Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Italy Part 3: More than just a Leaning Tower (Pisa)

I traveled to Italy last year (2013), visiting Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, and Trieste over the course of two weeks with my bestie, Bhavani. Overall, Florence (Firenze) was my favourite for this entire trip. Originally, the trip was meant as a sort of a “working trip” as I was invited by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste to attend the 1st International Workshop on “Low-cost 3D Printing for Science, Education and Sustainable Development”.


For this trip, myself and Bhavani took Malaysia Airlines from Penang - Kuala Lumpur and Turkish Airlines Inc. from Kuala Lumpur - Instanbul (Ataturk) - Venice (Marco Polo). 
We both did extensive research before our trip, and here’s what we did for our entire 15-days journey (27 April - 11 May 2013) in Italy (Italia):   
<Venice (Venezia) - Florence (Firenze) - PISA - Rome (Roma) - Florence (Firenze) - Trieste - Venice (Venezia)>

27 Apr:
PENANG / KUALA LUMPUR Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
KUALA LUMPUR / INSTANBUL - Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to  Ataturk Airport, Instanbul via Turkish Airlines Inc. 

28 Apr: 
INSTANBUL / VENICE (VENEZIA) - Ataturk Airport, Instanbul to Marco Polo Airport, Venice via Turkish Airlines Inc. Upon arrival at the Marco Polo Airport, we took the ACTV bus (Linea 5 Aerobus) to Piazzale Roma (approx 20-30minutes) – Check-in Hotel Minerva & Nettuno, Venice 

29 Apr: 
VENICE (VENEZIA) – Piazza San Marco / St Mark Square - St Mark Basilica - Doge’s Palace Palazzo Ducale) - Museo Correr - Museo Archeologico  - Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana  - Gondola Ride at Canal Grande - Ponte di Rialto

30 Apr: 
VENICE (VENEZIA) / FLORENCE (FIRENZE) -  Depart from  Venezia S. Lucia (Venice) to Firenze  S.M. Novella (Florence) - Galleria dell' Accademia -  Monuments of Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Dome of Brunelleschi -  Baptistery of San Giovanni ) - Museo dell’ Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore -  Giotto’s Bell Tower  -  Archaeological site of the crypt of Santa Reparata - Cathedral of  S. Maria del Fiore - Basilica of San Lorenzo - Gallerie degli Uffizi - Piazza della Liberta

1 May:
FLORENCE (FIRENZE) - Firenze Central Market (Mercato) Basilica of Santa Croce - Piazza della Signoria & Palazzo Vecchio/ Neptune Fountain/ Loggia dei Lanzi - Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) - Piazzale Michelangelo & San Miniato al Monte Church -  San Lorenzo’s Market 

2 May:
PISA - Depart from Firenze S. M. Novella (Florence) to Pisa Centrale - The Piazza del Duomo or Campo dei Miracoli - The Leaning Tower (La Torre di Pisa)  - Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa) - The Baptistery of St. John - Depart from PISA to Florence 

3 May:
ROME (ROMA) - Depart from Firenze S. M. Novella (Florence) to Rome Termini Central Station - The Colosseum + Roman Forum (at (Piazza Santa Maria Nova 53) + Palatine Hill (at Via San Gregorio No. 30) - Roman Forum - Palentine Hill - Arch of Constantine - Temple of Venus & Roma - Trevi Fountain at Trevi Square (Piazza di Trevi) - Piazza Navona - Pantheon @ Piazza della Rotonda - Piazza Navona - Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II – Depart from Rome to Florence   

4 May:
FLORENCE (FIRENZE) / TRIESTE - Walk around Florence town – Depart from Firenze S. M. Novella (Florence) - Trieste Centrale (approx 4.45 hr by train)

5 May:
TRIESTE - Piazza Unità d'Italia (Town Hall) - Municipio di Trieste - Saint Anthon and the Canal Grande + James Joyce Statue - The Old Roman Theater - San Silvestro - Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore - Via del Trionfo to see Arch of Riccardo – The Roman Gateway (33 BC) - Miramare Castle/ Castello di Miramare

6 May:
TRIESTE - FREE & EASY - Stock Exchange Square - Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - San Giusto Castle/ Church -  Serbian Orthodox Church  -  Piazza Unità d'Italia 

7 May:
TRIESTE – FREE & EASY - Grotta Gigante - Museo Revoltella -  Civico Museo di Storia e Arte e Orto Lapidario  

8 May:
TRIESTE - FREE & EASY - Tour around Piazza Unità d'Italia (Town Hall)

9 May:
TRIESTE / VENICE –Check-out from Hotel Tritone, Trieste – Depart from Trieste Centrale – St. Lucia (Venice) – Murano Glass Making – Explore Venice by Water Bus – Check-in San Geremia Rooms, Venice 

10 May:
VENICE / INSTABUL / KUALA LUMPUR -  FREE & EASY - Depart from Venice (Marco Polo Airport) – Instanbul  (Ataturk Airport) and Instanbul  (Ataturk Airport) – Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) via Turkish Airlines Inc. 

11 May:
KUALA LUMPUR / PENANG - Depart from Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) – Penang via Malaysia Airlines (MH) 
 
And the journey continues. Pisa was our third stop.

We left Florence at about 7.28 a.m. in the morning and made our way to Pisa (Pisa Centrale) by train. It cost me 9,55 Euro for a one-way train ticket from Florence to Pisa. We were told that a day trip to Pisa would be sufficient and found it to be true if you're just visiting the Piazza del Duomo (also known as Piazza dei Miracoli).  Upon arrival at the train station, we walked to the map and figured our way to the leaning tower. There are many bus services outside the train station and only one of them (red line, called LAM ROSSO) goes to Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) /  Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), where the Leaning Tower of Pisa is located. The bus tickets could be purchased either on board, or at the ticket machines. The bus fare was only 2 Euro/way and the ride took us only 10 minutes.
The central square in Pisa
The central square in Pisa
The central square in Pisa
We arrived Piazza del Duomo around 9.00 a.m. in the morning. This has been a lifelong dream of mine to see this tower in person. The Cathedral Square started its construction in 1173 and was completed in 1370. It was only when I reached there I realized there is also a Cathedral as well as other monuments that constitutes the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) and it was there I learnt that the Leaning Tower is actually the bell tower of the Cathedral. There are 3 main attractions (the Leaning Tower - known worldwide for its unintended tilt to one side, the Duomo and the Baptistry of St. John ) in Pisa and they are all in Piazza dei Miracoli.  
The Baptistry of St. John which started construction in 1152
There are in fact many buildings around Pisa
The Baptistry of St. John
The Cathedral or Duomo (church) stands at the heart of the square
The Cathedral or Duomo (church) stands at the heart of the square
The Baptistry of St. John
The Baptistry of St. John, in replacement of an older baptistry
Pretty water fountain at the square
We saw many tourists trying to take candid shots of hugging the tower, bracing the tower, holding the tower and whichever camera angle tricks you could think off. We spent almost 3 hours there and we both had great time posing with the tower and taking funny shots of ours too. 

And finally, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Ahhh, there it is leaning
Pretty water fountain with the Leaning Tower
Torre / The Tower
The base of the tower, where you can see very distinctly how the foundations
Me and the Leaning Tower

This is a must-have shot

The beautiful mosaic in the main apse

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral
We walked around the Square, went into the Cathedral for a few peaceful moments before heading to the train station with a lot of time to spare. Along the backside of the church there are vendors lining the street with cheap souvenirs, which we gladly bought.

Later in the afternoon, we just hopped on to the earliest train that could get us back to Florence. Our next stop was to Rome the next day :)  Until next time. Ciao! 

Air Itinerary Details: 
Penang - Kuala Lumpur  (via Malaysia Airlines MH) and 
Kuala Lumpur - Instanbul (Ataturk) - Venice (Marco Polo) via Turkish Airlines Inc.  /
Venice (Marco Polo) – Instanbul (Ataturk) - Kuala Lumpur via Turkish Airlines Inc.  
Kuala Lumpur – Penang (via Malaysia Airlines MH) 

Posing in front of Pisa Centrale Station :)

Local Transportation: 
FLORENCE (FIRENZE SMN) – PISA (PISA CENTRALE)
How to get there: Took Frecciargento train from Firenze S. M. Novella - Pisa Centrale
Departure time: 7.28a.m. – 8.28a.m. (approx. 1hour)
Fare Type: 9,55 Euro/pax / way (Economy/ Class 2)
Click here for details: http://www.italiarail.com/italian-high-speed-trains

Accommodation: 
Venice (Venezia) - Hotel Minerva & Nettuno
Florence (Firenze) - Hotel Stella Mary
PISA – N/A (1- day-trip from Florence)
Rome (Roma) – N/A (1- day-trip from Florence)
Trieste - ICTP Galileo Guesthouse and Hotel Tritone
Venice (Venezia) - San Geremia Rooms 

Entrance Tickets:
-  The Leaning Tower (La Torre  di Pisa) - Euro 18/pax
Baptistry of St. John  - Euro 5 / pax  

Read more about our travel experiences @ Italy (Italia): 
 “Once a year go somewhere you have never been before.” – Dalai Lama

Welcome to Small World! This blog allows me to share my travel experiences with others in a straightforward and far-reaching way. I often made great use of other peoples travel blogs and websites every time I plan for my travel itinerary as they often contained most updated information and invaluable resources from their past travel experiences. 
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