Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lean Towards Pisa!

The polls are in in the UK and they're in on the Top Tips for Trips Blog too!  In this case the voters leaned towards Pisa, ironic really! But good choice everyone!  Here is a review of the Tuscan town with the famous slant!  
  Located in western Tuscany near to the mouth of the Arno river, Pisa is known throughout the world for its famous Leaning Tower. However there is so much more to Pisa than just this captivating landmark.
The ecclesiastical city began life as a seaside settlement around 3,000 years ago and was first laid out in the mid-eleventh century. It is crammed full of striking historical monuments and buildings dating back many hundreds of years and much of Pisa has retained its medieval appearance. The Old Town stretches out in a maze of small winding streets and large piazzas that host bustling food, flower, souvenir and pet markets. Pisa is also known for its excellent university, which was established in 1343 and has become one of Italy's top schools as well as the home of Europe's oldest and most stunning botanical garden. The city also boasts a lively cafe culture, exquisite cuisine and some of the best shopping in Italy.

Pisa's principal tourist attractions are grouped together in the Campo dei Miracoli in the North-West of the city. Here, on an immense green lawn, four impressive buildings stand in gleaming white marble. Combining Moorish, Gothic and Romanesque architectural features, these imposing structures are; the breathtaking Duomo (cathedral) - built almost 1,000 years ago; the cathedral's bell tower - better known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the circular Battistero (Baptistery) - the largest of its kind in the whole of Italy; and the Camposanto - also known as the Holy Field, without doubt one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. The magnificence of the Campo dei Miracoli is a treat in itself, but of course the cherry on top is the absurd Leaning Tower. It truly is a sight to behold and an experience to be had. Climbing up the tilting bell tower is unnerving to say the least and definitely not for the weak-hearted! I climbed it last summer with my vertigo suffering boyfriend and nearly caught the phobia myself! Not that I admitted that to him....
Pisa is a wonderful destination for a city break or as a start-off point on a tour of Italy. A 2 day visit is all you need to take in the sights, so if you are looking for something longer than a mini-break it would be a good idea to move on to Florence, the elegant art capital of Italy, which is a mere one hour journey by train (a one way ticket costs approx. 6 EUR). Another option is to base yourself at one of the many lovely beach resorts located just 30 minutes from Pisa and alternate your city sightseeing with some sunbathing and seaside relaxation (April- September).
In terms of budget Pisa is a bit of a bargain. Ryanair operates a direct flight from Dublin straight into Pisa, leaving you with just a 10 minute journey into the city. The service is regular and very well-priced in comparison to other flight routes between Ireland and Italy. Accommodation is cheaper than the larger Italian cities of Florence, Rome and Venice and you will find all levels of standard here from budget-busting student hostels to five star hotels.  One of Mysterytrips' favourite hotels is the Royal Victoria Hotel, an antique-packed, old-world establishmenment in the heart f the city. Although you will experience inflated tourist prices around the Leaning Tower and surrounding attractions, there are lots of cheaper and often more authentic restaurants, bars and shops to be found 'off the beaten track'. Lose yourself in the ancient inter-winding streets of Pisa Old Town and you will no doubt stumble across some hidden gems.
With so much on offer including easy access and reasonable costs it is difficult not to Lean Towards Pisa when looking for a great Summer city break.


  1. thanks for dropping by my blog, love pisa. happy blogging

  2. Every hostel should have a reception, however some of the smaller hostels close the reception during the night.

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