On the day we were checking out of our hotel in Florence, we were headed on to Siena, in Tuscany. But on the day itself, we had a few options – stay in Florence and see more of the city, head on to Siena to get a head start on enjoying it, or take a small detour to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Full view of Pisa Cathedral, Baptistry, and Leaning Tower

We decided to go see the Leaning Tower of Pisa! When I looked at the train options, it was essentially an hour out of our way to get to go see it, and then head on to Siena. We decided the hours was worth it, and we also decided it would be worth seeing the Leaning Tower even over all the incredible things in Florence.

When we got there, we decided to walk across the city from the main train station to the area where the tower is. It was such a fun walk! The Arno river runs through the city, and the whole area has a totally different feel from Florence. Especially in the side of the city that’s on the other side of the river from the Leaning Tower, it felt much more “normal.”

View of Pisa from the Arno River

In many ways “normal” is a bit dirtier than the cleaned-for-tourists sections of Florence, but it was so fun to see. It was a gorgeous day, and a fun walk.

As we approached the Leaning Tower, I have to admit some surprises. I knew that the Tower was the bell tower for the cathedral there, but I never knew how incredibly gorgeous the cathedral and baptistry are! The three things together are just incredible, and would be amazing in their own right, even without the tower and its famous “lean.”

Close-up of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

We spent some time looking at it and admiring it, and of course, trying our hands at the tourist-perfect picture of pushing up the tower! It was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. We walked around and looked up-close at the cathedral and baptistry (though we were both ok not going in… after all, we still had a number of churches in Siena and Rome left!). The cathedral is gorgeous from every angle! It’s pure white, and seems to have retained more of the “whiteness” than the marble in Milan.

Amanda Plewes and Donna Plewes in front of Leaning Tower of Pisa

After that, we found the smaller train station that’s closer to the Leaning Tower, and got a train back to the main train station. We collected our bags and decided to stop for a quick bite to eat. They had a pizzeria in the train station, and so we decided to have a couple of slices. I picked the ones that looked “safe” but not quite as boring as just the Margherita might have been.

WiPi sign in Pisa advertising town's WiFi

Lo and behold, there was tuna on our pizza. I’ve never experienced tuna on a pizza before. I’m glad I had the experience, but I’m not sure I’ll consider my life to be less rich if I never have it again!

And then we caught the train to Siena! I think we were both happy we decided to make the detour to Pisa. It was a fun place to see, and it’s definitely an easy trip. You really don’t need more than a morning or afternoon to see it – it’s worth seeing, but easy to see!

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