We've all seen the iconic pictures of the gorgeously carved white tower, stretching high into the sky, before leaning humorously in a way that seems to defy gravity. Pisa, Italy is known for that iconic tower, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, but little do people know, there is so much more to do in Pisa than take that touristy photo holding" up the tower!
I originally never planed on stopping in Pisa, but on my trip from Genoa to Florence, it seemed like a natural place to stop and stretch my legs for a while! And I am super happy I stopped! Pisa is a sweet little town with just enough to fill a perfect day!
Granted, when I visited Pisa, I only had about 2 1/2 hours to see what I could see so this is my guide to seeing Pisa in 2 hours!
After a really weird night in Genoa, where I stayed in a basically empty hotel, had a snail in my shower, and almost had my bed set on fire by the heater in my room, I was ready for a nice relaxing day. And Pisa was perfect for this!
The train will drop you off close to Pisa, but I was lucky enough to be on a bus that dropped off in the parking lot area. After a 15-20 minute walk along the "Walking Road," the tourist name, you get dropped off right in the heart of the Piazza de Miracoli!
The Piazza de Miracoli, otherwise known as the Square of Miracles, is home to the Baptistery, The Cathedral, and the Leaning Tower. What I love about the Piazza de Miracoli is that these three gorgeous structures sit there all on their own; there are no other structures to take away from those incredible buildings!
I was lucky enough to be there in March, before peak season really picks up, so the crowds were not too bad! I would recommend still getting there early to avoid the crowds, especially if you want that iconic leaning on the Leaning Tower of Pisa pic!
I headed for the Baptistery first because I thought the architecture was amazing! The Baptistery is a perfect circle, and is truly gorgeous! It's totally enough to just stand outside and marvel, but I decided to get the 5 Euro ticket and head inside. And I was not disappointed!
The inside is uniquely bare. There isn't the usual opulence you expect in an Italian place of worship. But that makes it no less stunning. I think the lack of embellishment really emphasizes the architecture of the building.
Be sure to head up to the second floor of the Baptistery for some amazing views of the ground below, and Pisa itself!
Next, I headed for the Cathedral (I have a serious obsession with Cathedrals!), and was again happy to be here not in peak season! While it is free to get into the Cathedral, you do have to book your tour time ahead of going.
The mosaics above the doors were stunning, and I believe, depicted scenes from John the Baptist's life. They were gorgeous! No one does mosaics like the Italians!
The Cathedral was gorgeous, and just as opulent as I had come to expect from Italian churches! The ceiling was, weirdly enough, one of my favorite parts! It was so pretty, and very different from what I've come to expect in Cathedrals!
As sad as I was to leave the beauty of the Cathedral, I knew it was time to keep exploring Pisa. I headed back outside and made my way over to the iconic tower! I debated about climbing the tower (it's only 8 Euro) but decided I didn't really have the time during this trip.
I happily took some pictures outside (and yes, I shamelessly took the tacky leaning picture) before setting off to see a little more of Pisa!
I explored some of the cute little side streets of the Piazza, before stopping for some much needed coffee and pastry! Cafe Silvia was a quaint little shop, and their chocolate scone is amazing!
After my little snack, I headed back to the bus to keep heading to Florence! Do I think 2 1/2 hours was enough time in Pisa? Of course not! I never made it to the Camposanto, or the Sinopie Museum, or got the chance to walk along the Arno River.
While I was still happy to have even gotten those few hours to explore Pisa, I would definitely recommend taking a whole day so you can enjoy seeing all of Pisa!
Did you make it to the Camposanto or the Sinopie on your trip to Pisa? Or climb the Leaning Tower? Let me know in the comments!
And be sure to tune back in Monday from my weekly book review! This week's book had me traveling from Los Angeles to Arlington, Virginia!