Pisa was a surprise. I thought it would be just a tourist trap but as it was so handy we should just do it anyway: get in, have a quick look at the Tower and scarper. As it turned out, we were there all day, had a great time and weren't ripped off. Yes, there's a shed-load of trashy souvenir stalls selling cheap tat but thanks to the massive expanse of unwalkuponable grass surrounding the Tower/Cathedral/Baptistry-combo they were far enough away to protect our view of the stunning, just-cleaned ancient architecture.
That's not to say we didn't partake in a little trashy souvenirism, I mean, when in Rome…but it wasn't anywhere near as oppressive as I might have expected. And once you've seen one trashy souvenir stall selling snow globes and novelty leaning everyday objects, you've seen them all. I should know, because our boys made us do most of them. Still, for just a few euros they were delighted with their shiny souvenir trinketry: laser-etched Tower in glass block, novelty pen/map, Leaning Tower eraser and actually quite OK enamelled badges of the City's emblem.
We didn't get up the Tower, children under eight aren't allowed up (which we knew well in advance) so made the most of the surroundings. The Cathedral was loads of fun and the two mini museums informative and a welcome escape from the heat.
(I should have mentioned, this week is basically all about my holiday snaps. Normal service will be resumed next week so I won't be offended if you'd just rather skip all this and come back then).