I fell in love with Italy when I was a student of class VII. My geography teacher Mrs. Banerjee was a beautiful lady who had visited Italy. During her class, she used to narrate us stories from her visit. She narrated the story so beautifully that I could almost visualize the lanes and canals of Venice. At the end of her lecture, she had said ‘When you grow up you should visit Italy’. Back in those days, it was a distant dream, nevertheless, the dream stayed on with me and almost 20 years later I was standing beneath the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa‘ fulfilling my dream.
Italy conquered my dream not only because of my Geography teacher but also because of all the movies that I watched with my parents. Later on, Italian football team and its Roman godlike handsome footballers Maldini, Roberto Baggio, and Alessandro Del Piero just added more fuel to my dream.
I fell in love with Tuscany after watching my hero Anthony Bourdain meandering through the cobbled lanes of a small Tuscan village. Later on, when I watched the movie ‘Under the Tuscan Sun‘ I knew I have to visit Tuscany. Therefore, my first destination in Italy was Pisa that is located in the heart of Tuscany.
When my plane was circling above Tuscany just before landing I could see how serene and picturesque Tuscany is quietly nestled amidst green hills with the Mediterranean washing the edges of this small Italian district. Tuscany is exactly as pretty as we see in pictures. It has a lazy pace and everything seems ethereal.
When we landed in Pisa it was almost time for the sun to set. We took the Pisa Mover shuttle train from Pisa airport and went to Pisa Central Station. There is a luggage locker at Pisa station where one can keep luggage for the whole day for five euros. We kept our luggage and then took the orange bus to reach the Leaning Tower. It takes around 15 minutes to reach. However, it would have been better if we could have walked through the small town as it would have given us the opportunity to soak in the flavours of Tuscany but time constraint did not allow us that luxury.
When we entered the premise of Leaning Tower it was almost dark and we wasted no time and started clicking photos. There was a huge group of over-enthusiastic Chinese tourists who were posing to click a wierd selfie with the tower. Their enthusiasm almost made me forget the tower as I was more engrossed in their antics. Sorry, for the distraction in the flow of the article but I had to vent out.
Looking at the Leaning Tower I felt a strange calmness. The sun was setting against the white tower and the orange glow made the tower look like something from a different world. The manicured lawn, the sparkly white cathedrals, the setting sun, the orange hue dusk added a strange mysticism. Initially, I was regretting that we were late and should have come earlier to get a better view but then I realized that Pisa has a unique charm in the evening that not many tourists are fortunate to experience. In Pisa, I also enjoyed my first authentic Italian aubergine pizza and Italian freshly brewed coffee.
On our way back we bought souvenirs from my Bangladeshi brothers about whom I wrote in my earlier post. We again took the orange bus. Pisa gets quite deserted after sunset and almost appears like a ghost town. Most tourists in Pisa are day-trippers who visit Pisa from nearby Florence or other towns and therefore finding anything after sunset is difficult. We took our train to Florence from an almost empty Pisa station and left this small Tuscan town with lovely memories.