Is Pisa the Most Underrated Overrated Tourist Attraction

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After a great night in Florence speaking at the Girl Geek Dinners I had no idea what I would do the next day.

So when Jaime told me he was going to Pisa I didn’t wait for an invitation, I just told him I was going with him.

Five years ago I was in Italy and didn’t consider going to Pisa. It is such an over hyped tourist destination, I thought I was better than that.

After all who needs to see an engineering disaster?

It turns out I do. And it was a lot of fun.

Jaime and I met up with Guilia from Travel Reportage who is Italian but in Egypt during the revolution and has a great site about what it was like to be there.

We had a lot of fun just taking silly photos like everyone else. Not surprisingly Jaime decided to take scandalous photos while Guilia and I opted for the more traditional pose.

But the city of Pisa is actually quite pretty. While many just stop in for the afternoon, I stayed a couple days and it really is a nice city to wander with a camera.

And it turns out I’m not the only one who thinks that, Keith Haring was here in 1989 and painted this mural on the back of a church.

I’m really starting to think I have this travel thing all wrong. Tourist traps can be a lot of fun.

Join the Conversation

  1. I like Pisa very much.Nice article! stunning photos!
    Regards,
    Miruna

  2. Fab article, I have wanted to go for a long time now. Maybe it will my next city break.

    I’m enjoying reading about your adventures.

    Miss you x

  3. I’ve never been to Pisa but I have heard it’s overrate. Of course I’m not sure if the people who’ve said that took anytime to explore the city itself. The pictures of it look really charming, but most cities in Italy look charming in pictures. I love the photo with the bike.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s less than two hours from Florence by train so most people just go for an hour or two, snap and few photos and move on. But it’s actually a really lovely city.

  4. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    When I went there many, many years ago with my high school, we just stopped and saw the tower. Yes, totally worth the drive.

    I will definitely have to check out the town next time.

  5. I love Keith Haring. Fantastic photo!

  6. Yes, I think people just go for the tower and don’t give the city itself much attention. Maybe that’s the problem

  7. I’m so glad you came along… I had so much fun. I agree I think Pisa is one of the most underrated overrated tourist attractions ever. I still remember seeing the tower for the 1st time and thinking “wow it’s actually impressive” & well then I also like the town it was so cute. I’m glad we spent a few days there and saw more than just the tower!

  8. Great post w/stunning pics! Thank you!

  9. I remember you saying that you didn’t like tourist sites. You can have fun with them! But there’s also a good starting point to seeing a city. I love that blurred pic. Fun!

  10. Ditto! Tourist traps CAN be fun! Those images are amazing. LOVE the dude on the bike.

  11. I’m loving Pisa! I like you tend to not want to hit up the tourist attractions but I never thought maybe the city itself that some of these tourist traps are in could be quite beautiful. I will have to pay a visit to Pisa….. Looks very quaint and Italiano! Thanks for sharing the hidden gems.

  12. A Cook Not Mad says:

    We were there twice this past July. It was really overcrowded and close to 40C. After checking out the must see sights we wandered past the crowds and enjoyed lunch at a great little restaurant on a side street. We went back a few weeks later when my sister came to visit and we did it all over again.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think most European cities in the Summer can be challenging, I actually love Italy in late November, the weather is perfect.

  13. Jade - Ouroyster.com says:

    I LOVE Pisa! I actually prefer it to Florence.

  14. It was great to meet you in Pisa! As an Italian I never think too much of visiting such places but it’s great once in a while 🙂 It might be overrated but still beautiful, and unique! I can understand why Pisa is so famous, and the good thing is that the rest of the city hasn’t become too touristy!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was nice visiting it with an Italian too! Especially since you could help us out when we got lost!

  15. Gorgeous photos, Ayngelina! You really captured the beauty of Pisa, beyond the usual stereotypes.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Simon, I think it would be a nice place to relax for a while, quiet other than during the day when people are around the tower.

  16. I loved Pisa when I visited. After climbing the tower and taking the obligatory holding the tower up with my hands photo, I spent a while wandering the largely ignored streets and other attractions in the town. It’s a really pretty place, like so many Italian towns. Tourist traps are only traps if you get caught!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The town streets are largely ignored, but so pretty.

  17. Your posts like this with such amazing photos (I especially love the first one and the trattoria) make me really miss Europe!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know I have dozens of these kinds of photos, I never tire of taking them.

  18. Amanda @amandaelsewhere says:

    THANK YOU! I’m so sick of reading pretentious snafoolery on all the blogs telling me to stop being a tourist and start being a traveler. The point of travel is to have fun! I’m beginning to think that having fun is just the point and meaning to all of life.
    Also, the first picture on this post is ABSOLUTELY GORGE.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Aww thanks Amanda. It’s strange how the longer I travel the more I am interested in some of the touristy sites. Although I still would rather pass on most museums.

  19. I’ve never been to Pisa, but I’ve been to plenty of other tourist “traps” that I’ve ended up loving!

    Sometimes, a place is popular for a good reason.

  20. Graham GlobalGrasshopper says:

    We are big fans of Italy, but still not visited yet – not afraid of a tourist trap or two, so we’re adding Pisa to the list!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh you will love Italy, it is amazing.

  21. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    I was there over a decade ago and can’t remember much other than taking silly photos. LOVE your photos!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You see so many people taking silly photos, it’s definitely a fun day.

  22. I enjoyed it when I went. Climbing the tower was awesome too because it’s a really strange feeling, and at the top I felt like I would fall off. And I love doing cheesy perspective photos.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I didn’t climb the tower! I kinda wish I had.

  23. Of course they can! That’s why their tourist traps. 😉 There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist now and again. If you avoided them, you’d avoid some of the best sights in the world!

  24. Kay Dougherty says:

    I went to Pisa several years ago and thought it was a delightful city. It helped that we had perfect weather but the city was so much more than the tower! I found the place to be an unexpected treat and would even consider returning.

  25. Brandon @ Green Global Travel says:

    I really like your photos in this post! Pisa is definitely a historic monument that everyone should see. Thanks for sharing!

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