We wanted to see Cinque Terre as the end of our three-month tour around Italy, and La Spezia was the perfect spot to stay. You can take ferries, boat tours, or trains to the different towns in Cinque Terre. But you can also take a quick train ride to Pisa. We didn’t see the Leaning Tower of Pisa the last time we were here, so we felt like we had to this time.
There are many train routes that run from La Spezia to Pisa and back. There is a local train that does only that route, plus the trains that come from Florence stop in both Pisa and La Spezia.
We had lunch in La Spezia and headed up to the train station and grabbed the next train to Pisa S. Rossore station, the Pisa station closest to the tower. Pro tip: don’t get off at Pisa Centrale for the tower, Pisa S. Rossore is a short 5 minute walk to the tower.
We walked from the train to the Piazza del Duomo and it was an easy, flat walk, which is hard to find in Italy. As soon as you round the corner you see the tourist market in front of the piazza. Watch your stuff: I read lots of reports of pick pocketing and people stealing out of cars. I didn’t see it happen but beware.
The tower is behind the duomo as you walk in from the train station. The view is better from a distance, since it looks like it’s peeking out behind the duomo. Plus the straightness of the cathedral makes the lean of the tower very obvious.
You can walk around for free, without any tickets. Tickets are required to go inside the duomo, but they’re free. You go to the ticket booth and get a timed ticket. You can also buy tickets to go up inside the tower, which I had zero interest in.
We got a timed ticket and walked around inside the duomo. It was beautiful inside, like most churches in Italy.
The tower is close to Carrara, where Carrara marble comes from. You can actually see the marble mountains from the train on the way.
I’m not sure if I would stay in Pisa, but I would definitely plan for a half day trip to Pisa when visiting Cinque Terre.