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Daytrip to Pisa – more than just a tower

Photo credit: Svebor Karaman

[A high Arno river in Pisa – Photo credit: Svebor Karaman]

Pisa, oh Pisa why do I not give you enough attention? This city on the sea seems to be most famous to many Florentines as the place where you get your ryanair flights and of course the famous leaning tower of Pisa. That being said, there is really much more to the city by the sea and I have a special soft spot in my heart for bella Pisa after a blog tour a few year’s ago during the Internet Festival that opened my eyes to what this city has to offer. People tend to not really give Pisa a chance, which is pretty sad because I always have a great time exploring the city which I know other people would too, if they think beyond the tower.

Hence when my friends Svebor and Yasmine suggested that we hop on train February Saturday afternoon to check out the Andy Warhol Exhibit at Palazzo Blu, I thought well, you know what, why not? I couldn’t pass up the chance to see 230 artworks by one of the world’s most famous contemporary art geniuses. Plus it was a great chance to explore this city after recent flood threats sent threateningly high arno river pictures viral throughout the web.

We hopped on a less-than-clean Trenitalia train and make our way to Pisa centrale in a little more than an hour. For some reason many people seem to think you need to take a bus to the tower or the center but if you don’t mind walking 20 minutes or so, you really don’t need to do that. Just pass Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II and continue along Corso Italia from the front of the train station which leads you into the center of town (and in front of a lot of stores). We stopped at the mural of Keith Haring titled ‘Tuttomondo’ {close to the train station} to snap a few pics and gaze at this pure awesomeness.

This 180 square meter mural covers the south wall of the church or St. Anthony and was completed in 1989 after a young Pisan student met Keith on the streets of New York. What’s cool is that each figure depicted represents a different aspect of peace in the world. We decided to have some mimicking some of the characters. Unique I know.. 

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We had a bit of time to explore and have lunch before our 2pm appointment to see the exhibit so we wandered along the city center, along the river and close to the University where there was several lively street markets. Like anyone living in Italy, I adore a good street market. The antiques, the cheese, the fun atmosphere, the haggling – its one of the perks of living in a culture that loves to walk, talk and browse at the same time.

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My friend Yasmine on the run…

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Of course we worked up quite the appetite and stopped for lunch at a wonderful restaurant whose name I unfortunately can’t remember. We dug into steaming hot coccoli (fried dough) covered in prosciutto, stuffed mussels with a gorgeous red basil sauce, fresh pasta and seafood and stuffed spinach cannelloni recipe, sprinkled with pine seeds. I guarantee, you will have a foodgasm. 

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Afterwards it was all about Warhol and though it was very crowded, we had a great time exploring Warhol’s masterpieces which were presented fabulously at the always impressive Palazzo Blu. Personally I really enjoyed the ‘Jackie’s’ (quite somber yet powerful depictions of Jackie O’ after John was assassinated), along with the powerful pop-images of Chairman Mao. After we were done exploring the world through Andy’s eyes – we stopped for a spritz before heading out to take a peek at the tower before heading back to Florence.

We took a leisurely walk to the most famous ‘star’ in Pisa – the  leaning Torre di Pisa. I always felt like the land surrounding the Duomo is so green it almost looks fake, as does the tower itself. It really is quite the site to see (though most definitely not the only thing to see in Pisa). We had fun giggling at the various tourist’s posing at the tower, this never gets old does it? I spotted two girls in the same pose for at least twenty minutes – I thought about bringing them a coffee to keep the momentum going..

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Who knew that many people were needed to hold up the tower?

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You can make fun or join the fun, I am a fan of doing both ;-)

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You have to give these people credit, they absolutely take these tower pictures quite seriously. We really should have someone there handing out metals and awards for the best ones, anyone got some gold stickers? ;-).

That being said – I had such a great time exploring our neighbor city so I implore you to take an afternoon, hop on the train and go to Pisa for a day. Explore, don’t the bus – eat pasta covered in seafood, do a ‘Pisa tower fail’ photo. You won’t regret it!

For other fun blog posts about Pisa, check these out! 5 Hidden gems in Pisa, Leaning Tower of Pisa fails, and this funny post about a bloggers bizarre longing to see the leaning tower.

All of the photos in the post are credited to Svebor Karaman, whose camera I will steal one day (sorry svebs!)

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  1. twoblackdoggies

    I saw the tower many years ago but never got the chance to do the typical Pisa pose, have always heard good things about the city itself yet most only go to Pisa for the tower. That food looks delish and an Andy Warhol exhibition must have been fantastic to see!

    • ggnitaly84

      Ciao! Its such a shame when people just go to take pics with the tower when just 20 minutes walking takes you to a place full of history and beauty, plus great food! Seeing Andy Warhol, especially artworks that aren’t shown very often – was a highlight of my February!

    • ggnitaly84

      Thank you Gil, you should definitley return if you come back to Tuscany. I can’t take credit for the pictures, they are of my friend Svebor but I agree, he takes awesome shots!

  2. Sophie

    Oh my goodness that food sounds and looks just heavenly! Loved this look at Pisa – I regretfully know very little about the city but you certainly make it look intriguing.

    • ggnitaly84

      Thanks Sophie, many Florentines actually know very little about this city as well ;-), so you are aren’t alone. I recommend gettiing up close & personal with this city if you have time for a daytrip!


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