Hey all, I thought I had asked this at some point but don't recall exactly. Anyway, I'm trying to figure out when I should actually visit Pisa in passing (just want to see the Leaning Tower and hang around for no more than several hours at most). First option would be for Friday: arrive at PSA (airport) around 1:30pm from Paris, head to Centrale and drop luggage off at the baggage storage office then head to check out the Leaning Tower and whatever else (I also was possibly wanting to pickup a SIM card for my phone) for a few hours. Then head back to Centrale and catch a train to Cinque Terre (although, we can't arrive to 5T too late, like past 6-7pm). Second option would be for Sunday: stop off at Pisa (Centrale) on the way from 5T, and do all of the above before continuing to Florence. In terms of timing, we have to checkout of our hotel in 5T at 10:30am latest. So we would probably be in Pisa a little earlier than on Friday (1:30pm).
Most Florentines like me will tell you that the best time to visit Pisa is "never". But if you really insist, I would go there when you have the least amount of time available, that way you won't waste too much of your time to see a leaning bell tower that nobody would bother to see if it was straight. From the station it's a long walk to the tower, therefore to minimize wasting your time too much, you should take a taxi directly from the airport or from the station if you want to drop your luggage at the station. If you want you can also get on the bus no. 1 (get off at the Santa Chiara Hospital). Half hour is enough to visit Pisa (silly pictures holding the tower included), maybe a little more if you want to climb on top of the tower and visit Duomo and Baptistry also.
Do be sure to see both the Duomo and the Baptistery. I enjoyed those much more than the tower and the hordes of tourists "propping it up."
I personally think the Pisa Tower is worth a visit. If you wish to climb it, be sure to reserve a time, which can be done online. Rick Steves covers all the details in his GB. You didn't state which month you would be there. Sunday might have fewer tourists.
Thanks guys! I think we'll do a visit just cause it's been so long. Jim, I'll be there in mid-March, so coming up soon!
I love Pisa. We visit from Lunigiana at least once a year.The people are very friendly, and most of the town is free of tourist crowds. Do a run through if you're a tourist, inform yourself and enjoy it if you're a traveller.
We also did the Pisa thing - left our luggage at the stn and walked...enjoying the views. Would I do it again? Big maybe - we didn't have time to go up the tower because of slow trains and having to get to CT before it got dark...I actually prob would go back someday and spend longer then 2 hrs looking around...maybe an afternoon. But it is something nice to see once (like Stonehenge) but once is probably enough...I would prob do the Sun option...if you do decide to stay a little longer in Pisa, you won't be hampered (like we were) to get to CT before 7pm.
i went to pisa last year. i would have been there for about an hour, but my train back to florence was cancelled so i was there about two hours. i ate a picnic type lunch at the train station, purchased from the pam supermarket near the train station. the walk to the tower from the train is like ten or fifteen minutes, tops. when you walk up, you will send endless people taking pictures of each other "holding the tower up". i couldnt see spending several hours there.
Jeremy, " catch a train to Cinque Terre (although, we can't arrive to 5T too late, like past 6-7pm)." It is better to arrive in town mid morning if you don't have a specific reservation.At that time of day, you will have a better choice of rooms. By 6pm, the choices are few!
Thanks all for the advice! It sounds like stopping by on the way to Florence is the more ideal way to go, so I'll plan for that. I think it's probably a good idea not to feel rushed and be hampered by that upon first entering into Italy. As far as 5T, we'll probably get in there in the mid-afternoon, so hopefully there will still be a decent selection of rooms! We're staying at a smaller place (Le Sirene) so I'm wondering if I should just email ahead of time and request a specific room.
The walk from the Station to the Piazza dei Miracoli, where the tower is, is over a mile. The only way you can do it in 10 minutes is if you jog at an average speed of at least 6 miles per hour, which is a pretty good jogging pace. From now on I'll give distances in meters, since time is relative to the speed of travel.
actually, i am realizing that i took the train to pisa san rossore and you are all talking about pisa centrale. san rossore is a very short walk, centrale is further away.