Pisa – An Indie Traveller Town

By Jade Johnston

This week on Boots n All the indie travel prompt was “Travel in Italy.” Despite all the places I have been in Italy, one stands out as my easy favourite.


But why Pisa? Most people don’t even spend more than a few hours in this small town, instead opting to stay in near by Florence. However, I would argue that for the indie traveller, there is a lot to be discovered by spending a few days in Pisa.

The leaning tower of what?

Young Demographic

Pisa is a university town, which means there are plenty of opportunities to meet local people through couch surfing and other social websites. In fact, while I was in Pisa, I had one of my most positive couch surfing experiences to date. I stayed in a flat with a couple other university students on the outskirts of Pisa. On my first night in Pisa I was invited along to a party full of students where the sangria was being served in 5 gallon pails…. in pails! They introduced me to their friends, and we are still in touch today.

It is easy to escape the crowds in Pisa

Easier Accommodation

If you are not keen on couch surfing, then you are in luck. Accommodation in Pisa is very affordable. With hostels stating as low as $10 USD per night, how can you go wrong? Also, due to it mostly being visited by day trippers from Florence, you can expect to find more availability here than in other near by towns. Also, Pisa is a very small town, so no matter where you chose to spend the night, you will not be too far from the centre of town.


Iconic Buildings

Yeah… you know what I’m talking about here. None other than the leaning tower of Pisa. The tower’s shallow foundations, faulty design, and situation on unstable ground all contributed to it’s almost immediate sinking. But the tower isn’t the only thing that’s leaning… the cathedral and other buildings on the grounds are also on a slight lean. Now, if you are a fan of stereotypical tourist photos, then you have come to the right place. At any given moment there will be a dozen tourists all pulling the same “holding up the tower” pose at different locations.

Escape the Crowds

If you want a little piece and quiet in Pisa, all you have to do is move away from the leaning tower by a few hundred metres. Suddenly you will be back in a sleepy little Italian town and can enjoy getting lost and wandering the cobbled streets. An even better leaning tower experience is at night, when all the day trippers have gone back to Florence. I sat with my new friends in the square, gelato in hand, as we chatted and gazed at this iconic building – without another soul to be seen anywhere near us.

Despite how touristy the leaning tower is, I found that it still managed to take my breath away. I immediately fell in love with the tower, despite other famous towers not quite holding my interest. (I’m looking at you, Paris)

This post is part of the Indie Travel blogging challenge – topic – travels in Italy

The leaning tower of Pisa was one well known landmark which did not disappoint me, despite being incredibly “touristy”. Have you ever had an experience like this?


    • says

      I just loved it for that reason. It felt like that elusive “immersed in a foreign culture” feeling that many travellers strive to have, but which is hard to attain when there are many other people around seeking the same thing

  1. says

    Like most people, I did Pisa as a day trip and I thoroughly enjoyed it (and I agree that the tower is awesome even if it’s “hyped up”). I would never have thought to spend a few days there, especially given how much there is to see in Italy (I spent six weeks in the country and feel like I barely scratched the surface!). Did you feel that there was much to actually see/do in Pisa (other than relaxing, enjoying the food, atmosphere etc)?

  2. says

    Great post, Jade! I’d never really considered going to Pisa before – I always had it down as a tourist trap, so interesting to hear your perspective about it!

    Buckingham Palace, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and Prague’s Old Town Square are all incredibly touristy places that didn’t disappoint me at all. Love love love.

    • says

      Buckingham Palace! Really!? Wow! See I was not overwhelmed by Buckingham palace, but then again, I didn’t go there expecting to be whelmed either. :) The other two places I havn’t been to yet.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *