Taking a day trip from Florence to Pisa happened because the universe played its strings. I was never meant to visit Pisa. My goal all along was to spend the day in Lucca. Then, a series of events put me on a train to Pisa.
So many times have I heard someone tell me “Pisa is just the tower..there’s nothing more to it!“, and this time I’d gladly like to disagree with them.
Maybe my tastes are weird. Or maybe I just like to be fascinated by what others find boring.
“Don’t listen to what they have to say. Go see!”
On my day trip to Pisa, I finally understood the value of this quote. On this day, Pisa wasn’t my destination at all. I had made the decision not to go to Pisa. But destiny wanted me there. I can happily disagree with most people about places I’m traveling to.
So, here’s how things stand. I didn’t like Paris and that phrase “Paris is always a good idea” makes me wander who the hell could ever think something like that. And i’m sorry to say it. Maybe one day I will return to Paris and change my mind.
I also visited Berlin and left disappointed, I didn’t like Zagreb, in Croatia. I’m a bit of a travel weirdo. And even though I didn’t like these places, for some reason I liked Pisa. I’m pretty sure this is because I love Italy. I’m still to travel to a place in this country that I don’t like. My love for Italy has no end.
I even find it outrageous that someone would say this town has nothing but the Leaning Tower. Really? Did you even walk around to say this?
Day trip from Florence to Pisa
My unexpected day trip from Florence to Pisa started with a cappuccino and honey croissant. I got my ticket to Lucca, where I was suppose to spend my day, and I patiently waited.
And here is where fate, or maybe just me not being very smart, had his hand.
As I looked at the screen and it said the train to Lucca was just two minutes from departing and they wouldn’t put the platform up, I went to the security guard (don’t I always?) to ask what was going on.
He then told me I was basically standing in front of the screen of the arrivals, not the departures. My train had long left Florence, so to get to Lucca I would have to get the train to Pisa, and change there.
And there’s a wonderful thing about regional trains in Italy.
You’re ticket is valid for 6h after validation, which means you can get off at any station in between your destination and hop on the train again later.
Knowing this I decided to go with it. I had to go to Pisa anyway if I wanted to get to Lucca. I might just take a look at around and check the tower.
The walk from the train station to the Leaning Tower is at least 1km, which was perfect. It gave me time to explore and see what else was there.
And you know what? I saw much, much more than I was expecting.
My expectations were low on my arrival, and that was what made me enjoy Pisa as I did!
Arriving in Pisa
I saw a big square with a street market, where people were enjoying the sunny day, I saw street artists, saw people on their daily lives shopping for fruit and vegetables, riding their bicycles, old men getting a tan and catching up as they sat on the park benches, kids running around. What else could I ask for?
The Leaning Tower is obviously the most touristic attraction in Pisa, I can’t deny that. Tourists go to Pisa and follow the path straight to the Tower.
And they go crazy over it! You get to the tower area and you’re suddenly surrounded by tourists. It’s people all over the place and doing the weirdest things like laying on the floor with their feet and legs up, trying to get what they believe to be the greatest photo of all time.
But they looked happy doing that, so I was pretty ok with it. Not weird at all having people jumping like ninjas in front of me a thousand times kicking the air or others pushing invisible things in the air. Totally ok. Really!
Having explored a bit of Pisa streets as I walked to the Leaning Tower, I sat there, on the stairs in front of the Tower, and just enjoyed the sun, it was such a good day!
I saw people killing themselves for the photo that they believed would make history, and I just sat there, happy that fate, or whatever it was, made me miss my direct train to Lucca.
All that was lacking here was a great Italian Gelato, but by then I still didn’t know what I was missing. I still hadn’t discover my unconditional love for gelatos.
After admiring the place for a very long time, and taking time to relax and enjoy my morning, and after asking a Chinese man to take me a photo with the Tower (a normal one, I promise!) I headed back to the station.
But I didn’t want to follow the same way that had got me there, so I decided to do another of my favorite, and more typical things, in a new place, which was to get lost.
Letting go of the map and exploring a place by intuition is one of the best feelings in the world for me.
Specially if you happen to be in Italy! Just knowing I’m walking streets most people don’t care to wander around, and that I am completely alone in a place I’ve never been before, and where nobody knows me.
Getting off the beaten path will give you such a different view of a place, an alternative experience of the typical touristic crowded places that sometimes can make you go a little crazy.
Just let yourself be lost for a while. Wander around with no purpose or fixed destination. Look for streets that call your attention, for things that excite you. At least in Pisa you should do that.
And if you do, you will agree with me when I say that Pisa is not just the Leaning Tower. It’s another Italian small town full of life in every unexplored corner.
Just sit down in a square, or side by side on a bench with an older Italian gentleman and I promise Pisa will naturally grow in your heart.
How to do a day trip from Florence to Pisa
Pisa is one of the most popular day trips from Florence.
I would say there are a lot other not o popular places that you can also visit, but checking the Leaning Tower of Pisa should be in your bucket list.
HOW TO GET THERE
The best way to get from Florence to Pisa is by train. The journey is only a little over 1h and the tickets cost 8.7€. This is direct train, so just relax and enjoy the short ride.
Also, since this is a regional line, there’s no need to buy the ticket in advance. Just get to the train station before you want to catch the train and buy the ticket on the machines.
Don’t forget to validate your ticket before going inside the train. The ticket is valid for 6h, which you can also use to stop somwhere along the way.