Around Pisa

This was supposed to be a trip to Budapest. Flights were booked, research was done and itinerary set with military precision. Then a certain budget airline changed our flights to leaving and arriving at stupid o’clock and scuppered all these best laid plans. At least we were allowed to re-book, so having checked availability we showed Son the list of destinations  and gave him the choice – Pisa leapt out (all to do with a certain Tower I think) but that was that. Pisa was where we were headed. After all the hassle the flight was great and with views like this of the Alps en route, who could fail to be impressed?

05.24.03 - Views of the Alps

We had been to Pisa years ago (before Son) for one of those fleeting visits that was all about the Tower. This time I was determined to see if there was anything beyond the Square of Miracles. Plenty of people commented pre-trip how it was an ugly city, there was nothing else to do but climb the Tower and even some travel blogs I checked out were not entirely complimentary about Pisa. I am pleased to say we completely disagreed. We walked from the railway station to the Arno River and were enthralled. Son was enthralled with the WiFi signs – he thought the buildings were “nice” but the signs did it for him.

05.25.03 - Pisa

The buildings did it for us though – Pisa goes back to Etruscan and Roman times and there is no better way to soak up a feeling for the ancient city than by strolling through the narrow, winding streets. The buildings are gorgeous – Medieval and Renaissance beauties with piazzas galore.

05.25.04 - Pisa

05.25.09 - Pisa

The centre is small but quite lively – 60,000 students in a town of 100,000 inhabitants – so I guess you should expect a vibrant buzz.

05.25.14 - Pisa

05.25.15 - Pisa

In the Middle Ages this was a great maritime republic rivalling Genoa and Venice. We stood on the bridge over the Arno River and took in the cream, yellow and rust coloured mansions, palazzos and churches lining the waterside.

05.25.05 - Pisa

05.25.06 - Pisa

Approaching the Tower and the more touristy part of town, Son was much taken with a Jamaican/Rasta boar outside a cafe and decided this would be our eating establishment of choice (nothing about food, all to do with the boar).

05.25.10 - Pisa

We sat in the sunshine and feasted on a Tuscan speciality platter – no idea exactly what, but it involved ham, bread, cheese, olives and much deliciousness and was just the thing to set us up for our later Tower climb.

05.25.11 - Pisa

05.25.12 - Pisa

32 thoughts on “Around Pisa

    • Actually it turned out really well Cherrie – annoying to begin with, but we really enjoyed this holiday. Sometimes I think I can overplan a bit, when you’re forced to rethink like this it can work out even better.

  1. Great article and even better not a leaning tower in sight. I hate these kitschy touristy places mostly. I loved your attention to the smaller and more quirky things, like the boar. This is what makes travel so magical. That boar looks far too cute to end up on someone’s plate too, I hope not

    • I hope he lived to fight another day too!! I think this particular one did….. We did visit the tower and enjoyed that, but exploring the back streets and finding there was so much more to Pisa was my favourite part of this trip.

  2. I’m glad the hassle turned out to be serendipitous. I’ve never been to Pisa and admit it looks much more appealing than I had been led to believe.

  3. Lovely photos, the architecture is so elegant with the bright colours. The boar made me laugh but he looks less than impressed with his attire!

  4. Talk about making lemonade from lemons! I especially love that your photos showed Pisa’s less iconic side. And getting a great shot when flying over the Alps is a bonus! I was higher up when I flew over on my way to Dubrovnik. I don’t think those mountains can ever take a bad picture

  5. Hi Joy. Interesting post. We just went to Italy last week of july. Milan > Bologna > Firenze (with a day in Siena). I’d managed to convince my wife that adding Pisa was too much. But we’ll include it on our next italian trip.
    Have a great week-end.

    • Thanks Brian. We enjoyed Pisa – so much more to see than just the Tower, although we did enjoy that too! We went to Florence and the Cinque Terre as part of this trip – would have liked to squeeze in Siena too but like you I thought that was probably too much! We’ll have to include that in our next Italy jaunt.
      Have a great weekend too!!

  6. I’ve enjoyed reading this post very much Joy thanks for sharing! Good that you were able to reschedule and enjoy Pisa after your initial plans were disrupted. I’ve never been to Pisa (though my dad has and liked it a lot) and it’s good to have your perspective. I went to Florence too as a student backpacker many moons ago and probably did not make the most of it back then (mainly because I couldn’t actually afford to visit any of the museums and galleries!). Pisa looks right up my street (superb photos) and will be another place to put on the future travel wish list! Have a great weekend Rosemary 🙂

    • Thanks Rosemary. Pisa is lovely – often overlooked by tourists and for that reason much less busy and far more relaxing than somewhere like Florence (although I love it there too!!). It is a great city and we loved our brief time there. Hope you enjoy your weekend too.

    • You definitely should Heather – Italy is one of my favourite countries, I could rave about it for ever. We weren’t expecting Pisa to be so beautiful – more of a convenient overnight stop but were so pleasantly surprised. Really enjoying reading about your travels too – a lot more adventurous than ours!!

  7. Great photos! Enjoyed reading about your trip to Pisa! Sometimes the best trips are the ones not planned…and wonderful memories made😊
    I was on a trip to Italy a couple months back with my husband. Hope to one day return, and possibly pay a visit to Pisa! Thank you for sharing☺️

    • So true – this was not what we had planned but it was one of the best trips we’ve taken. Hope you manage to get back to Italy – if you do you should definitely check out Pisa, it’s a lovely city. Thanks for reading!

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