Downtown Pisa: In Pictures, The North West Tuscan Way, Tour 26

Curvilinear Marble Sculpture

p r e s e n t s

Pisa Tuscan Way Big Map 2 Google earth

Pisa Tuscan Way Map 3 Google Earth

Pisa, Tuscan Way Map 4 Google Earth

North West Tuscany for the Independent Tourist

IN PICTURES

Jewlbox for a Thorn, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

Tour 26: Downtown Pisa

Jewlbox for a Thorn, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

Mass tourism descends upon Pisa in such mind boggling numbers that one could be mistaken for thinking that this lovely old maritime powerhouse should be overrun and seething with the sort of flocks that descend upon, say, the likes of Florence.  Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin CooneyBut I’m happy to report however that, aside from the many, many students (over 50 percent of the population, so I’m told) downtown Pisa’s main preoccupation appears centered around the wants and needs of Pisans themselves.  For while the shops, stores, cafes, bars, pizzerias, and thriving bookstores appear to cater almost exclusively to local/student tastes,   all that Tuscany Tuscaness comes to a crashing halt once a first sighting is made of the fabled leaning tower.  First Glimpse, Leaning Tower, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin CooneyAt this point I can assure you gone are the lovely lingering arcades, the stylish bar and cafe culture so prevalent in the city center – downtown, as it were.  “Pizza and Chips”, “All You Can Eat Pasta”, garish leaning tower replicas, and people behaving very oddly are now to dominate the scene.   Its as if all the tourists in town – well, 90 percent of them, have all decided to descend upon this one spot.  How the local vendors must have loathed the years and years of restoration.  Eleven, all told, by all accounts.  Souvenir Leaning Towers, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin CooneyBut if Pisa did sink into recession during those long dark years of righting the lilting tower, then they are certainly making up for it now.   Let me tell you – queues?  Don’t even get me started on Florence!  No. I mean, yes – Pisa has crowd processing down to a tee.  Entrance to the tower, cathedral, camposanto and opera (no singing however) is paid for, and tour times prearranged in such a manner that the dreaded snaking, stationary queues from Hell, found elsewhere, are practically unknown when visiting Pisa’s remarkable architectural treasures.  So bear that in mind.   Arno River, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin CooneyToday’s tour takes the form of a stroll right down Pisa’s twisty, winding main street, across the Arno, through the arcade district, and on to the famous, the truly one and only, Leaning tower of Pisa.   Just what we find there may take a little explaining, or maybe not.   Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin CooneyPeople do do the oddest things at times.   Still, there can be no denying that – after perhaps years in the planning, months in the making, and days in the travelling, this is it, they are finally HERE.  Here, right here, at the real Leaning Tower of Pisa. Sheesh.  So what if they go a little mad.  This city is a little mad.  Its a mad place, and I think, given its slightly wicked former seafaring ways, it always has, and always will.   Besides… a city with such acrobatic tourists, with such a wealth of cultural riches, with such savvy style, subtle sophistication, and unadulterated  verve.  I ask you, just what is there not to like?

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For those following the tour in the literal sense I fear we are approaching the emotional culmination of our Grand North West Tuscan Tour.  For once we are through strolling the arcades, sipping our coffee, and gawping at the strange antics at the foot of the tower,  we will reconvene just once more – for a twilight tour of the Place of Miracles during which we will explore the enchanting Baptistery, wander the gothic splendor of what many consider to be the world’s finest, or perhaps grandest, medieval cathedral.  Eventually we will climb the tower, and with the sun rapidly plunging into a dazzling Mediterranean Sea, we ascend the way we came,  and bid the North West Tuscan way a fond adieu. For now, at least.

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Rogue Carver on the Loose in Italy, A Very Good Friday in Pisa:   The next oddity to catch my eye took the form of an immensely fragile jewel box of a building that looked as if someone had just sliced the top off a gothic chapel and carefully placed it on the banks of the Arno river. How it escaped the allied bombing and artillery that by some accounts was responsible for the missing 40 percent of Pisa’s ancient architecture is quite beyond me. Grabbing my trusty Lonely Planet Tuscan guide book I learned (at least I think I learned as there was no picture accompanying the information) that this precious looking folly was built to enshrine an actual, real thorn from the actual real crown of Jesus. As far as I could tell I was looking at the Chisea di Santa Maria della Spina, built between 1223 and 1230, but as it was closed, with no visible clues as to just what it was I’ll have to settle for my best guess. But whatever name it went by it certainly kept this rogue carver captivated and enthralled for more than a moment or two. But if indeed this little jewel box did indeed house a reliquary from Christ’s crucifixion there was nothing to indicate the fact given that it was, by the look of things, permanently closed; and if it was ever to open then surely Good Friday would be a prime date in which to find the keys and unlock it….more

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Jewlbox for a Thorn, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Arno River, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Arno River, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Arcade Stroll, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Upscale Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Afternoon Arcade People, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Lost Rabbit Roams Pisa Arcade, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Lost Rabbit Roams Pisa Arcade, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Lost Rabbit Roams Pisa Arcade, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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First Glimpse, Leaning Tower, Streetscape, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Happy Leaning Tower Posers,Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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Souvenir Leaning Towers, Downtown Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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The Place of Miracles, Leaning Tower, Cathedral, Old Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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The Place of Miracles, Leaning Tower, Cathedral and Baptistery, Old Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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and now

the slideshow

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The Place of Miracles, Leaning Tower, Cathedral and Baptistery, Old Pisa, Along The North West Tuscan Way by Martin Cooney

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next

The North West Tuscan Way, In Pictures

 Pisa, Italy

Tour 27: Pisa, A Long Goodbye in the Place of Miracles

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thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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