Pisa and Beach


On July 9th, our cruise ship arrived in Livorno and we took a bus into Pisa. We booked an excursion through the cruise ship to see the leaning tower of Pisa and go to the beach. The guide we had was excellent. He was teaching us Italian phrases, explaining local customs and he was pretty funny as well. He even gave us a sample of some Italian Liquor at the end.
                                       

We had a 40 minute drive on a coach bus to get to Pisa. Our bus parked a ways from Pisa and we walked to the city. The city is a lot smaller than we assumed for having such grand buildings and the famous leaning tower. We walked through a market and found ourselves in the Piazza dei Miracoli which translates to the Square of Miracles in English. It is also known as or Piazza del Duomo.
Piazza dei Miracoli


You can see the Pisa Baptistery on the left, Pisa Cathedral in the middle with the Campanile (Leaning Tower of Pisa) in the background. Pisa is probably most well known by tourists for the Leaning Tower which is a bell tower that has an unintended lean to it.

Leaning tower of Pisa
One of the most common pictures for tourists to take is a picture where you are holding up the tower. You can see everyone trying to take one around the tower. Fairly recently engineers stabilised the tower to make sure it doesn't lean any further for at least the next 200 years. They didn't want to fix the lean though since it is such a tourist attraction.
Exaggerating the leaning. 


The white marble of all the buildings is quite striking as well as the size. This whole area is of great religious significance to Catholics and the area of Piazza del Duomo is an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Baptistery





 Our guide gave us some free time to roam around and take pictures and go inside the buildings. After checking out the leaning tower we headed back to the bus. We passed through the market again and looked for souvenirs. Next we got in the bus and drove to a beach resort to go swimming.
There was a lot of sunflowers everywhere.

We took the tour bus to the beach resort Bagno Nettuno in Viareggio. We were happy to have a stop in such a nice place to relax. It was hot outside so perfect weather for a beach resort.

The resort had a nice sandy beach. We got to swim in the Mediterranean which was a first. The water was very refreshing. 



The sand was extremely hot to walk on so we had to wear sandals. All the people with no sandals were running to the water as fast as possible so they didn't burn their feet. Once you got to the wet sand like the guy in the above photo it wasn't too hot at all.

The resort was really cool. It is around 150 years old. Our guide told us that it was the first resort in Italy that allowed men and women to swim together. We've never been to a resort like it before. 

One interesting thing we noticed was that in order to swim in the pool we had to wear swim caps. People either brought their own or the resort provided you with them. This is something we've never come across before but this appears to be a common rule across Italy. I asked our guide and he confirmed that it is a regular thing in Italy. It appears that wearing a swim cap is seen as being more hygienic.

A lot of places in Europe have rules about swimming attire. For example, in France it is common for loose fitting swim wear to be banned. Men have to wear tight fitting "Speedo" style swim suits for example rather than swim shorts. Women wearing swim suits with skirts are also banned. This is to stop people from wearing outside clothes in the pool for hygienic reasons. I guess it is nice to know the pool you are swimming in is as hygienic as possible.

...but I digress.

Of course since we were in Italy we had to eat some pizza. How could we not?
We had some Marinara pizza from the resort restaurant that was really good. We made sure before ordering the pizza that it was vegan. Unlike in Canada it is not unusual in Italy to get a pizza without cheese. This is one of the three traditional Neapolitan style pizzas. The Marinara is made with tomatoes, garlic, oregano and topped with olive oil. It was really tasty and we had one each plus a can of Coke.
It must have been off season or a slow season because the resort was not crowded at all. It's too bad since it was a really nice place to have some quality beach time.

 The chance to relax on the beach and then beside the pool was great and left us feeling really refreshed. The pool on the cruise ship was okay but it wasn't very refreshing and there wasn't much room to swim around. It's not as fun swimming in a crowded pool that feels like warm bath water when it is hot outside. We were glad to get a chance to swim in Italy.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post and want to see more of our cruise excursions, check out our post on "Monaco and Monte Carlo"

Comments

  1. I would love to travel to Italy. Your photos are beautiful!

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  2. Great pictures!

    I've always wanted to travel around the world. Hopefully one day I'll be able to do it.

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  3. That pizza looks amazing. I've always wanted to see Pisa. It looks so neat! And I'm all about the beach.

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  4. Pisa is so beautiful and all of the marble buildings there are so breathtaking! The architecture is just gorgeous. I have never heard of having to wear a swimming cap or a certain type of swimming suit in a pool before, they certainly do have some strict rules regarding their pools in other countries. This excursion looks like it was great fun!

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  5. Such inspiring architecture! Thanks for all the great pics so I can travel vicariously through you. (Also, had no idea how vegan pizza worked until just now!)

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    1. Thanks. Some places have vegan cheese too, usually made of either soya, coconut, tapioca or rice. Rice mozzarella is probably the best.

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  6. pisa tower waooo. you must be feeling on top of the world while visiting this place. this place is so beautiful.

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  7. I loved visiting Pisa! It's quite fascinating even to see just one tower. :)

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  8. I loved Pisa! It's such a fascinating place even just to see one tower. :)

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  9. This post brought back so many memories! I was in Italy this past fall and I am vegan too so I got to indulge in all the delicious pizza and pasta too.

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  10. This looks like it was a great trip! The tower has been a major bucket list item for me for a long time, but for a while, I had sort of given up amidst a lot of talk (on my teen years, I guess) about how it might fall. The idea that it might not be there by the time I could go was rough on me as I have an explorer's spirit ... It's nice to know it's been fortified against that now.

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    1. Yeah, it should still be standing by the time you get there. :)

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  11. I went to Pisa last year, but I didn't know the beach was good there. I used it as a base to see Tuscany and the Cinque Terre.

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    1. The beach was a little bit of a drive from Pisa.

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  12. Having a fun and knowledgable tour guide is definitely helpful and it makes your trip more interesting. I have been to a trip in China with a tour guide who was around my age and it made my trip a lot more enjoyable.

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  13. Beautiful pics! But I had to laugh when you mentioned the hot sand! I remember going to Florida, USA during the summer and finding out the hard way how hot the sun was that day. I was running like a mad woman back to the car to get my sandals. Oh the memories! I hope to see the tower in person one day too.

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    1. Haha, yeah I love the beach, but does the sand have to be so hot!!

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  14. Pisa is so tiny! I stayed there for 4 days last year and used it as a base to explore Tuscany etc. It rained nearly ever day I was there so I didn't even know about the beach until reading about it afterwards!!

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    1. Ah man, that sucks! Was Tuscany at least worth the visit?

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