Tourists Gone Wild | Pisa
We have all seen them. We have all been them. The ridiculous tourist. Those given to childish behavior far from home unleashed by the liberating shadow of anonymity allowed them by the belief that no one is watching. Silly tourist. Yes. We are watching. We are always watching. And this is what we have seen. Take for example these photographs taken of tourists by tourists — how very postmodern — at the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Near the iconic tower apparently exists a vortex that forbids better judgment, etiquette and good taste. Visitors feel an uncontrollable urge to create a photographic optical illusion of architectural support while they hold up the 183 foot (55m) tower with just their own two hands. Others, more destructively sadist than their companions, instead intend to “push” the tower to its eventual collapse.
As the photos here can attest, these condemnable actions cannot be attributed to just a few individuals, nor is one particular group responsible. Perpetrators of said unjustifiable behavior include several ethnicities, both genders and all age groups. Lest we risk the tower’s pride and integrity, they must be stopped.
It is with a heavy heart that I, dear reader, confess to be one of them. During a visit to the site while a precocious 13-year-old, my sister and I eluded the Italian guards, physically leaning against the tower, our backs to it like little Atlases, while our uncle took our picture before — being almost immediately shooed away by an annoyed Pisan.
All joking aside, what is it about the tower and places like it, that bring out the same reaction in so many of us? Rumors abound of people straddling the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and playing something resembling Twister at the Four Corners Monument in the US Southwest. Good-natured fun or homogenous hardwiring? Maybe a little bit of both.