After staying longer than planned in Lake Garda we had quite a way to drive over the next two days before the van was due back in Rome and, ideally, Pisa was at about the half way point, so we decided to drive the 3.5 hours (5 for us) to Pisa, stay there two nights so that we had a full day in town, and then drive the next 3.5 hours (5!) back to Rome. A bit of a quick fly through but our main goal was to visit the Leaning Tower for the kids to see, particularly Ari since he has asked about it so many times and seems very interested in it, and also to visit some of the surrounding buildings and museums.
It was a huge disappointment therefore to find that the tower is now completely closed to any children under 8! No exceptions! The ticket lady told me that her own daughter is 6 years old and even as a worker there she hasn’t managed to get her up the top yet! Ari took it extremely well considering his interest in it, he was very excited to see it from the outside and was quite impressed. He wanted to know all about the underpinning we saw happening in 2006.
We still enjoyed our time here, particularly the baptistery in which we heard a haunting live demonstration of the echo effect of the operatic acoustics from the top level, the cathedral and also the grave yard filled with marble tombs and sarcophagi.
An extra bonus was that the camp ground we stayed in, just 800m from the leaning tower, put on a kids magic show the first night we were there. It was our kids first exposure to magic and they absolutely loved it. Tess sat with her mouth wide open gasping at the smoke clouds, the floating assistant and the endless number of umbrellas the magician pulled from no where (umbrellas were his thing!). Ari giggled with delight when the magician pulled a coin from his ear and he had us looking in there for more for days afterwards (we found enough for an ice cream each by the time we got back to Rome).
It was a bit of a sad moment packing up to leave knowing this was our last campsite and an end to this part of the journey, the past month has been thoroughly enjoyable and will give us so many memories to reminisce about in the future.