The road from Firenze to Pisa was surprisingly not very scenic. We have taken the highway, which didn’t really look much of a highway. The roads were too narrow and we encountered quite a few jams along the way.
Just like in Firenze, the parking areas are a bit far away from the city center and the places of interest. It was a very long and hot walk all the way from the parking area to the Leaning Tower, but I totally enjoyed it. I was distracted and entertained by some troubadour playing one of my favorite tunes from Bach (that one from Hannah and Her Sisters), as we approached an area with a small old church. What a lovely and fitting background music for such a lovely place.
At the back of this tiny old church was a mural by Keith Haring entitled, Tutto Mondo. It was his last public mural before he died. There was a nice little café conveniently facing this interesting wall. There, we decided to take a small break and have some drinks.
People kept telling us that there is not much to see and do in Pisa, except to see the Leaning Tower. Somehow, I found it to be quite true. And so we decided to just stay in Pisa for half a day just to see the tower and have lunch. After which, we headed off straight to Lucca to while away the rest of the afternoon and to spend the night.
Lucca, is a small fortified ancient city, much like Intramuros. This time, I was thankful that we could actually park our car inside the city center and close to our hotel. We had a hard time finding our little hotel because the signs were not so obvious. The hotel owner’s son had to pick us up and drive our car right into the parking area for us. This guy was so good-looking. He could easily pass for a model.
Later, I discovered that Lucca is where the famous Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was born. We passed by his birth place, which was converted into a restaurant with his appellation. There were several other tiny restaurants around the area. All of them looked so pretty and inviting.
Half a day in Lucca was not quite enough. We could’ve strolled around the city some more or bought some antiques at the flea markets, but the shops closed really early. And sadly, we had to leave early the following day for San Giminiano and Siena.