Know about this?
Around the Piazza dei Miracoli you will find a lot of African hawkers walking around with goods. Most of the time they will sell watches, jewels, sunglasses from famous designers like Gucci, Cartier, Rolex ... Don't believe what you see, because it's all imitation.
Unique Suggestions: Don't pay too much.
Are you sure this view is worth 15 Euros ??
Climbing up the leaning tower is a must for most of the tourists, although I think the view is not THAT great at all, except the small part where you see Piazza dei Miracoli from above. Enlarge my extra pics and see what you will see from the top of the leaning tower !
Unique Suggestions: Climbing up the tower might be OK, if you have enough time and saw the Duomo, Camposanto and Battistero as well.
Otherwise it is a waste of time and a lot of stress, as you have to be there some time before the tour starts and you have just 30 minutes to climb up, have a look and climb down again.
Fun Alternatives: Pisa is much more than the misconstructed leaning tower...
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Around the tower you will see plenty of souvenir-shops, the closer to the tower, the more expensive...
...and the more strange and even a bit funny.
I wonder what Michelangelo would say, to see the "best part of David" on underpants... ???
Unique Suggestions: For souvenirs and postcards, you may also have a look at many shops in the town of Pisa, while walking TO Piazza dei Miracoli
Fun Alternatives: Take a walk back to the station and buy your souvenirs in town !
NO guarantee, though, to find underpanties made by Michelangelo.... :-)
- Road Trip
To eat near Piazza dei Miracoli?
If you need to eat something to continue your tour of Pisa and you are in Piazza dei Miracoli, you have two choices: 1) To spend a lot of money for a Pizza or a Pasta dish or simply for an hamburger
2) "Escape" from this area (30 meters far is still near and it costs much less!!!) and find a good place for lunch or dinner (look at my restaurant tip)
Fun Alternatives: If you are too lazy to walk a little bit and you absolutely want to eat something, you can decide to taste a good GELATO (ice-cream); it is a good meal and it is cheaper than a normal lunch even if you are in the "hottest price area" in Pisa!
Is this the Wild West?
This is actually right outside Porta Santa Maria in the city of Pisa. We thought we were in Arizona for a minute there. These teepees are full of "tourist treasures" and at night, they simply close them up and lock them.
It gets a bit crowded walking through them and there are more traditional tacky tourist stands right inside the Porta opposite the famous Leaning Tower.
Unique Suggestions: Hey, if you like plastic or metal Leaning Tower replicas, go for it. If you're not interested, skirt the area and keep to the left as you enter the walled part of Pisa to avoid the continuation, albeit not wigwams, of the tourist trade.
If your camera breaks, you can always pick up photos and post cards here! There's always a bright side.
Fun Alternatives: You can enter someplace else in Pisa, but this is close to free parking and you enter right at the Leaning Tower so the alternatives aren't as convenient. Just ignore these . . . or laugh at them as we did. It really does look odd in Italy.
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Try to avoid dining at those restaurants near the tower. A guy I met on the tower and I followed the recommanded restaurant guide in the Lonely Planet, but the food sucked the big time and it all came with a small portion. The fruit salad was smaller than the palm of my hand and it was stale!!! And the waiter tried to scam him 20 Euros. So, do check the change and don't be fooled by the prices of the menu listed outside of the restaurant. It might look inexpensive but the food portion could be scarce.
Unique Suggestions: Try to walk inside of the restaurant to see the plates on others' tables before you sit down.
Fun Alternatives: If you only stay for half a day, pack a sandwich.
Not all that glitters is gold....
Especially near the Piazza dei Miracoli, there are lots of stalls that sell souvenirs, in fact you will see lots of similar souvenirs, don't buy from the first one you see cos prices will be totally different as you go along. Just see first and then compare. One other thing there will be lots of coloured people trying to sell sunglasses, watches and belts ... don't trust them... they are all fake items. In fact if a police see you buy something they will charge you and the seller, so be careful.
Unique Suggestions: Just ignore those people telling you that it is a bargain and will sell you fake things
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This may seem obvious but I'm always surprised by how many people I see still picking up their souvenirs right in front of the tower. People! Seriously, take a walk down a side street and you'll more than likely encounter some of the same items for less. This, of course, wont' be true for all things, but it's definitely worth taking a look.
Unique Suggestions: A lot of the kiosks that sell goods sell much of the same thing. If it's possible ask how much something is in earshot of a rival vendor. When you get a price ask the other vendor what he's selling it for and see if a bidding war breaks out. It doesn't always work, but I bought an umbrella once for 3 euros from a guy who kept outbidding his own partner!
Fun Alternatives: If the item you just have to have can be found nowhere else but it's too expensive it never hurts to haggle.
souvenirs at Campo dei Miracoli
At the campo die Miracoli they try to persuade you of buying all kinds of worthless stuff.
The entire square is lined with stalls selling small towers, in all shapes and sizes. They are not only useless but also far too expensive.
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Lines of stalls selling nothing locally made
We parked in a lot a distance from the entrance and took a free bus to the street leading to the square and tower. The entire distance to the entrance was lined with tourist shops that sold mostly junk that probably was made in Asia. Once in the giant square there was a line of stalls that ran the entire length of the square. Vendors standing everywhere were selling watches, purses, toys etc.... It all kind of ruined the mood of the event.
Pisa has the tackiest...
Pisa has the tackiest souvenirs I have ever seen!
For example.... Leaning tower on a seashell, Naked lady hugging the leaning tower, and a leaning tower ashtray..... the list goes on and on lol It is funny to see though
Beware the prices of the...
Beware the prices of the markets stalls on the street beside the Leaning Tower. If you are after souvenirs check the prices in some of the shops around, you will find they are cheaper. Also, if you can avoid eating within the vicinity of the Tower, you'll be somewhat richer after the experience.
There is a line of market...
There is a line of market stalls along the edge of Piazza di Miricola that are a perfect example of a tourist trap! You can buy small models, flags, badges etc at a very inflated price; however many of them are cheaper than the official gift shop, so have a look at both before you actually buy anything. But, mos of the stalls are pretty much a waste of time - why would you go to PIsa to buy a flag from , say, Ireland or France or any of the others that they sell??? lol...
One item not to buy!
There will always be us fools, who buy the gimmicky item, knowing that it is a touristy item, and a waste of money.... HOWEVER! If you don't want to drive yourself crazy... do NOT buy a tower of piza ashtray (and I'd imagine any tower statue would have the same effect)!
Unique Suggestions: If you do buy one... don't put it near a walkthrough in your home... because it will drive you mad as your peripheral vision catches it and you want to try to straighten it up!
Fun Alternatives: However, should you want to have fun at a party... that would be a great thing to do... and watch people go to grab it before it falls!
Depends upon the peversity of your sense of humour. (By the way... can you tell that I speak from experience????)
Stalls along Campo dei Miracoli
Together with mass tourism, you also have the negative consequences of course. Along the Campo dei Miracoli are lots of stalls selling you little leaning towers, T-shirts with "I love Pisa" print, ...
There are also a lot of people selling fake brand watches, wallets, ...
Needless to say all of this is expensive for the quality offered!
Unique Suggestions: If you're buying a watch, wallet or other fake item, at least bargain! A colleague of mine bought a watch 10 euro, which was originally 40 euro!
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