Pisa

August 15th – We jumped next to Pisa, because of the Leaning Tower (Torre pendente di Pisa) and its proximity to Florence — easy travel. The Field of Miracles (Campo dei Miracoli) was packed. I felt like such a tourist, but Amber insisted we max out the photo opportunity with as many different poses as we could think of before the heat drove us into the shade. Amber was never afraid to pull out her “Asian grandma” umbrella, to shield us from the sun’s rays. There are four great religious edifices in that walled-in plaza: the Cathedral, the Baptistry, the Campanile (the bell tower), and the Monumental Cemetery.

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A lot of businesses were closed in August, so half the places we walked to would end up just being exercise (not a bad idea, burning off all the carbohydrates). But oh, what carbs! One cool foodie discovery: Farinata di ceci (or as I learned it, cecìna), a flattened, fried chickpea food of deliciousness. We couldn’t find it this time, but I had included a photo from a previous visit. I also posted a springtime photo I took of the edible flower buds of the caper bush (caper berries are the ones we usually see garnishing a dish). This visit, I could not find the statue of the wolf nursing Romulus and Remus, the twins who were abandoned and would grow to fight over the founding of Rome (you can tell who won by the name).

Best dessert: gelato and granita at Gelateria De’ Coltelli (Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, 23, 56100 Pisa PI, Italy). Granita is semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and fruit flavorings, and tastes like a delicious, fresh slush Italian ice. Mine had Myrtle berry skins in it!

Best dinner: Osteria San Paolo (Via S. Paolo, 16, 56100 Pisa PI, Italy). A bit fancy, just south of the Arno river, but the wild boar stew with polenta was so tasty, and the ravioli hit just the right spot pasta-wise. We both ordered dessert but the winner was clearly the orange ricotta cake.

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The river Arno

One panorama: Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, with a Cosimo I Medici statue in front, standing in the Piazza dei Cavalieri, where the first Medici palace stood.

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~Jessica

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