Pisa, oh Pisa. Thought of as a travel hub for getting to all the places that you would want to see around Tuscany, Pisa often gets a bad rep.
I can't tell you how much we welcomed Pisa with open arms after being stuck in a tiny, stormy, closed for the season town just a day earlier. Pisa has so much more to offer than just the leaning tower, and if you have a spare night or two then it is certainly worth a visit. We've compiled a little guide to food and accommodation in Pisa and gems we discovered when completely winging it.
Where to eat
Osteria Culegna - a little restaurant that fills up quickly with locals and tourists alike. It is actually one of the best rated restaurants in Pisa with great food and a lovely host who was the only one serving, and her husband cooking up the dishes in the kitchen. The portions aren't huge, good for lunch but if you are going for an evening meal you may want to try the traditional Italian way of eating, with a few smaller plates spread out over a couple of hours of drinking and chatting. Vegan options are limited to a simple yet delicious pasta in a spicy tomato sauce.
La Grotta - It was a picturesque restaurant with a very cool, cave-like interior. The food was good and they were very accommodating for different requirements.
Gelato (Hmmm) - of course it wouldn't be an Italian food write up without mentioning the best ice cream in each place we visited. In Pisa that crown goes to La Bottega del Gelato.
Pizza Tirrenia - we had such a bad experience in Tirrenia we haven't done a full write up other than to say don't go outside of June to August! We did want to make a special mention to pizza. We enjoyed a great pizza there for next to nothing but they pretty much saved our lives after we had sheltered under a very small tree in the thunderstorm. The lovely owner and waiter offered to drive us back to our hotel. We might not be writing this blog without them being so kind that evening!
Where to stay
The Witches Hotel - The witches hotel, was a sweet little hotel in a great location, very close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. On our first night we decided to walk back via the tower and experienced a magical treat of seeing it all lit up. We booked this hotel a day before and we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the hotel. They take payment in advance which is always something to be aware of :)
Biscuit B&B - we booked Biscuit B &B before we came. The location was great for the train station and the airport. You can literally walk to the airport from here which was handy as the taxis hadn't started running as early in the morning as we needed to get there for our flight! It was a lovely room but perhaps not the best place to base yourself if you want a couple of days exploring the city. In saying this, the host was lovely, and even texted us information about the hotel :)
Pisa, whilst not on the top of everyone's Italian travel list, is well worth a little stop, and felt like a life saver for us after our crazy experience in Tirrenia (don't worry, they'll be more on this another time).