Monday, September 26, 2005


It's pretty easy to get from Pisa to Florence
. The trains are frequent - around three per hour during the day, it costs just 5 Euros and takes about an hour.

We arrived in Florence at 11.30am and managed to find our hotel - the 4* Anglo American Hotel in less than 10 minutes - an easy walk from the Santa Novella Train Station, on Via Garibaldi.

Our rooms weren't ready when we arrived so we took a stroll along the Lungarno, by the banks of the River Arno, towards the famous ponte Vecchio. It was a dreary, wet day - a bit like a typical Scottish day, with dark clouds, threatening to rain, but the city still managed to look amazingly picturesque.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

I couldn't stop myself from being snap happy and taking photos from every bridge. Once we reached the Ponte Vecchio, about a 20 minute walk from out hotel, we took a walk by the Uffizzi Museum and into the Piazza Della Signoria, which was packed full of people. Stuart has been to Florence in July before and he said that the number of tourists were around double what they were today. I don't think that I would fancy coming here in July - the combination of the heat and the crowds would make it pretty tiring.

We spent a while wandering around the Piazza, looking at the amazing sculptures, which are huge in comparison to what they look like in photos, and looked around the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Town Hall), which appeared to be shut for the day.

We began our Italian dining experience in true style, at a table on the terrace of a restaurant on the Piazza della Signoria with a huge Pizza cooked in a Wood Fire oven - bellissimo!

After lunch we took a walk round to the Duomo (Cathedral), which is absolutely magnificent. I wanted to climb up the bell tower or the Cupola for some great views of Florence, but decided to wait until tomorrow, since the queues were pretty big and we'd just spent the last half hour stuffing ourselves with Pizza.

Duomo, Florence

We spent the next half hour or so wandering around aimlessly, in the general direction of the hotel, but ended up nowhere near the hotel, thanks to Stuart's "Mystery Florence tour".

Friday, September 23, 2005

Flight to Pisa

Theoretically you could fly direct from Edinburgh to Pisa in around 3 hours, but in the name of saving money. we took one of the most indirect routes possible: Edinburgh to Frankfurt, then to Munich and finally on to Pisa. The reason for this madness was that I had enough airmiles to get both Stuart and I from Scotland to Italy, so the pain of an 8 hour journey was eased by the fact that we were paying nothing for the flights - only £50 or so for the airport tax.

We left Edinburgh at 1.15pm, arrived in Pisa at 10.45pm (an hour ahead of UK time) and managed to experience a flight on a 737, a 747 and a little propeller plane, drink a few beers and some vino, eat a burger and chips and a thai curry (not at the same time), see the sights of Edinburgh, Frankfurt and Munich airports and experience the services of Lufthansa and Air Dolimito (which before today sounded more like a pasta sauce than an airline).

Lufthansa Plane

Quite a busy day, so I found it very easy to collapse in bed in our Pisa Hotel at the end of the night.

We had decided to stay in Pisa rather than Florence on our first night, because we didn't want the hassle of making a train journey late at night after our day of so many airports and flights.

We stayed at the Terminus and Plaza Hotel, a 3 star hotel just 5 minutes in a taxi from Pisa airport (5 Euros) and about 50 metres from Pisa Train Station. The hotel was pretty basic, but did the job for a quick overnight night stay. The room was spacious, but a bit shabby and in need of a dust and a lick of paint, but the sheets and towels were clean and the air conditioning worked. It's a good enough place to stay if you are just at the beginning or end of a journey or want to get the train somewhere the next day, but it's at the opposite end of town from The leaning Tower of Pisa, so probably not ideal if you want to see the sights of Pisa without doing much walking.

If you are booking a hotel in Pisa, I recommend looking at Trip Advisor. They have user reviews of all the hotels and you can easily choose which one you like the best based on the price, location and user ratings. You can also find out more about discount flights to Pisa

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My vacation in Tuscany - September 2005

I've just returned from a fantastic vacation in Tuscany.

My itinerary was:

7th-8th September - Pisa
8-10th September - Florence
10th-17th September - a villa in Vitolini near Vinci
12th September - A daytrip to San Gimignano
15th September - A daytrip to Volterra and Siena
17th-18th September - Lucca
18th-19th September - Pisa

I'll be posting a journal and photos of my trip over the next week, so come back and visit again!

View of Florence

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Cheap flights to Italy

I was lucky enough to have enough airmiles to cover my flights from Edinburgh to Pisa for my trip to Florence and Tuscany in September of this year.

I've put together some tips on the best way to get cheap flights to Italy. Just click on the link below for the information:

How to Get Cheap Flights to Italy

Happy flight hunting!