Today we took a short tour to Pisa. to visit their famous School of Architecture. But first, in case you were afraid this was all business and no fun, let me introduce you to one of our dinner mates.
We pulled into port early, as always, and with a little help from our friends Mark and Reed we proceeded to get hooked up with the smallest tour, and headed out toward Pisa.
If your goal at this port is to get a taste of Tuscany, like in Under the Tuscan Sun, don’t go to Pisa. It is on the industrialized coastal plain. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything worth looking at on the way to and from Pisa. There are lots of quaint old villas and little villages sitting on the tops of the rolling hills. There are also some amazing quarries in the hills where most of the marble used for building and sculpting in Italy was mined. There are now hundreds of marble cutters sprinkled throughout the region, and if you’ve got any Italian marble in your home there is a good chance it came from this area.
Once we arrived at Pisa, we had to park the bus about a one mile walk from the town square. The last quarter of a mile is covered by hundreds of swindle-vendors. Three T-shirts for 10 Euros type, except here it’s one T-shirt for 10 Euros. Or one umbrella (it was raining yesterday, off and on) for 5 euros.
The square at Pisa is lovely, and all the “keep off the grass” signs keep it from being swarmed with people around all the buildings. The tour was short, and covered the famous tower (Torre Pendente), the less famous but far more beautiful Duomo, and also the Battistero where they perform baptisms.
Once you’ve done the tour, you’re left with being a silly tourist, and holding up the tower and such. We spent a good 45 minutes posing with Mark and Reed and muttering under our breath at the other tourists who walked into our frame. Mark has all of our good shots on his camera, and Beci has yet to get them from him (slacker).