Lean on Me

Walking in the Torre Pendente (the leaning Tower of Pisa) is a lot like being in one of those crazy fun houses at a carnival or amusement park. You immediately start walking like you’ve had more than your fair share of a bottle of Chianti.

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The hike up the 300 stairs doesn’t really improve things. I was grateful for the wire fencing around the top as the lean does make you feel as though you are going to topple right off. I wonder if Galileo felt that way when he hauled two canon balls to the top of the tower to conduct his little experiment?

Scientists are grateful Galileo didn’t topple off the tower along with the cannon balls since he provided insight into what we now know as terminal velocity. I was simply grateful that the bells only ring at noon.

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Call me uninformed, but I had no idea until I was standing in front of it that the tower was part of the typical trio here in Italy — a cathedral, a tower and a circular baptistry.

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The duomo in Pisa pays homage to San Ranieri, the patron saint of Pisa whose remains are spectacularly displayed.

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The octagonal pulpit (sculpted by Giovanni Pisano in the early 14th century) is extraordinary. I imagine listening to someone sermonizing from this stone pulpit with an exquisite ceiling overhead must be quite an experience.

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But probably not as soothing as the afternoon light in Pisa, particularly by the River Arno which leaves Pisa to dump into the Ligurian Sea.

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