A pit-stop in Pisa
A pit-stop in Pisa, Italy… literally! Pisa, a city located in the Tuscany region of Italy, is one of those places you just have to visit. Home to the well-known Leaning Tower of Pisa, it’s always very popular with tourists. The main reason for adding Pisa to my list of cities to visit during my 5-night tour, was of course none other than seeing the Leaning Tower. I mean, how could I be so close and not?
Getting to the centre of Pisa
Once you arrive at Pisa airport, you can catch a bus or taxi to Pisa Centrale train station. To be honest it’s easier and cheaper to take the bus. It only costs a couple of Euros and takes about 30 minutes. If you’re travelling in a group or with children, then a taxi may be the more convenient. From the station, you can walk 20-30 minutes to the Leaning Tower which is located in the Piazza dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles). If you don’t fancy the walk – understandable after travelling – you can opt for a bus which will take you to the Piazza.
• Luggage storage – if like me you just got off the plane and aren’t staying in Pisa, you can conveniently store them at the luggage storage section (deposito bagagli) at the station. This will cost approximately €5-7 per bag for the day. It opens early in the morning until late in the evening. It will save you lugging your bags around.
• Bus tickets – you can usually purchase bus tickets at newspaper shops or ‘Tabacchi’ outlets located in the station.
On route to the Tower
Walking to the tower will give you a taste of Pisa and a little time to take in your surroundings, especially if you’re not stopping in the city for long. Pisa is beautiful and I found it very serene. On the way to the Piazza dei Mircoli (Field of Miracles), you’ll cross the Arno River, which also flows through Florence. It’s the second most important river in central Italy after the Tiber.
• Photo opportunity – stop to take a picture on one of the bridges that cross the Arno River. Depending on which way you walk you’re likely to cross Ponte Solferino or Ponte di Mezzo. I crossed Ponte Solferino and one of the points of interest there is Santa Maria della Spina – a church in the Pisan Gothic style, that dates back to 1230.
Piazza dei Miracoli
Piazza dei Miracoli (also known as Piazza del Duomo) is home to four historic buildings; the Duomo – a medieval cathedral, St. John Baptistery (Battistero); Camposanto – a cemetery and of course the Leaning Tower of Pisa otherwise known by its traditional name, Campanile (bell tower).
The main draw for me was the tower and like all the tourists before me, I did the usual “hold up Pisa” shots. You’ve just got to! It’s definitely something to tick off your bucket list or wish list. It can be busy, so you’ll have to wait a while for your turn.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Tower of Pisa became a fascinating historical structure popular with many due to the way it leans to one side – hence the name. With a height of nearly 60m, it started to tilt to one side during its construction since it was erected on soft ground. Built in the 14th century, the Learning Tower is a medieval architectural wonder and the third structure in the Piazza dei Miracoli. It has just over 250 steps to climb if you want to reach the top.
I actually decided not to go up the Leaning Tower – remember this was a pit-stop! Aside from the main attractions you’ll find souvenir stalls, cafes and gelato bars – the latter was needed since it was a very hot day.
Next stop – from Pisa to Florence
Getting from Pisa to Florence is really simple and very quick. You can either opt to take the train or the coach.
Pisa makes for a great stop if you’re visiting another city in Italy. It can easily be done in a half or a full day trip and you’ll definitely have enough time to take in the Leaning Tower and the piazza’s other buildings.