A recent trip away with my other half prompted the writing of this piece.
We were on a long-awaited cruise; cancelled twice because of COVID19.
The trip was to take us over 786 nautical miles from Southampton docks to Rome and back. We visited seven countries, including Vatican City, areas of Spain, France and Italy.
I shall focus on the two stops we made in Italy – the first being the Field of Miracles, where we found the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the second, the Vatican City, sitting in the capitol of Rome. We chose these two places because they interested us the most.
We did not leave the ship to visit all ports on the itinerary, but Pisa and Rome were two of the three that we did.
For different reasons I want to tell you about these wonderful places.
THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA
Pisa is in the Provence of Tuscany, Northern Italy. We headed to the Field of Miracles where the Leaning Tower of Pisa sits (and lean it does, as you can see below):
There were crowds of visitors that day, but the sun was shining, and the sky was blue; we were also happy to get the exercise.
Held within the same area stands two grand structures made in part of the famous Italian marble. They all exude grandeur. The cathedral in the picture stands to the left of the tower on entering the complex. You enter from the far end of this scene…
Pisa’s main tourist attractions are the leaning Tower Cathedral, Baptistery, and Campo Santo. All are close together and comprise a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Pisa Cathedral is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral. It is the oldest of the three structures in the Plaza. Its construction began in 1063 and was completed in 1092. You can see the cathedral behind the tower above.
You may be interested to know that a number of famous people were born in that region of Tuscany:
Leonardo Da Vinci
Galileo Galilei in Piza
THE VATICAN CITY
The second stop in Italy was Rome. We took a trip to the Vatican City, the smallest country in the world. We walked from our coach to St. Peter’s Square.
See the photograph below showing the lovely architecture within the square, and straight ahead you can see the window where the Pope stands to deliver his Sunday message. [See the top window slightly to the right of my head.] We had just missed the highlight of the Pope delivering his Sunday address, as when we arrived, visitors were leaving in throngs.
We regret not having enough time to visit the museums or the cathedral due to long queues.
Within the square stands a glorious sculpture dedicated to migrants called “Angels Unaware.” It is a boat cast in bronze by the Canadian artist, Timothy P. Schmalz, depicting 140 migrants ranging from a Jewish man escaping Nazi Germany, to a Syrian refugee, fleeing the civil war. The boat faces in the direction towards St. Peter’s Basilica. The statue depicts the inclusion of every migrant experience over the centuries. Humanity has always experienced migration; inclusive of all races, cultures and religions.
The 20-foot sculpture is the most awe-inspiring piece. The artist was influenced by the passage, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
I was profoundly affected, not just by the amazingly beautiful Vatican City, but also by this bronze cast statue. It serves as a reminder of all the migrants fleeing countries suffering conflict today.
Joy M. Lilley (aka Joy Gerken) May 2022