Travel with me to Pisa

river arno during day
The River Arno

Welcome to my blog that unites two of my passions: French and travel. Today, come with me to Pisa and discover its leaning tower. Once a maritime force to be reckoned with, Pisa is now renowned for an architectural project gone wrong. Everyone’s  heard of the leaning tower of Pisa but have they heard about the town of Pisa itself? Pisa is a city situated in Tuscany on the river Arno.  Besides the famous Tower, it also has many famous churches, palaces and bridges that are architectural masterpieces. It  is home to the elite University of Pisa, a public research university, which dates back to the 12th century and nowadays draws students from all over Italy. It is the 19th oldest extant university in the world and the 10th oldest in Italy.

The Piazza dei Miracoli (the Square of Miracles) is so nicknamed because it hosts four miracles or masterpieces of Renaissance architecture: the Leaning Tower, the Duomo Cathedral, the  Camposanto (graveyard) and the Baptistry. The Duomo and the Baptistry are in what has come to be called ‘Pisan Romanesque’ style.

The Torre Pendente (leaning tower) took almost 200 years to build and is the symbol of Pisa. Building began in 1173 and was the design of architect Bonanno Pisano. Unfortunately, after three of the seven tiers had been built, work had to be stopped because of the weak subsoil.  Construction was only completed during the second half of the 14th century. Today, the Tower leans 3.9 degrees off the vertical. Engineers worked to rectify the tilt (which at one stage was 4.47 degrees off the vertical) and shore up this famous tourist attraction. Nevertheless, safety is still a concern so only 40 persons are admitted at a time. The Tower was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

The Duomo is a magnificent Romanesque cathedral consecrated in 1118.  It is a striking tiered building with an elliptical dome (the first of its kind in Europe) that was added in 1380.  Inside, admire the early 14th-century Gothic-style pulpit sculpted from Carrara marble.

So, admire the wonderful architecture, wander the streets of the small town, taste the focaccias on offer and sip an espresso. Once again, you will be in a historical city. Pisa  is the city of churches and ancient libraries, the city of science and culture and well worth a visit.

French Vocabulary

Today, we are going to learn some French vocabulary to do with the weather:

Quel temps fait-il? What is the weather? quel temps

il fait beau = it’s beautiful weather  il fait beau

il fait mauvais = it is bad weather il fait mauvais

il pleut = it is raining il pleut

il neige = it is snowing il neige

il y a des averses = there are showers  averses

il y a des nuages = it is cloudy (there are clouds)  nuages

il fait du vent = it is windy  il fait du vent

il y a du tonnerre = there is thunder  tonnerre

il y a des éclairs = there is lightning  eclairs

il grêle = it is hailing  il grele

Il y a du brouillard = there is fog  il y a du brouillard

il fait froid = it’s cold  il fait froid

il fait chaud = it’s hot  il fait chaud

il fait frais = it’s cool (fresh)  il fait frais

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