The main event

Yes, today we visited Pisa’s Field of Miracles. In the Middle Ages, you would be baptized here, attend Mass and get married in the Duomo and be honored in ceremonies at the Tower, healed in the hospital in the complex, and then be buried in the Camposanto Cemetery, making this a very important place in the life of Pisa. Now the centerpiece for tourists, no one was paying much attention to the now iconic Leaning Tower until about a hundred years ago. It was nice – very problematic – but not really necessary to daily life.

Today, we saw it all, beginning with the Baptistery, the largest in Italy. It leans slightly too, but that doesn’t affect its marvelous acoustics. Here’s a sample of what one single voice can accomplish – one sound makes three tones in 10 seconds.

Built in the 13th century, its pulpit, by Nicola Pisano, is considered to be the world’s first Renaissance sculpture.

The Duomo is a wonder, filled with artistic treasures, including the body of Saint Ranieri and another amazing Pisano (different one than the Baptistery) pulpit.

The Camposanto cemetery was the major attraction here before the Tower caught. What a wonderful place to be buried!

And then there was that marvelous tilting tower behind the Duomo – fascinating from any angle. And in every country in the world, there are thousands of photos of tourists trying to help hold it up.

We saw one more major site today – the Palazzo Blu, an historic building with a permanent collection of Renaissance works of Pisan artists, and a temporary exhibit space, currently dedicated to the Italian film industry, which was headquartered very nearby till the end of the 1960’s. Thought it would be fun to blend the two…

Don’s Food Corner

We didn’t search out a special lunch destination today.  Instead, we walked past a beautiful old-timey cafe with great outdoor seating on a pedestrian-only street. Our guidebook pointed out that it was a famed place in Pisa serving mediocre food. But we thought, how bad could it be? Well, we sat down and found out.

Let’s be kind and just say we split a salad of a strange combination of cheeses, corn and lettuce.  I think the lettuce was aged longer than the Parmesan cheese. Jo tried some tortellini with some type of glue-like white sauce. I thought I was going to be safe with pasta with ragu. I was wrong. But  I saw that a glass of Brunello was reasonably priced at $7 a glass.  I ordered it.  They didn’t show me the bottle it came out of and I suspect that it wasn’t really Brunello.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, as we often say in this corner.

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