Jan 30

The forgotten Pisa: more than just a tower

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On several trips to Italy the tower of Pisa was always a possibility in the itinerary. It is very close to Florence and quite famous, but the report we’d always received from fellow travelers was that the leaning tower was the only attraction. That the rest of the destination was a let down.


All too often the reality is go and see for yourself and we’re glad we did. On a recent trip we decided to add the city of Pisa to the itinerary. It was a great addition to the trip. Are we saying we loved the crowded lawns, silly photos and superabundant crowds? No, but this is not the only thing Pisa has to offer either, which was the real discovery.


The leaning tower is a monument of beautiful proportions. It is historic, beautiful and well worth seeing. Pisa in itself gets overlooked typically since this is all the uninformed travelers come to see and then scamper back off to more remote parts of Tuscany. I for one am glad this is the case, keep charming Pisa enjoyable for those who dare to look further.


University town

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Pisa would not be the populous town of 100,000 people without its famous university which hosts 60,000 of the towns residents. It is a stream of lifeblood that makes nightlife fun and affordable, brings creativity, color and plenty of supply to the area. Buses connect the town very well and it is flat and walkable too. Nearby car rentals and a low cost airport bring in lots of mobility and traffic.


City of culture and history

Besides the obvious towers, Cathedrals and monuments, the city is loaded with medival squares, fantastic architecture from university buildings, renaissance palaces and institutions of all kind. The Museo of San Matteo has stunning artwork. Spas, botanical gardens, cuisine of all levels and riverfront strolls are all part of the allure.


Pisa is more than just a day trip, it is a living Italian city, where science was born during the renaissance and endures to this day. There is much more beyond the typical attractions and it is worthwhile to take a full day or more to enjoy the laid-back university life. It felt as homey as Oxford or any other welcoming University town and it shouldn’t be overlooked in a trip to Italy.


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