Everyone has somewhere that they’d rather spend time in summer than anywhere else. With family, a nature park, the beach–places where you were either out of, or in conditions that made the blistering heat more bearable, you probably wouldn’t stray much farther. Mine is an exotic local with a variety of locations that I’ve only visited once and can’t easily visit again.
The university that I attended had a study abroad program. In my Junior year the stars aligned, God smiled, and–despite being poorer than a door mouse–I got to go. Where to, you ask? To the place that gave us wine, pasta, and pizza, to the birthplace of the Roman Empire. You guessed it. Italy.
We were based in Florence, but there were plenty of excursions to other locales both far and distant. One of my favorites was Pisa, Italy, the home of the world famous ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa.’
For those of you who don’t know, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually a bell tower, part of the Cattedrale di San Ranieri. It was built on a poor foundation which caused it to sink and start to ‘lean’ before multiple attempts were enacted to reinforce the tower. It was also an alleged lookout post for the Nazis during WWII and would’ve been destroyed if the fated air strike hadn’t been called off.
My friends and I explored the grounds. We went into the cathedral, the baptistry, and even the Camposonto–an impressive burial sight with marble tombstones that is alleged to be holy ground, on account that dirt from Golgotha was brought back during the crusades and buried there. Alas, I did not go into the tower. The officials charged twenty euros to take the dangerous trek up it’s winding and worn stairs. It was money that I lacked, especially to risk a broken neck over. Still, it was wonderful to admire and impressive that–even with human assistance–it was still standing after all this time. I did take photos of it, and yes, some of them were ‘leaning’ photos. I just tried to have more class about it.
I used my head. What can I say? I’ve always been told I had a thick skull.