In defense of Pisa I don’t think the city has claimed to be anything more than its main tourist attraction.
I came to Pisa due to the cheap budget air flight…$100 round trip from Belgium…using it as a hub to see some other places in Tuscany. I flew in late on a Thursday, checked into my hotel, and went straight to see the tower at night, as it was only a few blocks from where I was staying. The tower was nice, though smaller than I had thought. The tower was situated in a square adjacent to the other Pisa attractions…the cathedral, baptistery and cemetery. I finished the night with a cheap pizza at a local restaurant.
The next day I did the full tourist tour, I had booked in advance. The ‘leaning tower’ tour was really just an entry to get into the tower…for 18 euro…and a walk up the steps to the top. I guess they haven’t always had this tour, as they had to fix the ‘lean’ years back to make it safe to climb the tower. My fear of heights amazes me sometimes. The top of the leaning tower had guardrails all around it…basically a cage…and I was still apprehensive about going to the edge to take photos (I swear I heard other tourists laughing at me). When I get to a spot that high, I get something like butterflies in my stomach…makes me a bit woozy, then I get a tightness in my chest. It’s one of the most irrational fears at times, especially when there’s no risk of falling.
Regardless, I got a few good pics from the tower, then ventured down the steps and to the next stop…the baptistery. This building was very beautiful from the outside, and just ok from the inside. The place had a ‘silence’ rule, so the workers were constantly shushing the tourists if they talked too loud…so that kinda killed the vibe.
I went to the cemetery next, which had some beautiful, picture-worthy statues.
Last stop was the cathedral, I was surprised with how large it was. I liked the cathedral overall, but I’ve seen better, so I consider it a bit over-hyped. Pisa has some great attractions, but it’s really no more than a 3-hour commitment. If you are in Tuscany already, it’s definitely worth a half-day trip.