How to buy the best spinning reel

spinning reelSpinning reels are the most popular kinds of reels amongst serious anglers. This is because they are easy to handle. If fishing is something you enjoy then you know the importance of getting the right gear. You need to get the right gear for the type of fishing you wish to do. High-quality gear is expensive but when it comes to spinning reels quality should not be compromised for money so be prepared to spend some money.

Construction of the spinning reel

Spinning reels must be strong enough to handle loads and withstand the shock of the fish on the bait. The strength of the spinning reel can be attributed to the configuration of the metal shaft and gears. These pieces are made of precision engineered metal and they are designed to fit perfectly together and work in unison on the line when it is being pulled. In addition to being made of quality component, fishing reel also need to be corrosion resistant.

What to look for when buying best spinning reel.

There are other things that one needs to consider when buying a spinning reel in addition to the robust construction features. Other things to look for when buying best spinning reel are: (more…)

Pisa Tower

pisa-towerHISTORICAL BACKGROUND by Prof. Piero Pierotti

The Leaning Tower expresses the joys and sorrows of its earlier 800 years and waits for a happy end to its old-age convalescence with quiet wisdom. A widow, whose name was Berta of Bernardo, living in the house of dell’Opera di Santa Maria, the 5th of January 1172 left in her will sixty “coins” to the “Opera Campanilis petrarum Sancte Marie”, to purchase some stones to build the Tower.

As far as the author is concerned there is much uncertainty, experts are still arguing:
Would the architect have been Bonanno, marvellous bronze foundryman, who afterwards made the first Cathedral’s doors?

Or Deotiusalvi, one of the greatest architects of the XII century, who founded the Battistero?

Perhaps the work of Gerardo, who had to cooperate more as a co-author and interpreter than a simple executor of the orders given by Deotiusalvi?

Or Guidolotto, Designer of Santa Maria Maggiore?

Or was master Guglielmo, of German nationality, perhaps the same one who, in about the year 1160, carried out the first pulpit of the Cathedral ?
Whoever has done it, the author was fantastic. The only certainty is its date of birth, 9th August 1173.

The plan of the bell tower exists and it’s an admirable one. Of course it isn’t a design on paper but documented in the Tower itself and in its measurements.

This is the way the construction of the Bell Tower began. When the construction reached about one and half meters up on the third floor, because of marshy and unstable soil, it leaned fearfully, so the work was suspended. The events which led to the lean of the Tower were not known. The evidence we have are very uncertain. Surely two phenomenon took place, which were the reasons for the inclination: the building subsided due to the excess weight on the soils and the soils themselves underwent differential settlement.

The restarting of the work took place in two phases, during which they tried to reduce the slope. It is not known which height was reached at the end of the first phase of the resumption, before the intervention of Giovanni di Simone.

The second phase of the thirteenth-century, started probably about the years 1272-1275 and perhaps consisted of the building of four “loggette” (stories). In the sixth “loggetta” some round arch windows for the bells were made.

The lean continued to concern the Opera dell’ Duomo, so on the 15th March 1298, the Institution gave Giovanni Pisano, Guido, the son of the dead master Giovanni di Simone and Orsello, the task of measuring the slope.

Vasari ascribes the construction of the belfry to Tommaso, who was the son of Andrea Pisano, and it is usually dated, in the last studies, to the year 1350.

The Bell Tower, because of its lean, which looks like it dares the laws of statics, is one of the most original works of art of the whole European Middle-Ages, and enjoys an enormous popularity.

Historical buildings of Pisa

The Camposanto Monumentale was founded in 1277 and completed in 1464. This cemetery is a cloister of vast galleries around the central area, which according to legend contains the “holy soil” from Palestine brought here by Pisan crusaders. Towards the middle of the fifteenth century, the Camposanto contained one of the largest painting series of its time: the walls were entirely covered in frescos, however they were destroyed following ally bombings during the Second World War.

The Jewish Cemetery is located within Piazza dei Miracoli and dates back to 1648. It is one of the oldest Hebrew cemeteries in Europe. The inscriptions on the tombs are not only in Hebrew, but also in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Czech. The cemetery presents an extraordinary historical artistic repertoire: from the parallelepiped burial mounds of Hebrew tradition dating from 17th to 18th centuries to the Liberty styles dating from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The beautiful Piazza dei Cavalieri was the political center of the Pisan Republic. During the 16th century it was radically transformed by Giorgio Vasari on the wishes of Cosimo I De Medici and became the seat of the new military order known as the Knights of St. Stephen.
The center of the square is dominated by a statue of Cosimo I de Medici. The square hosts the Palazzo della Carovana dei Cavalieri, whose facade is completely covered in graffiti, and today hosts the Scuola Normale Superiore. Located on the left, the Palazzo dell’Orologio, an age-old hospital of the Order of Knights of St. Stephen, whose construction incorporated two pre-existing towers. One of these was where Count Ugolino and his sons were left to die of hunger following their suspected treason, as recalled by Dante Alighieri in his Inferno. Still in the square, one can find the Church of Saint Stephen of the Knights, a building designed by Giorgio Vasari, with a splendid marble facade. The interior of the church is covered by an impressive ceiling in engraved and gold painted wood. The church also hosts trophies of flags and parts of ships taken from the Turks during sea patrols carried out by the Knights. The south side of the square hosts the monumental facade of the Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici. The building, designed by Vasari, was restored in 1603 and has a noble facade decorated in white marble.

The “Lungarni” Quays. For centuries these quays were the heart of the city. Until the nineteenth century they were covered with piers and docks. These were later destroyed to reinforce the banks. The “Lungarni” are presented as a succession of beautiful noble buildings, interrupted by five bridges that unite the city. Mezzo Bridge, the most central, hosts the Game of the Bridge each June. You can admire some of the remarkable buildings while walking along the river. On Lungarno Mediceo: Palazzo Schiff, Palazzo Concioni and Palazzo Toscanelli; on Lungarno Pacinotti: Palazzo Agostani Venerosi, which hosts the age-old Caffé dell’Ussero; on Lungarno Galileo Galilei: Palazzo Lanfranchi, seat of the Municipality, Palazzo da Scorno, Palazzo Pretorio and Palazzo Gambacorti, in Pisan Gothic style.

The Mural by Keith Haring Keith Haring (1958 – 1990) was a young American artist who was known worldwide for his “Subway Drawings”. Pisa’s mural, measuring 180 meters, can be found on a wall in the Sant’Antonio Convent near Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. It is Haring’s only work to have been planned from the beginning as a permanent work and is entitled: “Tuttomondo”. The thirty characters featured in the mural move in a blend of metaphor that represents harmony and peace around the world.

Churches and Museums of Pisa

PiazzaMiracoliCampo dei Miracoli. One of the most famous and admired squares in the world, it was requested by the city government at a time when Pisa was at its most splendid. It is formed by a complex of four buildings, constructed by the most genial architects of that era in a uniquely recognizable Pisan Romanesque style, which sees alternating rows of white and greenish-gray stone.

The Duomo was built between the 11th and 12th centuries, but was later subject to various restructuring work, especially after the great fire of 1595. The facade forms a scenic backdrop, with four rows of columns and decorations in colored marble on the lower part. All the external surfaces are emphasized by the horizontal rows of black and white, with a beautiful elliptic dome of clear Islamic influence. The interior forms a Latin cross, divided into five naves by heavy granite columns. The sight is incredible, thanks to the geometric decorations of polychrome marble and the seventeenth-century coffered ceiling. The original decorations were almost all destroyed during the fire of 1595. A masterpiece of Italian Gothic sculpture from the fourteenth-century remains, the beautiful Giovanni Pisano pulpit, as well as the apse mosaic.

The Leaning Tower represents one of the symbols of Italy around the world. Designed as a bell-tower for the cathedral, work began in 1174 based on a project by Bonanno Pisano. It was completed in the 14th century. The round tower is composed of a base with blind arches supporting six loggia tiers that culminate in an elegant bell chamber.The ground already began to show signs of subsidence in 1185 which caused the works to come to a halt for almost a century. In 1990 its gradient reached a worrying 4.5 meters and the tower was closed for restoration work. It was reopened to the public in 2001, after eleven years of difficult work on the building and the ground underneath, reducing the tower’s gradient by 40 cm and bringing it back within safety standards.Visiting hours vary from season to season. Tours can take a maximum of 40 people accompanied by authorized staff. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office near the Leaning Tower or on the “Opera Primaziale” website

The Baptistery. Work began in 1152 on the construction of a new baptistery, which blends well with the cathedral in terms of position, size, materials and style. Construction lasted until the end of the fourteenth-century and included the work of various architects, explaining the Romanesque and Gothic mix in the monument. The shape of the baptistery had to evoke that of the Holy Sepulcher. In the 12th century, Nicola and Giovanni Pisano changed the original building, completing it with a crown of arches and pinnacles. Inside, one can admire the beautiful baptismal font and, near the altar, the pulpit, the work of the great Nicola Pisano.

Santa Maria della Spina. This small church on the banks of the Arno is an extraordinary gem from Gothic Pisa. The name derives from the fact that a thorn from the crown of Jesus Christ has been preserved here for centuries, now exhibited in the Church of Saint Chiara. The church is covered in dual-colored marble rows and decorated with elegant spires, tympanums and tabernacles. The rich sculpture decoration was carried out by important fourteenth-century Pisan sculptors. Inside, one finds the statue of Andrea Pisano.

Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno. This beautiful church was built between the 9th and 10th centuries and is one of the most splendid examples of Pisan Romanesque architecture in existence. It was recently renovated and restored to its original shape. Inside, the church is huge with three naves with heavy granite columns and capitals featuring archaic figures; it hosts various works of art from medieval times. The beautiful Chapel of Sant’Agata is located beside the church. It dates back to the 11th century and has a unique octagonal shape.

San Michele in Borgo It was built between the 10th and 11th centuries in a transition style of Pisan Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The beautiful facade above the trusses hosts three rows of arches, a rose window and a tabernacle with statues dating from the fourteenth century. Inside, the three considerably sized naves are divided by columns and pillars and the church contains various works of art.

San Zeno Abbey Reopened in 2000 following intense restoration work, this abbey hosts contemporary art exhibitions and concerts. San Zeno Abbey is unusual in its curious mix of architectural styles and orientation, as is easily noted by its facade. The facade has an ornate Romanesque geometrical design.

The Palazzo Reale National Museum was prepared in 1989 to host numerous works of art belonging to the successive courts of the city government, including the Medici, Lorena and Savoia courts, as well as some private collections. The location is one of the most important buildings in the city, the official residence of the Medici and Lorena courts, and today continues to maintain the appearance of an aristocratic residence, with fittings and furniture from the 17-19th centuries. The works exposed offer great variety: from official portraits of the courts to historic armors, right up to the Antonio Ceci collection with Italian and Flemish paintings.

The San Matteo National Museum hosts works originating from the main churches in the city and territory. The collection includes paintings, sculptures and ceramics. The medieval collection is very impressive with around two hundred paintings dating from the beginning of the XII to the sixteenth-century, with names such as Giunta Pisano, Simone Martini, Masaccio and Beato Angelico among the many artists.

Museum of Ancient Ships in Pisa. In 1998, during the works carried out in the area around Pisa San Rossore Station, the remains of the ancient port in Pisa were brought to light. At a depth of circa 5 meters, an impressive series of wrecks placed one on top of the other emerged, dating from between the end of the Hellenistic Period and the Late Roman Period. The Permanent Exhibition of Ancient Ships will be hosted in the ancient Medicei Arsenals, on Lungarno Simonelli. Currently, the exhibition is closed due to restructuring work on the arsenals and the restoration of the ships. Opening is scheduled by the end of 2006.

Piaggio Museum, in Pontedera. In three thousand square meters of exhibition you can admire the Vespa, Piaggio and Gilera collections. The most important part of the museum is the Vespa collection, with its 50 years of production. As well as the first prototypes, you can admire gems such as the Vespa “Montlhéry” and the Vespa “Siluro”, two speed models, and unique models such as the “Vespa Dalì”, designed by the Catalan artist in ’62. As well as the Vespas, all the transport vehicles produced over the one hundred and ten years of Piaggio history are on show.

The history of Pisa

PisaTownIf the most remote origins of Pisa and of its name are inevitably lost in myth and legend, the most recent historiographical acquisitions, abetted by archeological finds, testify to far distant Eneolithic settlements and the certain presence of the Etruscans between the 6th and 3rd centuries B.C. It is most likely that Ligurian colonists of Celtic origin settled here even earlier, anticipating Greek colonization. Moreover, even though the legend of Pelops, who left the shores of the Alfeo (a river
in the Peloponnesus) for those of the Arno to found a new Pisa, in perennial memory of his land of origin, is inirectly supported by Virgil himself in the 10th book of the Aeneid, we know with certainty that Pisa was a port of call in trading with the Greeks. In the Etruscan period Pisa, situated near the extreme northern border of Etruria, was certainly influenced by Volterra but never became more than a modest village of fishers and skilful shipbuilders, which depended in a part on the instability of the coastline and the periodical floods of the Arno. As Etruria was romanized, Pisa grew in importance and was an ally of Rome in the long wars against the Ligurians and the Carthaginians. The port (Portus Pisanus), at the tima situated between the mouth of the river (in those times near where San Piero a Grado stands today) and that portion of the coast now occupied by Livorno, constituted an ideal naval base for the Roman fleet in the expeditions against the Ligurians and the Gauls, and in the operations aimed at subjugating Corsica, Sardinia and other coastal zones of Spain. Pisa, ally of Rome, then became a colonia, a municipium, and in the time of Octavianus Augustus (1st cent. B.C.) was known as Colonia Julia Pisana Obsequens. In the meanwhile the growth in population, the development of shipbuilding and trade – fostered by the establishment of the Via Aurelia and the Via Aemilia Scaurii as well as by the harbor – meant an expansion of the inhabited area which was soon surrounded by a circle of walls.
The imperial was noted for the magnificence of its public and private buildings: although at present traces of ‘Roman life’ in Pisa are scarse (Baths of Hadrian, improperly called the ‘Baths of Nero’, capitals from the age of Severus, 3rd cent. A.D.) there seems to be little doubt as to the existence of a Forum and a Palatium as well as an Anphitheatre, a Piscina, a Naval Circus and numerous temple structures, replaced by churches in Christian times. Recently (June 1991) axcavations carried out near the Arena Garibaldi have revealed the presence of an Etruscan necropolis on
which a domus augustea was laid out in Roman times. The first Christian ferments were introduced into the area of Pisa by Saint Peter himself, who landed ‘ad Gradus’ in 47 A.D. So goes the legend, so deeply rooted however that a basilica was subsequently built here.With the fall of the Roman Empire, Pisa passed first under the Lombards and then under the Franks. In the early Middle Ages the city’s maritime vocation burgeoned and soon contrasted with the Saracens, who were aiming at full supremacy of the Mediterranean. With bases in Corsica and Sardinia, they frequently threatened the lands controlled by the Church itself. The story of Kinzica de’ Sismondi is well known. This young pisan heroine is said to have saved the city from a Saracen incursion while most of the Pisan army and fleet were out driving the infields of Reggio Calabria (1005). Between 1016 and 1046 the Pisans conquered Sardinia, hand Corsica too in the end (1052), thus laying the bases for an effective control of the Tyrrhenian Sea as opposed to the Saracens. After these successes the city, with Papal consent, sent the fleet to Sicily to support the struggle of the Norman Roger I and Robert against the Saracens. After breaking the chains of the harbor of Palermo, the ships hoisting the Pisan Cross in a field of red (the city’s standard since the exploit of Sardinia) defeated the enemy (1062) returning home with such rich booty that they were able to begin the construction of the Cathedral.

In the meanwhile rivalry with Genoa had broken out in a first naval conflict, victorious, opposite the mouth of the Arno (06.09.1060), while in a larger Mediterranean theatre the Pisan fleet succesfully took part in the first Crusade. These positive results helped the Maritime Republic consolidate its position in the Near Eastern ports of call and in particular in Constantinople. The subsequent conquest of the Balearic Isles, terminated in 1115, and the victory over Amalfi (1136), coincided with the peak of the city’s maritime and military power. But the 13th century was to be fatal to Pisa, whose standing in the Western Mediterranean had in the meanwhile equalled that of Venice in the Adriatic and the Eastern Mediterranean. The continuous rivalry on the seas with Genoa and fierce contrasts with the Guelph cities of Tuscany (heated by Florence and Lucca) led to an inexorable downfall. As a result of its unconditioned support of imperial policies, but above all because of the seizing of a group of ecclesiastic dignitaries who were on their way to Rome to take part in a council which could have ended in the removal of Frederick II of Swabia (1241), Pisa was excommunicated by the Pope, and had to wage a bitter struggle on two fronts – against Genoa (which also declared Guelph sympathies) and against the Tuscan cities which had by then become members of the Guelph League.
The disastrous consequences of the war on land against the Guelphs and the burdensome conditions consequently imposed by the Florentines (1254), and in particular the collapse of the Ghibelline ideal, were paralleled by events on sea: in the fateful waters of the Meloria on August 6, 1284, the day of St. Sixtus, a date up to then propitious for the Republic, an astute naval maneuver of the preponderant Genoese fleet, commanded by Oberto Doria, wiped out the Pisan galleys, under the command of the Venetian Alberto Morosini and Andreotto Saracini. It was absolutely impossible forCount Ugolino della Gherardesca, who was defending the port of Pisa, to come to the aid of the fleet, which suffered heavy losses, and at least 10,000 prisoners were taken. The subsequent attempt of Ugolino (who
in the meanwhile had become podestà) to impose a neo-Guelph restoration in Pisa, ceding possession and castles to the eternal Florentine, Luccan and Genoese rivals, earned him the undisguised ostility of the Ghibelline faction, and this together with that had happened at meloria, led to new accusations of betrayal. In March of 1289 the Ghibelline faction, with Archbishop Ruggeri degli Ubaldini at its head, prevailed, and Ugolino, with his children and grandchildren, was sentenced to die of starvation in the Torre dei Gualandi. In the meanwhile the peace of Fucecchio (12.07.1293) imposed new and onerous conditions in favor of the Florentines, and the hopes aroused in Ghibelline Pisa by the ephimeral episode of Henry VII of Luxenbourg was to no avail. With the advent of the podestà Uguccione della Faggiola, valorous Ghibelline condottiere, Pisa took its revenge, conquering Lucca (1314) and drastically defeating the Florentines and their Sienese and Pistoiese allies at Montecatini (29.08.1315). Subsequently, the prevailing party struggles in the city (in which the philo-Florentine merchant faction headed by Gambacorti was long opposed to the anti-Florentine faction comprised of nobles and entrepreneurs, headed by the Gherardesca) led the Genoese to force the harbor and carry off the chains, which they showed off as a trophy for many years (at present they are once again in Pisa, in the Camposanto). On the land front, the Florentines were once more victorious at Cascina (28.07.1364).

The subsequent signoria of Piero Gambacorti seemed to inaugurate a period of relative peace and prosperity but his treacherous assassination (21.10.1392) by hired killers instigated by the Visconti, handed Pisa over the lords of Milan. In 1405, with base bargaining, they traded Pisa off to the Florentines for Money. The indignation and fierce resistance of the Pisans was weakened by a series of negative events: in the end the city had to surrender after a siege. This episode (09.10.1406) marked the irreversible fall of the glorious Maritime Republic. The subsequent advent of the French king Charles VIII aroused new hopes of independence in the city but the Florentines hastened to gather under the walls of the invincible rival and once more besieged it together with their allies. The indomitable resistance of the Pisans was so strong the Florentines even though of deviating the course of the Arno and called Leonardo da Vinci. But the idea remained on paper for Pisa, exhausted by famine, had to accept the Florentine signoria (20.10.1509). The Medici government of Cosimo I resulted in a reinassance in the city: university activity was rationalized and augmented, various public offices were organized, and, most important, the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen was instituted (1561), bringing new lymph to the Pisan maritime traditions, and taking part in the epic naval encounter of Lepanto (07.10.1571). In that circumstance the Christian fleet, the expression of a coalition of European powers (the papacy and Spain, Venice and the House of Savoy and still others), under the leadership of Don Juan of Austria, assisted by Gian Andrea Doria, Marcantonio Colonna, Ettore Spinola and
Sebastiano Veniero, Wiped out the maritime power of the Ottoman Turks capitained by Mehemet Ali.