Around France

The Best Way to See the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Whenever you are on an extended trip that takes you to many destinations, you’re bound to go to certain places just because they’re on the way. That’s how I ended up in Pisa, Italy. It was sort of on the way to Cinque Terra.

Friends from the Carolinas were visiting me in Uzes and we were making our way on a  tour of France and Italy.  After a visit along the south-western part of France, with stops in the towns of Port Vendres and Collioure,  we flew from Girona, Spain to Pisa. It appeared to be the closest way for us to get to our first “real” destination in Italy — Cinque Terre.

Including the Leaning Tower and surroundings,  Pisa is great for a day trip.

For the first time in my traveling experience with AirBNB, I made a mistake. In our defense, we made this part of our tour plan at the last minute. So there were few–almost none– places listed to stay in Pisa. We pretty much booked what was available.

For a twenty-somethings our lodgings would have been fine. For the “Golden Girls,” it was bleak and noisy.

To begin with, the room we booked in the “B&B” was tucked away in a scarey alley in the oldest part of town. When we arrived the cab driver wouldn’t even take us down the street.

After we got over our shock and disappointment with our location, we lugged our bags up three flights of stairs to our room. The bedroom we had chosen because of three beds was stark and dreary. But clean. One double bed, one single bed, and a side table. That was it. No lamps, pictures or decorations of any type. Beds and pillows were hard as rocks. Bath towels resembled large kitchen towels. It was adequate, though — and I repeat, it was clean. But it wasn’t exactly what we’d expected.

One of the good things about traveling with friends is that we try to make the best of everything. Just minutes after taking in the situation, we were laughing hysterically.

I think it was right after we discovered our room was on top of Pisa’s “party central” — the square where college kids meet to drink and dance. All night.


When daylight came — after a long, long night — our surroundings didn’t look so bad. We agreed the B&B would be a good choice for young people. There was a nice living area and kitchen. It could be fun if we were forty years younger.

The Leaning Tower

Close to everything” was a true description of the B&B in the AirBNB listing — and it was the best part. Just a short walk down the road that runs beside the Arno River, we were within sight of the Leaning Tower and the cathedral.



Soon we found the crowds we’d imagined.





Pisa Italy


For some reason, I wasn’t expecting all the ornate buildings around the tower. Even though I’d done a “ride by” on a “Europe on $5 a Day” trip in the late ’60s. The area is truly beautiful.

The Best Way to See Pisa

I’m certain many people find Pisa to be quite a nice play to stay. I’m sure we didn’t do enough research. But if you’re on an extended tour and just want to see the leaning tower,  I suggest you drive to the historic city square, jump out of your car or cab, then walk around to your heart’s content.

You can join the multitudes of tourists who want to “hold up the tower” with their hands.


Or you can try to hold up the leaning tower with the brim of your hat … like silly me.




For more information on Pisa:

The Leaning Tower

Pisa, A Touristy Quicky by Rick Steves

Visit the Barefoot Blogger and hear her tales about life in France at

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