After four nights in the Ligurian region of Italy in May 2016, it was time for me to head back to France. While I had a fantastic time hiking the gorgeous Cinque Terre and exploring the surrounding cities in the region (including Portofino), I knew that I had to return to France, as I had to catch my flight a couple of days later in Paris back to Los Angeles for the summer.
As I’d done when arriving to Italy, I would also be taking my flight back from Pisa. At the same time, however, I hadn’t visited Pisa yet, so I decided to head there a couple of hours before my flight to explore the city a bit…all the while take a photo with the iconic Leaning Tower!
To get to Pisa from Corniglia, I had to take two trains: the first one was to La Spezia, the terminus of the Cinque Terre train line, and then I had to transfer to one that went to Pisa Centrale. Journey time took about 90 minutes, and I arrived into Pisa close to noon, where I had a couple of hours to kill before I had to head to the airport.
That said, I got off at the stop and headed into town. I stopped by a small delicatessen to grab lunch to-go– I also inquired with the shop keeper on how to get to the Leaning Tower, and she gave me the directions: it was about a 30-minute walk from where I was, and so after I got my food, I headed over.
Apart from the shop keeper’s directions, I found that it was pretty straightforward to reach the tower, as there were plenty of signs pointing to it (“Torre di Pisa”), along with the hordes of tourists heading in the same direction. I passed through the wide, pedestrian road lined with boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. I believed that I passed by the Pisa Cathedral, but I was too focused on getting to the tower on limited time to notice anything else. Back then, I only knew about the Leaning Tower being the main draw for Pisa, so I didn’t really give any other potential sites a chance– I know that there’s more to the city than just the famous bell tower!
Any case, I reached the Leaning Tower where, of course, plenty of people were out not only enjoying the warm, sunny day, but also the cheeky photos they were taking with the tower (e.g. pretending to hold it upright, “touching” the top of the tower, etc.). I admit, I tried for my own cheeky selfie, although being a solo traveler without a selfie stick made it challenging– in the end, I just stuck with the old-school photo of the tower itself.
I made a quick tour around the square, called the Piazza del Duomo. Besides containing the Leaning Tower, it also includes the Pisa Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the Camposanto Monumentale (old cemetery). I didn’t have much time to visit any of them, which was a real shame, because the sites looked really lovely, as I had to hurry back to the train station, where it offered shuttle service to the airport. That said, I don’t have any photos of Pisa other than the Leaning Tower, regrettably so.
Any case, I returned to the train station, caught the shuttle to the airport, which was only 15-20 minutes away, and soon enough boarded my flight back to Paris in the late afternoon. It was my last vacation following the end of my first year as an assistante, and I found Italy the perfect place to finish off a long, but enriching year abroad. With near-perfect weather, great destinations, and excellent food, the northwest coast of Italy had my heart in the end, and I still look back on it fondly. That’s why I encourage anyone to make the trip over and experience it for themselves!
Expect more adventures, recent and not-so-recent, to come soon! À bientôt.