Leaning Towards One of the World’s Most Recognizable Buildings

The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is simply a bell tower for the adjacent cathedral; cathedrals all over Italy have bell towers and many of them are leaning for one reason or another, but I’ve seen everyone else’s pictures “propping up” the Leaning Tower and I needed to have one of my own. Tourists stand in front of the tipsy tower, leaning at a jaunty angle themselves, and take snapshots in which they seem to disobey the laws of gravity. Although it’s a tourist trap, I feel into the desire to travel to Pisa with the sole purpose of seeing the Leaning Tower.

Pisa is located in the region of Tuscany, a short train ride away from Florence; so when we arrived in Florence early in the morning and still had a full day of free travel on the Eurorail, we figured a quick jaunt to Pisa was in order. 

As we got closer to the world famous icon, we were amazed to see it poking out the end of an ordinary neighborhood street. With 207 columns ranged around eight stories, it is a miracle of medieval engineering even if it wasn’t intended to lean.

We tried our luck at getting the perfect angle and camera position to look as if we were holding up the tower. What everyone else made look easy, was a bit more complicated than I had anticipated. After about 15 ill-attempted shots, it was time to tour the tower.

We reached the top of the tower by climbing the 294 steps, which rise in the form of a spiral on the inner side of the tower walls. It wasn’t as draining as climbing the Eiffel Tower, but the excessive Italian weather did add to the difficulty. At first, I couldn’t overly feel the lean. We came out on the first viewing platform some way up and walked the full circumference around the tower on the outside. When we walked around on the down part of the lean, I felt as though I was being forced away from and off of the tower. Once up another flight of stairs, we came out to the second outside gallery; this time we could only walk a quarter of the circumference and the lean was more drastic. The final staircase was a tight squeeze. The wind, which was quite noticeable and strong at the top, made me feel like I could be blown off at any moment. I did feel a little bit nervous, but it was well worth the views.

At this point, most tourists probably head back into town and do a bit of exploring or shopping or possibly even sty the night, but for us, once we saw the tower, climbed its walls, and took our photos, that concluded our tour of Pisa.

I am definetly glad that I got to see this attraction once in my lifetime, but its doubtful that I would make the trek again. It wasn’t until I reached the top and felt the strong winds on my face that I understood the tourist value.

If you’ve found yourself in Pisa, take the extra time to climb the tower so you can truly appreciate its name, Leaning Tower of Pisa.

73 thoughts on “Leaning Towards One of the World’s Most Recognizable Buildings

  1. And to think that the tower has been “straightened!” What must it have been like before? Great gold shot of it. Treasure it because if there ever is an earthquake in that area, your photo will be all that’s left of it.


  2. Hello, thanks for liking my post or I wouldn’t have found your blog! This is exactly what I need right now as I’m planning my first solo holiday to Italy for a week in September – I’m really scared! But I’ll regret it if I don’t try. I’m doing Rome and Florence with a little Pisa trip in between. I will definitely climb the tower if I can, now that you’ve recommended. Great blog! xx


  3. Hello Lesley,
    First, congratulations!
    What you do in your life is wonderful and your blog is really interesting 🙂

    How many times have you been in Tuscany? Did you visit only Pisa and Florence?


  4. Thanks for liking my blog posts recently Lesley, I’m new to all this so really appreciate it 🙂 I’m catching up with a few of your blogs now… I’ve also had the typical tourist photo of trying to hold up the leaning tower! I felt sorry for the nearby Baptistery at the time, which is also very wonky as buildings go, but isn’t anywhere near as famous because it doesn’t lean as much as the neighbouring tower. Poor Baptistery.


  5. Having graduated in Pisa I know the city very well and to be honest apart from the leaning tower there isn’t much else to see. If you want to go back to tuscany you should visit Siena and cinque terre (the latter is in Liguria but very close to Tuscany). Nice blog btw, I like it and I’m going to follow it as well 🙂


  6. I liked your description of the tower and I agree with you that the view from the top is incredible. I was there on sunset. However I think you missed another equally spectacular structure which is the grave building next door. (Not as nearly as creepy as it sounds.) I think I enjoyed this building even more.


  7. Ah, Pisa. The unexpected grandeur. I have been there several times. Different times of year and without fail… the clearest skies. Not a cloud in sight. A nice even breeze from the ocean. It’s best, if you can do it, to not go when everyone is on holiday/vacation. I like May and Mid-September (for Italy in general).

    It is practically empty and you can just sit there and imagine Galileo challenging and arm wrestling the ghost of Aristotle.


  8. Hi! I am Italian and I live in Sicily.. I suggest to you to visit (if you can and if you haven’t done yet) Venice, Rome and obviously my Sicily. I live in the foot of the Etna and some weeks ago ‘she’ did explosive activity.. It was a spectacle! I hope you’ll come to visit it because it is the biggest volcano in Europe. Look here! https://www.facebook.com/EtnaExperience?fref=ts
    A friend of mine is a guide. He took some photos.
    ps. I love your blog!


  9. Did you get a chance to walk around the town once you were finished at the Leaning Tower? I thought the cobbled streets were incredibly charming, and I was glad we took the time to go exploring. Italy’s fascinating, isn’t it??


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