30 Days of Indie Travel Project Day 19: “SPIRIT – Some places have the power to make even the most die-hard agnostic reconsider their position. Have you ever been in a place where you felt more alive or more connected to nature, the universe, or a higher power than anywhere else? To Read the blog in Italian click here

I like heights. I like to be high above the ground, far from the madding crowd. I love to be so high up that the world seems like a miniature model and problems of daily life seem to melt away into insignificance. High above the ground I have a better perspective and the world seems new, fresh and full of possibilities.

Italy is a good place to go if you like heights. It is a country filled with bell towers, Duomos and civic buildings that soar for what seems like miles into the sky. I remember the first time I climbed the Torre del Mangia in Siena. I was a girl from Iowa who was not accustomed to viewing the world from above. I was stunned! I felt that all my senses had been crisply reawakened. The tower is nicknamed “Tower of the Eater” due to the fact that Giovanni di Balduccio who built it in 1338, had a tendency to spend all his money on food. But fortunately for those who like heights like myself, he spared a few coins to build this marvelous tower located in the Piazza del Campo in Siena.

From the dizzying heights of the Torre del Mangia one has a marvelous panorama of the Sienese countryside. That first time standing on top of Giovanni’s tower, I marveled that the Italian countryside, as far as the eye could see, was filled with tiny little round trees, bushes and misty purple hazes and looked just as the Renaissance painters had depicted it. I had always thought this was just some kind of stylized painting technique, but in fact this is what the Italian landscape looks like from above. I can spend hours gazing out upon the world from such wonderful heights. The world seems a magic carpet and I am awed by its beauty.

When you find yourselves in Italy, another wonderful tower to climb is the torre di Guinigi in Lucca, where you will actually find a tree growing out of the roof…and let’s not forget torre dei Lamberti in Verona that provides breathtaking views of the city and surrounding environs. Until you make it to Verona here is a lovely virtual view from the top of the torre.

So…happy climbing!

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