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Since there are a few posts recently that says Pisa was underrated, here is my suggestion on how to enjoy it...

Since there are a few posts recently that says Pisa was underrated, here is my suggestion on how to enjoy it...

Old Mar 21st, 2003, 08:19 AM
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Since there are a few posts recently that says Pisa was underrated, here is my suggestion on how to enjoy it...

Greetings...

I had been reading these Pisa posts with interest (thought there were a lot of votes for Pisa on the "disappointed" thread.) Since I was close by, I decided to see Pisa anyway.

I have been traveling for a couple of months, and have gotten what backpackers sometimes call "ABC Syndrome" (Another Bloody Castle/Church/Cathedral). My first sight of the tower delighted me.

I agree, Pisa, the city, is not awe inspiring, and if you made a gigantic effort to go (driving far, etc.) you could be underwhelmed. So here is my suggestion...

If you haven't hit a lot of the Tuscan hilltowns yet, go to Lucca, and see Pisa from there. Lucca is a cute town (but not hopping) with some good shopping and plenty of outdoor cafes to hang out in.

If you had a night or two in Lucca, a nice day could be...

-Wake up, have a nice cup of coffee, and walk the streets. Visit some of the foodstores, and gather yourself a nice picnic with a good bottle of wine.

-Around lunchtime, go to the station and catch the train to Pisa. Purchase your return as well. (4 euros total...validate the ticket in the yellow machine).

-Get off at Pisa S. Rossore station, NOT Pisa Centrale. This is the station before the Centrale station. The Campo is 5 minute walk from this station...from the Centrale station, it would be a busride or hike. What's great from the Rossore station is within minutes, you will have your first impression of Pisa...the tower! (I have written directions on how to get there from the station below for those who are interested).

-Enjoy your fantastic picnic lunch on the lawn, and take the "mandatory" pictures. Get some ice-cream. People watch.

-Take the train back to Lucca. Rent a bike in the afternoon and ride around the wall. Stop by on one of the many park benches and enjoy a snack, or just bike around and work off lunch (or work up an appetite for dinner).

-Have yourself a nice dinner, and either leave that night, or in the morning.

I hope that helps. This is pretty much what I did today, and I really enjoyed both Lucca and Pisa. Nothing mind-blowing about either, but a pleasant day with no hassles.

Here are the walking directions from the Pisa. S. Rossore station:

When you exit the train, turn right. Follow the group out the gate. At that point, there will be three streets, walk down the one on the far left. (It is not called Giunta Pisaro, nor Diotsalvi. It turns into Andrea street...sorry I couldn't catch the name). You should pass by Hotel Europa on the right within a couple of minutes, then voila! The tower should come into view. Walk straight, cross the street, then you are there!

I hope more people enjoy Pisa...it is a pretty tower, as is the entire campo.
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 08:23 AM
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What a positive post! Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 10:22 AM
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Bless you, Crazymina, I am taking a group of students to Pisa in the fall and frankly was not looking forward to it the way I have been for other scheduled field trips (Venice, Florence, Pompeii et al). You made me think again!
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 11:49 AM
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We exactly did what you suggested, crazymina! We went to Lucca for the day and decided to visit Pisa (briefly) first. We were not at all disappointed. Especially the view when you enter the Campo is splendid! Really overwhelming with the cathedral, the baptistery and the tower in the back. And that tower really leans!
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 02:40 PM
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Is it better to visit Pisa on a weekend or weekday in the summer?
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 03:27 PM
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We visited on a weekday in September. Don't think it makes much difference in terms of crowds.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2003, 01:29 AM
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Oops..I thought I'd check in, and realized I said "underrated" when I meant overrated...combination of thinking overrated and underwhelmed, I think!

I was there for a few hours...until 3 in the afternoon, and the crowds didn't seem to thin out. The crowds there add to the fun, in my opinion, but I was alone and liked to watch everyone. Am not sure if it makes a difference for weekend or weekday.

There's a grassy area between the tower and the cathedral, (opposite side of all the vendors). Less people there, and you can get a less crowded shot of the tower...maybe even adding a bit of the cathedral for depth.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2003, 01:46 AM
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Whoops...hit send by accident...

Myriam, I am happy to hear others enjoyed a similar day! And LJ, the part I loved best was watching all the students snap pictures with their disposable cameras like mad. Watch your students faces, and that should make it worthwhile in itself!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2003, 04:20 AM
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We did almost the same trip a few weeks ago, except we took the bus from Lucca to Pisa and back (on the recommendation of the staff at Palazzo Alexando, where we were staying). The bus stopped right at the tower area. The short trip through the countryside was enjoyable and the bus was confortable and practically empty.It was a very nice half-day trip.
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