Unexpected aspects of Pisa

f you take a look at the classic bucket lists or books with places that you absolutely have to see, you can be quite sure to find Pisa with its Leaning Tower.

You think you know pretty much everything there is to know about Pisa, that it is a small town on the Arno in Tuscany with nearly 100,000 inhabitants, that the city is one of the Italian student towns par excellence, that it has a leaning tower, but there are also some unexpected aspects of Pisa that tend to surprise holidaymakers.

 

Despite the knowledge, the size, or rather the smallness, of the city is a surprise for many visitors. Whoever you ask, they have heard of the leaning tower, know that is located in Pisa, so you expect to find a much larger city; and yet it is a small city, without large suburbs, with a simple town sign announcing the city, just emerging from the green landscape. Yes, this handy size, the fact that you can leisurely stroll through the old town without getting completely lost, that is an unexpected aspect of Pisa for many… just like the leaning tower that you have heard so much about. We know that it was closed for years, that it is actually an architectural mishap that now attracts so many visitors every year. But when you finally see it for the first time, despite all your prior knowledge, you are simply shocked at how crooked it actually is and wonder how this building can stand stable at all – another unexpected aspect of Pisa, a nice one, just like the beautiful beaches outside the city.

When you think of Pisa, the first thing that comes to mind is certainly not a beach holiday, not sand and sea. And yet, just outside the city there is a nature reserve with kilometres of pine forests and beautiful, golden sandy beaches. A few gentle dunes, long grass, wild flowers, no hotel chains anywhere, just nature, a beach framed by the sea and the forest. And with a little luck you can even spot sea turtles. This is also an unexpected aspect of Pisa… and a very, very beautiful one!