Italia! We arrived in Pisa today under a glorious Tuscan sun. We checked in to the Hotel di Stefano (appropriately enough!), a nice, quiet establishment in the heart of Pisa. Then, a stroll to orient ourselves. Less than five minutes later, we rounded a corner and the Leaning Tower hove into view quite unexpectedly. Despite having seen numerous pictures and photos over the years and knowing about it since we were young, actually seeing it is quite startling!
Dinner at Il Vesuvio, which is about ten metres from our hotel, just across the “street” (very narrow – accommodating motor vehicles, pedestrians and laundry). A wonderful meal – pizza, vino della casa, dessert and caffe italiano. All of this in a vibrant atmosphere, with great service and only 19 Euros.
As usual, breakfast was warm Tuscan bread with assorted jams and/or butter accompanied by cappuccino and orange juice. Today, we mostly wandered about Pisa, which is a delightful small city (about 90,000 people).
Not far from our hotel (actually, nothing is very far!) is the Piazza dei Cavalieri. Then, our first museum – Navi Antiche di Pisa (Ancient Ships of Pisa). Pisa was once a powerful maritime power and was on the coast (which is now several kilometres away). Only four years ago, they discovered a number of ships dating back over 2000 years. There have been hundreds of items recovered, including many amphorae and lamps.
The weather was not perfect today, so at one point we sheltered from a morning shower in part of an ancient citadel located on the Arno River. Dinner at Il Vesuvio again tonight – eccellente!
Nice morning, rain in the early afternoon, sunny in the late afternoon, beautiful evening.
Our morning meandering took us to several piazzas in Pisa, including the Piazza Garibaldi. Many of the streets inside the walls of the old city (about half of which are still standing) are quite narrow. We also took two more tours in the Campo dei Miracoli, including one after dinner where we tried to get a night shot of the Tower.
And, our final dinner at Il Vesuvio – we will miss it!