I just got back from a vacation in the south of France and northern Italy. I’ve written in the past about the benefits of getting away and the positive impact it can have on decision making and portfolio returns. If you have the discipline to stay away from your computer during a staycation, that works too. I personally cannot help myself but to go check out some charts if I know I have access to the computer. So I need to get out of town. This year we chose Europe.
Ever since first studying Fibonacci in 2005, I knew his statue was somewhere in Pisa. The trouble was finding it. There isn’t much information out there. Some of you have been asking me about this for your upcoming trip to Italy or just keeping note of it for the future. So I figured it would help to just lay it out there as a reference for when you need it.
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So as it turns out, the Leonardo Fibonacci Statue is in an old cemetery called Camposanto Monumentale (or Campo Santo, “Holy Field”). It was built in the 12th century and is absolutely spectacular. There are beautiful statues and frescoes on the walls that date back to the 1300s. The Fibonacci statues itself is in the corner of this humongous ancient building.
There is not much information about the location of the statue. In fact, no one really even cared about it, which disappointed me. The Campo Santo is located in the same big square as the Tower of Pisa, which I’m not sure if you heard, is leaning to one side. Other than some of the stuff in Rome, this might be the most touristy place in all of Italy.
I will say that the leaning Tower was actually really cool. It’s leaning a lot more than I thought. It’s also a beautiful tower with a lot of history, which I appreciate. The truth is I would not have driven to Pisa had it not been for my appreciation for the work of legend Leonard Fibonacci of Pisa. I wanted to pay my respects. So the plus side of going to see Big Leo is that the leaning tower is in the same complex.
If I were you, I would set enough time to be able to go to the top of the tower, check out Campo Santo and also the beautiful Cathedral, which began construction almost 1000 years ago. All of these buildings make up what is inside of this walled area called Piazza dei Miracoli, or Piazza del Duomo depending on who you ask.
You can’t just go and walk in to Campo Santo. You need to get tickets, which is conveniently located in another building on the complete other side of the piazza. So of course, you get to walk through thousands of people trying to push the tower back up for their Instagram Pictures. I was guilty of that behavior myself, to be clear.
The fact is that there are signs that say “Tickets” all over the entire piazza pointing to the ticket center, but I ignored them thinking the ticket booth in front of Campo Santo actually sold tickets. So once I made the trek back and forth, I asked the young lady up front where the Fibonacci statue was. Remember this is a huge building from the 1200s with all sorts of really historic items everywhere. The poor girl had no idea what statue I was asking about. I even showed her a picture I found on the Internet.
We did not have too much time in Pisa unfortunately, because we were just passing through on the way up to Milan to catch a flight back home. So we couldn’t just go through this entire place looking for the statue.
Finally this random security guard smiled and pointed us to the corner where the statue stands. I don’t speak Italian, and he certainly did not speak English, but it was very clear that he was thinking, “Every now and then one of you math nerds comes in here asking about that statue”. We all got a chuckle out of it.
As soon as you walk in past the non-ticket selling ticket booth, make your way towards the right and then make an immediate left at the corner. Big L will be on your right towards the end of the short hall.
I was really excited to be there. For me, it felt like a long journey to finally make it to Pisa after all these years and there I was. The statue was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. It’s 150+ years old, and looks it. His fingers are busted and poor Leo looks beat up. On both the statue and the base of the statue, it says: Leonardo Fibonacci. The base also includes the fact that he was a mathematician from Pisa from the 12th Century. You can see sculptor Giovanni Paganucci’s name on the side of it.
No one else there knew or cared about this particular statue that I had come from such a long way to see. People actually stopped me wondering why I was taking so many pictures of what they thought was a random statue in the corner of an old cemetery. I tried to explain, “you know….the golden ratio!….no?…..nothing…..? Leonardo Fibonacci 1.618?…..no?….ok……nevermind….. This nice European couple thought I was crazy. But as we walked away, they starting taking pictures with him too!
If I were you I would take the time to walk all the way around the Campo Santo. It’s really cool. The Cathedral next door is spectacular as well. I highly recommend the entire experience, and most certainly to pay your respects to the man, the myth, the legend: Leonardo Fibonacci!
Don’t forget to tag me @allstarcharts on Twitter and Instagram when you’re with Leo in Pisa!
Here are a few shots from Pisa
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