After 2 weeks of travel, Don and I ended up in the Tuscan city, with the famous tower. It was our last night in Italy. We stayed in a charming B & B, with a curious name.
The name reminded me of the popular preschool song, "Skinamarinky Dink" But Rinascimento is actually the Italian word for rebirth... like the French word, Renaissance! Does everyone know that, but me?
Our B&B was located in this impressive, corner building, dating back to medieval days. The structure and the nearby buildings, were built long before the Italian Rinascimento... Renaissance.
Our yellow building with its arching portico, faced the street Borgo Stretto. It was bustling at noon, on a Friday in April.
When I booked our hotel, I knew it was just a 10 minute walk from the Leaning Tower. I didn't realize the B&B was located in a wonderful historic area, called Borgo Stretto. That loosely translates to "narrow village". The street (and neighborhood) runs through a charming, medieval section of Pisa.
This shows the street in front of our hotel, winding north towards the Arno River. My 7:30 am photo shows no activity. But during the day, shoppers strolled along the porticos, bikes and pedestrians filled the street and guests sat at cafe tables.
Arrival by Taxi
Our taxi ride from the train station was pretty nerve-wracking. After our driver took us on a rather frantic trip through some less picturesque parts of Pisa, he came to a screeching halt. We stepped into the alley at the back of the yellow building.
We found the door beneath the Italian flag and pressed the buzzer, as our cab tore off.
We stepped inside the compact, windowless office and admired all the wood...
... and some kind of room fragrance, that filled the space.
Andy and Andrew
Then we were given a warm welcome by Andy and Andrew! Our hosts were a delightful comedy team as they checked us in. "Oh no! You just visited Lucca? That's our favorite city!" Both shook their heads and teased (in decent English) about how Pisa could not possibly compare.
Andrew got out a map and circled this and checked that and slashed that. "Oh good! You've been to Pisa before. Skip the leaning tower! Stay away from that tourist trap! Of course you can avoid the crowds and walk up on the old wall. But you have to pay for that... I know, I know, the wall in Lucca is free..."
Third Floor on the Corner!
We only had 1 night, but we were given tons of suggestions for exploring and dining. Then Andy grabbed our bags and took them up to our third floor, corner room. Oh I love a corner, with more view!
It was also a treat to have help with our bags and to ride up in an elevator, after 2 weeks of bag lugging and stair-climbing.
Rinascimento has 6 guest rooms. Our room (#1) was off a locked hall, just steps from the elevator.
We stepped inside and I was thrilled with our spacious suite. 3 windows was enough to please me, right there.
My eyes were drawn first to the canopy bed with bed curtains!
The wispy curtains reminded me of Juliet's chamber, or maybe Sleeping Beauty. Which delighted the kid in me.
Bed & Ceiling
Actually it was the combo of white bed and painted ceiling! It felt like a stage set and I loved it!
The ceiling was made of 3 painted panels. The decorated section directly above the bed, had a small face peering down!
Nope. Just entertaining and curious!
With my head on the pillow, the little cherub-child, was upside down. Maybe that was to make us feel less watched.
When I flip the photo around, the child does seem to stare a bit.
We also had this trio of lady-faces, looking out from the wall! Some might find any wall or ceiling "characters" intrusive. But Don and I are perfectly comfortable with faces and figures in the room.
The night before, we had 4 angels looking down at us in our hotel room in Lucca. No complaints! Our own guest room at home has a portrait of Lincoln, an antique Uncle Sam doll and a painting of bonnet-wearing cherubs right above the bed! (we wonder why we don't get more visitors!?)
Our room didn't have a couch for lounging, but it did have 2 comfortable-enough chairs. We were able to bring them together at the round table for a late night snack.
In the corner, we had a small desk, holding a TV and tea kettle. A fridge below held complimentary water and sodas! Yay for Orange Fanta! And cookie packets as well!
The bathroom was comfortable and spotless. The shower was large, the towels and slippers were soft and the bath products were luxurious! There was even a make up mirror.
Looking South and North
But most of all I loved the view! We had no Leaning Tower view, but we could see Borgo Stretto, in both directions. To the right, the street led south, towards the Arno.
To the north we could see numerous cafes, including Lo Sfizio, across the street. I was entertained by a man working on the scaffolding, across from the cafe.
Exploring in Both Directions
In the slideshow below, it's clear that we took some of Andy and Andrew's tips for exploring. We didn't climb the Leaning Tower, since we've done that. But it was well worth the fee for climbing the medieval wall. What views! On the way back we stopped for pizza and Aperol Spritzes!
We also ventured south and crossed the river. There are photos of the amazing marble, "Petite Church" and lounging at the Piazza Garibaldi! Lots of other photos are thrown in!
Food in Pisa
With one night in Pisa, Don and I failed have a real dining experience. Across the street, Lo Sfezio looked so charming and tempting, but we were too full from drinks and Apertivo (Italian cocktail snacks) and gelato.
We ended up snacking in our room much later and watching the lively street below. I wish I'd gotten night photos. We closed our shutters at 11 to muffle some of the sounds. Falling asleep to happy activity below, reminded me of being a kid and going to sleep when my parents had a party.
We woke before dawn on our last day in Italy. Our B&B served breakfast at 8, but we needed to catch a cab at by 8:15. Andy and Andrew encouraged us to come to breakfast early.
We got our bags downstairs first, then headed to the breakfast room at 7:45.
The cozy bearkfast room was directly below ours. There were 6 tables, ready for guests. 2 other tables held food selections... delicious breakfast sandwiches were ready to pop into the grill.
There were pastries and muffins and breads and jams. There was yogurt. with many topping options.
We were the only earlybird guests. Andy brought us a cappuccino and espresso and 2 soft-boiled eggs! I devoured a chocolate croissant and Don went for an apple tart.
Andy called us a cab for 8:15 and told us to be ready 2 minutes early. He helped us get our bags out and sure enough, the cab pulled up at 8:13!
We stepped into the quiet alley and had a rushed good-bye, filled with thank yous and praise, handshakes and cheek kisses. We were off to the airport after a surprisingly, wonderful stay in Pisa!
We booked a night in Pisa, mostly as a convenient last stop before the airport. But we left with fond memories of our hotel, our hosts and our little neighborhood.
I will always remember A & A, at our B&B! They were fun and funny and made us feel right at home. I'll remember the breakfast in the cozy room. I'll remember storybook-feel of our room, with the canopy bed and painted ceilings. I'll remember the views of Borgo Stretto, from our 3 windows. And I'll remember wandering from the Leaning Tower to the Arno River and all the little discoveries along the way.
Our stay at Rinascimento was a good ending to a wonderful trip.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!