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This morning we went back to the local cafe for breakfast just before a major rush of French folks came in. Our timing was impeccable, the poor staff got overrun and we still got food and tea just before everything ran out. I learned I can survive on 2 espresso instead of my usual 3. Rough life I know.

We checked out and drove into Carrara. We had seen the marble quarries from the AutoStrada and decided to try and get closer. It was amazing to see how they do it. We saw from afar but still nice to know where things like white marble counter tops come from.

On our way through town we saw a marble museum or some building with marble guys out front. We just stopped to shoot the photos. I forgot to look what was actually inside.

And in the piazza was some woman with naked kids running around below.

Very pretty to have just sort of there. But then if the source of the marble is just up the hill and I'm sure a few guys who know how to chisel it are local, it makes sense.

Here is a better shot of the rental. 140KM/hr is just not fast in that wagon.

Once that was done we were back to regularly scheduled touring. Off to Pisa to see that tower everyone knows about.

It was pretty cool to actually be there. And yes there were tons of toursits doing the stupid tourist thing holding up the tower. And yes we did too.

 

Ryan decided that some 14 year old humour was in order. I must admit I supported (and took) the shot

The Tower of Pisa is 56 meters tall. It was built as the bell tower for the cathedral. Work started in 1372 but took 199 years to complete. The builders made a mistake, and the water table is very high, so the tower started to lean by the time they had built up to the third level. Oops. They stopped construction for a while, then tried to correct and continue. You will notice that the building is not actually straight, but has a kink where they corrected the angle. 296 steps to the top, and we did feel the lean!

From the bottom looking straight up when we were inside.

Marble carving at the top and the bells that are still used today.

Us at the top to prove we did it.
 
 

Fallen angel? Maybe he fell off the tower!

 

 

There is also the Duomo (Cathedral) which is beautiful.

 

And the Baptistery of St John, built between 1152 and 1363. Supposed to be great acoustics inside but there was a huge line and we were tight to get our climb for the tower. The octagonal font dates from 1246 and the pulpit built on 7 columns with lions. Next time we might stop in.

 

 

The walls of the city surround one side of the property. Lions guard the walls too.

By now it's 3pm so it must be lunch time right? Down the block for a nice lunch.

Eric reminded us we had not yet had Gelato today. We must fix that he says.

 

Then back to the car for a 90 minute drive to Florence. Tonight we are at the Alba Hotel. Great room. Loft for the boys with a deck overlooking the courtyard. And fast wifi. Very important these days.

Dinner was at I Quattro Amici which is an Association of Italian Celiac member. That means a totally separate menu for Eric. He was amazed it was 6 pages long. And it was good. We will go back.

Tomorrow we are off to Monteriggioni which is a medieval walled town that just so happens is having a festival. Thanks to Kris' amazing planning we are here for the last day of the festival. It also happens to be the headquarters of the Firenze family in Assassins Creed 2. A video game Ryan spent a few hours playing. We told him you can't really climb the walls with a grappling hook.

 

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