Most people only spend a day in Pisa, but what if i told you having Pisa as your base for the weekend is totally worth it? In July my boyfriend booked a few days off as he needed a break and found some cheap tickets to Pisa. I then did the same, ready for a weekend full of sun, pasta and wine!
We arrived at the airport late in the morning and took the quick airport train to the city – it only takes about 10min. In the city we started heading in the direction of our Airbnb and picked the lovely Vineria di Piazza on Piazza delle Vettovaglie for lunch. Such a lovely place to sit and people watch. The buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil I had for lunch was so tasty and refreshing! Not much later it was time to check into our Airbnb and thank goodness we went for a place with aircon! We freshened up a bit and then, well, how not to go see what Pisa is known for? Especially as our Airbnb was only 5min away from the Tower. The Tower can be found on a large square, the Piazza Dei Miracoli, alongside the Duomo and the Battistero. Surrounded by ALL the tourists of course, most of them pretending to support the Tower. There is this great video on YouTube by the way of this guy/troll high fiving people posing this way.
A great suggestion by my friend Heather who did her Erasmus in Pisa was to visit the recently opened Walls of Pisa. Barely anyone knows about it and it’s not signposted as far as we could see. But it gives you the best view on the Piazza, away from the crowds! There is a route of about 3km for only 3EUR per person, which in my opinion is well worth it. We got off near the end and then wandered around some little streets and pretty squares, waiting for the clock to strike six: aperitivo time! Afterwards we went for dinner at La Ghiotteria (ravioli, baby!) and I had a mandatory gelato from La Bottega del Gelato.
Day 2 was mostly spent on bikes and with our bums on the beach. We rented bikes from Smile & Ride and used the app they developed with different bike paths. We set off first through the crazy Italian traffic, followed by a scenic route alongside sunflower fields to get to the San Rossore Park. It’s a lovely park but you’re not quite allowed to venture into many parts of it, so we looped and then continued on to the Marina di Pisa.
We deserved a nice lunch after that bike ride, so I had a lovely seafood risotto at Il Peschereccio. Beach time then! We hired some sunbeds and soaked up the vitamine D – as always a bit more than my pale skin would have liked. Some cold drinks and a toilet break before setting off back to Pisa, just in time to return out bikes. After all that biking pizza was needed. We went to Quarto d’Ora, which had been recommended by our Airbnb host. It was on quite a touristy street and we were a bit hesitant as it felt a bit like a tourist trap. We tried it in the end and I don’t remember it being bad, but not extraordinary either. Dessert was of course a gelato, followed by a nice evening stroll (passegiata) along the Arno river.
On our last day we tried a different mode of transport: the train. More specifically: the train to Lucca. We entered the city walls and had a second breakfast at Paniko Lucca. Then we roamed into the centre, encountering so many Flemish people I started to wonder if there were any left in Belgium. We walked up the city walls and then followed them round to enjoy the different views on the city. When the heat (and hunger) started to get to us we picked a restaurant on a side street for some lunch. After lunch we continued our search until we finally spotted the famous church with trees growing on its tower. Mission accomplished, so time to head back to Pisa, and onwards to Belgium.
Have you been to Pisa or Tuscany?