Living in Europe is fantastic. You can travel to new countries with different cultures all the time for fairly inexpensive prices and all you have to do is hop on a train. While living in Europe we traveled quite a bit to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Poland, Italy, and the Vatican. We went to Italy for a few weeks and decided to make a little detour to Pisa for a quick day trip.
Train tickets are pretty cheap and easy to get. There are little machines that look like ATMs and you can purchase all of your tickets there, but if you need help ticket counters are available as well. When traveling by train in Italy please keep an eye on your bags at all times and if someone offers to help you, please be warned that the majority of the time they expect you to pay them. As well, be careful of “vendors” on trains, they are not always legitimate and will steal your money. During both our train rides to and from Pisa we witnessed several people victim to thievery, others kicked off the train, and a few even chased by the police-so please just be careful. We also made sure we always asked families, couples, or large groups to take our picture so that they couldn’t bolt off with our camera, which also occurs.
We traveled from Florence, Italy to Pisa, Italy and it only took a couple hours by train. Like most people we came for the Leaning Tower of Pisa so upon arriving we headed straight there. The main road outside the train station leads to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and if you are concerned at all, just follow the crowds or consult a local. It takes about twenty minutes to get to the plaza where the Leaning Tower, Cathedral, and museum are. Along the way are plenty of shops and restaurants so if you need to grab a bite to eat or just want to shop there are definitely options for that. We stopped and grabbed a sandwich, which is usually affordable and makes for a great snack during day trips. Upon arriving we took our obligatory pictures of the Leaning Tower and marveled at the architecture of the structure with the hundreds of visitors who were sprawled out over the entire plaza. If you want to go up into the tower you can go in the museum and are able to buy tickets to everything there. Although we came for the Leaning Tower we ended up being enthralled by the beautiful cathedral on the premises. Remember while in Italy that a lot of churches have restrictions for attire, such as covered shoulders or knee length skirts so dress accordingly or simply throw something like a light cardigan into a day pack if it is too hot out to have long sleeves on. Every trip we brought a little day pack that included water, clothes for church visits, and snacks that we bought at a local grocery store (this is a great money saver!). The cathedral was absolutely stunning and is donned with the black and white striped architecture common throughout Italy. We only spent a couple hours in Pisa, but this trip could definitely be extended for a whole day by doing other attractions, such as the museum. Afterwards we headed back to the train and were back in Florence by the afternoon to keep exploring. Pisa was definitely an easy day trip if in central Italy and left us with some amazing pictures!
Side Note: If in Italy for a trip, Pisa is definitely worth a day trip, but we would recommend other countries in Europe to venture to-such as Portugal, the Czech Republic, and Austria. Try to avoid Italy during high tourist season-everywhere is extremely crowded and theft is more of an issue.
**There is a Leaning Tower of Pisa Lego-it is awesome and fun to build!