So today I saw the leaning tower of Pisa. Now I’ve seen this tower many times before in books, in films, on the web… but to see it up close, to walk within feet of it’s base, and then walk inside of the church it serves as the bell tower for… It has been an amazing day.
The town of Pisa is surprising. Like Stratford it seems to have lost it’s identity between “tourism” and “local livelihood”. The airport is smaller than Nice, and is more military base than international tourist hub. The approach roads to the city are confused and cluttered with derelict factories and graffiti covered walls. Then suddenly through a gateway you see that scene, that tottering tower of a billion postcards. You find your brain has frozen a mental location is made real, and the sight of the tower captures your imagination.
The structure itself is both impressive and imposing, standing/sinking as it is it captures your imagination in a way that is hard to explain. Then your mind starts to take in what it sees, and you see the strange repairs which have left the tower looking patched and mismatched in placed. Patches of concrete looking bare alongside the marble. You gaze at the remaining sculptures and wonder how the original edifice looked, and then after photographs you walk away again….
Then you look back, because it is an amazing structure, and is “The” leaning tower of Pisa. I’m really glad I’ve seen it, and look forward to exploring more of Italy in the coming days.