Travelling to Tuscany was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had. I toured to Pisa, Montecatini and Florence. I’d heard so much about the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” that getting off the bus that day in Pisa was a tick off my bucket list! I loved the old streets, the ancient buildings and the history around this very interesting area. The tower is the campanile (or freestanding bell tower) of the town’s cathedral, known worldwide for its unintended tilt to one side. Apparently the tilt began during construction in 1173 when the ground was too soft on one side to properly support the structure’s weight. The tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed, and gradually increased until the structure was stabilized by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Our tour guide explained that it took 800 years to completely finish construction! In the town, it stands in the famous Piazza Dei Miracoli - The “field of miracles”. During World War II, Pisa found itself under German control and the tower was used as an observation post – a perfect location given the flat, coastal terrain surrounding Pisa. Below is a picture of it in 1943. After our day trip to Pisa, we traveled to nearby wine farm Fattoria Il Poggio for lunch. A lovely farm only 40 minutes away, I would recommend going there if you find yourself in this gorgeous area in central Italy. We soon headed back to the capital, Florence.
A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance. It has been called “the Athens of the Middle Ages”. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1982. I’ll never forget visiting the house where Michelangelo grew up!