By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
Livorno is Italy’s second-largest port, after Genoa.
It’s a city of some interest, although most visitors just pass through on their way to some of Italy’s most resplendent inland gems.
The Mercado of Livorno
From Livorno you can easily reach the great city of Florence (Firenze) or visit one of the world’s iconic sites, a certain tower in the town of Pisa.
Or you can head to beautiful Tuscany, Siena, and Lucca.
One of the many splendid sights of Florence is this old bridge, the Ponte Vecchio (which means, old bridge).
It’s lined with shops and tourists.
It’s also an easy way to cross over the River Arno to the Oltrarno, (Beyond the Arno) the Left Bank of Florence, the south side of the Arno.
Pisa is on the right bank of the junction of two rivers, the Arno and the Serchio, a city of about 87,500. It is a city with many impressive buildings, but truth be told almost everyone comes to see the one that is almost falling down: The Tower of Pisa.
Construction began in 1173. Almost immediately, the tower began leaning to the southeast. The reason was quickly apparent: an insubstantial foundation on loose and wet soil.
It took five years, until 1178, for the tower to reach the third floor.
Then construction was halted for almost a century.
The Pisans were unsure how to proceed, and they were distracted by wars with Genoa, Lucca, and Florence.
This was actually a stroke of good luck, since it allowed time for the underlying soil to settle. Otherwise, the tower would almost certainly have toppled.
In 1272, construction resumed. To try to compensate for the tilt, engineers built upper floors with one side taller than the other.
The tower began to lean in the other direction.
Because of this, the tower is actually curved, banana-like.
The seventh floor was completed in 1319, and the chamber with seven bells added in 1372.
In modern times, several efforts have–we hope–halted the continuing tilt and even straightened it up, just a bit.
We will return to Livorno on April 28 and I will have additional comments in my blog entry for that day.
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