distance to exactly where I wanted to be! I did good lol

We checked in, and after sitting in a car for at least two hours (and starving!) we decided to check out the campground and find food before going into town. Campground had a small restaurant so we had a quick pasta meal, and off we went.

Literally the walk was a straight line right to the Tower. About thirty seconds into the walk, you can see the Leaning Tower – kids got very excited – they loved seeing the destination we were heading to – made the “goal” seem less far away! You get to the outside of it, and there are vendors everywhere – and tons of people. We get to the gate entrance to get to the Tower area, and there were so many people it was unbelievable! We were shocked. I had to push people out of the way just to get inside.

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The amount of people!!!! Wow…

 

On the same grounds of the Leaning Tower, is the cathedral, the baptistery, and the cemetery. The entire area is called the Piazza dei Miracoli – in English – the Square of Miracles. In 1987 the area was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Leaning Tower – the Bell Tower for the Cathedral – was made last – construction starting in 1173. The Cathedral construction began in 1064; the baptistery began in 1153.

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But literally seeing the Leaning Tower – wow! It was incredible. Even from the distance I was so happy! Made sure the kids were right beside us, and the walk forward commences. We found a perfect spot right along the fence (you weren’t allowed to walk on the grass in certain spots) and took as many pictures as we wanted! Boys being boys decided to test the “if I am just standing on the other side of the fence, but still on the sidewalk, it’s okay”. We didn’t want to chance it and they listened and came back before getting in trouble by a guard. But… Of course there is a woman lying on that grass seconds later, feet up in the air, “holding up the tower with her feet”. Kids don’t like being told “it’s against the rules”, but then see an adult do exactly what is not allowed! They got over it when we told them we would find gelato after picture taking.

 

I told myself I was not going to take the stereotypical photo of “holding up the tower” – but my husband insisted. I’m glad he did, I’m glad I have one photo of it to look back on. My kids thought it was the funniest part. They didn’t understand what they were doing until we showed them the picture – to them they just looked like they were standing with their hand up in the air.

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We were still quite far away at this point, so we decided to brave the crowds, and head closer to the tower itself. We were probably only going to be here once in our lives, and I wanted to experience as much as I could in our half a day, despite the amounts of people!

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The closer you get, the more incredible the architecture is. The tower is eight stories high (183ft 3in). The Tower leans at an angle of 3.97 degrees. It weights 14,700 tons. When researching Pisa, the one thing that I found, and got super excited about, was that you could climb to the top of the Leaning Tower. How awesome! I didn’t think anyone was allowed in it, so I was pleasantly surprised. After digging a little deeper, I found out that anyone under the age of eight, is not allowed in the tower to climb it – no exceptions. From eight until eighteen years old, you need to climb with an adult. The cost (kids also; no reductions for children) is 18€. So even if my kids were eight, it would have cost my family 90€ to climb. Worth that cost? I’m not sure – but I do know we can do a lot, and eat a lot of gelato for that 90€!!

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We walked around the entire Tower, and took many different photos. As we were walking away, I stopped and just looked. I looked up to the top, and just enjoyed. Just stared. My favorite place to look, was from behind. The angle looking up, along with the clouds in the background moving, it looked like the Tower was moving. It gave the illusion the Tower was about to fall over – a very odd feeling. No photo could depict that feeling at all.

We started walking in towards the town, and didn’t find very much besides gelato. The man was super friendly and I think gave the kids a little extra in each bowl just to make them happy. I love the cheapness of what I found too!

At this point we decided to check out the Cathedral. We walked around to the entrance, and saw that you could get free tickets at the ticket office. Perfect! So we back pretty much back to where we just were, and find out that the free tickets are all gone. Sucks… They’d gotten sold old (oxymoron, I know..) just an hour before. Darn… If we wanted to come back at 9am the next morning, we could get free tickets then.

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So what to do now? Let the kids run on the grass they are allowed to, and relax for a second. So that’s what we did. Kids played tag while I laid in the grass in the Square of Miracles – amazing!

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After running around for about twenty minutes, we started to head back to our campground for supper. It had its own kitchen, so we made pasta so we would save a little money on not buying food.

We talked a lot about if we should go back to the Tower at nighttime. We weren’t sure if the Tower would be lit up or not (a little like the Eiffel Tower), so we took a walk back. The boys also kept insisting on going back to the “Bending Tower” – as they have nicknamed it! I love that! They looked, noticed it was “bending”, and named it. Very smart little cookies those boys of mine!! One memory of today I will remember forever!!!!!

It was still dusk when we got there, so we decided to call our family in Canada to video a Happy Easter – with the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background – can’t get much better than that (besides us being in Canada for Easter itself that is..). Family was happy to see the Tower and us on Easter – even if it was through a phone.

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Turns out, the Tower doesn’t get very lit up. There are spotlights on it that make it bright, but not what we were really thinking. Still, we probably took another hour or so enjoying it – and almost all the people were gone, so moving around was so much easier! Just as beautiful and amazing at night as it was during the day!!

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I asked my oldest son what he thought of Pisa, and he told me “it was really cool and the tower was big and I really liked it there. It was really sunny and we didn’t need to bring our rain jackets!”. Apparently no jackets are a huge deal to a six year old! lol

I am so incredibly happy we were able to get here! We may have only had a half a day, but I was more than satisfied!!!!!

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