We caught a train from Venice to Pisa, with a change in Florence. Departing at 7:30, we arrived in Pisa at 11:00AM. A quick walk to our Hotel ( Hotel Bologna) to drop off our bags and we walked to the Main Street to get some lunch. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from. We decided on a simple snack and a drink before walking to the piazza where all of the monuments are located.
The walk was easy, but we felt uncomfortable due to the large number of males in their twenties, either trying to sell sunglasses, water, selfie sticks and other low quality junk, or hassling tourists.
What We Saw in Pisa
After running the gauntlet of hawkers, we arrived to find a huge crush of tourists. We had expected this, but were still amazed at the number of people there. We walked around the Leaning Tower taking pictures and then went to the ticket office. You must go here to get tickets for all of the monuments.
The wait for the Tower was over three hours, so we decided not to climb to the top. First stop after getting our tickets, was the Baptistery of St. John (Battistero). A great looking building, particularly on the outside. The interior is somewhat Spartan. Take the stairs to the upper level. This allows you to look down onto the baptismal font. There is also a great view out one of the windows to the Cathedral. The view is a little different to that from the ground.
The Pisa Cathedral is on of the three attractions in the Plaza of Miracles. Spectacular on the outside, it is grander on the inside. The painting are fantastic, along with the alter, which is spectacular. We spent a lot of time wandering around inside admiring the artworks.
The Plaza, still has the old city walls running down one side. These are worth a look, as many old Italian cities no longer have them.
On our way back to the hotel, we walked along the River Arno, enabling us to see a little more of Pisa.
We found plenty of options for food. Near our hotel was a selection of Italian restaurants. We chose one at random and had a great meal with some local beers, followed by gelato, for dessert.
What Did We Think?
The Hotel Bologna was clean, quiet and comfortable. There was air-conditioning which worked perfectly and we had a great night’s sleep. Centrally located, we were very happy with it.
As expected, Pisa was very crowded with tourists. What we didn’t expect was the hordes of hawkers and others, who made us feel extremely uncomfortable. On our walk back to the train station the next morning, we were followed by a group of men, and we went into an open café until they went away.
Had we known how little time we would spend, a better option would have been to leave our luggage at the train station in a locker. We could have then travelled on to Rome the same day.