Yes, we have arrived in the city where leaning is a brand characteristic. Though it was only a 30-minute ride from Lucca, Pisa is a different world, and staying in the modern section makes us feel like we are back in the 21st century again. (Though the modern world has its flaws, it does have its conveniences.)
We arrived about midday, and just walked across the street to our hotel. Extremely convenient! We are liking the NH hotels – very nicely organized and seemingly always close to the transportation hub.
After getting quickly settled, we started our walk through the center of the city. Good weather and a lot of charm. Who knew Keith Haring had been commissioned to do a major wall mural here – in 1989, just a year before his death. Last place I would have expected to find him. Wonder what 13th-century master sculptor Nicola Pisano would have thought? (We’ll see his famous baptistery pulpit tomorrow.)
We paused in the Piazza dei Cavalieri, which was the political center of medieval Pisa. After the middle of 16th century the square became the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen. Now it is a center of education, being the main house of the Scuola Normale di Pisa, a university founded by Napoleon.
On this square, the emissary of Florence proclaimed the end of the independence of Pisa in 1406, which is why Cosimo I de’ Medici’s statue dominates. In the other corner of the square stands the Palazzo dell’Orologio, which is referred to in Dante’s Inferno.
Quite the piazza.
Tomorrow we do the big stuff, but for now, we had some very nice Pisa moments.
Don’s Food Corner
We were late getting to lunch today and wanted to beat the 3pm closing time for the restaurant I had focused on. When we go there, however, we didn’t like the limited offerings of the day, so we turned around and sat down at a nearby, but clearly lesser, restaurant.
We started with a salad that looked more Cleveland than Italy. But it was comfortably familiar (shredded iceberg lettuce in Italy?). The only thing lacking was some orange “French dressing.”
Jo then went on to a pizza. We’ve had worse. Ditto with my choice of cannelloni. Not the most delicate pasta dish we’ve had in Italy, but it caused no harm.
We didn’t bother with wine.