When in Florence and equipped with a car for nearby day trips, Pisa is only an hour away and certainly worth the effort. The legendary leaning tower is part of a complex that takes your breath away the moment you enter it, and if it weren’t for the hoards of other tourists trying to get their own tacky pose with it and ruining everyone else’s shot, I could have stayed there for hours on end.
As it turns out, the leaning tower of Pisa is the Italian equivalent of the Taj Mahal in Agra, with everyone and their uncle trying to document their visit one way or another. It is veritable impossible to get a clear shot without any photo bombers, and to think this is Winter, I can’t imagine visiting in Summer.
The little souvenir market outside the complex and the adjacent restaurants are veritable tourist traps to be avoided. If you walk further into the cty center you will find more relaxed places to dine and not have to battle for a table or deal with grumpy waiters who can’t wait to get rid of you.
As long as you don’t fall for the trimmings and visit the tower complex with loads of patience, the view can be rewarding, but so is a walk around Pisa’s old town. There is no documentation that confirms the actual age of this city, but suffice it to say that it predates even the Roman Empire, who referred to it already as an old city! The cobbled stone alleys and quaint buildings have a charm of their own and offer the intrepid explorer 1001 opportunities to photograph. I almost pity the locals who have to constantly dodge tourists who have lost all sense of time and space with all the ogling.
Pisa has much more to offer than just the leaning tower. There is a wonderful piazza that places host to the historic Napoleonic school, churches that ooze of history but remain standing strong in spite of all the wars they have witnessed, and like Florence, a spectacular view of the old city along the Arno River.
For more photos visit my photography blog entry on Pisa