Cathedral and Tower of Pisa Copyright 2006 Sherri L. Sorbello
These photos of the Cathedral and Bell Tower of Pisa were taken by my daughter, Sherri, on June 30, 2006. I still remember how uncomfortable the heat and humidity were that day as we walked through the tiny town of Pisa, Italy to get to the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) where the cathedral and bell tower are located.
And yes, it really does lean, although apparently not as much as it did previously. According to the resources listed below, the tower began to lean during its over two hundred years of construction from 1173 to 1399. Various method of compensation and reinforcement continued over the centuries without much success until the late twentieth century.
Tower of Pisa Copyright 2006 Sherri L. Sorbello
When the tower was in danger of collapse in 1990, it was closed to visitors while engineers took on a major straightening project. This was completed in May 2001 after correcting the lean 19 inches (it leans about 13 feet at the top) and more importantly, stopping it from continuing.
Pisa got its name in 600 BC from a Greek word meaning “marshy land.” Apparently this is the reason for the problem with the tower and the fact that other structures in Pisa, including the cathedral, are sinking.
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to visit Italy three times in my life and hope to do it again in the near future. If you have only one chance to visit Europe, make it Italy. It can be the experience of a lifetime if you will allow it to be. You have only to be open to it. I wrote this shortly after my second trip there in 2006.
Italy will touch you. That is, it will gently speak to your heart and soul to the extent that they can hear. If you are lucky, it will reach inside you, pull out and hand to you, most elegantly of course, all your passion that’s been tucked away so deeply, but was hesitant to venture out in our more reserved American society.
Go to Italy if you want to love so strongly it will take your breath away, experience beauty around every corner, and breathe in the magnificence of the spiritual energy of hundreds of years that vibrates so strongly in places like Venice and Assisi.
It’s okay to “feel” things in Italy. Your soul is bared…open to sentiments of passion, pain, tragedy, love, joy, beauty and life. Your heart bursts open to all of life’s experiences with an intensity that has only simmered within you in the past. Yes, there is the return of that joyful breath of life traveling along with you. You wonder why you waited so long to start living and only hope that as you return to your own wonderful country, you can take with you as much passion for life as your heart and soul felt there.