We left Florence and were on the way to our next stop, Venice or Venizia, as the Italians call it. As usual, we made a couple interesting stops along the way, in addition to our comfort stops.
Our first stop was the town Pisa and of course….the leaning tower. After hearing about this all my life, we were actually going to see it.
Because the area gets so crowded with tourists, they have a central parking area outside the walled area of the tower for the tour buses. Then we took a tram to the tower area. Within a few minutes we were there looking at the tower. It really was beautiful AND crowded. Everyone was taking those silly pictures where it looks like you are trying to push the tower up straight. And yes, we did it too.
The tower is really beautiful with several different shades of marble. And it’s been straightened up 5 degrees, as it was leaning too much and felt that it actually might fall. After being closed since 1990, it is open again to visitors. In reading about this, the tower began leaning even before it was completed in 1173. In 2007, it was straightened by 18 inches returning to the position it was in in 1838.
You can actually climb the tower, but only 20 people are allowed in at a time. The lines were long, which didn’t allow us enough time to go up in the tower. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It had nothing to do with the 284 steps and 8 stories that would need to be climbed. But seriously, our entire visit would have been standing in line, so we decided to pass this up and just enjoy the area around the tower.
So Jay and I walked around the grounds and they were so beautifully manicured. The tower looked interesting from different angles and the basilica on the property was very beautiful. We stopped for a drink and watched the horse carriages come and go. Then we headed down the couple directions that were available to explore. There were shops and street vendors and we even found a Pinocchio!
Before we knew it, we were on to our next stop which was a winery where we would have lunch. This family owned winery was small but interesting, as the son of the family gave us a tour and talked about the various wines they sold. And to top it off, we were given a lunch of appetizers and pasta and wine…lots of wine.
Since Jay and I weren’t buying any wine, we headed out to walk around the grounds. Then our bus driver came over with a handful of grapes he just picked off the vines. OMG! They were SO incredibly sweet. I would definitely buy some grape juice!
Then we were on our way again toward Venice. As we got closer we saw more and more train tracks and more water. We even saw some men practicing on their gondola. Yup. We were getting close.
When our bus stopped, we had to take a light rail train to get closer to where we could walk to our hotel. We sure were glad we didn’t need to take our luggage, as just carrying our carry-ons was enough as we walked quite a way to our hotel. We crossed one particularly large bridge with steps and ramps. Again… glad our carry-ons were small.
We found a beautiful hotel right on the Grand Canal. Our room had a view of the canal and a side street. It was perfect!
It was late in the day when we arrived. The evening was on our own and Jay and I opted to just grab a sandwich and drink, as we were really tired. So we went a few doors down from the hotel and found just what we wanted and went back to our room to get organized for the next day. We definitely needed a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow, we visit Murano Island and tour Venice.