Pisa Italy

Feb 3rd, 2012, 05:04 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8
Pisa Italy

We are going to be in Pisa for 2 days in the fall. We would love a recommendation for both a hotel and what we should see in those 2 days.
Thanks!
CherylDoT is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 05:22 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 983
If it were me, I would go to www.bookings.nl and www.venere.com and find a hotel that is rated highly (8.0 or above from people who previously stayed there) near the train station. In your two days you will of course see the leaning tower and the cathedral, but you will have plenty of time for a solid day trip from Pisa (which is why it is good to stay near the train station), since Pisa does not have much more than that. Some good options for daytrips by train are Lucca, or Florence, or the Cinque Terre (though if it is perfect beach weather, then Viareggio is only a few minutes away too!).
dfourh is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 05:43 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8
We are driving to Pisa from San Gimignano, and have to drop the car off at the airport it seems. We are arriving in the morning, stay all day and then taking the train to Venice the next day. Since are close to the coast, a visit to a small town nearby might be an option. We know we wanted to see the tower and cathedral, but haven't done any reading about this area yet... You are saying Pisa doesn't have much more than that...hmmm. Is it worth visiting or should we devote those 2 days elsewhere?
CherylDoT is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 05:48 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,774
In September I stayed two nights in Pisa: one night at a cheap B&B (more like a hostel with private rooms) called the B&B Le Donzelle di Vettovaglie, and another literally around the block at the Royal Victoria Hotel. These are both close to the Arno River, in a lively area near the university, about halfway in between the central rail station the Field of Miracles (where the Tower of Pisa lives) - so about 10-15 minutes walk from rail station to hotel/B&B (or take an easy bus) and another 10-15 minute walk to the Field of Miracles.

The area where I stayed is lively and loud at night with the students out and about eating and drinking late, but it's very non-touristy, too, whereas the Field of Miracles area is an obnoxious tourist hell in my opinion - I wouldn't want to stay there. The B&B entrance was in a dirty side street but once up stairs it was decent enough for the price, typical of a "self-service, no-frills" B&B, just a bit dark.

The Royal Victoria is a gem though now though way past its prime, badly in need of renovation - but worth a walk-through whether you stay there or not. It's an old hotel with grand pianos, marble staircases, and huge public areas. It feels like a museum. My room was a tiny one with a shared bathroom and not all that nice, but it was cheap. You might enjoy a regular room with an ensuite bathroom. My room at the B&B was much nicer for about the same price, though with no "hotel amenities" except free WiFI (only WiFi at Royal Victoria is in the lobby and not free).

You'll spend time at the Field of Miracles for sure, of course. Whatever you do otherwise, take a walk along the Arno River too, maybe at dusk when you can see the sun setting over the river. The buildings and churches along the river are colorful if a bit rundown. The main, lively shopping street in town is the Corso Italia, which is also the road between the central train station and the Royal Victoria/B&B/University area on the opposite side of the Arno.

In some ways there isn't much to see in Pisa of obvious interest to tourists, but I like the fact that (away from the ultra-touristy Field of Miracles) it is not very touristy. You could do a day trip to Lucca easily by bus (probably easier than by train; bus leaves from near the Field of Miracles).

I wouldn't want to stay near the central train station myself - the area is a bit run down; the area where I stayed is much more lively. FYI, there's another smaller train station closer to the Field of Miracles; most trains seem to run out of the central station, of course.
Andrew is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 06:00 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,774
Many tourists might prefer to stay in Lucca than Pisa. You could drop the car in Pisa, leave your bags at the train station, walk the 30 minutes through the center of Pisa to the Field of Miracles or take the bus, see the Field, Tower, and Duomo, then take the train on to Lucca and spend the night there.

I personally enjoyed Pisa because it is lively and much less touristy (outside of the Field) than other places in Italy. I enjoy "real" cities.
Andrew is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 06:02 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,079
We went to Lucca and loved it.
margo_oz is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 06:22 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8
We are going to Italy for our Honeymoon and we do want to stay somewhere nice. I should have stated that..thanks for the suggestion oh cheap places Andrew. Margo and Andrew, Lucca sounds more appealing. I agree, we like "real cities" and love countryside. We are staying at a villa outside San Gimignano for 5 days and hope to spend time at the markets and exploring towns in Tuscany.
Maybe we can drive to Lucca first, then take the train back to Pisa and just stay for the day. We don't have to see Pisa at all.... But thought we could squeeze in a day. More to think about!
CherylDoT is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 06:37 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,774
I think the Tower of Pisa is something most tourists just HAVE to see once. If you stay in Lucca, do consider taking the bus in to Pisa for a few hours, just because it's so close. The bus is most likely preferable to the train; the bus takes you directly to the Field in Pisa.
Andrew is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:27 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,206
If you want to climb the tower, you need a timed reservation.

http://www.opapisa.it/en/home-page.html
Jean is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:52 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,820
You can do both Lucca and Pisa as a day trip from Florence. Take an early train to Lucca, spend time til mid-afternoon, take the bus or train to Pisa, see the Field of Miracles around dusk for best photo ops! Train back to Florence for a late dinner or have dinner in Pisa before your return to Florence.
joannyc is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 08:07 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,774
In my opinion the best light on the Tower etc. is 1-2 hours BEFORE dusk, when you get a warm late afternoon light on the buildings but before the shadows fall over them. There's really no sunset scene to speak of to shoot there...
Andrew is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 08:12 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,820
Sorry, Andrew.... I meant the best light being about 5pm (when I was there in September). I wasn't referring to a 'sunset scene'.
joannyc is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 08:44 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,774
5pm sounds about right - earlier in the day later in the month, of course as the days get shorter.
Andrew is online now  
Feb 4th, 2012, 08:15 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,355
While it is true that Pisa doesn't have much more than the Piazza dei Miracoli (cathedral, leaning tower, and baptistery), this is certainly no reason to dismiss it or to give going there a second thought. That square's name is spot on: the buildings on it are really miracles, and among this planet's best architecture and art, so Pisa has definitely much, much more to offer than 99.99 percent of towns worldwide. Bottom line, it's certainly wise to stay in Lucca and do Pisa as a daytrip, but it would be such a shame not to go there at all - while Lucca is the prettier town, Pisa's sights are a 100,000 times more important and rewarding. And the most important of Pisa's buildings is not the Leaning Tower; it's a stunningly beautiful tower, no doubt (not because it's leaning, but in spite of the fact that it's leaning!!), but THE building there is the cathedral, with its terrific pulpit inside: arguably the very best pulpit in the whole wide world.
franco is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:16 AM.