Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Pisa Diaries: Day 2 - Wednesday 4th May 2011

The day starts with a little rain, which thankfully doesn't last. However just to be on the safe side, I take my light anorak out with me but end up having to carry it around during what turns out to be a warm day. Having discovered the north side of the river, we cross the Ponte di Mezzo to the other side. Which takes us straight onto the Corso Italia which is the city's main shopping street, where you can find lots of Italian/European chain stores....and Galleria Del Disco, which is a small but well-stocked CD and DVD store. We walk as far as the railway station and then make our way back to Borgo Stretto for lunch at a fab little pizzeria, where I encounter the best pizza I've ever tasted in my life. It's called a Pizza Pinoccoli, it has walnuts, pine nuts and truffle oil, and here is a picture of it.

After that divine lunch it's time to return to the Piazza dei Miracoli to see that tower again (and all those other lovely buildings) in daytime and all its full tourist glory. People-watching is great fun here. What amazes me is how anyone would want to climb up all those stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower...but they do! (We most definitely don't).

There is a lot of building work going on all over Pisa at the moment - notably on the Corso Italia, which is being resurfaced, the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and in various other parts of the city. But there are some very distinctive and beautiful buildings to look at, like this one which is on the big square not too far from our hotel.

Pisa is a great city to just hang out in. Because it's so walkable, the pace of our holiday has been slowed right down to a level of relaxation which we're not really used to. No dashing from one metro station to another. One particularly nice and unexpected thing is that the drivers aren't as manic as I thought: they actually stop at the red lights and let you cross the road!

Dinner tonight at one of the tourist-friendly restaurants on Via Santa Maria. Anyone for gnocchi al pesto?

Following dinner, we hit the road and head for Piazza delle Vettovaglie. By day it's a market square, but by night it is transformed into student-land with lots of cheap bars and eateries all round the perimeter. There's a great buzzing vibe and we enjoyed it so much last night we're back again. Despite being "over-age" we get a very warm welcome. Pisa is a very friendly city indeed.

Anyway, in the interest of research, we need to try some Sardinian beer: the cheap and cheerful and very popular Ichnusa!

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