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ajtraveler66
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Our ship has an excursion that enables us to see both the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Statue of David.  However, it is quite costly.  And as a splurge we can probably afford it.  HOWEVER ... it's a guided tour and we are 'at their mercy' for the entire day. (Even though I know that that has its advantages as well).

 

There is a ship excursion that is basically "Pisa and Florence: On Your Own".  I like the freedom of that idea.  HOWEVER, we definitely want to see the "Statue of David" and I know that ticket-purchasing and lines can be quite an issue.

 

Can tickets be purchased online in advance for "David", and if so do you have to specify a time?  If so, do they honor your ticket if your tour runs late?  I look forward to your thoughts.  Again...we are willing to do the ship excursion that includes both Pisa and David if that appears to be our best guarantee of making sure we see both.

 

Appreciate your input for those who have been there.

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You can buy tickets for the Academia, where you can see the David statue, in advance. The ticket is timed for a 15 minutes time slot and you may not run late.

There is a very limited time for each of the cities with the  "on your own" excursion, you have to find your way and must juggle the uncertainties in planning with the requirements of prebooking tickets.

For you the organized excursion might be bests.

Or you look for a private excursion or take the train. With the later you have more control of your time planning.

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Why not go independently so you have more control over your time.  Take the train to Florence first and book a timed entry for David.  Visit Pisa on your way back to Livorno.  

(we used taxis to and from the Pisa train station to order to maximize our time.  )

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45 minutes ago, mapleleaves said:

Why not go independently so you have more control over your time.  Take the train to Florence first and book a timed entry for David.  Visit Pisa on your way back to Livorno.  

(we used taxis to and from the Pisa train station to order to maximize our time.  )

This is such a smart idea (the taxis to and from Pisa).  It's hard to get a taxi willing to make the short trip to (or from) the train station in Livorno, and given how much they charge for the trip when you finally get one, it makes so much sense to simply have them take you to (or from) Pisa directly.  I wish I'd thought of it when we were there.

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The only problem with an "On Your Own" tour to Pisa and Florence is that you will not have enough time to enjoy Florence (it takes days to see this amazing city).   I actually like Mapleleave's suggestion (above) to go to Florence from Livorno (via train) and then, if you have the time, you can stop in Pisa during your return.  From Pisa, you might be able to find a taxi to take you back to the ship which will save you a lot of time compared to returning to the train station, waiting for the train, and then finding a way to get from the Livorno train station to the port.

 

I think most folks who had this 2 city plan might forgo the Pisa stop because they will want to maximize their time in Florence.  Our first 3 or 4 visits to Florence were on port days and we liked the city.  But then we started staying in Florence (for several days at a time) during our lengthy driving vacations and immediately fell in love with the city.   Florence is a city to which we always return whenever we are near the region.  It never grows old.   Pisa is not even on our top 20 places to visit in the region :).  

 

By the way, for independent travelers who have already been to Florence and want to plan a different DIY day, we think that combining a visit to Lucca with some time in Pisa is a great option (and can be done with trains).

 

Hank

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Here is the Accademia website.  Buy your tickets there, not from a "skip the line" vendor.

https://www.galleriaaccademiafirenze.it/en/

 

I suspect the OP and friends will not be comfortable taking the train.  However, a private excursion would be worth a splurge and it might not cost more pp than the ship's guided excursion.  Firstly, the transportation will be faster than the excursion bus because there is no waiting for it to load and unload, and to organize a bunch of people walking through the city.  That means you have more time in Florence to see something other than the statue. 

 

If you choose the "on your own" ship's excursion,  you have to find your way to the Accademia and that could be stressful for you.  The buses park a few blocks away and you have to find your own way in. 

 

On a private tour, the guide will work out a walking tour that takes you past some of the many wonders of Florence on the way to the Accademia and save enough time for a light meal or snack. And they will get you back on time!  

 

How long are you in port? 

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29 minutes ago, marazul said:

Here is the Accademia website.  Buy your tickets there, not from a "skip the line" vendor.

https://www.galleriaaccademiafirenze.it/en/

 

I suspect the OP and friends will not be comfortable taking the train.  However, a private excursion would be worth a splurge and it might not cost more pp than the ship's guided excursion.  Firstly, the transportation will be faster than the excursion bus because there is no waiting for it to load and unload, and to organize a bunch of people walking through the city.  That means you have more time in Florence to see something other than the statue. 

 

If you choose the "on your own" ship's excursion,  you have to find your way to the Accademia and that could be stressful for you.  The buses park a few blocks away and you have to find your own way in. 

 

On a private tour, the guide will work out a walking tour that takes you past some of the many wonders of Florence on the way to the Accademia and save enough time for a light meal or snack. And they will get you back on time!  

 

How long are you in port? 

We are only at port in Livorno for a day....and it is a Sunday.  That might make a difference too.

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10 minutes ago, ajtraveler66 said:

We are only at port in Livorno for a day....and it is a Sunday.  That might make a difference too.

That's good. A little less traffic and all the museums are open. 

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I’ll disagree with Hank a bit, because I always stick up for Pisa. It is worth doing IF you have the time to do it justice, about half a day. We climbed the leaning tower in 2002, not long after it re-opened to the public. It meant something to me to know that my feet were walking on the same steps that Galileo’s feet walked on. The steps are dished from the centuries of feet that climbed up and down, and it gave me goosebumps. There is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe in Pisa, well worth a look. There is also the Baptistry, where if you are lucky, you can hear a guide singing multi-part harmony with themselves because of the acoustics in the building. You can visit Santa Maria della Spina, a lovely jewel box of a chapel on the bank of the Arno, one of the most outstanding Gothic edifices in Europe. There is a lot more there than just a silly photo opportunity.

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41 minutes ago, ajtraveler66 said:

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  (Of course you have to be on board before 7. ... I forget the rule... It's NCL).

If you are so inclined, you can do a 9 hour private tour that would have you back on board by 5 pm the latest.

Spend a good amount of time in Florence and just ask for a quick stop to take pictures of the tower of Pisa.

Lisiamc is right in that there is quite a bit to see in Pisa,  but for your first trip you should concentrate on Florence.  There is so much more to see and enjoy there.

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3 hours ago, lisiamc said:

I’ll disagree with Hank a bit, because I always stick up for Pisa. It is worth doing IF you have the time to do it justice, about half a day. We climbed the leaning tower in 2002, not long after it re-opened to the public. It meant something to me to know that my feet were walking on the same steps that Galileo’s feet walked on. The steps are dished from the centuries of feet that climbed up and down, and it gave me goosebumps. There is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe in Pisa, well worth a look. There is also the Baptistry, where if you are lucky, you can hear a guide singing multi-part harmony with themselves because of the acoustics in the building. You can visit Santa Maria della Spina, a lovely jewel box of a chapel on the bank of the Arno, one of the most outstanding Gothic edifices in Europe. There is a lot more there than just a silly photo opportunity.

I do respect your opinion.  But the OP should be aware that a ticket to climb the Tower now costs 20 Euros and generally requires a reservation for a specific time slot (tickets are very limited). I think it is still possible to get tickets at the site (last minute) if it is not too crowded, but that will mean waiting in a queue (sometimes a very long queue) to climb those steps.   This does not usually work well if one also intends to go to Florence or Lucca that same day.

 

Hank

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I will be the Devil's advocate.  I have spent several days in Florence, and there is much to see there and I look forward to going back again and again.  And I have spent a few hours in Pisa, and saw the one thing there is to see there 😉

 

But if this is your first trip to this area, you have zeroed in on the two absolute #1 things to see:  David and the leaning tower.  Others have offered different ways to save a little money doing this, but think about it:  do you really want all the agita of any of these DIY options?  Take the ship's excursion and be assured that you will see these two #1 sites and that you will be safely delivered back to the ship.  [There are times when DIY is worth it.  This isn't one of them.]

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5 hours ago, lisiamc said:

I’ll disagree with Hank a bit, because I always stick up for Pisa. It is worth doing IF you have the time to do it justice, about half a day. We climbed the leaning tower in 2002, not long after it re-opened to the public. It meant something to me to know that my feet were walking on the same steps that Galileo’s feet walked on. The steps are dished from the centuries of feet that climbed up and down, and it gave me goosebumps. There is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe in Pisa, well worth a look. There is also the Baptistry, where if you are lucky, you can hear a guide singing multi-part harmony with themselves because of the acoustics in the building. You can visit Santa Maria della Spina, a lovely jewel box of a chapel on the bank of the Arno, one of the most outstanding Gothic edifices in Europe. There is a lot more there than just a silly photo opportunity.

 

You posted something similar when DS and I were in Florence and he wanted to see the Leaning Tower. I was grumbling about Pisa (I had "been there done that" many years before).  I really appreciated your insights. We did end up going and I think climbing the tower was one of DS's most memorable experiences. I also much enjoyed seeing the chapel (Santa Maria della Spina).

 

 

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I have a soft spot for Pisa, obviously. For a first-time visitor to the area, Florence has priority, of course. But some of us have been back to Florence several times, or we visit on a ship that does a two-day call, or make a land trip. With good advance planning, Pisa can be nicely squeezed into one of those occasions. 
 

@cruisemom42, I’m so pleased your son enjoyed climbing the tower! It’s certainly been a good memory for me.

 

You may laugh to learn that we had a port call in Livorno on a cruise this past May, and it was such a nice day that we hired a car, drove down to Marina di Pisa and had a gorgeous meal in a seafood restaurant overlooking the beach. The joys of a seaside resort before the season really starts won out over wandering around in a crowd that day.

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I have had people before we ever went to Pisa say...buy a postcard... We skipped it on our first visit....We have stayed in Florence for 5 days and have seen it all...we also have been back a few times since. When we finally had the time to see all Pisa has to offer, we really enjoyed it.....You will not do EITHER justice if you try to cram them both in. Pick one, hopefully you can go back...There are wonderful little towns all over the area.

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i'm being a little wary here, but - does the cruise excursion actually mention going into the Accademia to see the statue of David?  They may try pawning the statue of David in the Piazza della Signorina (the replica but in the original spot as the original David before it was moved) on the unsuspecting.  

I say this only because when I was in Florence the end of July, i did see plenty of tour groups in  the Piazza when i was walking through the Piazza.  

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2 hours ago, slidergirl said:

i'm being a little wary here, but - does the cruise excursion actually mention going into the Accademia to see the statue of David?  They may try pawning the statue of David in the Piazza della Signorina (the replica but in the original spot as the original David before it was moved) on the unsuspecting.  

I say this only because when I was in Florence the end of July, i did see plenty of tour groups in  the Piazza when i was walking through the Piazza.  

I'm pretty sure the one that I'm zooming in on says Accademia.  The price would suggest that as well.  Also they did have one that I saw, and I'm thinking it's what you are referring to.

 

All readers.  She's telling the truth.  So be careful what you sign up for.  Accademia is the key word if you want to see the authentic "David".

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27 minutes ago, ajtraveler66 said:

I'm pretty sure the one that I'm zooming in on says Accademia.  The price would suggest that as well. 

 

Are you looking at the $399 per person small group tour? This tour is pricey because 1) it is a small group tour and 2) they are pre-purchasing the tickets for both the Accademia and the Leaning Tower climb and working out the logistics.

 

If so, you can get a (dependable) private tour for four for so much less and purchase your tickets for the Accademia at whatever time your driver suggests.  

 

It was unclear to me from your first post whether you just want to SEE the Leaning Tower or actually want to climb it. If you only want to see it, again I'd get the private driver -- and you should be able to fit in one or two more things in Florence including a nice lunch if desired or time to wander around the Duomo or a walk across the Ponte Vecchio.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, ajtraveler66 said:

I'm pretty sure the one that I'm zooming in on says Accademia.  The price would suggest that as well.  Also they did have one that I saw, and I'm thinking it's what you are referring to.

 

All readers.  She's telling the truth.  So be careful what you sign up for.  Accademia is the key word if you want to see the authentic "David".

Piazza della Signoria has a bunch of other large statues.  There is a third one across the river on piazza michalangelo, but that one is up the hill and out of the usual Florence tourist track.  

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IMHO, Florence for as much time as you can find. So much to see. You cant do it in one day, but its a start.  Such a special city. Its a museum with multiple museums inside. Pisa is more than just the Leaning Tower, but I personally prefer Lucca. Like a small version of Florence. You can walk on top of the walls, its a busy commercial town with great architecture and food.  We have a stop in Nov. and that is our plan. I've been to Florence a number of times and while I love it, prefer not to spend several hours of my day in a bus...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Is there a shore excursion for people who only want to see the "Leaning Tower" of Pisa, the statue of "David" in the Accademia and a few of the MAJOR masterpieces in the Uffizi?  I've googled and searched, but it seems you have to do either the Accademia OR Uffiza on these shore excursions.

 

I've seen "David" before, along with the "Leaning Tower" ... and I don't mind seeing them again--in fact I want to.  And I feel that these two items are necessities for those in our group who have yet to see them.  But it would be nice to see something that I"ve yet to see....and it would be good for the others too.

 

Frankly, we just want to see the main pieces or art.  We don't want to spend a lot of time in the galleries.  We'd just like to see the main stuff and move on outside and look at some buildings.  Of course, it would be different if we were going to be in the area for a longer period of time.  But we are at the mercy of the clock.

 

Maybe it's possible to hire a reputable private tour guide who could set a day like this up for us--tickets at all.

 

Thank you so much. I apologize because  I think I've posed a similar question to this one before, but I'm including Uffizi this time around. 

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I'm going to challenge you a bit to think about your assumptions and maybe look at things in a different way.

 

(If you want my original thoughts, you can click on your name to locate your earlier post where I gave some suggestions -- but the short answer -- at least from me -- would be "no", ESPECIALLY since you casually toss out at the end that you also want to "look at some buildings" in Florence as well.  🤣

 

My challenge: stop thinking about how you can fit in all the highlights and meet everyone's needs in a day. It's been suggested several times by various posters on these Med boards that you should really think about what YOU want to see, do some reading and research. It seems to me, based on your questions, that you haven't really got beyond a "headlines" level in terms of doing that research.

 

For example -- what is so crucial to your group about seeing the leaning tower of Pisa?  Is it just because everyone says you must see it?  You do know that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of leaning church towers in Italy, including several in Venice that are readily apparent when walking around. 

 

Or -- how would you limit the Uffizi to "the major works"?  They are nearly all major works.  Is there a particular artist you want to see?  Or again, is it a matter of "seen the masterpiece, got the photo (or memory)"?

 

I agree that Michelangelo's David is something everyone should see -- but how do you weigh that against Ghiberti's fabulous bronze doors of the Baptistery or the wonderful mosaics inside it?  Or the tombs in Santa Croce?  Or Boboli gardens?  

 

I would suggest that you research, come up with a list (in order) of your top priorities, then speak to one of the private agencies mentioned frequently and ask them how much you can logically do in a day (how many hours?  Some ships have longer in port than others....)

 

The main reason I feel you cannot do both the Uffizi and Accademia in one day is the fact that both required pre-reservation and are extremely crowded. Even waiting in the (shorter) line for those with reserved tickets can eat up time and there is no guarantee you'll make your timed window.

 

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Checking to see if anyone has used this tour company "Avventure Bellissime" Tours (www.tour-italy.com).

 

I am looking for a VERY SPECIFIC excursion, and I have finally found it with this company.  I'd like your opinion on their services, in general.

 

The specific tour is an excursion out of Livorno which includes Pisa, advance tickets at the Accademia to view 'David', and advance tickets to the Uffizi Museum.  Perhaps some of you have taken this specific tour.  Of course, there is more time to see other things in Florence.  But the above three are at the 'top of our list' to see, and this is the only excursion I've found that includes all three.

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