INSIDE THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA

Leaning Tower of Pisa

If you go to Pisa you go to Florence, and if you go to Florence you go to Pisa. Doing one without the other is like eating sushi with a knife and fork – it just isn’t right! 

Walking through an unassuming archway for the first time, it’s like you’ve stumbled into a hidden portal leading to a feast of exquisite architecture. But then you see the mass of tourists and realise there is nothing unassuming at all about this archway that leads to the world renowned Piazza del Dumo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower, combined with the Cathedral and Baptistery is a formula of unrivalled architecture and like all other tourists that fill the square it’s difficult not to resist doing the ‘perspective photo shoot’ – you know the ones… where it looks like you’re kicking down the leaning tower, or holding it up against your back; my attempts were pretty lame, so I left it up to the Asian tourists, who as far as I witnessed, had practised the art of the ‘forced perspective’ down to a tee.

After buying the tickets at a cost of 18 Euros my friend and I waited around until our time slot approached. It’s necessary to be given a time slot because only a limited amount of people can enter the tower at one time. We didn’t have to wait too long but I can imagine queueing times can be quite lengthy in peak seasons like July and August so it might be a good idea to book tickets online if you’re planning a trip in those months. There’s also the option to buy a ticket which grants access to all three of the UNESCO buildings but because we were on a budget we decided to just buy a single ticket for the tower.

Stairway inside the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Inside the tower there are almost 300 steps laid in a very narrow stairway, so you must place your bags inside nearby lockers located in the square, and suitable footwear is advisable because the stairs are heavily eroded. There are seven floors to the tower for you to look out at, but it is not until you reach the top floor that you are granted full access to the spectacular panoramic views of Pisa, shown below:

Italian Roof tops

Piazza dei Miracoli

View of the Piazza dei Miracoli from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Pisa, Italy We travelled in May, which I believe to be the perfect time, not too busy and the weather just right, we didn’t have to queue for long periods and we could take in the stunning views of Pisa delivered by the tower without needing to push our way through a hoard of tourists. Impressively, we flew with Ryanair for £24 return from Leeds/Bradford Airport (where else can you get tickets so cheap?!), but beware – if the devil were an airline it would be Ryanair…  

Forced perspective of The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Attempt number 2!

Leaning Tower of Pisa

It doesn’t look to be leaning from this angle, but rest assured, it definitely lives up to its name!

For more information about combining a visit to Pisa with Florence then take a look at one of my other posts titled ‘Cultural Hotspots: Florence and Pisa in just 48 hours‘.

Comments

  1. says

    ‘Scratch cards? Scratch cards today?’ …my favourite part of the Ryanair experience. OH NO…actually…the jingle when you arrive early! Ha! Great photos! What crazy worn-away stairs! I went to Pisa a couple of years ago but didn’t head up the tower. I was stunned by the Cathedral and Baptistery though…like a very clueless tourist I always just thought there was just a tower…it was a big surprise!!

  2. says

    Haha I couldn’t have described the idiosyncrasies of Ryanair better! Last time I was used them, they were delayed, but not being subjected to the jingle eased my displeasure!

  3. says

    I LOVE the way those stairs have eroded. Though it reminds me of being little and deciding that the best and only way of going downstairs was on my bum. Sliding and bumping all the way down.

    • says

      Whilst the eroded steps definitely have their charm, they did not however bode well with the heels I was wearing! I was clinging on for dear life, for fear that I’ll be “The Tourist Who Tumbled Down Pisa’s 300 Steps”! But if it was carpeted on the other hand… yes, maybe bum first would be quite an enjoyable ride!

      • says

        The next time the Pisan authorities need to raise funds for restoration they should just charge small groups of tourists a bit extra to walk to the top, with woven mats, and then let them whizz down as if they were on a helterskelter.

  4. says

    Thanks, you have done a marvelous job! It would be fine if you continue updating your blog with much more information and facts. I would be really grateful to have your suggestion about my website “The Leaning Tower of Pisa”, which is one of the most remarkable architectural structures from medieval Europe. It is located in the Italian town of Pisa, one of the most visited European cities.

    • says

      Hi Ani! If you have the spare cash I would recommend it because the view at the top is stunning and it’s quite fun walking up the narrow steps. Plus it’s not everyday you’re in Pisa and have the chance! However, I went off season so the whole thing was hassle free, that should be taken into consideration. So, I guess my best advice is to assess the crowd.

      Looking at it from the outside is the best part of visiting, going inside is the cherry on top but not a necessity! Have a super time when you’re there!

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