Pisa : the best mini pizzas in the world?

Most people visit Pisa for one thing – the Leaning Tower. And who can blame them? It is a breathtaking sight. But we found that Pisa has more to offer. So when the coach tours had left for another day we found ourselves to be in a tranquil quaint Italian town.

Obviously we did the main sights – after all who would come to Pisa and NOT see the Leaning Tower of Pisa! However we enjoyed it from the outside only and we did not climb it…  I understand that you need to book ahead for that.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this was seeing the many tourists doing the classic “I’m holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa” pose. It was funny to see everyone doing this!

As you can see, the Leaning Tower is not the only beautiful piece of architecture in the area – it is situated within the Piazza del Duomo (the Square of the Cathedral). This is made up of three buildings; the Leaning Tower, the Baptistry and the Duomo. The Baptistry is in the background of the photo above, and the Duomo (Cathedral) is below.

Away from the sights, we explored the quaint churches and the small alleys and streets. We visited the market selling fresh fish. We found a bakery that sold the most delicious freshly baked mini pizzas, and we started visiting daily and devouring them for lunch!

I found the prices for food to be surprisingly reasonable. We ate at a tourist restaurant within sight of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and it was around £6 for a main dish. Granted, the Italians would have Primeri (first course – the pasta) and Secondi (second course – the meat), and we often had just the pasta, as lasagne can be a meal in its own right. I was expecting Italy to be hideously expensive, but for the location I thought the prices were reasonable.

Pisa is a University town, so it is lively – but not in the drunken vomit-in-the-street way we have come to know and love in the UK. It felt safe for it. One night we stood on the bridge and watched the students milling around the main square, with conversation buzzing in the air. The one bar and ice cream shop eventually closed for the evening, and we ambled off to bed along the main shopping street. It was truly charming. Much of Pisa is made up of small streets – the kind I would never venture into after dark in England. But there it seemed safe, as long as one is sensible about it.

The Leaning Tower can easily be seen in a day trip, or even an hour or two, but Pisa is a charming little Italian town and a lovely place to spend a couple of days.

Next blog: Vienna, Austria

Previous blog: Florence, Italy

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