I was inspired to write this post because I saw this question on a travel message board I’m a member of and it brought back a flood of memories from that day in Italy when I decided to visit Pisa. I was on my honeymoon and spending the first week of my epic Italian adventure in Florence. Being the cheesy tourist I can sometimes be, I just had to go get a stupid photo with the leaning tower of Pisa. Had to. My husband is a good sport and had a mild interest in seeing the tower for himself, so that day he and I had breakfast and then hopped on a commuter train from Florence to Pisa.
The journey took about an hour and a half on a fairly slow commuter train. When we arrived, it was about a 2 kilometer walk to the area where the tower is. The tower is really neat and there is also a beautiful church near the tower, so it’s a nice place to visit, but I’ve got to be honest…the rest of Pisa didn’t impress me. When I had planned the day, I thought I would see the tower and then spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around and exploring Pisa, but…there just wasn’t much to explore. It was kind of a boring, nondescript town. I’m sure for locals, there are hidden gems and delights to be experienced somewhere in Pisa, but I didn’t have working internet to Google those things at the time, and I just wasn’t seeing anything interesting other than the area where the tower is.
The tower itself is surrounded by hoards of tourists, all trying to get the same iconic photo of holding up the tower. I was, of course, among them. I wasn’t going to go all the way to Pisa and not take the tower photo. Obviously.
But anyway, after we saw the tower and walked around a little, that was really…it. There wasn’t anything else for us to do so we just got back on the train to Florence. Another 1.5 hours. So, it took us a three hour round trip train journey to spend 10 minutes looking at the tower. I didn’t really think it was worthwhile to go.
I’ve heard others say their dream is to take a photo with the tower of Pisa though, so I would say if you’re thinking about going there, just consider how much you really want to do it. If you really, really want to see the leaning tower of Pisa, then by all means do it. If you’re feeling lukewarm about the whole thing and just think it might be an interesting and fun outing, I would suggest spending more time in Florence or perhaps checking out Cinque Terre instead. Just my two cents.