Day 180 – Italy Travel Diary: Day 5 – Pisa Day Trip

Hello Yearlings!

We started out our morning under very claustrophobic circumstances by making our way to the top of the dome on the Duomo. It was a tight fit but totally worth it and incredibly gorgeous. A lot of parts of the church are under repair or getting cleaned in preparation for the Pope’s visit in 2016 so a lot was covered from the outside, but from the viewpoint of the dome you can see all of Florence and it’s glorious. Mind you it is something like 500 steps to the top and another 500 down in wall to wall people and at certain points there is no access to the staircase that leads down so you have to push yourself against the wall so that the people that have already gone up can come down. You get real friendly. But, if you don’t fear heights or small spaces then it’s definitely an experience worthy of the exertion.

Be warned getting close enough to the railing to take a picture is nigh impossible as that's where all the tourists congregate to take selfies.
Be warned getting close enough to the railing to take a picture is nigh impossible as that’s where all the tourists congregate to take selfies.

After that we were off to visit Pisa, which had originally been part of our plans for tomorrow but I’m glad that we did it today instead. I wouldn’t want to have been rushed through in an attempt to see too many things all in one day. We had no plan whenever we got there so really the whole Pisa thing was sort of fly by the seat of our pants and we actually got lost a few times, which was stressful but all part of the experience. I’m not really sure what I was expecting from Pisa but I think I enjoyed it a lot more than I had initially intended.

This trip has turned me into even more of a coffee fiend than I already was. It works wonders to stave off jet lag and exhaustion from walking up and down stairs all morning long.
This trip has turned me into even more of a coffee fiend than I already was. It works wonders to stave off jet lag and exhaustion from walking up and down stairs all morning long.

It was an incredibly peaceful experience, despite all the tourists. I don’t know if they don’t allow tours or if we just came at the right time but there weren’t any swarms of people congregating in all the walkways inconveniencing everyone. Also, as I might not have mentioned yet, every remotely busy square and street in the whole of Italy is apparently infested with individuals attempting to sell selfie sticks, roses and knockoff handbags. This all stops, however, once you pass the gates of the church. They’re not allowed inside so you can enjoy the architecture without having to ward off impostor Prada. It makes it one of the more enjoyable church visits by far.

Turns out it's bigger than it looks in all the tourist pictures of people pretending to hold it up.
Turns out it’s bigger than it looks in all the tourist pictures of people pretending to hold it up.

I had no idea how prevalent all of the differently colored marbles were, but apparently they’re native to the area and can be found in, around or on the facade of basically every major church in Tuscany from what I can tell. Sandstone, marble and terra cotta all seem to be basic staples of the construction all throughout Florence and you can usually tell how old something is by what stone they chose to use. I’ve also noticed a lot of very new buildings that were built in a specific style to make them look older. Please note that as this is Italy “new” is a relative term meaning probably between 100 and 200 years old.

The church itself is beautiful, as is the baptistry in matching marbles.
The church itself is beautiful, as is the baptistry in matching marbles.

My fitbit is very happy with me as I managed a solid 27,000 steps today. My body doesn’t seem to actually know what vacation is and when we got back from Pisa I ate a gigantic meal and contemplated the good fortune that we were vacationing in a spot known as the chianti region. I have yet to taste a single wine since our arrival in Florence that has done anything short of blow me away. I wish I had brought more luggage so I could take back more wine, but I suppose the space I have will have to do.

Lots of Love,

Maya

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