24 HOUR TUSCAN DAY TRIP : £10 RETURN FLIGHT
It's incredible what and where £10 can get you! For me it's been a trip to Pisa, Italy. It's insane that a train ticket from London to Manchester will cost you more, as well as a Oyster card journey around London. Three weeks ago I came across a 50% off flight sale on Ryanair, I was then faced with the daunting idea of embarking the journey alone, as they only had one seat left for most destinations.
Everyone tried to talk me out of it. “Won’t you be scared? Lonely? What if someone steals you? What if you get lost?” What if, what if, what if….
Well, everyone was right. I was petrified. However I kept thinking, if I spend my life waiting around for someone to travel with, then I might never travel.
So, I just went for it. Since It was going to be my first solo trip, I wanted to warm myself up by starting it small and cheap. Next, I was on the hunt for cheap accommodation and free things to visit and do. After much research, I discovered Florence is an hour train journey from Pisa. Immediately I knew I had to kill two birds with one stone! It was simply amazing, and the best trip of my life.
Arriving in Pisa 22:55pm
Since I was only staying for two nights, I opted to stay in a Hostel. Hostel Easy Pisa, amounted to only €36/£31 for the duration. It's location is very convienet with a 12 minutes walk from Pisa International Airport, also a walking distance to all the historical sites and town. The hostess at the Hostel was very welcoming, they provided a clean and safe place for me.
Exploring Pisa 09:00am
While Pisa itself is a lovely small city, as you can imagine, it’s terribly flooded with tourists. So I chose the “get in and get out” method, arriving at 9:30 am. I made a 20 or so minute walk from the Hostel to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and although it was still relatively early, the square was filling up fast. I decided against going up in the tower after seeing the nice long line. Plus, I figured, what was the point? The tower isn’t really that tall and there’s not much to see from inside is there? If you do wish to go up in the Leaning Tower, I highly recommend buying tickets as soon as you arrive.
Pisa isn’t just about the Leaning Tower. Like most Italian cities there is also a Duomo (Cathedral) and Piazza del Duomo, entry into the Cathedral is free.The Baptistry (the circular building): As well as being very photogenic from the outside, stand inside and you’ll stand in the place where Galileo Galilei was baptised.Camposanto (a monumental cemetery): this long building was constructed around a field of soil that was bought back from the Crusades and serves as a burial ground.
NEXT Stop Florence! 13:30pm
Hopped on the train, it was about 1 hour 20 minutes before I arrived at my next stop: Florence! I walked from the Leaning Tower to Pisa Centrale Station , where a purchased a return ticket to Firenze Santa Maria Novella. I bought mine in advance quite cheap, prices range from €8-18/ £5-13 on Trainline EU.
Where's the food at? 14:30pm
After all that early extreme touristing, I needed to eat! So I headed over to All'antico Vianio it serves the most delicious Tuscan street food.
The sandwiches are made with the freshest products, ranging from cheese, sliced Italian meat cuts, vegetables and awesome fresh focaccia type bread, make up your own or choose one of their suggestions. FOR ONLY €8, you'll get a sandwich and a complimentary glass of wine. It's located in the Renaissance heart of Florence, a few steps from Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery.
Views From The Six : Florence Cathedral 15:30pm
The towering red roofed dome of the famous Florence cathedral is what makes the city recognisable, and the cathedral itself, the square in which it sits along with other religious architecture. Piazza del Duomo is unmissable, and climbing the 463 steps, gave my feet and my camera a serious workout. From the Duomo you have a unique view of the city. Be sure to book tickets to climb the Duomo in advance, for only €15.
Florence’s Bridge of Gold: Ponte Vecchio 16:30pm
The Ponte Vecchio – literally the “Old Bridge” – has been a fixture of Florence’s ancient streets since the 13th century.
While the bridge’s history is long, it was not always so glamorous. It once housed shops of numerous varieties, local butchers dumped their waste into the river, making the bridge a place to run errands. That changed when the Medici family – famous for their patronage of the arts that made Florence a center of the Renaissance – moved in across the river and began to use the bridge frequently when getting around the city. It was the Medici’s who converted the bridge into a place for jewellers and gold salesmen.
Just In Time For Sunset : Piazzale Michelangelo 17:00pm
After recovering the 463 steps, I headed over to enjoy the view from Piazzale Michelangelo. With my phone battery running low, I stumbled across two travellers from Peru who were also lost. haha so we decided to get there on foot, wandering through Oltrarno, the neighborhood on the other side of the Arno river.
After 25 minutes of walking, we found ourselves faced with the magnificent panoramic view of the city. It looks just like the postcards, the long winded walk was finally worth it as we watched the sunset. The piazza is dedicated to the most famous Renaissance artist, Micheangelo, and the center of the square also displays a replica of his most famous statue, the David, safeguarding Florence. The best part of travelling solo is you'll stumble across some amazing photographers, it jut happened my new friend Maurice had a great eye for the camera lense.
Let's Unwind : Dinner 18:30pm
After spending the day running around like a headless chicken, trying to tick my bucket list. I felt HANGRY (angry and hungry)! So I decided to treat my self to some seafood spaghetti at Pizzeria Dante, with a glass of wine and pizza starter. Yes, you read that right haha! My bill came to €25/£22, cheap right? Even though it was cold, I couldn't leave Italy without having some gelato. On my way to the station, I stumbled across the Shake cafe, and ordered a really tasty mint & strawberry ice cream.
Home Time 20:30pm
What a day right? I literally ticked my bucket list in day, for £10! It's unbelievable, what a tenner can do of you these days. THINK BIG THE NEXT TIME YOU HAVE A SPARE CHANGE! After butchering my gelato ice cream I returned back to my hostel in Pisa, showered, slept and woke up in time to catch my 06:55am flight back home.
Thank you, Tuscany. You were so nice to me!
Please share this on your social media and I want to know your thoughts on solo trips.
So tell what has been your cheapest trip? Have you travelled solo? What was it like?