Thursday, October 01, 2009

More about Pisa

As promised here is the link to a set of photos of Pisa.

I have to say the town was quite a surprise for me. It's much smaller than I expected, and while it has more of the atmosphere of real Italy than Florence, it also reminded me quite forcibly of Holland. This was mainly because I found myself in serious danger of being mown down by speeding students on bicycles. Amazing! They were everywhere (the bikes, that is) from packs and racks of tens and twenties to abandoned solitary frames with all but the baskets stripped off them. As often as not, these were being used as substitutes for rubbish bins as well.

The students were everywhere too, giving the town a vibrancy and life that I found lacking in Florence, Livorno and Lucca. Pisa's larger neighbours focus so much on tourism that they seem to have lost their soul. I was therefore very happy to spend some extra time in this place of the absurdly leaning tower.

It is everything I associate with Italy - a bit scruffy, a bit smelly, but so incredibly charming with its golden building, lazy old river and secret alleyways. There are small markets in tatty piazzas; nearly every street has a university faculty housed in it somewhere, and the paint seems unable to stay on the walls of the buildings. I really loved it.

My main impressions were of clattering noise, sparrows in every tree, golden light, early dusks, pigeons on every ledge (with whatever was below them suitably soiled), the smells of heat and the feeling of being somewhere very old and experienced. If I had the chance to live somewhere in Italy, Pisa would definitely be high on the wish list.


  1. Great writing, VallyP(isa)!
    Even without seeing your photos of the trip I get images of how wonderful your visit must have been.

  2. Ik snak naar Italië nu. Moet sommige tijd gaan.

  3. Oh, thanks for that...Now I want to visit there!

  4. Great photos, Val. On this rainy cold day, I would love to teleport there.


  5. Oh Vally! How much I have missed not being on blogger more!
    I will have to visit Pisa via your photos at the library as I am still dealing with dial up (though have finally admitted mobile internet is the way to go to get high speed) but your words conjured up images aplenty! Hope your trip is continuing to be brilliant!
    And Koos... I cannot wait to sit and have tea or a beer or a scotch with you both... you always bring a smile to my face with your innate wit! ValleyP(isa) indeed!
    much love to you both...
    Stevie (AKA... Mrs. Evers!)

  6. Many similarities with Holland - not only bikes but leaning buildings!If only the sky was the same colour here...

  7. I think the next time I visit Italy, it'll be Pisa!


Apologies for switching on comment moderation, but this is to make sure everyone can comment without jumping through captcha hoops! However, anonymous comments will not be published, so please would you sign your name.