7 Fun Facts About the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Europe, Italy, Travel

PRESS PLAY ABOVE TO FIND OUT 7 FUN FACTS ABOUT THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA!

We hate to ruin our undoubtedly cool image (!), but Big & Small are, well, history geeks. So, when we were deciding on a place to settle down for a few weeks in Italy, we chose the cozy, historical town of Pisa. Of course, staying in Pisa for more than 24 hours isn’t your typical itinerary. There’s usually only one bullet point on most tourists’ checklist: a peek at the world’s most famous architectural screwup, the Leaning Tower. Admittedly, this is what Big & Small did on our first trip to the town in 2015. But upon our return, we found there was much more to love about Pisa and much more to learn about its most popular attraction.

Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa, Italy

The Leaning Tower, and the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) in which it precariously stands, is far from a tourist trap; it’s a fascinating window into the rich history and stunning architecture of this beautiful corner of Tuscany. Finding ourselves drawn to the tower far more than we had ever imagined—tourist hordes be damned—we were inspired to learn more about its origins and its ability to stay standing for so many centuries. In this video, Big & Small share 7 fun facts that we discovered about the Leaning Tower, including how far it actually leans and how in the world it hasn’t yet fallen. And did you know it’s not the only thing in Pisa that stands at a tilt?

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VIDEO: See the Best of Rome in Just 3 Minutes!

Europe, Italy

There are few places left in this world where you can casually walk through 2,000 years of history. Wandering through Rome, Italy, you are constantly reminded of a storied empire that laid the foundation for Western civilization. Around every corner, you’ll run into a formidable ancient monument, grandly gilded cathedral, or priceless piece of Renaissance art. But behind all that outward splendor and beauty are tragic tales of power, religion, death, and destruction – this is history served up in all its brutal rawness.

To capture Rome in every bit of its glory, Big & Small Travel present this quick video of its highlights. We had a whirlwind two weeks in this majestic Italian city, jumping between the fringes of town to the historical center, exploring must-see attractions as well as a few hidden gems (side tip: go check out the creepy Capuchin Crypt, featuring a macabre display of skeletal remains of 4,000 friars – no pics allowed inside!). In this video, see the Colosseum, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Circus Maximus, Roman Aqueducts, Vatican City, and more.

The Romans remain proud of their city, their culture, and their pizza, of course – and you will only fully understand why after stepping foot on their stunning and sacred land.

The Colosseum

The Roman Forum

Roman Aqueducts at Appian Way Regional Park

Piazza Navona

Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

PhotoPhiles: Cinque Terre, Italy – The Italian Riviera

Europe, Italy, Travel

 

Monterosso in Cinque Terre

Monterosso in Cinque Terre

It’s hard to pick the most breathtaking spot in a country full of them, but this is one part of Italy that will truly wow you into submission. On the coast of the Italian Riviera, in the Liguria region, Cinque Terre or “The Five Lands” comprises a quintet of quaint villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The stunning and jaw-dropping architectural beauty of Cinque Terre was created over a millennium by farmers and residents. Houses and buildings rise sharply from the sea, as do intricate rows of grapevines.

Our home base while visiting Cinque Terre was in La Spezia, a mid-sized town just south of Riomaggiore. It’s a convenient and more affordable spot to stay when visiting the area, and has easy access to the train line that runs between the villages. It’s also a great base for a day trip to Pisa (just a 1-hour train ride) or even Florence (a little over 2 hours on the train). Each town has its unique flair: Be sure to purchase a hiking and train pass to make a stop at each. We recommend grabbing an espresso in Monterosso, sharing a pizza in Vernazza, slurping up a basil-olive oil gelato in Corniglia, digging into stuffed mussels in Manarola, and topping it all off with a glass of red in Riomaggiore. (Don’t worry, the steep, sometimes treacherous, hiking will burn it all off!)

Enjoy our photos and videos showcasing one of the world’s most charming corners.

Manarola: Taking in the sunset after enjoying stuffed mussels and incredible Italian red wine.

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Corniglia from the hiking trail: Primary industries here are fishing and winemaking.

Manarola: The stunning harbor and vista in the town center.

Cinque Terre Vista

Vista point from the hiking trail, near Corniglia.

Manorial: The terraces in Cinque Terre are supported by over 7000 KM of dry stone walls.

Monterosso: JCrew enjoys coffee time along the Liguria Sea.

Monterosso: The biggest town in Cinque Terre brings in the biggest crowds with its expansive sand beach.

Handstand Steph at Monterosso.

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Corniglia: The Oratory of Rocco dates from 1480.

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Riomaggiore: Hiking along the free trail, just outside the town.

Beach in Monterosso.

Monterosso: Beautiful blues line the Cinque Terre’s most northern town.

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Near Corniglia: Cinque Terre resident selling freshly squeezed orange juice along the paid trail.