Pisa is the perfect weekend city break, with delicious food, beautiful weather and incredible architecture!
It’s hard to believe that my trip to Pisa was almost 5 months ago – and here I am sitting down to write it in early September! Note to self: I MUST write down notes when I’m on holiday AND put a post together before I forget all the little details!
Being the foodie lover that I am, I blogged about what to eat and drink in Pisa at a much earlier date, so all the details were fresh in my mind. I’m missing the crunchy garlic bread, soft pasta and creamy gelato like mad. I would totally head back to Italy in a heartbeat if I could!
Jade and I went to Pisa during the first May bank holiday, and enjoyed two and a half days of walking, exploring, eating and tanning!
We landed in Pisa around lunch time and headed straight to our hotel, Allegroitalia Tower Plaza, to freshen up and unpack all of our clothes. We explored the hotel (including the AMAZING roof top with an incredible picturesque view) and then ventured out to buy snacks to keep us going over the weekend. We stocked up on water, sickly-sweet juices, paprika lays and kinder bueno rolls – doesn’t holiday food just tastes SO much better than normal food?
Day trip to Florence
On the first full day, we took a taxi to Pisa Central Station to buy return tickets to Florence. The train journey took around 2 hours, weaving in and out of the beautiful rolling Italian countryside. The triple decker trains (TRIPLE DECKER!!) are air conditioned and super comfortable, which makes the whole experience relaxing and more enjoyable. Luckily, we picked up a handy pocket guide to Pisa and Florence whilst we were in the airport, so we relied heavily on these for the trip!
Jade and I walked over 29,000 steps in 6 hours, exploring the beautiful city and terracotta buildings, climbing up to Piazale Michelangelo to take in the breathtaking views, gorging on spicy pizza and cool gelato, walking past Florence cathedral and strolling over the iconic David bridge.
It was so good in fact, that it totally deserves its own post. So keep you eyes peeled for my 6 hours in Florence post!
Visit the Tuttomondo painting in Pisa
The Tuttomondo painting was a highly recommended place to visit on the map of Pisa, so when we were walking back to our hotel one evening, we made an effort to the painting. Keith Haring, a young American artist who designed and painted the Tuttomondo, quickly became famous for the colourful, bold paintings and sketches displayed on billboards and walls. Tuttomondo, a 180sq wall of colourful characters and drawings, was created in 1989 for people across the world to enjoy. The bold, vibrant colours represent different aspects of peace in the world. The 30-figures in the mural evoke Haring’s vitality, energy and creativeness, which allowed him to create something to rememberable before his death from AIDS just months later.
There’s a little gift shop opposite, but it’s lovely to just sit beside the view and look at it. You can’t miss it, it’s pretty tall and colourful – but worth a visit!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Where to start with this incredible piece of architecture!
The Tower of Pisa is noted as one of the most remarkable structures from medieval Europe, standing at 60 metres tall and until 1990, was leaning at a 10 degree angle. Pisa Tower is one of four buildings that make up the cathedral complex, where it is nestled in between the cathedral, white marble pavement, the baptistery and the dome.
With 207 columns ranged around eight stories, the Tower of Pisa began construction in 1173 and continued for 200 years through the series of wars. The white marble tour holds a chamber for bells that ring out over Pisa. To marble stone spiral staircase will take you to the top of the tower, with different viewpoints to stop off and take photos – and catch your breath!
We booked tickets first thing in the morning and managed to grab an early afternoon slot to walk up the tower. You aren’t allowed to take bags up (the steps get super steep and narrow near the top!) so we headed to the free cloakroom to drop our coats and bags off. Once you step into the tower, everything’s on a slant so it feels slightly disorientating, but you begin the climb on the steep marble steps by following single file. As you progress up the tower, the steps become shorter, steeper and narrower. Once you’ve done the 251 steps though, you are greeted with the most incredible view.
The weather was super beautiful; blue skies, beaming sunshine and soft whispy clouds. For miles around, you could see rolling countryside, terracotta roof tiles and rows and rows of beautiful Italian buildings. We also managed to climb the tower in time to hear the bells chime out over Pisa.
Photos just don’t do the tower justice – you need to see it to believe it!
Hire bikes to ride around Pisa
We had some time to kill before heading up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so we wondered down the streets and had breakfast, and stumbled on a row of bikes and a tour guide explaining the route to other tourists. We finished our coffee and headed over, and within 15 minutes we’d booked our own bike to take on a tour around the streets of Pisa!
We payed €10 for an hour’s trip and Jade and I took it in turns to navigate the roads and cobbled streets. It was a great way to see Pisa and the river Arno, albeit a little scary cycling on the wrong side of the road!
Who doesn’t love a tacky souvenir? We walked around the markets held just outside the square, and looked at all the key rings, glasses, t-shirts and tops! The heat was blazing, even in May, but I picked up some tacky souvenirs and a Pisa plate. I’ve started collecting plates from places that I go on holiday, and Mum puts them up in the kitchen along the picture rail in the kitchen!
Pisa was a fantastic short City break, and I totally recommend a weekend there! The food, weather and people were incredible, I’m just so excited to visit Italy again.
Stay posted for my 6 Hours in Florence post – it’s a goodun’!