This past weekend, 6 of us boarded a train to Pisa for a day trip. Our mission: to see the leaning tower of Pisa and the Piazza dei Miracoli up close and in person.
Once we arrived, we walked a straight line down the center street and turned a corner. What we saw in the distance we couldn’t believe. Right in front of us was the tower. As we got closer, we shielded our eyes from the glare of the sun against the towers white limestone. It didn’t seem real. The sky was too blue, the tower too pristine. Were we really standing in Pisa, Italy, in front of this incredible Italian monument? It appeared so. To give ourselves time to take it in, we sat in the shade of the tower and ate lunch.
Later we walked around the Piazza to see the Baptistry and Cathedral as well, careful to not run into anyone standing with their arms outstretched, taking the typical tourist picture of themselves holding up the leaning tower. Which of course we eventually did as well, even though we knew our Italian teacher back at SRISA would cringe. What kind of tourists would we be if we didn’t?
Being constantly surrounded by historic, beautiful, one of a kind architecture here in Italy, I wonder how it will feel to return home to Midwest America, where the tallest buildings are skyscrapers. They are impressive in their own way, sure, but when you compare it to something like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Duomo, skyscrapers don’t stand a chance. They have no intricate detail, there is no question of “how was this built by human hands?” Until my departure, all I can do is let my eyes wander until they close from exhaustion. But I will fight to keep them open, because I know I have so much more I need to see.