Pit Stop in Pisa
We had an ambitious itinerary for our remaining eight days in Italy after Venice. So, we figured driving would give us the most flexibility to actually execute it despite it being our least preferred means of travel in Europe. Anyone who knows my husband knows how much he hates to drive on vacations, but somehow he is always the designated driver between the two of us and I am always the nominated navigator.
We picked up our rental from the Venice airport and boy, was it small! How small you may ask. Well, "won't fit a Maclaren umbrella stroller in the trunk" kinda small :P By hook or by crook we managed to get all our stuff into that Fiat Punto and off we were to our next stop - Pisa.
We knew we wanted to go see the Leaning Tower but, my research also made me realize that other than that there was not much we really wanted to do or see in Pisa. We decided it was best to take a slight detour on our way to Florence and make a 2-3 hour pit stop in Pisa and check it off our list. I'll be honest, the drive was nothing exciting but, it was comfortable and we were in control of our time. We arrived in Pisa right around lunch time and were able to find public parking pretty close to the tower.
We made our way towards the tower through the local market lined streets with tons of little stalls and vendors selling anything from leather goods to local crafts to souvenirs. A 10 minute walk through the market and we made a left on Piazza del Duomo and there it was. We looked up to see the Baptistery of St. John, the Cathedral of Pisa right behind it, and THE Leaning Tower peeking at us in the back. Let's just say, we had never seen something imperfect look so perfect before.
We spent the next hour walking around the green space that is home to these three beautiful structures and admiring them. This detour was totally worth the extra time and effort. Inevitably, we took lots of picture, but I think we spent the most amount of time trying to get a perfect shot of the tower leaning against Adeen's hand. Trust me, it is NOT easy. A few trials and errors later we managed to get a decent one :)
Not as easy as it looks
Facial expressions on point
As much as I wanted to climb up the 296 steps of the tower, we knew we were on a time crunch and we were yet to have lunch. On the walk back we stopped for a quick and healthy lunch at Burger King (you are allowed to judge, but you do not realize what a Whopper means to you till you go months without having one :P) All refueled, it was time to move on and get a real taste of Tuscany.