We are planning on seeing Lucca first in the morning to see their Market and tour the town and hopefully ride a bicycle on the wall. We plan on going to Pisa in the afternoon to just see the Field of Miracles sites. My thinking was maybe the crowds will be smaller to climb the tower in the afternoon. Two questions: Would you see these towns in this order? and it is more convenient to take the bus rather than the train? Thanks
I have taken the train to both - I think the center of Lucca is pretty close to the station if I am recalling correctly. From the station in Pisa the walk is a little further but I have done that also - to the Field of Miracles and back. You should check the closing time on the tower - I would imagine that later in the day it would be less crowded as groups and tours, cruise ship traffic etc. is probably all gone by then. I think the train is probably the better choice over the bus, yes - and Lucca first is logical coming from Florence and wanting to do that early. You may just be cramming a lot in though would be my only note. Maybe if it gets too late and you are still in Lucca you just go back to Florence. Don't forget to validate your train ticket!
Anthony, thanks for the reply.
The train station in Lucca is behind a piazza across the street from the walled part of the city - you walk through a gate in the wall and you're in the historic center. You can rent bikes from several places near the entrances to the wall, it's about a 4-km circuit.
In March 1989, I did exactly what you are proposing to do - bus to Lucca, bike around the top of the wall, bus to Pisa, see the Field of Miracles, and train back to Florence. It remains one of my most wonderful and memorable travel days. When I arrived in Pisa in the afternoon, the souvenir vendors were literally packing up, and the Field of Miracles looked lovely in the afternoon light. For bus vs. train, you need to check more current information than my 1989 memories, but I think that either one will work fine (the bus gets closer than the train to Lucca's wall, and I think the bus goes right to the Field of Miracles, saving a walk or bus from the train station).
On our last visit to Pisa we took the train from Florence to Pisa and our train stopped at the Pisa San Rossore Station and we got off here and it was a quick 4 blocks or so to the tower. I had checked the stops in advance and knew it was stopping here as I guess all trains don't. Took the bus back to the Centrale station to go back to Florence. We had thought about going on to Lucca after our visit here but didn't make it that trip. I would advise making reservations online for climbing the Pisa tower. Visited Lucca on another trip. Drove here with my husband and spent an entire day here. Loved Lucca! Strolled the entire wall and had supper in Piazza dell'Anfiteatro. From the book it sounds like the bus is a very easy way to get between the two towns.