Date: Monday, August 11, 1958
Place: Pisa, Nice
This was one day that could have been crossed off the calendar! It didn’t start out too badly – we had a bus ride to Pisa, and I slept most of the way. We had Jamie’s Fine Arts Group with us, 45 in all, and an hour to spend in Pisa. Since all I had to my name was 100 lire which I wanted to save, and Judy H. none, we couldn’t afford the 150 lire to go up in the tower! We just sat on the church steps and looked at it! I really don’t see what keeps it from falling. Also went in the cathedral and went to the john and snuck out without paying the lady!
Then came THE Part. Arrived at the station where we had to wait an hour, almost didn’t get our luggage on, no porters, and then found out that we didn’t have any reserved seats! Judy S. and I were lucky. First sat with some impossible Italian fellas (one wanted my ring) and then were lucky enough to get seats in another compartment where no-one spoke English. It must have been around 98 degrees on the train and the ride lasted 10 ½ Hours! Jamie threw two sack lunches to us and when we finally arrived at our Hotel De La Paix we had another excellent dinner. We even have our own bathroom complete with bath!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the bell tower (campanile) of the city’s cathedral complex, known as Piazza del Duomo. The original architect of the structure has never been proven. The tower was designed to be 185 feet tall and is made of white marble.
Construction on the tower began in 1173. After three stories had been completed, the tower began to sink – this was due to its having been built on an unstable foundation of soft clay. Work on the tower stopped at that time and did not resume for nearly a century due to a war that broke out between the Italian city-states.
In 1272, construction resumed and engineers built additional floors with one side taller than the other in an effort to compensate for the lean. Work stopped again in 1284 due to more warfare. Construction was finally completed in 1372 with the addition of the bell chamber. The resulting structure has 294 steps on its north side and 296 steps on its south side.