Tales from Italy - Day 6 - April 27th, 2005

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Today we took a tour to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

It was much more impressive in person than anything that I have ever seen in pictures. I took a wonderful video of a guard singing in the Baptistery, which has a "perfect" echo due to the architectural design. I signed my mother and I up for a climb to the top of the Tower and she was such a trooper. Mom made it all the way to one level below the top and I of course climbed all the way to the top to touch the flag. What a spectacular view of the Cathedra, Baptistery, surrounding town of Pisa and the Alps in the background. Just plain impressive.

We had some time to kill before we had to get back on the train, so we shopped the booths along the wall - mom bought a really nice leather purse and I've added to the snow globe collection. We then decided we need a few more pounds on our body and went to the gelato stand. OH MY GOODNESS.... this was the best "ice cream" I have ever had. So good I was trying to lick the little bowl, but mom held be back and made me pace myself. That stuff they are selling in the mall IS NOT gelato. Must have more before I get back to starvation, workouts, and my personal trainer from hell.

We arrived back in Florence and did some more shopping for gifts for our friends and family so I can't tell you what I got or it would not be a surprise. After dropping off our bags in the hotel we were back out to go to a restaurant that came HIGHLY recommended call "Il Latini". When we arrived, there was a line outside that went up the block or rather piazza. Well, being the travel snobs were are - WE HAD A RESERVATION - we went right to the front of the line and I almost had to kick off the Murano walking shoes and hand my jewelry to mom in order to commence the Ass Whooping this group of ladies from NY were about to get for getting hostile about us going to the front. They DID NOT have a reservation and wanted to swear that the restaurant does not take reservations. They proceeded to tell us to get in the end of the line. I promptly let her know that I DID have a reservations, that they needed to be made IN ADVANCE (see the damn crowd idiot) and that we were staying put. Mom steps up behind me as if she has my back (she did) and put an ominous look on her face.

Obviously, the NY ladies did not realize that an angry black woman, backed up by an angry white woman is nothing to mess with. She promptly backed down.

We get in the restaurant and to our surprise there really isn't a menu. The waiter tells you what your choices are for each course and that's what you get. He gets mad and down in the mouth if you decided you don't want a course - heck, I was about to burst after the antipasti course. (Would have helped if I slowed down on the Chianti). Nevertheless, for all the hoopla, the food was okay. The restaurant was a huge tourist trap. No locals, almost everyone was American. It was entertaining, the company was good, but for all the talk I thought it was going to be more authentic. Harry's Bar was much more real (expensive) but worth it. iL Latini was cheap (50 euros for two) but average and touristy. Oh well. The Chianti bottle we killed definitely made up for it.

Tomorrow we are off for our Tuscany "Italian Immersion" Advanced Cooking Class. This should be a hoot.