the tower, my souvenir & a history of footsteps.

pisa. i took a day trip out to see the leaning tower. it's funny, it's such a common image that i've seen all throughout my life and when i realized i'd be fairly close to it i was overwhelmed with excitement to see it in person. this really amused me. i was excited to see the leaning tower of pisa. i had no real idea.

so i drive to pisa and i get there easily enough, it was about an hour and a half from where i was staying. but the funny thing is, is that when i drive into pisa, i think "oh, i'll just look for the tower looming over the city and drive to it." wrong. nothing is all that tall in italy, well at least where i was. so, i drove straight by the tower about 3 times until i stopped and actually realized i couldn't see it.

but first i did just stop into town and grab a bite to eat. ravioli, delicious. pisa was cool. it was by far the most chic place i visited in italy. the women actually stood out to me there. it just struck me as fashionable unlike the other places i had seen. this is just my experience and opinion.

so, get to the piazza dei miracoli (the miracle square) and as i enter i realize how short this thing actually is. i mean, it's not tiny, i guess i was just looking for something reminiscent of the buildings i'm used to in philadelphia. but, nonetheless, it is absolutely gorgeous. i mean, it's clean, white. beautiful and in this square that houses a basilica, a cathedral and a huge crypt. the grass is beautiful and i find out later that this park is also known for it lush green natural carpet.

and all the tourists are lined up taking pictures of themselves pretending to push the tower over or pretending to lean against it. i opt to not do this. after all, i am alone.

so i get my ticket and go in and what immediately strikes me is how the stairs are worn away as each tourist walks up and down them and favors the side in which the tower leans. it's super cool to me, this history. a history of footsteps. not only do we have this beautiful tower with this great story (the tower began to lean during construction in 1178.-_it took 177 years to complete this bell tower-and it wasn't until 1990 that the tower was stabilized in the ground as to not tilt any further) but, we have this path we all walk as we ascend to the peak for an absolutely lovely and for those with a fear of heights ( slightly nauseating view of the city of pisa and this miracle square.

and so i saw it & it was funny to me & it impressed me & i bought my first souvenir that day- a miniature leaning tower of pisa for 3 euro. it made me laugh, i was alone and i walked back to the rental car in hysterics at it all.

st peter's basilica

i never want to forget the feelings of walking into these spaces.
5 years ago i traveled to england and france and never thought i'd see a
cathedral more beautiful than san chapelle. but it's funny as much as i loved that space
and even remember entering that room nothing takes the cake as st. peter's did.

but, i've been thinking about then and now. 5 years ago, where was i? in school, my 4th year (it took me 6 years to put myself through college- working and studying 7 days a week for most of that 6) i was 31 and had 7 years sober. but, in many ways i still was contained in a bubble. i don't remember feeling so moved by anything. is it time or is it that i have become more in tune with myself and my feelings or the combination of these things? regardless, i was extremely moved when i entered the basilica.

immediately, i viewed the pieta'. i'm not including the picture because i dislike the reflections in it (it's covered in glass) and as remarkable a piece of work that it is (especially that michelangelo completed it when he was 23) as i turn and take in all the grandeur of this space i am again moved to tears, my breath is taken and i cannot even seem to move my feet.

stunned by the beauty. absolutely prolific.

and i am aware that i am dead in my tracks and every time i go to take a few steps, i am stunned to stop and take in the glory of this space and all that it contains. you don't have to be pilgrim or religious or spiritual in any way to understand. this is beyond beautiful.

but, this will be the last i write about getting all weepy over art and space. in fact i will add what did get my feet moving was a "security guard" who was following me. young Italian kid circling me and i thought, "really... in here... the way i'm feeling right now? leave me alone"

Italian men, another blog. strange birds in deed.

i had to shoot several dirty looks in st. peter's to get my point across that this was NOT okay.

but again, i digress. i will say that when i see something on a tour, i am usually done with it. onto the next destination. i don't really like to revisit the same places again and again but i would absolutely return to this destination.