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3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

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Perth, Australia
posts: 35
reviews: 1
3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

Hi, we will be staying in Florence for 3 nights in late March. Our children who are 9 would love to visit Pisa to see the tower. I am just wondering if that is the best use of our time, or are we better spending 2 full days in Florence? I have been many years ago but trying to look at it through different eyes now that we are travelling with children.

What would you choose and are there any other must sees for children?

I am about to hunt for family accommodation too, is there a particular area that would be best to stay in? My budget is about 175 Euro per night.

Thank you!

South Australia
posts: 22,842
reviews: 12
1. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

You can visit Pisa for half a day by train from Florence www.trenitalia.com Click on the UK flag for current train times.

Book Tower tickets in advance www.aboutpisa.info

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 16,537
reviews: 48
2. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

normally I would say not to do this -- but you have two 9 year olds who are amped up to do it -- with so very little time, doing your heart's desire has something to be said for it. get tickets ahead and plan half a day -- the train is a commuter, you can get tickets any time.

Perth, Australia
posts: 35
reviews: 1
3. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

Thank you and you are right, we should just do it. I think the girls will love seeing it as they have been learning about it at school. Thank you also for the advice on the commuter train, and to buy our tower tickets in advance! Much appreciated.

Freeport...
posts: 9
reviews: 29
4. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

I'd agree with Janet - under normal circumstances I'd say no way - there's way too much to do and see in Florence. But with the girls, definitely go to Pisa, and be sure to go in the cathedral and baptistery as well as the tower - it's a beautiful cathedral and the kids should enjoy it - the security guard in the baptistery sings every 15 minutes or so to demonstrate the acoustics in the space - it echoes for 15-20 seconds and is amazing. The train ride is about 45 minutes each way, and trains come in about every 1 to/from Florence.

In Florence, we stayed in a wonderful hotel that was very budget friendly and convenient about two years ago (check my Florence reviews). It's less than two blocks from San Lorenzo, and by extension about four blocks from the Duomo.

If you want to make it an educational trip (and I hope I'm not sounding insulting), the church of Santa Croce in Florence is amazing for that. This is where a lot of major Renaissance figures are buried (Galileo, Michelangelo, Ghiberti, Bruni, Machiavelli, and a monument to Dante).

But above all else, be sure to get them Gelato!

Paramus, New Jersey
posts: 473
reviews: 85
5. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

I agree with the above as well. Your not in Florence for a lot of time. But if the kids really want to see if I think it will make the trip that much more enjoyable. Florence is amazing. Great city to explore. Make sure to try the hot chocolate & treats at Caffe Gillie. The Il Porcellino (Italian "piglet") Market is great shopping. You can find some great items for you self and as gifts to bring home. There silk scarfs are amazing. Enjoy. Oh yes, dont forget to eat lots of Gelato:)

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples
posts: 3,502
reviews: 125
6. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

I was in the same dilemma as you recently - I wanted to stay in Florence but my 13 year old wanted to visit Pisa.

I'm so glad we did. We climbed the tower, visited the Bapistry and took silly photos of us holding the tower between thumb and forefinger.

It's an easy trip from Florence on the regional train and then you hop on the red bus across the street from the small piazza outside the station which will drop you right at the leaning tower site. Buy bus tickets at the newsagent/tobacco shop at the station for a couple of euros. Alternatively take a cab but it's a bit of a long way to walk.

If you want to go for a full day out, visit Lucca as well and rent bikes to ride around the walls of the city. I had planned to do this but it was absolutely chucking down rain so we huddled under an umbrella and sloshed our way though a small portion of Lucca, including the wonderful cathedral.

If you plan to climb the tower, book tickets online to ensure you have some but when we were there, plenty of people were just walking up and buying on the spot. You have to check all your bags - including your handbag/purse - and can only take cameras up. It's not a hard climb and the views are beautiful.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
posts: 34,736
reviews: 77
7. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

As much as I like Florence, there is nothing wrong with wanting to go to Pisa to climb the Tower. The Tower itself is a pretty awesome site to climb and visit. Like Kathy said, you can then spend the second half of your day at Lucca which is very close. Do book the Tower climb tickets since that means you can plan your day accordingly and maximize sightseeing time:

http://boxoffice.opapisa.it/Torre/index.jsp

Perth, Australia
posts: 35
reviews: 1
8. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

Wow! Thank you so much for your replies. Excellent advice and information. We are actually considering extending our time in Florence now so we may even be able to take a day out to Cinque Terre (although I am yet to research that).

We will definitely buy our tickets for the tower in advance. I have seen it before but never been inside.

Thank you for the info on Lucca too, I was not aware of this and it looks beautiful. I'm sure the girls would enjoy the walls. Is it easy to get to from Pisa? I will look more into this as well.

Thank you once again!

Paramus, New Jersey
posts: 473
reviews: 85
9. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

If you cant extend your time there that would be great for you. If you have time, I would suggest visiting the City of Siena. It is really amazing and next to Florence it is my favorite city. I find it to be a very interesting city that has a lot to offer. I would do some more research about visting Cinque Terre this time of year. It is beautiful of course but you may find the town's not up to full speed at that time of the year( the expert's will know better, but just a heads up) Also I am not sure, but from my readings in the past suggest it might be a little difficult to get to ( but once again, ask the pros) Enjoy :)

Freeport...
posts: 9
reviews: 29
10. Re: 3 nights in Florence - side trip to Pisa or not?

Cinque Terre should be fine in late March, and I'd highly recommend it. That was my wife's favorite place in Italy (more so than Florence, Venice, Pisa, or Rome). It's a lot of walking, but you'll take the train to La Spezia, and from there to Riomaggiore. Once in Riomaggiore you can take a train to the other four towns, or walk on the hiking trails (it's quite hilly/steep). My suggestion if you want to walk is to walk from Riomaggiore to the next town, and travel by train if you want to get to the other areas. The water is very clear and blue (at least for us Americans). Pisa is directly between Cinque Terre and Florence if you want to work that into your travel plans (maybe an overnight at one of those two cities would cut out some time spent on the trains).

I'd also add that night time in Florence can be a lot of fun, especially at the Piazza Republica with the street artists at night. The central market in Florence, especially in the morning, is very interesting if you don't have those at home.

I think a lot of what will be worth it depends on you and your girls' values. What do you enjoy most - focus on that!