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My Week in Italy: At The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Arno River
From Florence to Pisa
Florence is a great place from which to visit medieval towns like Lucca and Siena. For us, we chose to visit Pisa. The city centre itself is very walkable and that was what we did throughout our trip. Early in the morning, we took a train from Florence's Santa Maria Novella train station to Pisa Centrale station which takes about an hour only. The ticket costs 5.90 Euros for one way.
See the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Person!
Crossing the Arno River
From the train station, follow the "i" sign which will lead you to the tourist information centre. Get a free map of Pisa here and start your exploration. With the map to guide us, we headed past the Arno river and crossed over the Ponte di Mezzo (middle bridge) to Piazza Garibaldi which is the exact centre of the city. You will find a statue of Garibaldi in the square itself. There is a famous gelateria in this square, La Bottega del Gelato but when I was there, the shop was closed. Too bad!
Shopping in Pisa
As we walked towards the Leaning Tower, we walked through Corso Italia where there are shops selling clothes and food. If you need to warm yourself, head into the departmental shops as they have heaters on. If not, you can stop by a cafe and get a delicious waffle.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Nothing will ever prepare you for your first sight of the tower. There are signs around the town leading you to the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of the Miracles). As we walked towards the area, we suddenly spotted the leaning tower from far. We got excited and started to walk faster towards it.
Once there, you will notice many tourists posing with the tower. Some seemed to be pushing it, some imitated it by leaning and so forth. Here, also be careful of your belongings as there will be many tourists and also sellers trying to sell souvenirs to you. Besides the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, you can also visit the Duomo, the Baptistery, the cemetery (Camposanto), the Opera Museum and the Sinopie museum which are all part of the Unesco World Heritage site. During the colder months, entry to the Duomo is free. If you plan to climb the leaning tower, do book earlier as the number of persons allowed up at one time is limited.
Awesome Bakery in Pisa
Exploring Pisa on foot
After posing numerous times with the tower, we then headed to Palazzo dei Cavalieri. For your information, palazzo means palace in Italian. The area nearby is also the university area. Hence, it is common to see young students around the area. You will also notice cafes offering special menus or students discounts. Within this area, you will also find the oldest Botanic Garden in Europe. For 2.50 Euros, you can enter the garden.
After exploring the town on foot, we then chose to rest our feet at the Caffe dell'Ussuro which was opened since 1794. This cafe serves authentic Pisan cuisine and is located along the Arno river. The food is delicious but do note that the staff does not speak English. We ordered by pointing to the menu! Soon, we walked back towards the train station. This time, we stopped by Tuttomondo, Keith Haring's mural which occupies a whole wall. After seeing so many gorgeous paintings in Florence, I was not that impressed. But oh well, do stop and admire it for yourself as it is on the route. All in all, Pisa was a great day trip!
Delicious Pasta at Caffe dell'Ussuro
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