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The Best Way to See the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Whenever you are on an extended trip to many destinations, you’re bound to go to certain places just because they’re on the way. That’s how I ended up in Pisa, Italy. It was sort of on the way to Cinque Terra.

Friends from the Carolinas visited me in Uzes, and we were going on a  tour of France and Italy. After a visit to the southwestern part of France, with stops in Port Vendres and Collioure,  we flew from Girona, Spain, to Pisa. It appeared to be the closest way for us to get to our first “real” destination in Italy — Cinque Terre.

Including the Leaning Tower and surroundings,  Pisa is great for a day trip.

I made a mistake for the first time in my traveling experience with AirBNB. In our defense, we made this part of our tour plan at the last minute. So there were few–almost none– places listed to stay in Pisa. We pretty much booked what was available.

For twenty-somethings, our lodgings would have been fine. For the “Golden Girls,” it was bleak and noisy.

To begin with, the room we booked in the “B&B” was tucked away in a scary alley in the oldest part of town. The cab driver wouldn’t even take us down the street when we arrived.

After we overcame our shock and disappointment with our location, we lugged our bags up three flights of stairs to our room. The bedroom we had chosen was stark and dreary because of the three beds. But clean. One double bed, one single bed, and a side table. That was it. No lamps, pictures, or decorations of any type. Beds and pillows were hard as rocks. Bath towels resembled large kitchen towels. It was adequate, though — and I repeat, it was clean. But it wasn’t exactly what we’d expected.

One of the good things about traveling with friends is that we try to make the best of everything. Just minutes after taking in the situation, we were laughing hysterically.

I think it was right after we discovered our room was on top of Pisa’s “party central” — the square where college kids meet to drink and dance. All night.


Our surroundings didn’t look so bad when daylight came — after a long, long night. We agreed the B&B would be a good choice for young people. There was a nice living area and kitchen. It could be fun if we were forty years younger.

The Leaning Tower

Close to everything” was an accurate description of the B&B in the Airbnb listing — and it was the best part. Just a short walk down the road beside the Arno River, we were within sight of the Leaning Tower and the cathedral.



Soon, we found the crowds we’d imagined.


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Pisa Italy


I wasn’t expecting all the ornate buildings around the tower for some reason. Even though I’d done a “ride by” on a “Europe on $5 a Day” trip in the late ’60s. The area is lovely.

The Best Way to See Pisa

I’m sure many people find Pisa quite an excellent play to stay. I’m sure we didn’t do enough research. But if you’re on an extended tour and just want to see the leaning tower,  I suggest you drive to the historic city square, jump out of your car or cab, and then walk around to your heart’s content.

You can join the multitudes of tourists who want to “hold up the tower” with their hands.


Or you can try to hold up the leaning tower with the brim of your hat … like silly me.




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