Let me count the fancy ways in which visitors to Pisa’s piazza dei Miracoli try to catch hold of the world-famous tower in their photos...


Even before the on-trend selfie frenzy, tourists still experienced the uncontrollable urge to capture themselves with the city’s symbolic monument (from the most traditional viewpoint: more than an arm’s length from their faces).

Yes, it’s a souvenir photo treasure hunt, but more precisely it’s a cultural caccia to collect visual proof of having been someplace famous in person.

I’m a photographer, so I suffer from the same syndrome of needing to “return home with a photo”. Often I manage not to get my face in a frame; it’s a personal preference.

Then I went to Pisa’s cathedral square.

I had seen the phenomenon on Instagram, but in all honesty I thought it was some fun concept invented by an #iger. Never would I have imagined that the gestures would have tripped the light fantastic, a massive choreography, each person with his or her own eccentric and improbable interpretations, all from the different perspectives needed to embrace the Leaning Tower on their smartphone screens. I saw supporters, climbers, pushers, carriers and extenders of the monument-turned-memento.

Who knows if all these aspiring dancers would have gone all out on the choreography front had the tower been straight? I imagine not.

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