Our flight back to Barcelona left from Pisa, so it was the perfect way to spend our last day in Italy. There was really only one thing I wanted to accomplish there, and that was to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s not the highest or the most magnificent thing that we have climbed, but I don’t see how this building can stay open to the public forever, so we wanted to be able to say “we were there when…”
The tower actually was closed for several years, as it was slanting 15’ from center. After a lot of pushing, pulling & moving dirt, it was deemed safe, now being only 13 ½ feet off center. I personally don’t think that sounds much safer, but ok.
The tours are guided, and only allow about 30 people at a time, for 30-40 minutes. It was a strange feeling to climb the spiraling steps. You can always tell which side of the tower you’re on, as you have the feeling of going uphill on one side and downhill on the other. The stone steps are also well worn in patterns, based on when gravity pulls you to the inside or outside edges of the steps. Going down was even crazier, and that’s when I understood that whole vertigo thing they had warned us about.
The slant of the building feels more exaggerated when going down, so when you’re walking in the direction of the downward slant, it feels like you’re falling forward. The staircase now felt narrower than when I went up, and I was suddenly aware that there were no handrails.
This place would never pass American safety regulations! I guess that’s partly what makes it so cool.