I think Leaning Tower of Pisa is on everyone’s list to visit when in Italy. It is such an iconic monument, we have all seen on TV, in magazines or a movie. It was definitely on our list of things to see, when we planned our days in Florence. Pisa is a lovely place and you can spend a few hours or the whole day in there, it’s totally up to you! Pisa is not just the leaning tower..
We booked our tickets a few days before and booked our time slot to go up the tower. Shaun is not too keen on heights, but he still said he would give it a go. I was SUPER excited.
The train journey was quick and pleasant. As we arrived in Pisa, there were literally no signs or maps around to know where the Leaning Tower of Pisa was, so we asked a local man who kindly told us. You can get a bus or a taxi but honestly it is such a nice walk from the train station and you can’t really get lost.. from what I remember it was go straight, keep going, over the bridge, straight and then when you turn left you can actually see it. Plus everyone is pretty much walking in the same direction!
As we approached the area, it was a surreal feeling.. as if you somehowe know this place but finally get to see it with your own eyes! Now the tower is smaller than I actually had imagined, but nonetheless absolutely amazing!!
As we arrived around 10am, and our slot for the Tower was at 13:30, we had enough time to walk around and explore the other sites without rushing around. We booked the tickets online to go up the tower, to visit the museum, the Baptistery, the Camposanto, and the Cathedral (Cathedral is free to visit). The Square of Miracles and the Camposanto was absolutely beautiful, probably it was my favourite place to walk around, so much history and art ..
We started with the Cathedral, it was absolutely beautiful! Don’t forget to cover your shoulders and knees ladies!
We then made our way to the Camposanto – it was such a peaceful and beautiful place. I did not know anything about it prior to this, so I was pleasantly surprised – don’t miss this beautiful place it was my highlight of the whole trip!
The Baptistery was lovely to look around, there are two levels and I did climb up the stairs to see the view from the top too!
The museum was a quick tour and showcasing some archeological sites (if you are interested in seeing original features, stone, artifacts and some tombs, you will enjoy this).
After a quick bite to eat, we made our way to the cloakroom in anticipation for our visit to the Tower.
Going up was such a surreal experience, take care when walking up (or down) as the steps are so smooth and slippery I got too cocky and nearly fell over 2-3 times as I was walking down !
There are two levels you can go up and walk outside. Shaun went to the first one and decided to go back down. You do feel a little ‘drunk‘ at first as you are swaying a bit as you walk. It is a strange feeling and quite hard to describe, the current inclination is about 5.5°. The view from the top-level is absolutely beautiful, so it is definitely worth climbing the 273 steps!!
I did ask a stranger to take a photo of me, to show that I actually was up there!
Everywhere you looked, there were people trying to create a fun picture – holding the tower, leaning against it, kicking it (don’t ask!!) I kept walking around and thinking.. cringe, it looks so silly!! BUT by the end of the day I thought if I don’t do it, I will so regret it, because EVERYONE was doing it and I think you are kind of expected to do it… It was hot, we were both tired and nearly had the D (ivorce) word on the table by the end of it all… as Shaun tried to take my photo, I was holding NOTHING in the air and trust me it is not as easy as it looks… We were so bad at it, so after a few unsuccessful attempts we gave up – FAIL!!!!
Have you been to Pisa? What was your favourite part?
TIPS:- Tickets – I would definitely recommend booking your ticket online, to avoid the queues and especially if you want to go up on the tower. Once booked you will have your time slot and you can visit the other sites before/after.
pickpockets – Keep your eyes open for pickpockets, especially around the train station. Keep hold of your bags and put your camera away! On our way back, we felt uneasy as we noticed a few people “eyeing up” the tourists. There is a safety announcement every time you purchase tickets too, so stay safe!
Tower of Pisa – if you carry a bag you will have to leave it in the lobby (clearly displayed and free of charge), don’t try and leave your bag an hour before your slot they only allow you to leave it max 15 minutes before your slot. Don’t panic as there is plenty of time and the queue to the tower is by groups, that have booked the exact same time.