After spending the morning in the Cinque Terre we drove to Pisa. In my mind Pisa just consisted of the leaning tower and several other old buildings. So Luke and I were fairly surprised to drive into a huge city. Not only was it huge, but it was dirty...not like the cities in Switzerland. Even though it was only Wednesday night, every parking spot in Pisa was taken. Finally we found a parking lot that was "monitored" by several intimidating men. Not only did they "request" we pay them to help us park the car, but then they mentioned that they would "watch" our car during the night to make sure it was safe... for a fee. As we left our car I noticed that several of the guys were searching the cars with flashlights. It wasn't a great first impression of the city.
Thursday morning was a nice day and we headed out to explore Pisa. The city dates back at least to the 5th century BC when it was a large port city. The walls surrounding the city date back to the 12th century. It was pretty awesome to be able to drive through them in our car.
At first, the tower was leaning in the opposite direction that it is now leaning. Workers attempted to fix the problem by building floors with one side taller than the other which in turn caused the tower to tilt the other direction.
Huge bronze doors at the entrance to the Duomo
A close up of one of the intricate panels
Arch over the door