Italian Backpacking Exploration: Our First Stop, A Sightseeing Day Trip to The Leaning Tower of Pisa


After spending almost a month in Florence I was ready to explore Italy. When I was doing my art program we did visit Venice, Sienna and San Giminiano. But now I was with my travel buddy, aka Hubby and it was time to explore on our own and in our own way. Off we went on our backpacking adventure.



After spending so much time in Florence, it was a bit sad to leave. I don’t know why I guess it felt like home and comfortable. Knowing how to get around was a piece a cake for me now, and now I was leaving that to become a clueless tourist again. Still, it was all going to be great. Plus if we felt homesick we could come back, nothing was set in stone. We loved our hotel so much, that we booked our stay for our return. We had one more day in Florence after all, before we were supposed to fly back to the states.

Off we went to the train station Firenze Santa Maria Novella that was now easy for me to get around in after a tour and having traveled from there to Venice with my class.


It was our first Italian day trip, I didn’t want to spend too much time there since the goal was Genova. (Look it up, it’s beautiful!) We arrived in Pisa early in the morning and off we went to search for the famous leaning tower. We walked from the train station to the tower, one because there was no rush and two to see a little bit of this little touristic city. I knew there had to be more than just one tower. Being in a car or a bus you won’t see it.

Tip: There is a bus that will take you to their landmark, leaning tower.

Palazzo della Carovana


If I wasn’t so hot and tired I might have taken many more photographs. Pisa reminded me of Florence. So much that at times when we passed a bridge or a building it felt like we were still in Florence. There was remnants of the Medici here too! Perfect for our transition from Florence to the rest of Italy. Not so much if you’re limited on time and you want to see something completely different.

The Arno River


I mean we were there as tourists following in line with so many tourists heading to the same place. The main attraction, the leaning tower. You do stop to wonder what the locals think of us bombarding their streets and city?

The Archbishop’s Palace of Pisa

So on our way back to the train station, we choose to get away from tourists. Just sightsee and enjoy Pisa. We managed to get lost but that was part of the fun. We got to talk to several locals who helped us find our way. I got to see beautiful architecture that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Tip: Get away from the groups of tourists, you will see much more of real Pisa.

Church of Santa Maria della Spina


Arrived at our destination! It was a sight to see. This majestic tower, that you can see from several directions just towering over the city. If I had to give any advice would be to take your photographs from far away. Those are the most different, sure you will get the standard selfie with the tower but snap a few from afar. By the time you arrive at the actual tower, there are a thousand other visitors doing the same thing you are doing.

Tip: Plan accordingly if you plan to climb the tower and visit the cathedral, book in advance.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa


If I was doing this backpacking trip again I don’t think I would return to Pisa. Not because there isn’t a city to explore but because if you only have a short amount of time you only see the main attraction, the tower. Hubby and I both said it would have been nice to have the time to explore it further. Don’t stop just for the Instagram photo, stop to see Pisa. Unfortunately, I had already booked our stay in Genova and after all the walking we did while we were lost we were ready to go.

Cathedral of Pisa

I enjoyed our day trip, it was definitely filled with a lot of sights and even though I didn’t take as many photographs as I would have liked. I did take enough to create a few art pieces. One was part of my University’s Italian exhibit and it was the beginning of my Italian series. You can check them out on my website. >>> BottegaGuzman.com

Leslie M. Guzmán is a Guatemalan artist best known for her creative explorations of world cultures. Her works capture the untold stories of people, objects and the places from which they come.


  • Gerri

    Thanks for sharing your trip! I love your advice to take the time to get away from the other tourists & explore the city! I think this would be great advice for just about any trip!

  • Melissa Sanchez

    This was by far one of the most impressive cities on my Europe tour. It left such a deep impression in me. I would love to some day, be able to live there or somewhere in Italy, I love that old world feel.

    great post!


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