Travel With a Small Dog to Pisa, Tuscany in Italy
Travel With a Small Dog to Pisa, Tuscany in Italy…. because there are certain places that people just know. No matter where they are from. Often it is historic, scenic or a special monument. In the case of Pisa, it is certainly all three; but it must be one specific tower that has captured the imagination of people from around the world.
Pisa has its leaning tower. An irony not lost on us, that an error in judgement and engineering in fact put this place on the map. But so is life and I can just see the history Gods having a good chuckle at this one.
We arrived at Pisa train station from our pied-a-terre in Florence; a quiet journey of a little over an hour that cost about 8 euros per adult each way. Dogs are permitted on trains in Italy as long as they remain in their carrier. Even my open sling was accepted because it has a security lead in it to attach to my harness. In other words as long as the dog cannot get out and away you are fine. According to the Italian Embassy in Ottawa (e-mail service was prompt!) dogs must also be quiet and not take up a seat to accompany humans in coach or first class, so if you are a barker you could get tossed off the train at the next stop. Large dogs must go cargo.
Dogs in a carrier travel for free.
When you get out at the Pisa train station a pleasant surprise awaits you: a small grassy area. Grass is rare in Tuscan towns. It isn’t very good at surviving the hot dry summers and is a sign of frivolity. I honoured this grass with a good pee.
It is a short walk to the Campo dei Miracoli (Fields of Miracles) where the world famous Leaning Tower is just one of the splendid religious buildings that rise from the emerald-green lawns. It includes the Duomo (Domed Cathedral) that was begun in 1063, the Baptistry (always separate since non baptised individuals were not allowed in the Duomo – even infants) of 1152-1284 and of course the tower itself that took from 1173 to 1350 to complete.
About the tower:
- It leans a full17.5 feet (5.4 meters)
- Total height of the tower is 179 feet (54.5 meters)
- The tower is supported by a shallow stone raft of only 10 feet deep (3 meters)
- Six of the eight storeys consist of galleries with delicate marble arcading wrapped around
the central core
- In 2008 (after a 10 year search for a solution) engineers found a way to stabilize it for
another 200 years!
You can climb to the top of the tower for a whopping 15 Euros per person. Now we really would have done this – at least one biped anyway – but no dogs are allowed not even in a carrier. Add to that the price (compare to 3 Euros for the baptistery and 5 Euros for the Duomo) and the fact that the next slotted time for tourists to go up was about a 2 hour wait for us, we decided to enjoy the beauty the place had to offer from the lush grass! I was more than thrilled with the decision!
We walked around taking photos, enjoying the warm – even hot – October sun. Once we had gone beyond the baptistery and the Campo Santo (cemetery) I was even allowed by my bipeds (no sign to indicate otherwise) off leash near the old fortification walls. I ran like a mad man … it had been days since I had seen such grass.
We then left, and walked to the lovely old town center. Stopped for lunch on a sunny terrace (yes dogs allowed in and out of restaurants) and then slowly made our way back to the train station.
In review: There really isn’t much else to see in Pisa other than the Campo dei Miracoli – but it is WELL worth the day trip! If you really want to go up the tower – just remember you will have to find someone to look after Fido while you climb. Bring water, it is very hot under the Tuscan sun and there is little shade with no trees at all dotting the lawns. Travel with a small dog to Pisa is well worth it.