21 Apr 2010

A great park just outside the center of the city, and a nice walk away from the crowds of the major sites. Also, home to the second leaning tower in the city!

Off-the-beaten-path Pisa: Le Piagge

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It’s been over 10 days already since my last post! Time flies. A couple of weeks ago, we went for a nice walk in the green heart of Pisa. Most people think that Italian cities are not green enough: Pisa is actually very green.

I have already written about the gardens of Pisa in the past,including about the Botanic Garden, but Viale delle Piagge deserves a post of its own.

Le Piagge is a tree-lined boulevard running along the river just outside the center of the city. The boulevard has buildings on one side, and a lovely park on the other. It is very popular among the locals, who go there to exercise, take their dogs out or just to take a romantic walk hand in hand with their loved one.

Viale delle Piagge is a 2km long trail, beginning at Ponte della Vittoria and ending at Ponte delle Bocchette.

There is a bar at the entrance of the park, called Bar Salvini, which also has a nice terrace by the river. Just a few steps from the bar, there is a children’s playground.

People with dogs normally use the smaller trail closer to the river, while people jogging or walking use the “proper” park trail.

I like walking from Ponte della Vittoria to the beautiful Church of San Michele degli Scalzi. The bell tower is the second most leaning tower in the city. Pretty impressive.

An old industrial complex which was built by the church has recently been renovated and houses now a bar and rooms for events. I love the clash of the modern building with the “quarter monogram” standing in the middle of the square and the Romanesque architecture of the old church which dates back to 1025 AD.

In the square where the church opens there are still ruins from old 19th century buildings bombed during Worl War 2.

Le Piagge makes for a nice off-the-beaten-path walk in Pisa, and a perfect way to discover Pisa away from the crowds of the main sites.

Something to remember: in mid May, Le Piagge hosts a really nice fair called Fiera di Sant’Ubaldo. Lots of stalls selling flowers, pets, local products and good street food.

Below, you find a slide show of some of the photos we took the other day. To see them in their original size, just click on the icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the slide show.

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