A Trip to Leaning Tower of Pisa

by Rachna

From Rome, we went to Florence. We had booked a fast train from Rome to Florence and this is a journey one must make. If you book in advance, you can get great seats even upgrades at a lower price. Though they had asked us to carry a printout, even a mobile ticket sufficed. The seats were very comfortable and the beautiful Italian countryside just charms its way into your heart. We got free drinks and cookies which was a nice touch. Since we loved Italian cheese, we always carried cheese tomato sandwiches with us as you never know when one would be hungry.

We reached Florence in 3 hours flat. Florence is one of the loveliest cities of Italy in Tuscany way smaller as compared to Rome and Naples that we had already visited. The city has an old-world, small town charm. What unnerves you is that the place is notorious for pickpockets. So always keep your documents and money close to you. We luckily did not face any unfortunate events. As we got out of the spacious train station, we towed our luggage to the Airbnb accommodation that we had chosen. It was about 10 minutes walk from the station and with good pavements and good luggage, it was quite doable.

Since we did not have too much time in Florence, we freshened up in the pretty apartment where our hostess who was there to meet us had left us some freshly baked cookies. Nice touch! There was also a grocery store downstairs where we shopped for some pasta, produce and wine for a dinner later. We headed out to have lunch. Lunch was a panini at a roadside joint which was apparently quite popular. I loved the panini. We chose a chicken one but they did have a vegetarian option as well which someone helpfully pointed out to us. Hot and delicious, it was very filling as well. We promised to come back for more. Then we headed to the train station as we wanted to go to Pisa.

leaning tower of pisa 2

Baptistry

Pisa can be reached by a local train and you can buy the tickets on the spot. From Firenze Santa Maria Novella which is the main train station, you can catch local trains to Pisa Centrale. The journey takes about 1.5 hours. We bought the tickets on the spot and got into the train. We could sit anywhere. The train was practically empty. We got to see some more of the lush Italian countryside. This train, unlike the fast one earlier, stopped at all the small towns on the way. One thing was a constant throughout – the graffiti at all stations. We got off at the Pisa Centrale station.

The Miracle Square which houses the Leaning Tower of Pisa is just 10 minutes by bus. Some people like to walk for about half an hour. The bus stop is just outside the train station. You can buy the ticket at the newspaper vendor/tobacconist in the train station. The ticket is just 1.10 Euros one way per person. You have to catch the same bus back from across the street on your way back. And if you come back within a couple of hours you can use the same ticket back.

You get off right at Piazza Del Duomo that houses 3 stunning monuments – Baptistry, Pisa Cathedral and its bell tower commonly known as Leaning Tower of Pisa. There is no fee to visit. You have to only pay if you wish to climb to the top of The Leaning Tower of Pisa. You can cover the entire complex within an hour’s time.

The place is always buzzing with tourists posing funnily in front of the Leaning Tower.

The day we visited, it was beautiful blue skies and a sunny day. The architecture of all 3 buildings is stunning and in Roman style.

leaning tower of pisa 3

Cathedral

The Baptistry is at the westernmost part of the complex followed by the Cathedral and Leaning Tower of Pisa. There are lush lawns in front. Spend some time in admiring the beauty of the monuments. You can book tickets to climb on top of the Tower in advance but the queue we saw was quite short.

leaning tower of pisa 1

Leaning Tower of Pisa

For those who enjoy trivia, The Campanile ( Bell Tower) or Leaning Tower of Pisa’s construction began in 1173. It was only finished in 1372 when the bell-chamber was added. Just five years into construction when it had reached 3rd floor level, the building began to sink on its south side. The weak foundation and subsoil led to this. The construction was then abandoned and the building stabilised. It was restarted a century later when adjustments were done to address the lean like building the upper floors taller on one side. The tower is around 60 m high and has 296 steps to the top.

The lean in 2010 was about 4 degrees. It is a stunning building and looks gorgeous even after centuries.

It was a journey totally worth it. Don’t miss it when you are in Florence.

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23 comments

Alok Singhal January 16, 2017 - 5:37 pm

I have been enjoying reading your travel to Italy, checked your article on on MV also.

I have to see what this panini is, but I am happy to read there is no dearth of vegetarian options.

Lovely coverage of Florencence here, a must-see in Italy!

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rachna January 16, 2017 - 5:47 pm

I am glad, Alok. Panini is a kind of sandwich – sometimes grilled or not. Vegetarian options are easier to find in Italy. If nothing else you will always get pizza just the plain cheese and tomato sauce one is of out of the world.

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Soumya January 16, 2017 - 6:42 pm

I’m glad you are back here Rachna.

This post and the pictures make me want to pack my bags and leave immediately. Since vegetarian options are easier to find, the husband will be happy as well. We’re planning a trip around Europe sometime next year. I’ll be reaching out to you back then. Especially after I read that budget article you wrote on moneyview. The details were brilliant.

You think you can add the travel options, how to get here, the amount spent etc to the articles here as well? It would make it much easier for someone who wants to visit.

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rachna January 17, 2017 - 11:08 am

I wish to document all the places I travelled to on this trip. Slow and steady, I will get to them all. 🙂 Italy is one place I would want to live for some time. The weather, the food, the people, the culture, the history. It is just an outstanding place.

Thanks, Soumya. I will see if I can find the details you’ve asked for and try to add them here.

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Nabanita January 16, 2017 - 6:56 pm

Ahh Rachna, you must know by now that Italy is a dream for me. Your posts actually transport me there and come as a reminder to start saving for the trip. I have seen Tuscany through travel shows and even through the TV I have fallen in love with it. Pisa is also on my list too but you know what? I secretly harbour a desire to spend a few weeks in an Italian countryside. Of course, doesn’t seem possible all things considered. Anyways. I have still not tried Air BnB accommodations but I think I have to after reading about your experience.

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rachna January 17, 2017 - 11:10 am

I know, Naba. Tuscany is spectacular. We did a winery visit and wow the trip was out of the world. I really wish that we had spent more time in Tuscany.

Your secret desire is my dream too. Next time I visit Italy, it will be for months. God knows when that will likely materialise but I can see myself living there.

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Shailaja Vishwanath January 17, 2017 - 5:47 am

I love panini ? Looks like the trip to Pisa was fun. Enjoyed the descriptions of the sights and monuments, Rachna.

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rachna January 17, 2017 - 11:20 am

This was one trip which the kids enjoyed thoroughly. The spectacular monuments, the food, the culture — it was so enjoyable. Glad you liked the pictures and the descriptions. 🙂

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Rajlakshmi January 17, 2017 - 7:49 am

It certainly is a marvelous architecture… And has been preserved so well. It still looks as good as new. I have never booked through airbnb before, probably I should try it next time.

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rachna January 17, 2017 - 11:21 am

Oh yes, that’s true, Raj. I used to think that only India has such outstanding architecture but Italy is quite spectacular in that regard. The modern and the ancient rub shoulders with each other.

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Beloo Mehra January 17, 2017 - 12:07 pm

Lovely read about your travel to Florence and the visit to the monuments. As a child I often wondered how could they build a leaning tower like that, why didn’t they correct the mistake, etc! And then I learned that imperfection can have its own charm 🙂 The pictures make the description come alive, Rachna.

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Mayuri January 17, 2017 - 3:12 pm

I loved Florence too! It seemed like a magical town!
We missed Pisa but your descriptive travelogue took me there, Rachna. Really nice!

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rachna January 18, 2017 - 9:58 am

Thanks, Mayuri. Florence was stunning. I will cover sights of Florence in the next post. Just magical.

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Deepa January 17, 2017 - 4:24 pm

Oh! I want to travel to Italy too after reading your post. Very nice pictures and description.

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rachna January 18, 2017 - 9:56 am

Thank you, Deepa. I sure hope you can soon.

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Parul Thakur January 17, 2017 - 9:23 pm

Wow! That architecture and clear skies are to die for. I would love to spend a couple of years here. Leaning tower of Pisa must be a dream for so many and so glad you visited the place after all that drama that happened. I am sure coming back whenever I get a chance to travel.

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rachna January 18, 2017 - 9:56 am

Yes, so many amazing monuments in Italy that I am glad I got to visit in this lifetime. The weather was spectacular and the skies they just took our breath away.

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Reema D'souza January 17, 2017 - 11:10 pm

Wow! This post and the pictures make me want to visit it right now. Such amazing architecture.

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rachna January 18, 2017 - 9:55 am

Thanks, Reema. 🙂

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Beat About the Book January 18, 2017 - 8:49 am

Good to have you back here. I’ve been to the Leaning Tower a decade ago and loved it. You seemed to have a particularly good day – the skies are so blue. Loved the pictures.

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rachna January 18, 2017 - 9:57 am

Thanks, Tulika. I know. I need to update this so often but sieving through so many pictures etc. is so much work. 🙂 Oh yes, the weather was beautiful when we visited. It added to the experience. The whole complex is so well organized that it was a pleasure to visit.

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Jaibala Rao January 31, 2017 - 10:39 am

My mom and dad traveled to Europe last year, around the same time that you did. And as I read your posts, I can see how you had similar experiences. And now my longing to travel to Europe has become stronger.

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rachna January 31, 2017 - 10:54 am

You will love Europe. I’ve enjoyed each visit of mine.

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