Touristy as it is, having an epic-blockbuster shot with the Leaning tower of Pisa is still a ‘must do’ when visiting Italy. Built during the late 12th Century, the tower has become one of the recognisable (if the most recognisable) symbols of Italy today, for its unique, but rather unintentional tilt.
Just a short trivia, the tower started to sink (causing the tilt) as early as when the second floor was being constructed, due to unstable soil and bad foundation ( 3 meters lang daw during the ancient times sabi nung presentation dun. imagine?). If based on plans, the completed 8 storey tower is actually curving, so as to compensate the tilt of the lower floors. The tower took around 200 years to complete all in all, including the decades of fall of the Pisan empire when all developments came to a stop. During the 90s, modern day restorations for the foundation have already been secured, so this means the tower will last (hopefully) ’til the next generation of eager tourists and visiting backpackers. =)
For tourists short of time, it is really not super necessary to stay overnight in Pisa. As per my personal itinerary, I stayed at a hostel in Florence (which is the biggest Italian City nearest to Pisa). Florence is only 30-40 minutes by train to Pisa Centrale Station, for only 16 Euro (800 Pesos) round trip, scheduled almost every 30 minutes ’til as late as 10pm. Both Florence and Pisa are part of the province of Tuscany. As such, travelling between these cities pass through scenic farmlands, typical with Italian outskirts you see in movies.
Visiting Pisa was the easiest day trip I had. Upon arriving by train at Pisa Centrale from Florence, there are public buses in front of the station to take you to the leaning tower complex for around 1.2 Euro per way. Otherwise, you can just have a leisurely 30 minute walk. Pisa is just a relatively small city and the complex is around 1.3 Km away.
Entering the tower complex(also known as Piazza dei Miracoli) is free of charge. Going inside the Cathedral is also free of charge, you just have to secure a ticket from the main museum lobby. Climbing the tower however will cost you 15 Euro (750 Pesos) + the long cue. Di na ako umakyat actually. Ok na ako sa ground shots. Museums also have separate tickets.
As per the local staff, the complex usually goes jam packed at 9 am to 3 pm. So for DIY tourists, a late afternoon visit would be Ok, since the are still trains to take you back to Florence until 10pm. Securing RT ticket however is advisable. Given the limited time, I just spent around 2 hours in the complex, did a leisurely walk back to the station, and headed back to Florence around 7 PM.
Trivia : Italy has an estimated total of 100,000 monuments of all varieties (museums, palaces, buildings, statues, churches, art galleries, villas, fountains, historic houses and archaeological remains) – behindthetower.com