We planned to just stay in the Netherlands this summer but I could not resist when I saw cheap ticket price from Ryan Air last June. Where to go? Call me cliché but I got my travel inspiration after seeing the movie “Under the Tuscany Sun” on the television. So, Italy it was!
Pisa it is!
I have been to Italy for several times but it always surprises me in every way. I never get enough of Italy! The plan was to go to several cities and finally celebrate my birthday at the city of love, Verona, where I can post a photo at Giuletta’s house (Juliet – Yulia, get it?). However… I can plan, but the little red and green pepper are part of the team, so they can also decide. So my plan was just “a plan”.
Making an itinerary when travelling with kids can sometimes be challenging. Last time, when we were travelling in Spain, I had to let go of my plans due to some technical conditions of the little pepper. So now I learned, plan a child friendly itinerary. To my surprise, my little red pepper did good this time.
Arrival: Pisa international Airport
For this very first day we have booked an apartment from Airbnb. It was very easy to get there. We went with the famous bus line LAM ROSSO, which is the bus that will take you directly to the leaning tower from the airport or from the central station. If your accommodation is near the central station, you can also choose Pisa Mover. It is a new direct line to get to the central station from the airport and vice versa. A bus ticket in Pisa is cheap. We paid €1, 20 per person and it can be used for the next 75 minutes and you can hop on hop off anywhere. Children from 0 – 5 years old are free. Pisa Mover cost €1,30.
The appartement is located in the centre of Pisa. Near the river Arno and the small chapel Chiesa di Santa Maria Della Spina. It was a one bed room apartment with a sofa bed and a nice small kitchen. We loved it. The only down side was that the apartment is at the fourth floor and there was no elevator. So on a very hot summer day, it can be very exhausted to “climb” up there. My little red pepper loved the chalk wall, where you can write your comment about the place.
Pisa is a charming little city in Italy. There is more to Pisa than the leaning tower. At least that is what the Pisa tourism board try to say to travellers who come to Pisa. One tip from me – either go very early in the morning or very late in the evening to the leaning tower. Otherwise you will be squashed into the waves of tourists trying to make their epic photos at the leaning tower.
Just like in Paris, Barcelona or in Rome I do not like that much of a crowd, so does my family. But the temptation to see the leaning tower was big, especially for my little red pepper. So we went there to satisfy our curiosity and it was CROWDED! The hustling and bustling of the tourists from every continent of the world, the street vendors trying to sell you souvenirs, the screaming and crying of children, everything was too much for a small heritage park. It is still one of the wonders of the world, so no wonder everyone would like to see it once in a lifetime.
We walked further and our little red pepper began singing. She even urged us to walk through another small alley because she loved to see those old buildings and it was in the shades, so it was cooler. We ended up having a break at Piazza Dante where she picked some small grass flowers for me. I can imagine sitting there during diner time at one of the small eateries there, say trattoria Da Stelio. Not too crowded and not that touristic.
Despite of the fact that it was dinner time for us (around 18:00) and we were pretty hungry, as we walked by Piazza dei Cavalieri to search for an Osteria our host has recommended us, I realised how far we have walked and that our little red pepper has not complained at all. She did say she wanted pizza. Unfortunately the Osteria Dei Cavalieri was still closed when we were there, it opens around 19:30 and it was a little bit late for us that day if we would wait for another one and a half hours. Otherwise I would also recommend this place. It has good reviews on tripadvisor and it looked pretty authentic too.
So the search proceeded. Finally green pepper saw a small pizzeria at a corner of a small passage of Via Notari. We eventually sat there, at Pizzeria Zero Zero and ate our first pizza in Pisa. Not bad but it was not the best pizza I have ever had in Italy. I must admit the one I had in Rome was better.
Pisa in the Evening
It was 19:30 and we walked again along Piazza Garibaldi, across the Arno and walking towards the station through Via di Banchi and Corso Italia, which was the main street for the fashion stores. I saw many Italians spending their times chatting while walking and they walk do a lot and often after 19:00. I begin to like this culture of wandering-aimlessly-without-a-plan just like the Italians. My little red pepper and I enjoyed our stroll along this street as we were swooning and singing along the way.
We were back at the apartment just right before the sunset at around 21:30. It was a very nice day to begin our whole week adventure with our little red pepper in Italy. Thumbs up for her eagerness to walk!