Target sells t-shirt depicting Leaning Tower of Pisa in Rome

Last month we reported on a Target blooper, selling soccer t-shirts with the wrong flag of Spain, one hearkening back to the fascist regime of Franco. Now, according to Consumerist, the company has shown its lack of knowledge of Italian geography by selling a t-shirt for a bicycle festival in Rome that features a screen print of the leaning tower of Pisa. Pisa, by the way, is over 350 kilometers north of Rome.

But lets not send the Target folks back to school just yet. It turns out that the graphic appears to be a copy of a poster for the "Rome Festival Bicycle Division League 1964." I was not able to find any details about this festival, but the graphics offered some clues that the event took place decades ago. The bicyclists are dressed like old-time bikers, in old-style cycling caps (rather than helmets) with looping brake and shifting cables instead of the internal routing popular today.

Experienced cyclists often ride to distant destinations. So this particular event could well have been a stage race of several days from Rome to Pisa. (A stage race is one held on public roads of several days or more, where the racers typically don't finish each day in the same place they started. The Tour De France is the best-known stage race. The Giro d'Italia is a similar race held in Italy.) Recreational riders often take multi-day tours, as well, such as RAGBRAI, the well-known week-long crossing of the state of Iowa.

If the shirt is in error, the original error can be traced back to the 1964 artist. If this event indeed did not involve Pisa, this would have been a legendary blunder by that artist, akin to showing the Empire State Building in downtown Washington, D.C.

It would be nice to think Target has better information about the true nature of the event for which the poster was created. Or maybe the corporation truly doesn't know Pisa from Rome.

Target is researching the issue and promises to respond to our question soon. We will add its response when we get one.

Update: Target spokesperson writes "The graphic t-shirt design depicts a fictional cross-country Italian bike race. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is included in the design as it is an iconic landmark in Italy."

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