Don't miss this jewel thinking it is just another tourist stop. Well it is a major tourist stop and buses roll in and out. But the Campo dei Miracoli, the Field of Miracles is just that - visual miracles.
I have always like this view as I havwe the leaning tower just peaking out at the back of the cathedral. It is shows it leaning. When you get right up to the tower, you have to cope with way too many tourists.
I had worn shorts as the day was hot and was stopped at the door and unable to enter the cathedral. I asked Karen to stick her head in and tell me if it was worth it to hike back to the car and change into my pants. Wasn't that a stupid question but travel fatique had set it. Well of course she said "unbelieveable". It was worth the run back to the car. And in Italy, no one even looks at a man changing pants in a parking lot!
We were fortunate as this trip was the year before they closed the tower. We were able to make our way up the narrow winding, smelly staircase to the top. There I was surprised that one just walked out onto the top flow. There was only a single metal bar preventing a fall. Stunning.
Don't miss a good amount of time in the Cathedral and the Bapistry. The Bapistry in Pisa is the largest in Italy.
Now we returned many years later in 2008 and it was a slightly different place. We almost hated it because of the crowds of tourists. Be ready to line up and buy tickets for just about everything. But still, the Duomo is incredible. The tower, well it has been stablized and it is still going through the effort to go up.
Although Pisa is known for its leaning tower, on our next visit we will have to spend time in the town centre. Pisa has more than 20 historic churches, several medieval palaces, and various bridges across the Arno. Much of the city's architecture was originally financed from its history as one of the Italian maritime republics. In the 11th Century Pisa was one of the four main historical maritime republics of Itay. It was around 1284 that the Pisa fleet was overtakien by the Genoeses fleet. Pisa never recovered.
The city is also home of the University of Pisa, which dates back to the 12th century and also has the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, founded by Napoleon in 1810.
Borgo Stretto is the medieval borgo or neighborhood contains strolling arcades and the Lungarno, the avenues along the river Arno. It includes the Gothic-Romanesque church of San Michele in Borgo (dating back to 990). There are at least two other leaning towers in the city, one at the southern end of central Via Santa Maria, the other halfway through the Piagge riverside promenade.