I recently embarked on a month-long solo adventure around Italy, and Pisa was my very first stop! Keen to see the infamous tower but having not heard much else worth hanging around for, I decided on a whistle-stop tour – here are my top 5 tips on 24 hours in Pisa…
1. WALK from the airport into town
Now I am not known for my pre-travel preparation, so as we are taxi-ing to our aeroplane parking space, I open Google Maps to find out how to get from the airport to my hostel, and it turns out you can walk! In 18 minutes! Wahoo – that’s a first.
It’s an easy, largely flat walk into town, and the city has a sort of glam-meets-grime vibe to it.
2. Become a selfie stick w*nker at Campo dei Miracoli
In Pisa, you can pretty much guarantee that all the tourists are in the same place, doing the same thing. The place is Campo dei Miracoli – a World Heritage Site and beautiful patch of opulence which is home to the Leaning Tower (Torre Pendente). The thing is taking selfies. I’m not judging, the Leaning Tower of Pisa brought out the selfie stick w*nker in me too. Having since had time to reflect on my life choices, I am too ashamed to post the photo, so here’s one without me in it instead:
3. Stroll along the River Arno
The scenery along the banks of the sparkly River Arno is really quite something. The buildings are grand and colourful, and there are hidden treasures to be found down every side street, far from the tower crowds. Pisa feels like a different place altogether from here.
Track down Piazza Dante Alighieri – an awesome little square (well, rectangle actually) flanked by impressive buildings and home to a little park and a few cute cafes and bars in which to watch the world go by.
4. Spaghetti and Spritz yourself
Whilst in Pisa, you have to try some spaghetti at Alle Bandierine – it will blow your mind. It’s a great little place and super friendly to solo travellers. A good place to practise your Italian too since the staff speak brilliant English but are happy to let you embarrass yourself in Italian too. I know this from experience.
Why not stop for a pre and/or post Aperol Spritz at Kristal Bar, a teeny little bar set in a cute little courtyard with lots of outdoor seating and a great aperitivo buffet (free food with your drink).
5. Stay at Safestay Pisa
I stayed at Safestay Pisa (albeit just for one night), and I found it a really great place to make friends. Staff are brilliant, the place is really clean and well-organised and there are some great open spaces for socialising with other travellers. There’s a cool outside area which had a big screen when I was there, and a cafe/bar . The hostel puts on lots of activities and is just a 20 minute walk from Campo dei Miracoli, and about the same from the airport.
One small regret…
For me, 24 hours in Pisa was just right. However, the only regret I have is not managing to visit Lucca whilst I was there. Pisa is a great base to explore from, and Lucca, it turns out is quite hard to get to from many other places in Italy. Perhaps allow 48 hours and do a day in Pisa and a day in Lucca. Then please write a blog post and tell me what it’s like 🙂