Barcelona, Lake Como and...?

Old Mar 29th, 2014, 03:34 PM
  #21  
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I'm interested to hear that you like Pisa. We were only there for the obligatory Field of Miracles tour, so perhaps we didn't get to see enough of it. I'm open to staying there. What do you enjoy about Pisa?
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 04:21 PM
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Good news! Delta has a direct flight from Pisa to JFK, and it's at the level that my miles would qualify for a free ticket. On the other hand, the flight from Florence costs 20,000 more miles, which I don't have without transferring miles from another account (for about $200). I'm definitely very interested in pursuing that path.

Does anyone have a hotel that they'd recommend for a last night in Pisa? Our flight would depart at 9:15 am, so we'd definitely want to have easy access to the airport, but still have a charming hotel if possible.

Thanks again!
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 07:00 PM
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Pisa was a big, big disappointment. Leaning Tower---way overrated.
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 02:22 AM
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Pisa was heavily damaged in the war apparently. We found it disappointing as well. The architecture of the leaning tower etc is gorgeous and worth some time, just try to ignore the masses of people and tacky vendors....or go later in the afternoon or early morning.

We loved Lucca and it's a short drive if you are willing to get up early.

Or just end the day in Pisa - no need to spend the last day there. Just sleep there if it doesn't appeal to you.
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 04:17 AM
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hi cybertraveler,

The Campo dei Miraocli is one of the very few monumental religious complexes that was built outside of an Italian city, at the periphery, rather than at its center. As you already guessed, if you only visit the Campo (arguably the most beautiful and harmonious arrangement of Renaissance architecture anywhere in Europe) it gets pretty hard to ignore being surrounded by the airheads who think taking a picture of themselves holding up the tower is overrated and heard somewhere, doh, that Pisa was damaged in the war, whatever -- something about frescoes that were burned or something? Somebody mentioned a museum about it. I dunno. We skipped that part and went for gelato.

The city of Pisa away from tower (and the tourists) survived the war intact and its center has more graciousness in its riverbank architecture along the Arno than what the Florentines were able to accomplish in similar circumstances. It is one of the reasons why it was a favorite or Shelley and Byron, both of whom preferred it to Florence. A lot of what gives Pisa its charm is its university, but also just in general that it one of the few historic Tuscan art cities that has continued to function and thrive on its own terms without giving over its city center to tourism. It has an historic food market tucked into a corner that thousands of tourists marching from the train station to the tower never notice, although it one of the most authentic markets of its kind in Tuscany. Precisely because all the mass tourism hives off and head to the tower, the center of Pisa goes its own way and offers a pretty good window into contemporary Tuscan life, in a Renaissance setting, that is not being performed as an act for tourists.

http://traveloyster.blogspot.it/2012...ciao-pisa.html

http://bagnidilucca.wordpress.com/20...ond-the-tower/

http://www.musement.com/en/blog/trav...isa-what-else/


Don't know if Relais Sassetti takes guests for one night in summer but that would be my pick for a stay

http://www.relaissassetti.it/

There are similar b&bs in the center of Pisa. If you decide to stay in the historic center then you should drop off your car before entering the city and use public transportation or taxis to get to the airport. The city is filled with ZTLs.

But I've nothing against Lucca and going in the evening is the better bet for missing the daytrippers in Lucca (who are usually just as clueless as the ones who visit Pisa -- in fact, they are usually the same ones "hitting up" both towns in the same day).
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 05:43 AM
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Actually we went for lunch! Flattered that you are so obsessed with replying to my posts Sandra! Keep it up - your nastiness is amusing
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 09:25 AM
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sandralist: the Relais Sassetti looks fantastic, and just the type of place we love. I will definitely check it out. Today I will be contacting various hotels in the different towns we'd like to visit. I'll post back with my findings to help others who may be planning a similar trip.

I enjoy reading everyone's comments. Thanks for taking the time to write.
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Old Apr 1st, 2014, 05:19 PM
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Happy news! I just snagged a frequent flyer ticket to Barcelona and home from Pisa. So we quickly purchased the other three tickets we needed on the same flights...WOW! Airfare to Europe has certainly increased since last year. So glad to have at least one ticket free.

Here's the scoop on hotels:
So far, I've been able to find availability in hotels in Barcelona, but still researching and contacting them.

Bellagio: all set at the Hotel Florence. Yay!

Santa Margherita Ligure: Hotel Metropole has availability in a "family room", but I had asked for two rooms, with at least one a corner room on a high floor with sea view. They couldn't confirm the sea view on the family room, so I asked what the view might be. Waiting to hear, so if anyone has an alternative, I'd appreciate a recommendation. I had already contacted Hotel Anita--no availability.

Siena: Palazzo Ravizza is all set for our return visit. We love and highly recommend that hotel.

Florence: We've been to Florence several times, but always love to return. We've stayed in several different hotels, including Torre Guelpha. Torre Guelpha has availability, and I think my teenage boys would enjoy the ancient building, but I haven't been there in about 12 years. Has anyone stayed there recently, and would you recommend it? (Room 15 with the terrace is not available, but we can get a Deluxe Suite that would fit all of us, and save some money (to help cover that airfare!) Or any other quaint hotel near Piazza Signoria?

San Gimignano: We've stayed at La Cisterna a couple of times, and enjoyed it. However, I thought it might be fun to try a new spot. Can anyone recommend a hotel with a view to match it over the countryside? We want to stay right in town. I looked at the Hotel Leon Bianco, which gets great reviews and looks lovely. It's across the piazza from La Cisterna, so I wonder about the view.

And now, we definitely will need a spot in Pisa the last night. I will contact the Relais Sassetti, and if anyone else can recommend a charming spot in the historical center that is still easy to leave for a 9:15am flight, I'd love a second option.

Thanks for sharing this planning with me.
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