Sunday, 31 August 2014

PISA (Other Than The Leaning Tower)

You've not been to Tuscany if you've not been to Pisa. 

Like a family member that you must pay a visit when you're in town, we spent one afternoon on the day we fly back to the UK admiring the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa and getting to know Galileo Galilei's and Andrea Bocelli's hometown.

Pisa is a quiet city whose major convenience is the international airport being just 10-15 minutes away from the centre of town. A close friend tells me that when he lived in Pisa, he walked everywhere, including to the airport.

Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), formally known as Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pisa Cathedral with the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background

Pisa Baptisty of St. John (Battistero di San Giovanni) is the largest baptistry in Italy

And here she is, the most famous freestanding bell tower in the whole word: the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It took 199 years for the three stages of the tower's construction to finish.The tower was closed to the public in 1990 to straighten it to its year 1838 position. It was reopened in Dec 2001 after more than a decade of reconstructive work, and is now declared stable for at least 300 years.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was introduced to me as a young girl though through Science, and not History. Galileo Galilei, the most famous son of Pisa, was said to have dropped two cannonballs from the tower as an experiment to show that the speed of descent would be the same despite having different masses. Sorry, I've got no photo to prove that.

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, an elite educational institution in Italy where only 60 candidates are accepted each year from an average of 1,000 applicants. A normalista receive free housing, lunches and dinners, and a monthly stipend.

You're really a tourist when you're fascinated by such stunts. How many times have I walked past one in London?

The little twin bell tower is pretty

Pisa is a sleepy big town

Pisa skyline

I wouldn't have peeling paint in my home, but I always look for it in medieval towns and cities

Make it cookisses for me

Not the real deal, but certainly eye-catching on a gelateria's floor

I've stopped purchasing from H&M mainly for quality reasons, but I love the building that houses it in Pisa

And off to gloomy, cold, and grey via an airport that looks more like a shopping centre

Many thanks for joining me in this big trip to Tuscany! I hope you enjoyed or learned something from the features.

If you've just chanced upon my page, this is the final installment of the Tuscany series. Please click the following links for the rest you've missed: The Doors and Windows of Tuscany; Road Trip to Suvereto; Island Living at Isola del Giglio; and Nature Tripping at Giannutri Island.

See you next time for some more cultural and historical tours.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Nature Tripping at Giannutri Island

Giannutri is a Stone Age island that's part of Isola del Giglio. A bustling port during the Roman Empire, the island was eventually abandoned and has remained untouched over the centuries. 

It's now considered a nature reserve and is protected by Parco Nazionale dell’Arcipelago Toscano, the biggest marine park in Europe which safeguards 56,766 hectares of sea and 17,887 hectares of land. Tourists are advised against disturbing the island's natural flora and fauna.

We took the Maregiglio ferry from Porto Santo Stefano to reach Giannutri. It runs daily between June and September, and once a week (usually Sundays) during the rest of the year. Tickets can be bought from the port or online via the Maregiglio website where you can also get more information. The same ferry stops at Giglio Island, which we took advantage for island hopping.

To be honest, I'm not sure if the above views were taken on the way to Giannutri or Giglio. I have to say that I end up using two cameras on holiday to get the right colours as I prefer not to use filters as much as possible. But I get mixed up. Which is so very unnatural of me as I have an obsession and compulsion for order. But I was on holiday, and so was my self-diagnosed personality disorder.

The sanguine colour of the buildings and roofs remind me of Dubrovnik, Croatia which seem to have the same coastline, topography, and structures as some parts of Italy that I've seen.

Disembarking the Maregiglio onto Giannutri...

To be welcomed by this....

Sunbathing au naturel

Stairway down to aquatic heaven

The 15-minute hike up begins to get to the other side of the island

Abandoned buildings always attract my curiosity

After a 15-minute uphill and downhill trek, we were greeted by the sea

Back to the ferries

Of course I had to do a selfie. I'm perfecting this craft, you see.

It's currently 17 degrees where I'm sitting. I'm missing this.

The Toscana series is about to end. If you missed the first few posts, please click on the following links: The Doors and Windows of Tuscany, Roadtrip to Suvereto, and Island Living at Isola del Giglio.

Next time, we'll head to an Italian town where Galileo Galilei famously demonstrated a science experiment.

See you then!

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