Today, early in the morning, Michele will rejoin us, back from a night at the station in Genoa. We say goodbye to Marzia, who leads us to the camper, loaded with luggage, and we leave towards Pisa. After a few kilometers, we leave the Park of Cinque Terre and we go down towards the Gulf of La Spezia. Despite the high sun, the temperature is perfect.
After a short climb between the hills we are again by the sea, entering Tuscany, accompanied by the Apuan Alps, white and marble, contact point between the Alps and the Apennines, between the north and the center. We move on to the waterfront, sea breeze on our faces, doing the slalom in the late morning rare traffic; after Viareggio we leave the sea and we get closer to our goal.
Our campsite is a few minutes from Pisa’s Miracles Square, our new Unesco site: we have already seen, passing with the bicycle, among the houses the roof of the Baptistery and the top of the Leaning Tower. In the afternoon we can take advantage of the pool to splash around, before diving among British, American and German, watching the match of the World Cup.
The following day at 9.30 a.m., in front of Miracles Square, we meet with Serena Grazzini, from “Pisatour”, an association of tourist guides. She will take us for a walk around the square answering every question and curiosity.
Piazza del Duomo in Pisa contains four different architectural works: the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Cemetery and the Tower.
The latter is not only leaning, but it’s shaped like a banana: begun in the twelfth century, it waited more than a hundred years to be completed and, already under construction, the marshy ground under the foundation began to fail; so the architects that followed one another tried to correct the slope, "bending" the last top floors to make them perpendicular to the ground.
Doing the first steps we lose our sense of balance, disoriented by the curious slope of the stairs. At the top the dizziness is exacerbated by the slope, but the view is fantastic: from here you can see the entire Pisa, surrounded by the countryside. In front of us stands what D'Annunzio called the Miracles Square, from the baptistery to the cathedral, up to the cemetery, in a physical and religious path that accompany the faithful from birth to death.
Back on the ground we take a closer look at the composite style of the buildings in the square. The works for their realization begun in 1063 and continued for two hundred years. In that period the architectural form passed through the Pisan Romanesque style and later through the Gothic, with a tangle of forms and motifs of Arab inspiration, imported into the culture and art of the city, which was a rich and powerful maritime Republic at that time.
We enter the Baptistery, where, in addition to admire the magnificent pulpit by Nicola Pisano, we witness a performance that surprises us. An employee of the museum performs a kind of singing and the circular shape of the building, also thanks to the dual slope of the dome that favors the reverberation of sound, makes you feel like being inside a giant organ. The girl’s vocalizations propagates in the space of the church for several seconds, shaking the whole building with the sound’s vibrations.
The Cathedral is huge. Inside, among the many wonders, there is the marble pulpit sculpted by Giovanni Pisano, the son of Nicola, at the beginning of 1300, in which the elements of Christianity are merged with pagan images and adorned with a great symbolism.
The Cemetery (in Italian, Holy Field), so named because it is probably covered with soil from the Holy Land, in the past centuries was one of the favorite destinations during the Grand Tour of European artists and aristocrats to the discovery of Italy for its colossal frescoes. Today, after a fire in the roof during the Second World War, they are slowly bringing back the works to their original structures, in an effort to restore the serious damage caused in '44.
After a day among tourists, being busy with the cameras, we are tired and we look forward to tomorrow’s stage up to Florence. Which will be brief although, I guess, very hot.
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