The first time I was in Pisa was on a rainy March when I was 18 years old. I remember that for arriving at this great touristic city I took a train in the city of Florence, Florence was a hub for me where my hotel was located. Pisa is a city located in the Tuscany area, Tuscany is one of the 20 areas that compose the wonderful country of Italy. I guess you have heard about Tuscany, probably is the best well know area of the whole Italian peninsula. On a map you will see that Pisa is in the north of Rome and in the south of Milan, we can say that this little coastal city is in the middle of the road between the two main cities of Italy, which ones are Rome and Milan.
How to arrive?
If you live outside Europe and you visit Italy you will arrive at the international airports of Milan Malpensa and Fiumicino in Rome, the airports of these two main Italian cities offer intercontinental flights to North America, Far East, and Australia. Once you arrive at one of these two airports is pretty easy to catch a domestic flight to the airports of Florence called “Peretola” or to the one of Pisa called “Galileo Galilei”. Despite being the city of Florence most important city than Pisa however, we must say that the International Airport of Pisa is more important than the one in Florence. Pisa airport has two runways and receives more international flights. It is important to say that both airports besides receiving domestic flights are also internationally linked with the many European cities. Therefore is not necessary to arrive in Milan or Rome, you can arrive at any main European city and from there took a direct flight to Pisa or Florence. It is also important to say that the train is also available to reach the city of Florence and Pisa directly from the airports of Rome and Milan without having to take a domestic flight. As you can see in one way or another reaching to Pisa is pretty easy. In the city of Florence, the main train station is called in Italian “Santa Maria Novella”, from there a normal train (not high speed) to Pisa takes around 1 hour of travel time. When you arrive at Pisa the train station ideal to go down and visit the famous leaning tower is called in Italian “Pisa Centrale” or in English “Central Pisa”. This train station is not only the ideal for knowing Pisa downtown and the main attractions in the city but it is also the main train station in the city.
After I get out of the train station “Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II” showed up in front of my eyes, this square link the main train station with “Corso Italia”, “Corso Italia” is the main pedestrian boulevard in downtown Pisa, this is a street of forced passage to visit all type of nice commercial stores but also it is the most well-known street that will lead you to “Piazza Dei Miracoli”, I will talk later about what this “Piazza Dei Miracoli” is. Aside from visiting the leaning tower if you want to buy anything, from books to clothes to cell phones definitely “Corso Italia” is a street you must walk by. There are wise words famous worldwide that say: “all roads lead to Rome”, this means “Corso Italia” is not the only street for reaching the leaning tower but definitely is the most attractive one.
At the end of “Corso Italia” you will have a bridge to cross the “Arno River”, after you cross the river the street change the name and “Corso Italia” becomes “Via Carducci”, you just need to keep walking until the end of this street bending to the left and you will finally arrive at the famous “Piazza Dei Miracoli”. This “Piazza Dei Miracoli” is the reason why Pisa is so worth to visit and is the place where the leaning tower is located.
The leaning tower.
The “leaning tower of Pisa”, or in Italian “Torre Pendente” is a bell tower rising up almost 200 feet, built-in white marble of cylindrical shape. The man in charge of so famous monument was Bonanno Pisano from the year 1173 A.D. and finishing by 1350. This cylindrical shaped bell tower is formed by six floors of galleries with columns, due to the inclination of the monument it seems they are spiraling. His slow tilt movement was detected in the early years of construction by 1178 A.D. This tilting movement that remained until the twenty-one century was moving between 1 and 2 mm per year and is due to the alluvial subsoil origin, which one lacks the endurance to support the weight of the building. In the course of many centuries, many architects have tried in vain to correct the dangerous inclination of the tower which one was closed to the public in 1990. Starting that year many things have been done to counteract the tilt movement. By 2008 authorities have told that the tower was stabilized and for the first time in his history it was not moving anymore. Local authorities besides assured that it is going to be stable for 200 more years. Finally, after 21 years of work, it was reopened to the public in the year 2011.
where to stay?
Pisa is a city where you can take an early train from Florence or even Rome, explore it in one full day and return to sleep late at night in Florence or Rome. However, if you plan to sleep in Pisa I recommend you the “Hotel Giardino Tower Inn” three stars with breakfast included. Most hotels in Pisa are two or three stars, simples but beautiful, among them, this one is one of the favorites. But if you look for a superior stay I will recommend you the four-star “Grand Hotel Bonanno” also with breakfast included, gardens and bike rental included, probably this one is the best hotel you will find in the city. Both hotels are only minutes away walking from the Leaning Tower.