How are Pisa & Porcupines Connected?
Pisa is about a lot more than the iconic Leaning Tower, but that’s why we came. It is a beautiful city on the Arno, very similar in appearance to its neighboring Florence. Every Piazza and building seems to be steeped in Renaissance history. Portions of the original town walls are still in place and many of the streets are lined with the famous “umbrella” pines for which the area is known.
Once again, we took the train. We had some difficulty finding a cab to take us to the station, there were crowds of people in the area. We ended up sprinting to jump on the train, without validating our tickets (a huge no-no). The train was packed and there were no seats, so for the first time since college, I stood between cars. Fortunately, it’s only about 15 minutes from Livorno to Pisa. And, the travel gods were watching over us since the conductor never got to us to punch our tickets, so we escaped the consequences of not validating our tickets (which is supposedly a hefty fine).
It seemed like half the people in Italy must be visiting Pisa today (a Tuesday in October?), taxis were scarce. We had the option of the public bus, but decided to take the local Hop-on (15 euros), 10 minutes to the Tower, and pick it up an hour later for the remaining 50-minute tour back to the train station. It worked out well and gave us a nice bit of history along the way.
Oh, about those porcupines, it seems they were hunted and eaten as part of the local Tuscan diet; I’m glad that delicacy never caught on.
Train fare to and from Livorno is 5 euros each way and trains run every hour (towards Pisa at 12 after the hour; returning to Livorno at 28 after the hour). From the Pisa train station take public LAM Rossa (approx. 2 euros), to get you to the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) where the Duomo and Leaning Tower are located.
The Hop-on bus leaves every hour on the hour from the train station. It also goes to the nearby airport. Be flexible – the headsets are a bit problematic, and the route/schedule is just slightly off, but it was worthwhile.