The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually the Bell Tower of Pisa Cathedral. It’s famous around the world as it leans, however it was not designed to lean. Due to the soft ground of Pisa the heavy Bell Tower began to visibly lean. Pisa is actually Greek for ‘marshy land’. At the end of the 20th century it was in danger of falling over. There wasn’t any money available to stop it from leaning further. Fortunately it became a UNESCO site. UNESCO came up with the money required to stop it from collapsing completely. It is now secure and you can climb the stairs to the top. As you walk towards the the tower you’ll see many tourists posing. They are making their Instagram photos so it looks like they are supporting the tower.
You may remember the Superman III movie from 1983. Superman (Christopher Reeve) pushes the tower so it is straight again.
The official name of Pisa Cathedral in Italian is ‘Duomo di Pisa’. Pisa cathedral was completed in 1092 after 30 years of construction. The Bell Tower took over 200 years to complete. All monuments are located outside the city walls of Pisa. They were built here to show the rest of the world the power of Pisa. Pisa had no fear of being attacked.
The baptistery is over 54 meters tall making it the tallest in Italy. Its architectural style is Romanesque in the lower half. The upper half is of Gothic style. Like the nearby leaning tower, the baptistery is also leaning. As it’s a chunkier building you cannot see the lean.
The square in which the bell tower, cathedral, baptistery and cemetery are located is known as the Square of miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli). In the northern section is the cemetery. Camposanto Monumentale is the official name for the cemetery. You’re probably in Pisa to see the leaning tower. Seeing the tower guarantees you’ll see the baptistery and cathedral. In addition you must go see the less visited cemetery (above center).
Whilst you’re in Pisa it’s worth taking a walk around the city. The Arno river passes through Florence before Pisa. It’s calmer as it passes through Pisa. As a result you can take some perfect reflection shots over the river. Pisa is lined with colorful houses so you’re guaranteed to make popular Instagram photos.
The oldest and largest village in Cinque Terre is Monterosso. In addition it’s the Cinque Terre village with the best beach. As well as the beach it has the colorful houses Cinque Terre is famous for. I did not visit Monterosso as part of the tour. However, I was still able to photograph it from Vernazza.
There are plenty of the colorful houses you came to Cinque Terre to see in Vernazza. For me it offered the most picturesque street of colorful houses in the region. The bay offers a beautiful reflection photo of the colorful houses. Alongside these houses is St. Margaret of Antioch church. You’ll also find a couple of small beaches in Vernazza.
The village famous for colorful houses packed on a cliff edge is Manarola. As part of the tour you’ll be shown the best viewpoint. Have you seen pictures on Instagram from Cinque Terre? It’s likely they were taken from this viewpoint. I was there in winter and the sun was a little low. This resulted in a lot of shade over the colorful houses. If you visit around summer time you’ll get a stronger colorful house image than mine (above).
Like its neighbor Manarola, Riomaggiore also has a famous Instagram location. In Riomaggiore you’ll see tourists paddling in the rocky beach. They are actually searching for the best angle to photograph the colorful houses. As a result of there being so many colorful houses in Riomaggiore, you’re guaranteed that perfect Instagram shot.
Enjoy your day trip to Pisa and Cinque Terre from Florence
This Pisa and Cinque Terre day trip is guaranteed to brighten up your Instagram feed!