The Grand Tour of Tuscany Continued: Pisa and Lucca

By, Michelle Campbell

The second day trip we took as a group was to Pisa and Lucca. Once again we had our own bus to fit everyone, including most of our professors. I was pretty excited about seeing Pisa since it is home to the famous leaning tower of Pisa, otherwise known as the Torre di Pisa (tower of Pisa).

When we arrived in Pisa, we were unhappy to find that it was even colder than it had been in Florence upon our departure. The wind was so strong it stung any inch of skin that was left exposed. All of us huddled together in front of our professor as he started his lecture about the historical site. We ventured into the baptistery first, followed by a walk through of the church, and ended with the tower.

Going inside the structures was a wonderful, temporary relief from the piercing wind outside. Our professor had a lot to say about the artwork and religious significance regarding some of the pieces within the baptistery and church. When we finally reached the famous leaning tower, everyone’s exposed limbs were numb.

I had much anticipated the lecture on the tower since the tower itself is such an interesting structure. I tried my best to focus on what my professor was saying, despite the wind. Much to my disappointment, we did not climb the tower as a group. However, watching fellow tourists at the site stand awkwardly while taking their tower picture proved to be enough entertainment for me.

When the awaited moment of dismissal finally arrived, we walked around the grounds to take pictures, shop at the nearby venders, or run to the local café for a large cup of warm, Italian hot chocolate. Once we were done exploring the site, we departed for Lucca.

Our tour of Lucca was very similar to those in San Gimignano and Volterra. We went to lunch at a local restaurant, which was amazing of course. Our director never failed at picking the best places to eat. That is one of the reasons why none of us ever dared miss a group trip, no matter how cold the weather proved to be.

After lunch, we did our normal routine: lectures about the local architecture, churches, and museums. Similar to the other towns, most of the shops were closed for the season. Once again there was a big tower we were allowed to climb as a group. The platform at the top was small but comfortably fit all the students and our professor who proceeded to tell us the history about the structure. By the time we loaded the bus to head back to Florence, our noses’ and ear’s were red and numb. The bus driver cranked the heat as we all tried to thaw our figures by rubbing our hands together. I would say it was a successful day of sight seeing, just a tad chilly for this native Floridian.

Bus2alps operates day trips to the Tuscan regions of Siena and for Wine Tasting. Trips depart from Florence and Rome. 

Michelle Campbell is a student at Florida State University, and a Spring 2012 alumni of the Florida State in Florence program. Michelle will be reliving her individual travels and group travels with Bus2alps during her four months studying abroad. You can read more at her blog,

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