After an early breakfast, we walked a few minutes to Piazza Tasso to meet our charter bus and driver, Stefano. Pisa, while not that far away, was still a 1 1/2-hour trip due to a good deal of traffic along the way.

We disembarked while Curt ran ahead to see if we could get a group admission to the Tower. Fortunately, we were able to get an entry within a half hour, so we gathered in the Campo dei Miracoli to queue up for the climb. Some 300 steps later and we were at the top. The 7-degree lean is very noticeable and some climbers (not in our group) were having difficultly with looking over the edge. Lots of photo opps!

We then went to the Baptistery (the largest in Italy) and were fortunate enough to be there when some dignitaries entered. The baptistery has an amazing acoustical property that if one is standing near the baptismal font, under the center of the dome, he or she can sing and the echoes will resonate for several seconds. One of the guides accompanying the dignitaries demonstrated this feature and it was amazing — as if there were three voices instead of one.

After the baptistery, we visited the Sinopie museum. Sinopie are the under-drawings for frescoes and these were discovered when restoration of the frescoes in the cemetery (Camposanto) was undertaken.

We then grabbed lunch on the run and headed to Viareggio, a sort of Atlantic City type of town on the beach, complete with a promenade. Because most of beaches are privately owned, we headed to the spaggia libera (free public beach) to hang out. It was incredibly windy that day, so we had to move our towels down closer to the water to avoid unintentional dermabrasion. Lots of swimming and sun time.

We headed back into town for a quick gelato before heading back to Florence, tired, sandy but happy.

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