Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Tuscany Summer: Pisa and Florence

I had a terrific summer vacation with wife in the Tuscany region of Italy. Together we walked down the road of World Heritage Sites and reliving the Italian Renaissance. While Rome awes with its magnificent Roman architectures, Tuscany region is the art side of Italy with beautiful landscapes, art masterpieces and intricate architectures.

Passing by the town of Pisa on the train, the small town looked utterly uninteresting. However, the jewel is hidden one train stop away. We got off at Pisa San Rossore station. But we initially thought we alighted at the wrong train station. This station is also uninteresting, in the middle of nowhere with just few rows of normal residential houses. Together with a few lost tourists, we stumbled blindly to search for this leaning tower of Pisa. There was no clear signboards from the station. However my instinct guided everyone else in the right direction. While the leaning tower of Pisa is famous worldwide and big in name, to our surprise it is not that big in real life. This is due to the fact the surrounding area is just a boring residential area with the cathedral square in the middle. The whole cathedral square together with the Pisa tower totally looked out of place and it's the only area flocked with tourists. Like many typical tourists, we tried to push, tilt and blow the tower down while doing trick photography from afar to our hearts' content. This leaning tower had stood the test of time as well as the many "pushes" by tourists. However, do visit it if you have the chance before it finally leans too much and decides to call it a day and then kisses the ground.

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After Pisa, we hopped back on the train to Florence to spend a lovely night in one of the renaissance hotel. Florence is such a beautiful and romantic city. It is also home to many art masterpieces by world renowned artists like Michael Angelo. One day is definitely not enough to fully immerse yourself into the Renaissance era of Italy. My suggestion is spend 3 days in this lovely city and buy the Firenze tourist card so you get free entrance to all the major museums.

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