Leaning into Pisa

Really, one espresso is enough!

One of the stops during my lengthy cruise this summer was the Tuscan port city of Livorno, a thousand-year-old fortress that, like many cities in present-day Italy, was bought, sold, and conquered among the various city-states, including Genoa, Florence, and Napoleonic France.  Livorno, home to the liqueur Galliano (Harvey Wallbanger, anyone?)

Cathdral in Pisa

We had not planned anything in particular for this stop, other than wandering around, so made our way into town to find coffee and free wifi. While enjoying our morning pastries and beverage (but no AC – what is UP with Europe), I found a small local tourism office nearby, and noticed that we could get a round trip bus for €50, which was a bargain compared to what cruise ships want to charge for their excursions.

The shuttles and tour buses stop at a central location in Pisa, about a 15 minute walk from the plaza. Having never studied much Italian history, I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know the famous leaning bell tower was part of a cathedral, which is quite lovely.

No, I’m not holding it up!

The area is bordered on one side with a row of shops and street vendors hawking various grades of leather and typical tacky souvenirs, but we also found some nice stationary shops. After roaming the location, and taking the obligatory shot of Jeff holding up the tower, we took a local’s recommendation and tracked away from the main streets for lunch, away from the crowds. And of course, for dessert, gelato! I had a lot of gelato this week.

Detail from buildings

We weren’t the only ones looking for a way to cool off. It was 90+ F that day.

Closeup shows the lean – this is after it was stabilized about 12 years ago.

Opposite the cathedral and tower grounds, shops and tourists. And lots of sun

Side streets in Pisa were much quieter, with no crowds.

With all this new-fangled gluten intolerance, you wonder how Italians managed to last.

Tuscany farm

Restaurants are much quieter off the track

Categories: Travel

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