Sunday, January 26, 2014


This weekend we made a surprise birthday visit to Pisa, where the minimum age for climbing the Tower is - conveniently enough - 8! On a prior trip in 2010 we were disappointed to learn that we couldn't make the climb, so we had to stick with the customary ritual of any Pisa visit:

This time around, we enjoyed both reprising the photo tradition…

…and our 190 foot climb on a spectacular day!

Some surprising discoveries along the way:

- The Tower’s hollow interior houses various stabilizing mechanisms and instruments, subsequent to its 12-year closure for restoration and to ensure a stable four-degree lean. Engineers claim the Tower should be steady for at least another 300 years, and this is monitored in a simple way: a heavily weighted wire hangs from the center at the top of the tower, angling down precisely through a narrow sensor on the wall near the bottom. 

- The top of the Tower holds 7 gorgeous bells, tuned to the major scale. They are now kept mostly silent, and although we were tempted to give them a little tap, we opted for a photo instead.

- Over 800 years of foot traffic has left a lasting "impression" on the 295 steps. We noticed that those impressions are on the exterior side of the stairs around one half of the Tower, and on the interior side on the other. The titling of the Tower is very noticeable when winding your way up or down, and a bit dizzying.

Our return to level ground was comforting, and we took one last photo of the birthday girl to mark the occasion!

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