As well as the Leaning Tower I also liked the museum next door and all of the other magnificent buildings at the Campo dei Miracoli including the Duomo (the Cathedral) and the Babtistry that were both constructed on the same unstable sand as the Tower and also lean half a degree from centre, not as dramatic as the Tower I grant you, but enough to be confusing if you have had a drink or two.
The tour was completed by visiting the impressively and recently restored Camposanto or monumental cemetery with some renovated plaster wall paintings that had been destroyed during the Second-World-War by Allied bombing raids.
In September 1943 Italy surrendered to the Allies and was immediately invaded by Germany and for nearly two years the country was divided. In the north the Nazis occupied part of the country, under a puppet fascist state under Benito Mussolini, there was fought a savage civil war between Italian freedom fighters and Nazi and fascist troops. For a hundred years or so following German unification in 1870 the Germans were the playground bullies of Europe and before that had been throwing their weight around for two thousand years of course but they did most of their damage under the Nazis in only six years during the Second-World-War.
One thing I did not care for at all was all of the untidy market pitches that ran along the side of the historical site and all selling cheap tourist tat at outrageously inflated prices. Most were selling exactly the same products, an astonishingly huge range of plastic leaning towers of every possible size, some even fashioned into the most appallingly tasteless table lamps. The ubiquitous image of the tower was everywhere and attached to everything without restraint, tea towels, tea pots, tee shirts, I expect the restaurants would stamp it onto a tee bone steak if they could find a way. Shirts, caps, shopping bags, calendars, plates and so on and so on because if the traders think that it will help sell their inferior products then they will use it without any measure of self control.
This cheap strip of inferior merchandising was also the operating base for a plethora of street traders all jostling for tourists to pester and all selling the same counterfeit produce. Watches, sunglasses and belts seemed to be their favourites and despite the fact that we clearly possessed all three we were approached every few metres or so with an invitation to view the goods.
The weather was improving a little by now and we optimistically watched the expanding patches of brighter sky replacing the grey clouds; this looked very encouraging so we went for lunch in a nice little trattoria and hoped the improvement would continue.