Short trip to Pisa in September 2017

Pisa Travel Blog

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If all the countries in the world were my friends, I think that those closest to me would be Netherlands and the UK (though the latter is going through a quite troublesome time of his life right now). But from time to time you just want to hang out with that person who is probably not the most reliable of your friends – but is full of surprises and the one you'll surely have a lot of fun with. This is Italy!

I haven't seen Italy for a while and my last two trips (a 2006 trip around Emiglia-Romana and a 2009 trip to some of Italy's most famous cities with my mom) were already far too long ago. I was lucky to get some days off work in mid-September 2017 and even luckier to find some cheap flights to fly away. Put one and one together and you'll have the reason why I chose to spend two and a half days in Pisa.

Most people come to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and maybe the surrounding monuments such as the Cathedral. This will give you an impression that Pisa is a very touristy and overcrowded city. Unfortunately, this means that people are scared off or think that there is nothing else to see and do than just the tower. It is true that the Campo dei Miracoli, the square where the Cathedral and the Leaning Tower are located, is indeed full of tourists during daytime. However, once you leave the Campo dei Miracoli, you will find a very beautiful mid-sized Italian city. The old town with all its Medieval and Renaissance palaces has a lot of charming spots to explore. The high number of students give you a good bar scene and nightlife. And there are monuments and churches everywhere. Indeed, the city itself and the buildings are a sight of its own and if you like Italian medeival and renaissance architectural details, you will enjoy the cityscape of Pisa quite a lot. The two and a half days I had were fine to get a good impression of the city, visit the famous sights and had a look at the piazzas and churches. If you want to visit some museums or do day trips to nearby places such as Lucca, you'll need more time of course.

Pisa is a Roman city and first mentioned when the Roman colonized the area north of the Arno river at around 225 BC. After the chaotic centuries which followed the collapse of the Roman empire, Pisa flourished as part of the Holy Roman Empire in the early middle ages and emerged as a free City-Republic in the 11th century. Unfortunately, it was often in conflict with the other Republic such as Florence which conquered Pisa in 1509. Although it maintained a certain importance as a trading city owed to its port at the Arno River, its importance declined when it was part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Today, it is still in the shadow of larger Florence and mainly known for its Leaning Tower and its University. It has around 90 000 inhabitants with a total of 200 000 living in its Metropolitan area.

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photo by: asturjimmy