Posted by: debrakolkka | March 20, 2010

Pisa beyond the tower


the tower and friends

I went to Pisa today to discover the city beyond the tower.  It was a beautiful spring day and the city looked great.  I started at the Piazza dei Miracoli, because you can never get too much of this amazing place, and wandered down Via Santa Maria and into Piazza dei Cavalieri.  It is difficult to take a photo of this that does it justice, it is just too big.  There are some wonderful buildings here, most of which belong to the university.

in Piazza dei Cavalieri

He looks quite important

From here I headed to Borgo Stretto, the main shopping and comercial street.  Stretto means narrow, and it is in parts.  There are porticos reminiscent of Bologna here and some fabulous old buildings.  The shopping is excellent and there are dozens of good looking restaurants and cafes that look most inviting.

Borgo Stretto

almost lunchtime

The food market is off Borgo Stretto, down Via delle Colonne into Piazza delle Vettovaglie and then Via Domenico Cavalca.

outdoor food market

cavalo, verza & cavalo nero - cabbage

carciofi - artichokes

From here I walked to the Arno.  The water wasn’t blue but it managed a bit of a sparkle in the sun.

along the Arno

a not so old bridge over the Arno

My friend Roz McAllen recommended on her blog  –  in a recent article about Pisa,  the restaurant called Osteria di Cavalieri in Via San Frediano.  I wasn’t disappointed.  I too, tried the zucchini sformatino and found it delicious.  I didn’t take a picture because Roz did it so well.

Osteria dei Cavalieri

After lunch I found a pretty park not far away in Piazza Dante.  Pisa is a university town so there is a vibrancy about the city.  It is good to see lots of young people about; it makes things more interesting.  Off the park, in Via Arancio I discovered Nonna Rosa, a hole in the wall that was offering some very delicious looking food.  I’m going to try that next time.

the pretty park near Nonna Rosa


In addition, the bus trip from Pisa to Lucca is great, particularly if you take the route that includes Ripafratta.  The road winds through small hamlets and passes old villas in varying degrees of repair.  There are old farmhouses and plots of land under cultivation. It makes for an interesting trip.  On the way the narrow road is lined with huge plane trees.  At the moment they are bare, but in summer they will form a green tunnel.

Pisa practises siesta, so if you go in the morning, see the town first and then go back to the tower.  There is nothing so dismal as a town where everything is shut.

decoration on a Pisa bank


I have been back to Pisa and I went to Nonna Rosa for lunch – what a bargain!  Liz, Di and I had a delicious lunch for under euro 5 each.  Next time you are in Pisa go to Via l’Arancia 23 – the food was great!

Liz and Di at Nonna Rosa

the tiny kitchen at Nonna Rosa


  1. Deb, congrats on this great overview of Pisa- just one more delightful historical city I have enjoyed with you. Love your articles-even if i wasnt there with you and Liz ( but I was anyway) ,I could just imagine the ambience,beauty and the history from your words and pictures – hey that sure is a great new camera you’ve got.
    Must admit that little Nona Rosa was good value and quite delicious. Especially after climbing those 300 sloping steps to the top of the tower.
    Keep blogging on you two,
    ciao, Di

  2. I would be happy to help if I can. What do you need to know about the tower?

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