I have to admit to knowing very little about Pisa or its famous leaning tower before visiting on Tuesday.
I was surprised to see how short the tower itself is – it always looks so huge in photos – and that it’s all in one precinct with the duomo and old fortress walls.
Pisa itself is not a huge town. I’m glad we didn’t dedicate an entire day to it! Nice to see the landmarks but I wasn’t completely blown away by it all.
The old town of Pisa was cute, with narrow streets and little cafes and eateries, high-density living and countless old bicycles.
It reminded me of Barcelona’s old town, though a fraction of the size.
After strolling around the tower, the duomo and the old town, we drove south towards Livorno on the coast, in search of a beach for swimming.
We were pulled over randomly by police who wanted to check our documents. B handed his Australian drivers license, international drivers license, passport and the car rental papers to the policeman, who spoke very little English, and we waited about 15 minutes for him to return from the police vehicle!
B suggested a little place called Calafuria on the coast, which turned out to be rocky cliffs and not a beach in sight! Once we parked to admire the view, we saw plenty of people swimming off the rocks, so we went for a little trek to see if we could find a spot. Ten minutes later, I was getting all European and changing on the rocks and scouting a safe place to get into the stunning blue water.
B found a ledge and we managed not to slip or cut our feet getting in.
The Mediterranean was warm and crystal clear. Tiny fish swam by and I only flipped out once in the water. (Rocks scare me, there are “things” living in rocks…)
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Lucky we swam on Tuesday because it wasn’t really warm enough on Wednesday or Thursday!
Definitely worth the drive to see how different the coastline is here. So beautiful. I could live in Italy in a heartbeat.