Today we were off to Pisa, we allowed ourselves a bit of a lie in and awoke at 8.30am before heading out the apartment around 9.15am. We had a leisurely walk to the train station and grabbed some cannoli and peach juice for breakfast.
The train from Florence to Pisa was the only one I wasn’t able to get a seat reservation on and it was very crowded. We managed to get some seats but there didn’t seem to be any air conditioning, the seats were tiny so Adam and I were pressed against one another and there were so many bodies on the train. It was a very unpleasant train journey, I was so relieved to get off and grab some fresh air.
As soon as we stepped out of the station we found ourselves in the Vittorio Emmanuelle Square so we went to have a look at the Keith Harring mural, the largest mural in Europe. I liked it, so colourful!
We then had a leisurely walk down Corsa Italia, the main high street. The weather was about 32 degrees and we ducked into a few shops to enjoy the air conditioning. The sales were on and Adam even managed to grab a few bargains!
We headed off to Knights Square which was the medieval political hub of Pisa. It has some beautiful buildings in and it was great to have a wander through, although I had to leave Adam in the shade whilst I went and took some photos.
We retraced our steps in order to find something to eat and found ourselves at ‘Antica Gelateria Del Borgo’ which ticked off Adams strict criteria of somewhere with air conditioning and pizza. It was well priced and I had ravioli whilst Adam had his pizza. I accompanied my meal with prosecco and ice cream from their gelato counter. The toilets were HORRIBLE but this is something I’ve got used to in Italy and so always carried some tissues in my purse. A poor woman who went in behind me obviously didn’t come as well prepared and sulked to her partner afterwards that she had a visible pee stain on the back of her skirt!
After lunch we headed on to the Square of Miracles. This contains all of Pisa’s main attractions including the baptistery (the largest in Italy), the duomo, the cemetery and of course the leaning tower! Walking into the square was wonderful, everything is so beautiful and there was a lovely breeze running between the buildings despite the warm day.
We had tickets to enter all the monuments and headed to the baptistery first. It had a very intricate exterior facade however was a bit plain on the inside which was kind of disappointing. The acoustics were pretty fantastic though which was showcased by a member of staff doing some singing.
We also enjoyed the duomo, despite having seen quite a few this far into our Italian trip. It was traditional in style but very grand and had some beautiful statues. I was still impressed.
It finally arrived at our time slot for the tower. Adam had to go put his bag in the luggage storage room but we were soon heading inside. The 300 odd steps we had to climb to get to the top was quite a job. Half the time the lean would work against you and then it wasn’t just climbing steps, it was climbing steps going up a hill! I arrived at the top looking pretty tomato like but the amazing views over Pisa more than made up for it. Atop the tower were some beautiful inscribed bells and benches for us to take our much needed rest.
We finished with the camposanto Monumentale, believed to be the most beautiful cemetery in the world. When we visited it was totally empty which was strange but much appreciated. It really is a beautiful building with some stunning monuments. We spent a very serene hour walking around taking pictures.
We did want to go see the botanical gardens but unfortunately they were shut so instead we thought we would use the time to grab a bite to eat. We thought we would head back towards the station and we found a restaurant, Ristorante Pizzeria Vittorio Emanuele, in the square outside. We had a reasonable meal, Adam had ravioli whilst I had gnocchi all washed down with very reasonable priced wine.
The way we dealt with the finance on holiday was that I would take out an amount of cash every day that I felt would cover the day’s budget. This meant that if my purse was stolen or anything whilst out we would only lose that days money. The rest of the kitty was kept locked in our suitcase. As a back-up for going over the days budget Adam also had a card.
So we got the bill for the meal and we were a euro short so I told Adam to get his card out…and he had forgot it! Que a panic! Adam said we should just put down what we have and walk away before they get the chance to realise but I wasn’t happy with that idea, too scared we’d get caught. I felt we needed to go inside and chat to the staff about our predicament. As we were debating a waitress came over and asked if there was a problem so we explained.
In all honesty I didn’t think it would be that much of an issue. We were the equivalent of 70p short and they had a very high cover charge anyway (approximately the cost of a main meal) so letting us off the euro shouldn’t be too much of a drama, right? Wrong! We had multiple staff members come up to us, shouting at us about how we had to pay and what horrible people we were. Adam and I asked them what they expected us to do, explaining this was not purposeful. After half an hour of them debating if they were going to call the police they let us leave but I felt pretty shaken up by the whole thing! It was a really horrible experience.
We arrived at the station about 20 minutes before our train departed, got back to Florence and packed our bags ready to head onto Rome the next day!