I would like you to bear with me as I take you on a brief tour of the lovely towns and villages that we visited on our recent trip to Tuscany. I will dedicate this first post to Pisa, which we used as a base to reach the other places on our itinerary.
As soon as I walked through the main gate in Pisa’s walls, I was immediately struck by the vast square known as Piazza dei Miracoli. In the crisp air the distant mountains seemed to be almost within reach and the sun’s rays made the Duomo, Baptistery and leaning Tower, all made of white Carrara marble, gleam and shine, setting them apart from the more traditional ochres and terracottas of the rest of the buildings.
The tower, of course, is the most famous landmark, easily eclipsing the other two beautiful buildings simply because it is leaning over although it is beautiful in its own right too.
Also in this square is the Camposanto Monumentale, a vast cemetery with a Gothic façade.
Various narrow streets lead off Piazza dei Miracoli into the heart of Pisa. A short walking distance away is the Borgo district, the medieval core of the city. It is an area of narrow arcaded streets, lined with shops and cafeterias, which lead to the Arno River. The medieval architecture and the attention to little details provided me with many photo opportunities:
Even fallen stucco seemed beautiful, as if it had purposely been removed to create an opportunity for the dormant artist in me to rise to the surface.
Because whenever I am in Italy, it seems as if all my senses come alive and I feel that I should take up a brush and paint the scene, even though I have never attempted a single painting in my life. It is as if even the dilapidated and the shabby have a beauty of their own and it is hard to use the word ‘ugly’ to describe anything.Each street had its own little treasure.
A tiny chapel
Or a larger church
An unexpected Piazza in the midst of a maze of narrow winding streets
And palaces with ornate facades
I wandered around until I reached the banks of the Arno. It was almost sunset and the setting sun brought out the ambers, yellows and browns of the buildings, providing a colourful contrast to the sky and the dark blue waters of the flowing river.
The white façade of the Gothic church of the Holy Thorn is like a milky pearl amongst more exuberant jewels.
Then, in the last rays of the fast-setting sun, it was time to visit Piazza dei Miracoli once again, to see the ornate white buildings change colour to a rosy hue before darkness fell over the medieval city.