About a 1 hour drive from Villa Rosa is the city of Pisa, most famous for its Leaning Tower, a free-standing campanile or bell tower. Work on the Leaning Tower began in 1173 and it started to lean almost immediately as a result of the area’s sandy foundations. Many architects toiled over this engineering dilemma, all with little success until, in 2001 a solution was found. After more than a decade of being covered in scaffolding, the landmark is once again open to the public. The secret to enjoying the famous tower is to arrive in the early morning before the hoards of tourists and secondly as the temperatures can be quite intense during the summer months.
Next to the tower stand the elegant 11th-century Gothic Cathedral and Baptistry. They are all located on Campo dei Miracoli (the Field of Miracles), a remarkable expanse of meadow in the city’s north western corner and represent the most important example of Pisan Romanesque style. Nearby, the 13th-century Camposanto is a cemetery contained within a unique collonaded courtyard, said to have been built to enclose earth brought from Jerusalem by the Crusaders. Few medieval groupings are as beautiful and few so beautifully framed by their surroundings.
Many tourists pass by
After visiting the many attractions, visitors usually end up in the heart of the city, Via Fillungo. The city’s appealing main street is a pleasure to walk, a meeting place full of shops and cafes. At the end of the street you will find Piazza del Antiteatro, its oval shape reflects the origins of the Roman Amphitheatre that stood here until the 12th Century. Ransacked over the centuries, the stone from the theatre was used to build the city's churches and palaces. Slum housing covered the piazza until 1830 when it was ordered to be cleared by the ruler of the city at the time, Marie Louise. It was then that the original shape was revealed, a reminder of the city’s Roman heritage. Low archways still mark the place where the gladiators would have entered the arena. Today the piazza is a collection of charming ramshackle buildings, featuring many small boutique type shops and trendy cafes – a picturesque place to stop that never ceases to amaze and fascinate its visitors. No trip to
The city of Parma was most probably founded and named by the Etruscans. The Roman colony was founded in 183BC and had a certain importance as a road hub with a central forum in Garibaldi Square. Parma is the home of one of the oldest universities in Italy - the University of Parma. It is divided in two parts by the little stream with the same name.
The Cathedral (Duomo) and Baptistry (Battistero) of Parma