We arrived in Livorno during the early morning hours. Our excursion started at 8am so we ordered room service for breakfast. At 8:15 we met our guide who would take us on a bus from the port city of Livorno to Pisa.
We rode the 60 minute ride to Pisa on a two lane road originally built by the Romans. Pisa is only 30 kilometers from Livorno so the ride should have taken less time. The problem is that Pisa is the employment center for many of Livorno’s citizens and also the home of a major Italian University. Additionally, the road is the access to two large military bases, one Italian and one American. The result is bumper to bumper rush hour traffic. Our guide use this time to give us information about Pisa.
Once we reached Pisa, we were handed off to an older faster talking, faster walking Italian woman who would be our guide while at the Piazza del Duomo. The Piazza del Duomo is where the Baptistery, Cathedral, and leaning tower are located.
We began at the Baptistery of Saint John’s, completed in 1363. The dome is held up by six solid marble columns and two square columns constructed of marble blocks. The structure houses a baptismal font that full immersion baptisms were performed and a pulpit constructed with ornate marble sculptures. It has no other decorations but there are interesting plates in the floor which I think must be covers for graves.
Exiting the Baptistery, we proceeded to tour the Cathedral which was dedicated to Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It opened in the year 1092.
The Cathedral is constructed in the shape of a cross. There are two alcoves and a main alter. One of the alcoves hold the remains of the patron St. Ranieri which are displayed in a glass coffin above the alter. Many of the columns supporting the roof were “recycled” from other parts of the world. Some are solid one piece columns like those in the Baptistery, others like those use in Greece. Very little of the interior furnishings are original because the roof and interior furnishings were destroyed in a fire during the 1500’s.
I really would have liked to stay in the cathedral longer but our guide flapped her mouth so long while we were outside the cathedral we were short of time.
After we left the Cathedral, were had free time to wander around and view the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower is a self standing bell tower for the Cathedral. It’s construction was completed 1399. It leans because the one side of it’s foundation is sinking and continues to do so. We couldn’t go into the tower because tickets were required and we didn’t have time to go if we wanted to.
While we waited for our guide to lead us back to the bus we had an expresso. Babs was a little clumsy with hers.
Having returned to our ship, I took a nap. Babs, Tinker, and Vidal took a walk through Livorno to see it’s canals and shops. There is also a medieval fort that guards the harbor.
Tomorrow we go to Rome!
Babs Says: The leaning tower really does lean! I thought maybe all the pictures I had seen had been photo shopped.