Waking up on our last day in Pisa, our bags were quickly packed and left with the reception desk. Having booked our tickets to climb the tower the day before, I was concerned our climb slot of 9.30am was going to be ambitiously early for me, but here we were, making the short walk to the tower at 9.15am. Bag dropped off at the locker, and we were luckily the only people booked into our climb slot – bonus!
Although there are only about 285 steps, the lean of the tower makes half of the climb really easy and half of it quite tough. Thankfully there are small landings on the way up to catch your breath, and before long we popped out at the top. Clear blue skies greeted us, and the crowds of tourists were just beginning to gather in the square below. We had a quick walk around before ascending to the very top of the tower, where we took a seat and just soaked up the view.
Because there were only a handful of other people at the top, it was so peaceful to sit and watch all the tourists below pulling their poses to look like they’re holding the tower up. The clear skies meant we could see for miles, and after a while we decided it was time to head back down and check out the other sights in Pisa.
Tickets for the sights in Piazza dei Miracoli can be bought individually or as a bundle, and entrance to the cathedral is free with any purchase to another sight. As we’d already bought tickets for the tower, we had free entry to the cathedral, and so made that our next stop. Just next to the tower, we were welcomed with a lot of the classic Italian style we had found in churches in Verona. A slow tour of the church allowed us time to soak up all of the detail, and we just managed to make it round before a large group of selfie-stick-loving tourists swarmed in.
Taking that as our cue to leave, we made our way back into the sunshine and Piazza dei Miracoli, and pondered what to do with the hour we had left before we needed to head to the airport. If we were quick enough, we reckoned we could have a quick trip around the baptistry and cemetery, so quickly bought two more tickets and made our way straight to the cemetery.
It may sound a bit morbid to visit a cemetery, but this isn’t the first we’ve been to and certainly won’t be our last. Unlike those at home in the UK, it’s not just a big field with near-identical gravestones on. The cemetery in Pisa is a stunning building, with the graves under the floor of the building. Yes, that does mean you walk over the gravestones, but there are gaps in between them if you’re like me and don’t want to walk over them. With some dating back hundreds of years, the floor is just as interesting as the decorated walls, stunning architure and peaceful surroundings. Although we spent a short time here, as you really do just walk around and then you’re done, I really felt an overwhelming sense of calm. Not something I usually feel hours before I have to board a flight!
With just half an hour left before we had to pick up our bags from the hotel, we quickly made our way to the baptistry, just a short walk from the cemetery. Expecting something similar to that which we’d seen in Florence, we were definitely surprised when we walked through the door. I’d read reviews that said it wasn’t worth a visit and there’s nothing in there to see, but I was still keen to experience it for myself. Although it’s nothing like the baptistry in Florence, and there were even more steps to climb to get a great view, it was definitely worth a visit. After 20 minutes we had walked around the bottom and soaked up the views from the mezzanine, so it was time to call it a day.
Bags collected from the hotel, we took our last stroll through Pisa to the train station. En route, we stopped at a cute little church we’d spotted the day before by the river. Santa Maria della Spina is a small chapel, and once inside we were a bit confused as there was a large box made of cardboard in the middle. Assuming it was a budget way to cover something that was maybe being renovated, we just ignored until we were leaving and saw that it was actually a statement piece. We didn’t really get it, so just carried on to the station to catch the airport shuttle and enjoy a bit of time in the lounge before flying home.