In a moment of psuedo-spontaneity, Megan, Jen, and I hopped on a train to Pisa last Monday to visit the iconic tower most Americans think of when images of Italy come to mind. Pisa is an easy half-day trip from Florence and pretty uneventful if you’re there just to get pictures with the tower and leave. While we certainly took far too many “look at me, I’m pushing over the tower!” glamor shots, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the city itself.
City is perhaps a strong word; town is more like it. Walking through Pisa and to the tower (located in the very northwest portion of town) is a nice, relaxing way to spend a day. Many of Pisa’s buildings are relatively new and/or refurbished. Because of its strategic placement during WWII, many of its older buildings had been destroyed or damaged in the process. A rocky political history paired with several active college communities, makes Pisa a surprisingly politically engaged city. What little graffiti existed seemed to be political in nature.
Pisa’s tower also over shadows some lesser known (but perhaps equally enjoyable) sites such as the ruins of Roman Emperor Nero’s bathhouse and the town’s breathtaking walk down the Arno river. Haters gon’ hate, but I enjoyed Pisa for what it was. I will say that it was near impossible to find authentic (and cheap) food. But strolling downtown and sun bathing on the lawn near the baptistery was a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
For anyone who may come to Pisa, don’t just shoot for the tower. You’ll miss out of the best part of your short visit. But damn, did I get some good tower pictures from the day.