Tuscany – Pisa

2012.5.29Before checking out from the hotel at Lucca, we had a short visit to Viareggio. It is a beach town only 20 miles west of Lucca. The local road, Via Sarzanese, runs through mountains and villages. It’s much more interesting than the highway but it took us almost an hour to get there.

Viareggio beach
Viareggio is a popular beach resort. We came in the morning on weekday. No one was on the beach yet.
A seaside café at Viareggio
A seaside café at Viareggio

Taking SS12, Pisa is only 10 miles south to Lucca. After passing a small hill and tree-lined country road, we could see the Duomo and the Leaning Tower from miles away. Circle half around the out wall to the west, there is a big parking lot only two blocks to the entrance of the piazza. A couple of people were selling faked leather craft and watches outside of the parking lot.

The Leaning Tower is just one of 4 major edifices in Piazza dei Miracoli. The other three are, the Duomo, the Baptistry and the Camposanto. It’s a such famed place that attracts a lot of tourists. Although it might be overly popular, the piazza is beautify, refreshing and definitely worth visiting.

Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa
Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa
Duomo, Viewed from Baptistry of St. John, Pisa
The Baptistry’s inner decoration is intentionally plain. From a lookout on the second level, people have a clear view of the Duomo.
Inside the cathedral, Pisa
Interior view of the Duomo, Pisa
Pulpit, Duomo of Pisa
The elaborately carved pulpit inside the Duomo, Pisa
The Leaning Tower, Pisa
The Leaning Tower started tilting during construction. Now, its top is 12ft away from the vertical center.
Piazza dei Miracoli, from the top of the Leaning Tower
Visitors are allowed to climb to the top of the tower.
Pisa city view from the top of the Leaning Tower
View of Pisa city from the top of the Leaning Tower.

We left Pisa at 4pm. There are several ways can get us from Pisa to Siena. The fastest is to take A11 to go back to Florence and then go south by Florence-Siena Highway, but it would be boring to drive on the same road; so we decided to take the shortest path. We went south on SS206, turned east on FI-PI-LI (Firenze-Pisa-Livorno) Highway, got off the highway at ss429 and continued driving south, eventually merged into Florence-Siena Highway. My GPS stopped working and only things I had were a printed Google direction and Touring Editore’s Toscana map. We passed countless villages and roundabouts, made many wrong turns. Finally, we arrived at Siena and checked into Hotel Santa Caterina at 8pm.

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