All that walking around San Gimignano works up an appetitite that even the finest of wines is unable to satisfy. As a result, we pretty much spent the entire drive back from San Gimignano looking out for a decent Italian restaurant.
If there’s anything I learnt from our Italian rickshaw adventure, it was definitely the fact that the best restaurants here are not in the most obvious places – this isn’t to say that obvious places can’t have good food but more like than not, you’re bound to end up in some tourist trap if you eat in the main square of any Italian city, town or even village.
In our search, we soon found ourselves on the driveway of what looked to be an old vineyard… and what we hoped would be a farmhouse restaurant.
Turns out – we were right (I’m taking credit for this one) and we rushed right in – more ravenous than we’d realised! Funny how beautiful sights make for a great distraction from hunger.
In here, we decided to go the Italian way – a starter, followed by pasta, then a meat dish for what’s kinda like a second main course and then dessert.
Given my love for Florentine steaks (after this amazing one in Bucca Marios in Florence), it was decided that the meat dish would be the Florentine steaks (which you get shown before you have it).
In my food haze, I pretty much forgot to take any photos of the meal and ended up with just this one below. 🙂 My steak arrived with the edge slightly overdone (this is not usual with Florentine steaks) but again, I’m not too fazed by that… plus I was so hungry that it made no real difference to my enjoyment of the meal (contrary to what it looks like – the inside was actually medium so it was still nice and tender).
The next morning, it was decided that we’d have to return to an old Italian gem – Pisa!
It’s such a strange thing I have with Pisa – you’d think that after seeing it so much and with it being one of the most obvious stops to make in Tuscany that I’d have had my fill of it by now but no – I’m still a huge fan! The Cathedral is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why as it is without a doubt one of the most impressive cathedrals in all of Italy!
We started off with the obvious Leaning Tower, which as I write this, I realise I still haven’t climbed it and honestly, I’m not too bothered about climbing it either. There were huge queues last couple of times and I can’t help but this that the better view is actually of the tower from outside rather than from inside the tower.
We then moved on to the Baptistery, whose round and unbelievably high structure, has not failed to impress me since the first time I stepped into it. (Heads up – resist the urge to clap or make any noise to test out how strong the echoes are here, a lot of tourists try to do this and are always getting told off by the staff/guards/minders).
The Baptistery also has the best view of the Cathedral so there’s that too. If you head upstairs, try to make your way towards the Cathedral and you’ll know you’re at the right window when you find the one with the square hole in the wire net.
Pisa Cathedral on this occasion has some works going on, which was a bummer, not only because huge portions of it were covered up, but also because parts of it were closed off entirely.
This of course left Camposanto Monumentale which is actually a walled 12th century cemetery and is covered in some amazing Frescos and statues… Then there’s the whole Gothic architecture, which is impressive in and of itself. Long story short, when you’re here – get one of those combined tickets and see off of the sights in Piazza dei Miracoli.
Also, its worth noting that Pisa does have lots of other amazing sights to see outside of the Piazza and you could easily spend a relaxed weekend here so don’t limit yourself just to the obvious sights here – take time to explore the city properly and check out all the other sights! (Let me know if you need pointers and I’ll pull together a post to help you on your way).
Before we left Pisa though, we made a final pit-stop for lunch in what was becoming my favourite pizza place in the city. Alas, I can never quite remember the name – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever paid attention to the name, I just know how to find it and have made it a point of duty to stop off here every time. 🙂
*Also, I just realised now that, in what now seems like a running trend, I don’t have any photos from lunch… oh well, that just shows how good the lunch is I reckon. Haha! So good I forget to pick up my camera… (Or it just shows how easily distracted by food I am).
For what it’s worth, Pizza (and the mandatory gelato right afterwards) is definitely the best way to finish off a trip to Pisa!