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Travel Story by Christof Niklaus

  Taking a trip to Pisa!
Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa

If you are considering going to see the amazing Leaning Tower of Pisa, you are advised to go for a couple of days, two nights at most. If you wish to have a longer trip then it’s worth doing some research on some neighbouring town or city to visit.

The old town of Pisa is a short 15 minutes trip by bus from the Galileo Galilei airport.

Tip - catch the #21 bus to the main Pisa Centrale train station and then catch the #4 bus to the Hotel Duomo or any of the other hotels on Via Santa Maria. Each bus trip takes just under 10 minutes.

Hotel Duomo, a four star hotel on the famous Via Santa Maria, is located just 200m from the tower and comes well recommended as it is in a perfect location with bars, restaurants, markets and shops at 'corner shop walking distance'.

Tip - ask for a front-view room so that you can see the leaning tower from the balcony or window.

The Leaning Tower is the most obvious and famous image of the city; it is one of many works of art and architecture in the city's Campo dei Miracoli or "Field of Miracles", to the north of the old town centre. As the leaning tower was closed in 1990 for structural strengthening, we were surprised to see tourists up the tower and found out that it reopened for visitors in 2001, alas with limitations. The tower has 294 steps and leans at an angle of 5.5 degrees. This may not seem a lot, but it means that the tower is 4.5 metres from where it used to stand vertically.

When buying a ticket to enter the leaning tower, you can also gain access to all the other historic buildings. At the ticket counter, if you can manage to explain you are deaf (sometimes difficult what with the language barrier - I simply point to my hearing aid!), you will be able to gain free access but amazingly you will have to sign a legal disclaimer to say you are responsible for your own welfare as a disabled person!

Tip – do join the hundreds of tourists taking photos of each other pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower!

In the Campo dei Miracoli you can also find the Duomo (the Cathedral). Inside there are some breathtaking sights, the disappointing and plain Baptistry, and the amazing and interesting Camposanto (the monumental cemetery) that you can walk all the way round.

We took a day trip to Livorno (18km by train, only €1.5 return), which with hindsight, was not really worth it despite having the best lobster pasta dish ever tasted in a typical Italian family café. Livorno is worth visiting if you fancy more shops but don't expect any historical sights or a beach because it is a harbour city.

Visit Pisa if only to see and go up the amazing Leaning Tower. There are cheap flights, good quality accommodation, stress-free travel on public transport, unbeatable pasta dishes and Chianti wine.

Click on photo to enlarge

Christof at the top  Stunning interior design  A street scene

Date Submitted: 27 Jun 2007

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