Pisa: An Unsatisfying Erection (all that Viagra can’t do)

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If you’ve done much traveling in Southern Europe you’re probably aware that the train station is generally the worst thing you’ll experience on your trip. In Pisa it’s the opposite, which doesn’t mean that the train station is nicer than those others, only that the rest of the city is so wretched as to make you long for the sight of a dark, antiquated train yard covered in graffiti and urine.

Pisa isn’t, contrary to most travel guides, “worth more than a day-trip”. More than a day-trip? To say it’s worth more than an hour is pushing it, and that only because the walk from the central train station takes around 20 minutes each way. However, even that recommendation makes me uncomfortable as it still contains the seemingly meaningful adjective “worth”, derived from “worthy” of which Pisa is certainly not.

I don’t need to tell you that the city’s claim to fame is a tower which has a peculiar lean, but while the flailing tower is at least interesting on a basic architectural level, the city around it is most certainly not.

Undesirable to the utmost, Pisa city is comparatively as flaccid and exciting as Hugh Hefner in edible underwear and has perhaps equal potential of leaving you with a venereal disease.

Should you choose to go up the disappointingly small tower you have to promise, after coughing up the obscene 18 euro admission fee, to turn the camera away from the sight of the cankerous sore that is Pisa on the otherwise glorious Tuscan landscape. The better choice (assuming you’ve already foregone the best- staying away entirely) is to remain at ground level to stare in astonishment at the embarrassingly high number of, presumably otherwise intelligent, human beings in front of the tower in Piazza dei Miracoli trying their utmost best to “hold it up”. I think it was Shakespeare who wrote, “‘When doth a fad become tired?’ ‘When even your grandmother hath knowledge of it!” Indeed, performing fellatio on a septuagenarian would be less embarrassing (Just ask the Japanese).

So indeed, Pisa belongs to that unique group of cities which includes Mogadishu, Aleppo, Benghazi, in illustrating the worst that humanity is capable of.

It’s no small feat the level with which Pisa’s tourism officials are willing to stoop. If it’s possible to hang a sign with “ticket required” in 8 languages on every public building in the city, Pisa’s tourism board is nearly there. The Pisa cathedral might be unique among the Pope’s toy collection in that it charges an entrance fee (5 euros). The Vatican doesn’t charge an entrance fee and it’s The Fucking Vatican.

5 euros will also get you an umbrella, as I was informed around three dozen times during the sadistically far walk from the Pisa train station to Piazza dei Miracoli.

*A Public Service Announcement*

In the interest of helping these poor umbrella/purse/iPhone cover/knick knack/sunglasses slumming Tunisians/Bangels/Indians integrate into society properly, Italian immigration officials must teach them about the art of salesmanship. Standing three feet apart down Via (insert ‘Dead Italian Politician’ here) while selling the same thing is not good business practice, and harassing potential customers after they’ve already said “No” five times is not going to make them change their minds about buying fake Tom Ford.

All good things come to an end, and Pisa’s best days are long behind it, so the next time you open the guidebook to ‘Pisa’, or contemplate sex with a senior citizen, remember two words: “just don’t.” Someone might have a heart attack.

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5 comments

  1. OMG The quote here “Undesirable to the utmost, Pisa city is comparatively as flaccid and exciting as Hugh Hefner in edible underwear and has perhaps equal potential of leaving you with a venereal disease.” is a work of art. Where have you been all my life?

    1. I’m flattered, Shelley! Haha, I do aim to please!

      1. What can I say? You had me at flaccid. (HA HA that was difficult to type.) Edible underwear ain’t so bad either… just the thought… HH in his red velvet smoking jacket with a bunny on each arm. Comic gold.

  2. Haha, this post was perfection. Convinced by a friend, I went to Pisa a couple months ago and by the time we left the train station I was sort of over the city. I didn’t even want to be bothered to leave my hostel room to go see the tower, and even when I did, I snapped a quick “I’ve been here” photo and left. Yeah, it’s a pretty miserable town, and outrageously expensive to boot.

    1. In this case I guess I am sorry to hear that you shared my perspective on the city. If you haven’t been yet, I’d check out Lucca. Less than half an hour by train yet seemingly on another planet. Infinitely better and well worth visiting!

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