The village of Pisa, located south of the Italian Alps, is well-known for its one unmistakeably-unique mistake -- the poorly designed, and therefore Leaning, Tower. But to view Pisa as only being a haven for the Tower would be a mistake, there's much more to be seen.
The Tower is located in a large open square in the heart of the town. Surrounded by shops, museums, and restaurants, the square is a vibrant cultural center that celebrates a heritage. Naturally, much of the city has succumbed to pure tourism, but those venturing off the beaten path will be rewarded.
The square also contains numerous other beautiful buildings and monuments that were better designed and will remain long after the Tower falls (if it ever does). The Bapistry, shown above, and the Cathedral (seen partially in the top picture) are fabulous examples of Italian architecture, filled with statue and sculptures both inside and out.
Of course, to be sure, the town recognizes the prominence of the Tower in the minds of visitors around the world, and therefore have taken great pains to ensure its survival. Note the below picture of just one of the many cable mechanisms used to secure the Tower nowadays. Attempts are being made to construct a solid foundation under the Tower that will ensure it stays upright (at its current angle, that is) for decades to come.
I only had an hour to spend at Pisa (I was part of a larger tour), but had enough time to visit some of the local museums, each of which had plenty to offer on the area's history. If visiting, of course start at the main square, but be sure to venture away and see what the whole town has to offer.
Trip taken 1 September 2000 -- Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2001 Tom Galvin