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Review 1206: Owner, Behind the Tower

www.behindthetower.com

Recommended
Review by Darlyne from US

1bed/1bath apartment in Pisa, Tuscany West


View of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from our bedroom window, photo by Darlyne

When

October 31 - November 4, 2004, 4 days

Review

The location of Behind the Tower apartment is in the city of Pisa. The apartment has a lovely neighborhood backyard feel with a balcony facing a courtyard with trees, gardens and other balconies.

Behind the Tower apartment is a brief 5-minute walk from the Campo dei Miracoli (Baptistry, Cathedral, Monumental Cemetary, Sinopie Museum, Museo dell'Opera, Duomo and the Leaning Tower).

In addition, the apartment is about a 3-minute walk to a large grocery store (coffee, spices, salt/pepper, vinegar/oil, napkins/paper towels, bottle water, laundry soap, were furnished in the apartment by the owners/hosts, Gloria and Marcel).

Restaurants of choice are plentiful within a short radius.

The apartment was in excellent condition, modern and clean.

The private, street entrance to the apartment gives it a feel of being the only apartment in the building.

We could sit outdoors on the balcony to enjoy the courtyard, our wine or our morning coffee.

No pool, but we didn't have need for one.

Furniture throughout the apartment was in excellent shape. The wicker chairs in the sitting area were comfortable, with a matching "coffee" table.

Chairs were plentiful in each of the clean rooms. The kitchen table had picnic type benches to seat extra, if needed.

The clothes-washer in the kitchen and the drying rack (for indoors) and the clothes line off the balcony were a welcome site after traveling for a week.

The color design/theme replicated throughout the apartment, giving it a homey feel.

The bed was comfortable, with plenty of blankets and pillows. The bedroom is huge, with two closets, a dresser and extra shelves.

The large single bathroom was more than adequate for two people, with a clean shower and sink, mirror and hair dryer. The lovely, color-coordinated towels were plentiful.

The kitchen is a delight. My husband loved cooking our meals there using the plentiful pots, pans, coffee pot, utensils and dishes. They were in excellent shape and also color-coordinated to go with the theme of the apartment.

The only thing missing was someone to share our delicious meals.

Arriving on the 31st of October, Gloria and Marcel had surprised us with Halloween decorations including a jack-o-lantern, orange candles in black candle holders, orange flowers and a dark blue rose. What a delight to have the jack-o-lantern smiling at us under the lit candles as we ate our first dinner in Pisa.

The Bulletin board in the kitchen had entries from other guests with suggestions for good wines. We added ours, as well as the best place to get gelato. A guest book on the coffee table would be a nice addition.

The central Pisa train station is an easy, pleasant 20-minute walk. However, Marcel and Gloria greeted us at the station with their car and drove us to the apartment to orient us. When it was (sadly) time to leave, they came to the apartment and drove us back to the station.

The train station Pisa San Rossore is right behind the apartment and a quick connection to Lucca. There is a bus stop just outside the apartment.

Gloria and Marcel gave us multiple phone numbers to call them if we needed anything. However, they did such a good job supplying us with everything we needed, including a personal welcome letter and pages of suggestions for entertainment and how to reach them that we only had to bother them to tell them the time of our departure train.

Although we did not take advantage of it, the hosts offer the use of a cell phone while there. The price is reasonable and could come in handy.

We found Behind the Tower online and contacted the owners directly. Marcel and Gloria both speak English. Gloria was so prompt and helpful replying to my many questions, I referred to her as my Pisa e-pal. Not only did she answer questions about the apartment, Pisa and surrounding areas, but she also gave me sources for finding accommodations in the other cities we were visiting.

Since we only stayed 4 nights, we paid a per night rate of 77 Euros.

I have already recommended this apartment to others. We would love to stay there again and hope to return.

Selecting an apartment online in another country and taking a stranger's word for it can be daunting. We prefer having personal references, when possible. However, with this apartment our "gut feeling" told us it was perfect -- and we are happy to say it was.

The apartment was our restaurant and I can happily say it was one of our best throughout our European travels. Although we encountered numerous delicious restaurants elsewhere, nothing beats a home-cooked meal!

We visited Pisa in the year 2000 for just a day trip and were intrigued by the area. Pisa is a delightful, friendly city. As we did in 2000, many just visit the famous Leaning Tower and go away. This time we did visit and climb the Tower, of course, and explore the piazza. Walking the city and exploring the neighborhoods is a treat. The river Arno is peaceful with not boats, just a drifting waterway.

Pisa is the site of the more recently discovered 12 wooden Roman ships. Although we were too early for the exhibit, the ships should be on display within a couple years.

We also recommend the beautiful Cinque Terra area. Just a short train ride away, it is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. As we hiked the trail from one little hill town to the other, we had the pleasure of sharing a picnic with some people from Milan that happened to stop and enjoy the view in the same place we did.

The town of Lucca is a wonder and only a 20-minute train ride away. Sitting in an amphitheater built just after the birth of Christ, drinking a glass of Italian wine with the sun shining on us is an experience I'll cherish forever.

Ahhhh. As Grandma suggested, we have built memories that will carry us into our old age! Thanks go to Gloria and Marcel for contributing to this.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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