Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Florence the sixth - Pisa

I caught the train to Pisa today, and spent the latter part of the journey having moderate to severe palpitations because I realised that I'd neglected to validate my ticket and wondering if Italian train attendants are as alarming as Italian art gallery attendants. But my luck held firm and there was no ticket check, so now I have a free ticket to Pisa, if anyone's interested.

Pisa itself is alright, kind of like Sylvia Park if Sylvia Park had been founded in 1064, i.e. lots of shops. But the Piazza del Duomo, to which the tourists flock - it's like whoa.

Woo! Reassurance that I got off the train at the correct station.

This is everything on the site - the low building far left is the Camposanto, the round building is the baptistery, the cathedral is in the middle and then a photobomb from the tower in the back. I've managed to make the tower look straight and everything else tilted. I'm reminded of their 1970s Chamber of Commerce campaign: Pisa - Making Your Crooked Posture Work For You.

The tower and the cathedral. I didn't go up because they only allow 30 people at a time and I didn't know how long I'd have to wait and sometimes I'm not too good with uneven ground. Hell, sometimes I'm not too good with even ground.

When you get over the leaning you realise it's an extremely lovely building.

Front of the cathedral.

Inside the cathedral. This picture in no way gives a sense of how awesome it is.

This reminds me of a joke, the punchline of which is "Jesus, I can see your house from up here."

In the baptistery now. This is the view down from the gallery level. Incidentally, why are there separate baptisteries? Why can't they just baptise in the church? Is the squalling of a baby too much to deal with when echoed throughout a massive cathedral?

Oh, this is me trying to be arty and photograph the tower and the cathedral from an upper window of the baptistery. 

I accidentally saved the best for last. This is the Camposanto. It's a cemetery, with the people buried inside the rectangular building that surrounds a lovely lawn.

I have travelled through a lot of ugly urban areas today and it's just strange that the dead get things like this and the living are crammed into imposing featureless apartment blocks. (Oh no, I've broken the unspoken rule of Italy and talked about the yucky parts! Here come the carabinieri!)

Pisa's Funniest Home Frescoes pt 1. I like how you can't tell if he's falling or just being dangled by his ankles.

Pisa's Funniest Home Frescoes pt 2. Bird go splat in 3...2...1...

God's trophy cabinet. Eat your heart out, Sue Sylvester.

Yes weird dead-eyed primitive gargoyle thingy, I'm shocked that it's the answer to life, the universe and everything as well.

Whatever else this guy was, I'd say "super pimp deluxe" was somewhere on his resume.

How awkward that he died while attending a costume party and they had to immortalise him with a fake beard.

Medieval Wheel of Fortune. The wheel is just painted on and doesn't spin because you're all going to hell.

Oh, there's Waldo!

Arr, me hearties! This could well be the grave of a pirate, because Pisa used to be on the coast until the harbour silted up and it became an inland town.

On the way home I did remember to validate my ticket and my ticket did get checked, so my awesomeness rages on.


  1. That lawn setup would be IDEAL for living people too! Come on, Italy!!

    Also does the Leaning Tower really tilt one way at the bottom and the other way at the top, or am I just, you know, drunk??

  2. Yeah, probably =P

    They've done a buttload of structural work, so they could have corrected the top bit to stop the weight of the bells from forcing it over.

  3. Batistery! These people seem to appreciate that big lug so much more than we ever did.

  4. The leaning tower looks less impressive to me now that pretty much every building in Ch-Ch is leaning now. But old & churchy leaning > 1980s ugly hotel leaning.

  5. Oh hoorah, my comments now seem to be working... that got complicated for a while.