Thursday, July 14, 2011



Livorno, Italy was the second port of call on our Mediterranean Cruise. Though many tour options were available, we chose to tour Pisa because it was relatively short (around 4 hours) whereas the tour to Florence or a tour to both Pisa and Florence were more than double that. We also knew that we had booked a ten hour tour to Rome the following day and another in Pompeii the day after that and we didn't want to push ourselves four days in a row.

Of course, the Tower of Pisa was the main attraction. Construction on the bell tower was started in 1173 but by the time the second floor was added in 1178, the tower began to sink on one side due to a small foundation on unstable subsoil. Work was halted for a century or so after which the architects started constructing one side taller than the other. The bell chamber at the top was finally added in 1372, 199 years after the tower was started. According to our tour guide, in the early 1990s the tower started to sway so it was closed to the public as engineers tried to figure out how to keep it standing. Apparently, it is now stable and is open to the public once again.

The first group of photos show the Cathedral and Tower and gives a good idea of how far it leans - 3.9 m (12 feet 10 in) from vertical. There were many people posing in front of the tower pretending to be holding it up or pushing it over. I got a kick out of this and photographed many people getting their photos taken in a variety of weird positions all around the tower. I saw young woman standing on a post pretending to hold up the tower with one hand. This image was taken in monochrome mode accidentally - I had two cameras and a radio receiver around my neck and changed the shooting mode without realizing it.

When photographing tall structures with a wide angle lens, it is difficult to keep proper perspective. Combine this with a tower and buildings that are leaning, sometimes in different directions, it becomes a challenge. Some of my photos actually exaggerate how far the tower is actually leaning.

Photos of the Day are for sale as stock photographs
and photographic enlargements.
They can also be purchased as slide shows
and/or wallpapers/screensavers.

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