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Pisa

When will that tower fall over?

Pisa is on the tourist trail because of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and… well that’s all we can think of. Like the Taj Mahal, you’ve already seen the tower too many times in magazines and television for it to have much effect once you actually see it with your own eyes (oh, to live in the modern world). But that’s no problem because you can entertain yourself watching the behaviour of tourists getting excited about the fact that the Tower of Pisa is indeed leaning to one side.

The Tower is set in a corner of the city where it’s open season on tourists and immigrant merchants work overtime on the tour groups, trying to flog them sunglasses, belts, kids’ toys and watches. Most of the visitors cluster closer to their guide for safety and follow the raised umbrella in the air until they reach a point where they can start taking photos and find fulfillment.

God knows who teaches everyone but not a single tourist poses in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa without raising their own palms vertically to further demonstrate the angle of the real star of the photo. You know, just in case someone back home should raise any doubts about just how much that there tower is tilting…

Pisa is also quite a fun town to walk around though not so cutesy as other towns in Tuscany. There are still some nice alleys opening up on to wider spaces where you can’t hear any cars and can take a cheap pasta at one of the restaurants in front of the market.

The city is split by a fairly unscenic river but cars are kept out, Vespas and bicycles running the show. It’s small enough to walk around but you miss a few grand piazzas to really give it the ambience you get spoilt by in Tuscany.