Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Overlooked Town of Pisa, Italy

It's part of Tuscany, and it's just a day trip from Florence.  It's the place that you probably haven't heard much about since the last time you watched looney toon cartoons.  I ran across a show that actually talked about the lovely ancient town where the construction project gone terribly wrong became a legend.  Why is it that we don't discuss Pisa like we used to?

I don't know, but let's bring it up again.  Pisa is a wonderful, lovely city that sits on the Arno River in Tuscany, Italy.  It rivaled the ports of Venice in the early days, but now it has a lazy feel to it, and it doesn't have the amount of tourists that it used to.  This might just make it a great day trip for you.  Are you tired of the crowds in Florence?  Take the day off and make your way to Pisa.

Of course you will have to stop by the Piazza dei Miracoli, or Plaza of Miracles.  The baptismal, the cathedral and of course the amazing leaning tower make a great trio for looking.  Like the rest of Italy, this place is wonderful for architectural tourists.  The leaning tower is of course, the focal point of this stop.  There are all the usual things there for tourists.  You can have your picture taken to look as though you are holding up the tower.  You can also climb up the tower and get great views of the city.  But what else is there to do in town?

There are other churches.  There's the Roman Cathedral and the Little Cathedral.  Both are worth checking out, and once again, they are great for architecture enthusiasts.  The city isn't very large, and it's easy to get around to see all the sights.

How about the gardens?  There are beautiful well tended gardens in Pisa for you to stroll and enjoy.  Camposanto is a burial place, but a beautiful garden as well.  Burial sites in Europe are some of the most beautiful places to visit.  There are tombs in Pisa with great sculptures in them.  They are worth checking out.  The Giardino Scotto is a great manicured garden complete with entry gates and paths to walk.

There are many things to see in Pisa.  There are other towers, there are artists' murals, there are bridges, festivals and shopping streets to keep you busy and entertained.  Every year they reenact the battle of the bridge over the Arno.  It happens in June and it's quite something to see.

I wonder why we never hear about this amazing city any more.  Maybe it's because there are so many cities in Italy to visit that it's just gone by the wayside.  Maybe people want to visit Siena and Florence more.  Maybe there's just more to do in the hustle and bustle of Venice, Rome, or Milan.  Who knows why Pisa slipped off the radar.  Kudos to Rick Steves for bringing it back to my attention.  Thank you to the tourists who have overlooked this amazing little spot.  You've made it less crowded for the rest of us.

The colorful little city along the Arno River.  Once a great port and a center for religion.  It's stood for centuries almost unchanged.  There are still walls and palaces and gardens to see.  The cathedrals are worth the trip alone.  But, most of all, I think that I will remember it as one of the places that was visited by Bugs Bunny.  It's strange what makes us think of a place in the world that has been visited for it's unique beauty for centuries.  My reminder is a cartoon.  My view of the city is that of beauty and architecture.  The tower still leans and still stands as one of the greatest accidents in history.  Let's not forget about the amazing leaning tower of Pisa.  Let's bring it back to the forefront and get people back to visiting it.  Pisa is amazing.  Don't forget to stop by and spend the day seeing how remarkable this city really is.  Besides, who doesn't want a picture of themselves holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa?  Enjoy!

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