Pisan Leans on Rick for his Stance on Tower
We like it when local pride drives a thoughtful European to set Rick straight. While Rick has reported that Pisa's tipsy tower is a touristy stop, this Pisan thinks very strongly that Rick is wrong. (Rick actually agrees with him. The next edition of his Italy guidebook will reflect a more respectful take on the Leaning Tower.)
|This leaning tower deserves more respect, according to one Pisan.|
I appreciated your nice comments on Pisa's "three important " monuments, the lawn of the Piazza dei Miracoli, and the fact that you admit that Pisa is not just the Tower that should be seen.
But that shouldn't allow you to call the Tower a cliche! Hello?! It's still in the books as one of the 7 wonders of the world — I think that the whole Piazza del Duomo should be called that — and that may be as well be why there is more tourism and souvenirs stands. But let's just get to exactly that. As a Pisan, I was offended by your tasteless putdown of the touristy effort there. The souvenir stands are the "tackiest in Italy?" "This spectacle is tourism at its most crass?" Hey! Who the heck are you to say that? The Italian minister for the "beni culturali?" But most of all, how dare you add "wear gloves?" What was that about? It sounded to me as typical foolish sensationalism, if not worse.
Should I remind you that the people that are behind the stands are but descendants of the geniuses that built those monuments? Those stands don't even bother the visitors' view of the Piazza dei Miracoli, because they are all lined up on the other side of the street, which is out of the lawn. No, I don't own a stand there, but I know the town well because I was born there and lived there my first 30 years of my life and my house there is still a 15-minute walk from the Tower. Should I remind you that Percy Bysshe Shelley — the English poet — lived in Pisa in his later years (died in Viareggio), and while he was in Pisa he was so inspired that he wrote three of his best poems, including the famous "To a skylark?" He didn't think Pisa was a "touristy quickie" — he lived there for many years! Also, in trying to describe the other "few things" that people should see in Pisa, you forgot the little gem of a church on the Arno, the Chiesa S. Maria della Spina, and of course the Giardino Scotto, and the Navi Romane new museum, and some of the beautiful palazzi on the Lungarni, and the other churches of interest, S. Paolo a Ripa D'Arno and S.Paolo all'Orto, and the Piazza dei Cavalieri, and the Parco di S.Rossore, etc.
And let's limit ourselves only to what's right in town. Also if you like to mention Pisa's time of medieval greatness and power, you should also tell about the 4 "Repubbliche Marinare" and name who they were, that is: Venice, Genoa, Pisa & Amalfi. Shall I also have you notice — you must have traveled a lot, but I probably did more than you — that the souvenir stands are everywhere in the world where there are famous sites, including the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt, and that at least in Pisa the vendors at the souvenir stands are unobtrusive, polite and patient, without waving their goods in front of your face as they obnoxiously do in thousands of other places out of Italy? Why couldn't you notice that? What really happened to you in Pisa? You couldn't get your favorite souvenir cheaper? Shall I finally remind you that the highest financial exploitation of anything famous is right here in America? If they did in Europe all that they do here to raise a buck or two more, they'd be three times richer than they are. And perhaps three times as tacky. But I love America for a lot of other things. Just don't get on my nerves with your sense of false superiority. "Wear gloves?" Gucci or Armani? You should wear glasses, and if you already do, thicker ones.
Un pisano orgoglioso.