March 30, 2007
Our travel plans hadn’t included Pisa at all. Three and a half weeks only takes you so many places. But our travel ended up taking us through the city on our way to Paris, so we tried to make the best of our half day there. Wandering north from the train station we grabbed a quick bite at the first open cafÃ© we found. Quiche and tea, not a bad start to the day, and closest thing to breakfast I can hope for. Santa Maria della Spina and the rest of the Arno river buildings were gorgeous in the morning light, which reflected into the river with dramatic clouds.
We reached Campo dei Miracoli, home of Duomo, the baptistery, and the famous leaning tower. It was still early, so there were only a few tour groups there. Wandering around the lawns it seemed everyone else was taking the “support the tower” photos. There was a group of Japanese girls that seemed take about ten photos of different poses, then hand the camera to the next person, and repeat. Thirty minutes later, they had finally run out of batteries or poses, and moved on.
We decided to explore the graveyards to the north and walk along the outer walls to see what else was there. Turns out the graveyards are closed most days, and the outer walls are just outer walls with 60’s apartment buildings on the other side of the street. Not really worth the walk. Walking through the old parts of the city definitely is though. We wandered through the open markets and the various palazzos (like Carovana) before picking a cafÃ© near the river to have a drink. The people watching was nice, but we eventually had to wander our way back to the train station to leave for France. I wasn’t expecting much from Pisa beyond Campo dei Miracoli, but I found the old city quite charming. I’ll have to return again some time.