This year we hadn’t had as many holidays as we usually do, so I was looking forward to a nice little weekend away in Italy.
We arrived early afternoon, and headed straight to our flat where our host welcomed us with a delicious bottle of local wine. After stocking up at the supermarket (and buying way too much pasta to bring back home), we went out for a walk around the leaning tower. It was a beautiful afternoon, and the light was amazing!
We had dinner at Da Antonio, a restaurant which is among the touristy area close to the tower. Despite the location and the fact that staff was not at all Italian, the food was great. Dinner for two including drinks and tip for 40€. We went for a nightcap at Mani’Omio, a cocktail bar which served aperitivi for 6€.
The next morning we had tickets to visit the leaning tower. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the site wasn’t particularly busy, which was really good. We visited the Cathedral and then started climbing the tower, which is a strange experience as the building pushes you around as you climb the steps.
The view from the top was beautiful, with a nice contrast between the red roofs and green mountains – the kind of thing you can take for granted in Tuscany. We took some silly photos and headed for our next stop: delicious ice cream at La Bottega del Gelato, which had the best fiordilatte gelato I’ve had in a long time (two scoops for 2€).
In the afternoon we took the train to nearby Lucca, a walled city which is really cute. We had lunch at Nanda’s, a vegan place that served yummy (if a bit cold) food (lunch for two including a drink for 20€). We stopped at the local cathedral (tickets for 3€) which has impressive artworks, including a large panel by Tintoretto.
We spent a couple of hours exploring the narrow roads, and finished our visit by climbing another tower, Giunigi, which is unique because it has trees planted at the top (tickets for 4€ per person). Again the views from the top were really amazing.
We headed back to Pisa where we had a dinner reservation at Vegusto, an amazing vegan place that had a gnocchi with lemon and ginger that was just the best (dinner for two including drinks and tip for 50€).
The next morning it was time to leave – this was a nice and chilled little trip, the perfect little break from my usual routine!
HOW TO DO IT:
- Go: There are direct flights from Gatwick with BA, and they take about 2h. The airport is really close to the city centre, only 10 minutes by bus (a single ticket costs 1.30€).
- Get around: Pisa is a nice base to explore Tuscany. Lucca is a 30 minute train ride away (tickets for 3.50€ each way), but there are many other nice places around: Cinque Terre is 1h30 away, and Florence 1h – all reached easily by train.
- Stay: We stayed in this cute Airbnb which was just what we needed – well located but with a local feel, and there were tons of tips by previous guests and our host.
- The Leaning Tower: Tickets can be booked online up to 20 days before your visit, and cost from 16€ (depending on what is included). You need to leave your bag in a cloakroom before you go up, so make sure to leave plenty of time as lines can be long.