We had a long drive ahead of us and since we stayed in Pisa last night, we got up early to see the Leaning Tower. Below is the view from where we parked our car, free parking for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning was awesome. The tower was five minutes walk away, we didn’t expect that it would have a massive wall around it.
Even though we arrived really early (8am), there were already lots of tourists. Apparently there was a competition being run on the most creative photo with the Tower, which would explain some of the weird poses we saw people attempting to create 🙂
Surprisingly enough there is no entry fee to see the Tower, you can pay to visit inside all of the attractions in the piazza, but photos from outside are free.
The Leaning Tower is in Miracles Square (Piazza dei Miracoli) and recently, to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the cathedral, art from different artists will be on display for a limited time. We were excited to see ‘Fallen Angel’ by Polish artist, Igor Mitoraj.
There are a number of beautiful buildings in the Square, including the Cathedral of St Ranieri.
The Baptistry is an incredible building, said to have been a dedication to St John the Baptist and built in the mid 12th century.
The Camposanto Monumentale is a walled cemetery, we didn’t visit inside but the picture below is from the hallway to the entrance.
After leaving Pisa we began our journey along the coastline of Cinque Terre, an amazing drive with some of the most incredible views. We stopped in for lunch at one of the five villages that make up ‘the Five Lands’, Monterosso al Mare. One of Keith’s friends that had recently visited the area recommended the Focaccia at the local bakery and it didn’t disappoint! After walking off our lunch and checking out the beach and amazing views we continued our journey.
Our next intended stop was Portofino, however it was the last week of the Italian holidays and unfortunately the police had road blocked the entry (one road in, one road out) as the town had reached its ‘maximum occupancy for tourists’. The poor policeman seemed more disappointed than we were, recognising that we were overseas tourists, he suggested that we would find Santa Margherita Ligure just as beautiful for the afternoon. He wasn’t wrong, what an amazing little town, it was very busy as well. We found a secure car park easily and walked along the beach, checking out some shops and cafes and enjoyed a gorgeous day in perfect weather.
Reluctantly we continued on our way, making a note that this will be a destination we have to revisit! Our next stop is Monaco and after some winding roads up high in the mountains below was our first glimpse of this incredible country.