Lovely LUCCA is about a 5 euro and an hour and half train ride from Firenze. The ancient city still is surrounded by a wall ( as Firenze and Bologna have only kept the gates, and the walls have been torn down) and still keeps the small city inside the walls. The train station is a 10 minute walk away from these walls and several gates that allow access to the city.
It's gorgeous, quiet and undisturbed. You can rent bikes by the hour to travel around this city. We've seen only tourists, an limited amounts at that. We pass a group huddled around one of the only souvenir shops, chatting loudly about Italy and with their cameras around their necks. ( We refuse to look this ridiculous, we may be tourists, but not to Italy.)
Finally, hours after we arrived we spot some natives of the city, wondering where they've been until noon. It's an easy going, peaceful place from what we can see. Pocket sized. My guide book claims that 12 foot high walls surround the city,but it's hardly accurate. Which makes me doubt the book's skill.....
We walk around, getting lost with the poor map we obtained from a simple hotel before reaching the city walls and spend more time than we intended in the peaceful town, as time slips away and we search for things we "HAVE TO SEE" that when we approach them, we greet them with confusion or "no, we JUST passed that church"
However, it's a quaint gorgeous Italian town, that you should visit when you get the chance.
PISA is a comparative hell. It's far from quiet. To get there, our train changed on us, three times. "please change to track 2" so we do, thinking we have moments before the train arrives. Running after trains shall not be a past time here, I assure you. Then it changes back to the original binario (platform.) OH MIO DIO. (oh my god). When we arrive its busy, bustling, loud. We board a bus, saying well see the city by bus, head to the infamous leaning tower and catch the train to Livorno as our final stop. Had we spent less time at Lucca, we would have time to go to Siena following Livorno.
Our original plan was Sienna. And on the way, why not Lucca? Oh and Pisa is soooo near by, wait, lets go to Livorno too, it's by the coast, what a grand idea.....
So here we are, on the bus passing too many tourists, seeing the rain drizzle outside, dreading stepping outside ( the day had started out so hopefully there was no umbrella brought) and finally arrive at THE LEANING TOWER.
If you can even find it.
Firstly, its ridiculously short. and second, it's crowded. TOO MANY TOURISTS!! It's a market beside the leaning tower, specifically for tourists. They speak to me in German, Russian, try Spanish on Lydia. Trying to get us to buy their pointless souvenirs. It's a long row of market and on our left is the tower and much less commonly talked about, it's accompanying buildings.
But yes ladies and gentlemen, this architectural fail does lean. actually.
We take the stereotypical shots, but I try to be interesting, so I LEAN on the leaning tower. I don't hold it up or kick it over. I hug it, it's quite comfy. It's gorgeous, but it's getting late and rainy and dark and the tourists are driving us insane. There are way too many and the annoying market clerks keep trying to push souvenirs on us. So we figure, we're done with Pisa, walk to the bus station, make some good ol' italian conversation with a darling old woman. A grandmother for sure, who's the sweetest and moments later are in the train station, buying tickets for Livorno. Which little known fact, is a slice of heaven.
Exclusive look into LIVORNO, coming soon!!