Florence to Pisa and Lake Maggiore with Insight Vacations

Visiting Pisa, Italy with Insight Vacations

Visiting Pisa, Italy with Insight Vacations

Florence to Pisa and Lake Maggiore with Insight Vacations

WJ Tested: Insight Vacations Italian Escapade 12-Night Motor Coach Tour – Day 5: We leave Florence and drive to Pisa for the obligatory Leaning Tower photos. Then it’s onward to the Italian Lake District and Lake Maggiore set in the shadows of the Alps.

Jill at the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Jill at the Leaning Tower of Pisa

After spending two wonderful nights at our comfortable and modern hotel in Florence it was time to hit the road again on our Insight Vacations Italian Escapade tour. This time we were heading north, up to the Italian Lake District. But first we would stop at Pisa for the obligatory Leaning Tower photos.

Piazza del Duomo, Pisa

Piazza del Duomo, Pisa

Pisa – Did You Know?

  • Pisa tower = 200 ft high
  • The lean of the tower grows 1 mm every year
  • There are almost 300 steps to get to the top of the leaning tower
  • Starting in 1993 and for next 12 years the university worked on the tower to stabilize it

    Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) in Pisa, Italy

    Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) in Pisa, Italy

After spending an hour in Pisa we continued on towards Lake Maggiore. Alberto drove us along the highway in the direction of Genova – Italy’s most important sea port – with the Ligurian Sea on our left and the mountains on our right.

Driving Towards Genova, Italy

Driving Towards Genova, Italy

These high mountains are dotted with marble and granite quarries (this is the area Carrara marble comes from) and hilltop towns. The drive was incredibly scenic and offered plenty to see.

Blocks of Marble and Granite at Carrara

Blocks of Marble and Granite at Carrara

Our lunch stop was at an AutoGrille along the highway, where we could purchase everything from sandwiches to pizza and pasta (we ordered a delicious trofie pasta with Genoa pesto – a local specialty and only €5.90 ). There was also an interesting retail area where regional food items (salami, wine, cheese, etc.) and souvenirs were sold.

Ligurian Trofie Pasta with Genoa Pesto

Ligurian Trofie Pasta with Genoa Pesto

Following our lunch break we carried on through the Piedmont region (Italy has 20 regions), bypassing Milan and arriving at Grand Hotel Dino on Lake Maggiore just after 3 pm.

Grand Hotel Dino on Lake Maggiore in Italy

Grand Hotel Dino on Lake Maggiore in Italy

Northern Italian Lake District – Did You Know?

  • Is the second largest lake area in Italy
  • There are 7 lakes in  this area – Garda, Maggiore, Como, Iseo, Lugano, Varese and d’Idro

    Guest Room at Grand Hotel Dino on Lake Maggiore

    Guest Room at Grand Hotel Dino on Lake Maggiore

After checking-in we were free for the remainder of the afternoon or could participate in the Isola Bella optional excursion that was departing 30 minutes later. We opted to take the excursion and spent a couple of hours exploring the island of Isola Bella and touring the palace and its gardens.

Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore in Italy

Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore in Italy

Dinner with wine was included in one of the hotel ballrooms (along with many other groups). A few of the tables in the ballroom were able to enjoy the spectacular view of the lake as the sun started to set.

Included Dinner at Grand Hotel Dino

Included Dinner at Grand Hotel Dino

Optional Excursion: Isola Bella

NextExploring Stresa and Lake Maggiore

Previous: Insight Vacations Italian Escapade – | Tour Overview | Meet and Greet in Rome! | Rome with Local Historian | Skip the Lines – Vatican Museums | Siena | Florence & Michelangelo’s David |

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Note: WAVEJourney were guests of Insight Vacations for their April 30 – May 12, 2013 Italian Escapade tour. Read our full disclosure statement to see that this has no effect on our reviews.

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