Monday, June 11, 2012


Kathy Tseu (via iPhone)
I+TS, U of THere we are, in Pisa, looking at the newly spruced up leaning tower. First available time to climb tower is 5 pm when we asked. We are not sraying that long, so just a visit to the cathedral before we keave. The cathedral does not lean-just iPhone lens distortion. Windy, but sunny and not too hot. Later.

 -----  update ----
So, it is later now - June 23 to be precise.  I figured I might as well provide the update here instead of posting a new page.  This blog is confusing enough as it is.
We had a quick breakfast in the village before packing up and leaving.  Our hostess, Lorenza came over with her car to drive us over to our parked car.

View of sea and garden from the B&B

Casa Lorenza, our B&B.  We had the apartment on the main floor.  Four Australians had the second floor.  We never met them - I guess they left early to hike the trails.

Irene, Florine and Petros with Lorenza at the parking pad.
We packed our car and left Riomaggiore for a drive further up the mountains.  It was quite foggy in spots as we got higher up the mountain.

Fog up in the mountain 

View of Corniglia with Manarola on the left.
When we would not go any further up the mountain, we turned back and drove down to La Spezia.

Fairly typical building in La Spezia

Price of gas and diesel in La Spezia - I saw a lot of Esso and Shell stations.

View from the car in La Spezia - I think it is still part of La Spezia.
From La Spezia, we drove to Pisa.  It was not a very long drive and traffic was pretty good.  We are really thankful that we have a GPS in the car.  It have been very difficult trying to find our way around with it.  This GPS is pretty good too - we have named it Bonnie - it tells us where the speed check cameras together with the speed limit.  Only annoying thing is she beeps whenever you go 3 kms over the speed limit.  I guess that's the whole idea - annoy you into not exceeding the limit.

Signpost - this one is not bad.  Some are so crowded with all kinds of restaurant and other signs that makes it really difficult to see which direction you should be going.

At the gates to La Piazza del Duomo
Map of La Piazza del Duomo

Shops and street vendors in the Piazza

Baptistry, Duomo and Tower
Duomo and Tower

Scale model of the piazza with the buildings and wall


Leaning Tower of Pisa.  We did not go up the tower as the first available slot was at  5:00 pm and we did not plan on being in Pisa for that long.

After a quick look around, it was time for lunch.  We found a nice restaurant in a street off the main thoroughfare and had a great lunch.

Proscuitto without melon

Farro soup

Pasta dish - we forgot to photograph the meat dish before we ate it.  Bad food porn people.  We generally order a bunch of dishes which we share.  That way, nobody misses out on any of the different dishes and flavours.  So far, that has worked out really well.  Why would anyone want to be stuck with one dish when all the other dishes look so good too?
After lunch, we went into the duomo.  The inside is pretty awesome - lots of statues and frescoes.  The ceiling is quite amazing.  This is where my new camera really paid off.  It takes pretty good photos in low light.  Now all I need to do is improve on my framing.

View from the main door of the cathedral/duomo.  I shot this picture in between tour groups.

Ceiling inside the cathedral

The Pulpit of Giovanni Pisano, built between 1302 and 1310.  Great artistry takes time.  No expense was spared in the creation of the pulpit.

The altar

Fresco at the altar

One of the many frescoes in the cathedral
I think this is St. Ranieri's body.  According to Rick Steves, Pisa's patron saint lises mummified, encased in silve at his head and feet.  The silver, mask-like face dates from 2000 and is derived from a FBI-style compute scan of Ranieri's skull.

Painting on the ceiling of the duomo

Upper gallery of the duomo, where the women worshipped.
Florine and Petros also went to the Baptistry.  They were impressed by the sound effects within the building. after that, we left the piazza for our car.  Of course, we needed the help of a gelato to ease our walk to the parking lot.

Irene with her gelato
We had planned to visit Lucca, a walled city not too far away, but we took longer at Pisa than we had anticipated and it was pretty hot so we decided to head back to the villa.  Before we left on our Venice and Cinque Terre trip, we had made arrangements for the villa to cook dinner for us.  We came 'home' to a great dinner of roasted chicken, potato salad, farro soup and chocolate cake.

A very hearty soup indeed
Potato salad

Chocolate cake
We had a great time in Venice and Cinque Terre.  But it was nice to come back to the villa and have a little down time.

View from Villa Aureli

Looking down at the garden

Looking down at the garden from our apartment at the villa.  A flock of sheep grazes in the pasture beyond the gate.

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