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Pisa
 
Pisa

The 14th-century Romanesque Leaning Tower is of course Pisas main attraction (it has 294 stairs) and really seems to overturn any moment. The tower reopened in November 2001, and as of October 2003 tickets to climb the tower were 15 Euros. A fortification project has made some progress in stopping the increase in inclination and even managed to pull the tower back a bit (40 centimetres). The Leaning Tower belongs to an ensemble of four impressive buildings all located on Campo dei Miracoli (square of miracles): the cathedral Santa Maria Assunta, the campanile (leaning tower that was actually a bell tower), the baptistry (looks like a huge baci chocolate, that is a delicious Italian candy) and the Camposanto cemetery.
Should time permit stop at Palazzo dei Cavalieri, walk down Via Santa Maria towards the river banks of Arno, where the small Gothic chapel of Santa Maria della Spina is located and the National Museum of San Matteo (excellent collection of 12th-through 15th-century art).

We also suggest taking a taxi/bus or bicycle ride to the Church of San Michele degli Scalzi to see the other leaning tower of Pisa; completed in the 13th century this seldom-visited tower is worth a look even though its not as impressive as the famous one.

Its also fun just to walk around Pisa (pop. 104 000). The city is very compact with many narrow streets, small markets, hidden treasures and a great ambience; we suggest seeing it on a day trip from Florence perhaps in combination with Lucca just 13 mi/20 km northeast. Another possible stop is Pistoia which has a cathedral and baptistery in the Pisan-Romanesque style and the Ceppo Hospital (LOspedale de Ceppo) which has a brightly painted terra-cotta frieze.


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