Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Travel Tale: Pisa


My Aunt Gretchen, or at least I think it was my aunt and not a random blog reader named Gretchen, sent me a blog message asking to share something about Italy. One of my favorite days was the day my sister and I ventured on a day trip from Florence to Pisa. We started out our morning at our hotel, the Fattoria Degli Usignoli which was up on a hillside in San Donato/Fronzano, about 30 minutes outside of Florence. Breakfast usually consisted of one, or in my case 2 because they were delicious and it was Italy, croissants with this delicious chocolate spread called Nutkao. Followed by some fruit, or a hard boiled egg, or a mini sandwich with salami, cheese, and bread. Not to mention some coffee or a cappuccino, or a cup of both!

Click the link to see the rest of the day trip in Pisa

Some of the pictures from the hotel, it was very rustic and quaint

After breakfast we caught the train from Reggello into Florence, and once in Florence we transferred trains to take the train to Pisa. Pisa is a pretty small town, and it was basically a straight shot north and about a 25 minute walk from the train station to get to the cathedral square containing the church/duomo/cathedral and tower (leaning tower of Pisa). The main walk way to the square was lined with a lot of clothing shops, we did venture off onto one of the side streets to check out the small fruit and vegetable market they had. I think the pictures I took of the market and our walk are on my camera, I've only had time to get the ones I took with my phone onto my computer. When we finally got to the main square I was really surprised, for some reason I always thought the leaning tower was off somewhere by itself with nothing around it. In actuality there is the duomo, baptistry, campo santo - cemetery, the duomo museum, and the sinopie museum.

We chose to forgo walking up the 296 steps up to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa, and the 15 euro's it would have cost to get in, and decided to just admire it and take pictures from the outside.

How awesome is that? I still can't believe it

We did go into the duomo museum, the baptistry, and the cemetery which were all pretty neat and had a lot of paintings, and different works of art. I really liked the cemetery, it was essential a walled in courtyard, and there were engraved tombs on the floor. They were doing some reconstruction/restoration of the frescoes on the walls that were damaged from a fire during WWII. After spending more than half the day in Pisa we decided to head back to the train station to catch the train back to Florence.

I think we liked this gelato place the best out of all the places we tried

On our walk back we stopped at La Bottega del Gelato, it was listed in the Rick Steve's Florence travel book. This place was amazing. At this point in our trip we had already had gelato from a couple places in Rome and Florence, but this place ended up being our favorite of the whole trip. As you can see it's literally just a little hole in the wall, but their gelato was heavenly. It was the creaminess of eggnog in gelato form, and it was really cheap for the size. I want to say Renee got grapefruit and mixed berry. I got a cup of mascarpone and one other flavor I can't remember, and it was so good that after I finished I went back in and got another cup of another two flavors - tiramisu and something else. I had to, when am I going to be in Pisa again? If there was a way I could've bought a pint to take back to the hotel room for later I wouldn't have hesitated.

We had also read about these dorner kebabs that could be found in Venice, and we saw a shop before we got on the train in Pisa and we decided to grab some for our dinner later. These things were humongous and only 4 or 5 euro. They were kind of like a gyro, except the meat was different. I think it was a mix of ham, but they also put cabbage, onions, tomatoes, and a couple of sauces on there. It was really good and fun to try some Italian fast food! After our long day trip we made it back to our hotel in one piece and called it a night. If you're reading this and ever go to Pisa I hope you visit some of these places, but the gelato place is a must!


  1. Thanks to Gretchen who prodded this story out of you!

  2. That was my favorite place too. The gelato was awesome there. I can't remember my other flavor but I know it was good.

  3. Yep, it was me, Aimee! I just happened to be browsing blogs this morning. Glad to read about your day-trip to Pisa. Looks like a great adventure with delicious treats.

  4. Yep, it was me, Aimee! I just happened to be browsing blogs this morning. Glad to read about your day-trip to Pisa. Looks like a great adventure with delicious treats.