My father has always told me that education is more than just books, which I always found so ironic coming from a man so pro-books, who would sit patiently and teach me about the planets in our solar system when I was five years old. (I loved this topic so much that whenever he tried to bring in something new, all I ever wanted to do was go back over the planets.)
Another one of my father’s pearls of wisdom has always been his belief that money does not buy class and character, a value that resonated loudly when we arrived at our stylish accommodation in Pisa because I certainly did not pay much money for the sheer charm that drips like animal fat from every corner of this place.
Let me tell you more.
Our first stop on our Italy trip this summer was Pisa, as this is one of the closest international airports to fly into to reach Cinque Terre and unsurprisingly, most tourists in Pisa make a stop to one glaringly obvious, leaning landmark.
It is rarely sensible to book accommodation in European cities at short notice but that was exactly what we did. The issue was finding stylish but good value accommodation near the Leaning Tower of Pisa that still retained that special Italian allure but wasn’t panned in reviews.
It was Pumpkin’s maiden visit to Italy and I had warned him about European shoebox sized hotel rooms and costly fares but as he so often does, he went and proved me wrong by booking us into this cute establishment, only a twenty-minute walk away from the Leaning Tower.
The Guerrazzi Guest House
We rang the buzzer to be greeted by a high-pitched, enthused “Hello” from upstairs. As we ascended with luggage in tow, Mariaelena welcomed us to her home, The Guerrazzi Bed and Breakfast Guest House.
She showed us which half of the apartment was ours, separated from her own living area by beautiful, painted shutters.
The whitewashed rooms were flushed with florals, from the bouquets that nipped the waist of the distal curtains to the pink posies playfully splashed on the cushions.
A guest book stuffed with the scribbles of many a happy customer was proudly displayed on the coffee table and we would soon be adding our seals of approval to the collection.
As she took our passports for check in and collected our keys, she offered us a seat on the outdoor terrace that we were free to use and was more than happy for us to pay at any stage of our stay.
This is a small, family run bed and breakfast with no card machine so bring enough cash for your visit.
The morning’s breakfast was already laid out for us in our private breakfast room, with Mariaelena’s homemade pastries sheltered cosily under a glass dome, a coffee machine (this is Italy after all) and a selection of fine teas for the non-coffee drinking outcasts like myself.
I let the orange and cinnamon tea infuse long enough to allow the aroma to circumvent the table.
Breakfast was continental with an impressive choice of cereals, croissants, yoghurt and fresh fruit, the kind of nutrition that leaves you feeling wholesome at the start of the day whilst still having enough treats to make it feel like a holiday.
The lounge area led us into our bedroom, laced with crimson undertones. It was a stark contrast to the cooped up spaces I had recalled from my student trips to Europe.
The spotless bathroom was right outside of our room and was completely private and spacious with hair dryer, toiletries, shower cap and towels a plenty.
All these features are good and well but will I perspire into a soggy stink and can I Instagram my heart out? Yes and yes because the air conditioning worked a treat and the Wi-Fi was high-speed and seamless so we were off to a good start.
Rather sadly, our stay ended almost as soon as it started, since we were only booked in for one night but we really could not believe how much we lucked out on this place.
It was a fraction of the price of most decent hotels you find in European city centres yet had all the room amenities we usually want as well as the kind of pride and humble warmth you can only find in low-key family run businesses.
I’ve always said that I love variety when it comes to travel and I am not someone who subscribes to being boxed into categories. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about a luxury paradise Seychelles resort and here I am showcasing a cosy Pisa B&B. Show me style and character anywhere across the spectrum and I will happily snoop around with an open mind and a nosey curiosity and the Guerrazzi Guesthouse won me over, game set and match.
And the price? We paid in the region of 60 GBP per night. You can spend more than this in some car parks in London! If, like me, you love discovering hidden gems to stay in, I cannot recommend this place highly enough for a stay in Pisa.
Have you ever stayed in a charming bed and breakfast?