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Approximately 5½ Hours
Meals not included
Standing in a large green expanse, Piazza del Duomo houses a group of monuments known the world over. These four masterpieces of medieval architecture -- the cathedral, the baptistry, the campanile (the 'Leaning Tower') and the cemetery -- had a great influence on monumental art in Italy from the 11th to the 14th century.Standing in a large green expanse, Piazza del Duomo houses a group of monuments known the world over. These four masterpieces of medieval architecture -- the cathedral, the baptistry, the campanile (the 'Leaning Tower') and the cemetery -- had a great influence on monumental art in Italy from the 11th to the 14th century.
Journey to Pisa, site of the famous Leaning Tower. This historic university town on the Arno was an important naval base in Roman times and, by the 11th century, Pisa rivaled Genoa, Amalfi and Venice as a maritime power. Pisa's trade with Africa brought Arabian scientific and artistic influences to Italy, which can be seen in the town's architecture.
Leaving the coach in Pisa, you will walk for 15 to 20 minutes to Piazza dei Miracoli -- the Field of Miracles. Step inside the 900-year-old marble cathedral with its distinctive striped black-and-white Romanesque architecture that suggests a Muslim influence. Within the cathedral are ancient columns on both sides of the nave, and a richly gilded Renaissance coffered ceiling. The pulpit was designed by Pisano and is decorated with scenes from the New Testament. The beautiful bronze lamp is said to have given Galileo the idea of the pendulum as it swung back and forth.
The marble-clad circular baptistery is also unusual, with its combination of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The baptismal font here is large enough for full immersion.
Next you will view from the outside the unmistakable Leaning Tower -- the bell tower of the nearby cathedral. The marshy ground beneath the foundation could not support the weight of the tower, which began tilting as builders reached the fourth floor. Despite numerous plans and sometimes bizarre schemes, the tower continued to lean a little more each year and was recently some 16 feet out of plumb. Current corrective efforts are extensive, and the results become apparent during your visit. Galileo used the tower for his famous gravity experiments.
Enjoy some free time before walking back to the parking area and the drive back to Portovenere.
Please note: This excursion does not enter the Leaning Tower. During high season, traffic regulations may not permit your coach to enter central Portovenere, in which case you must disembark the coach 1.5 miles outside the town and board a free shuttle service (city bus) to return to the town center. Use of an audio headset (included) will enhance your tour experience.