Although I had been to Italy many times, I had never had a chance to travel to Pisa until I flew there on the way to teach in Siena. In fact, the Pisa airport is not much further from Siena than Florence airport. Pisa is also usually the place where planes get diverted when the weather in Florence is not cooperative. Fortunately, I finally got to see and climb the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. I remember reading articles analysing the increasing angle of the lean, and predicting that at some point they would have to stop letting people climb up. I hope that’s still awhile in the future! It was a great experience to see the tower and also appreciate the view from the top.
This guide is based on my one day in Pisa. In fact, I think one day is enough to see the highlights. Of course the main one is to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
- Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Pisa Cathedral
- Baptistery – beautiful outside and inside
- Camposanto – beautiful cemetery with cloisters and mosaics
- Sinopie Museum
- Porta Santa Maria Pisa
- Torre Del Campano
- Baths of Nero ruins
- Porta a Lucca
- Citadel and Republican Arsenal
- Palazzo Gambacorti
- Piazza dei Cavalieri
- Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici
- Chiesa di Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri
- “Tuttomondo” wall mural by Keith Haring
- Ponte di Mezzo and the view along the river
- National Museum of San Matteo
- Museo delle Navi Antiche di Pisa if you like boats and history
- Palazzo Blu art museum
- Walk down Corso Italia and Borgo Stretto
- Quaratesi Palace
- Church of Saint Michael ‘in Borgo’
- Appreciate the many monuments and statues around the city
- Beautiful churches and my favourite was a small one near the river called Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
- Piazza S. Frediano
- Piazza Garibaldi
Before you go
- Pisa is a beautiful city in Tuscany located along the River Arno
- If you’re planning to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa, then book your timed ticket in advance via the official online site. There are combination tickets with the other sites nearby and I recommend those since the other buildings are also beautiful and interesting
- There are around 250 steps to climb up the tower
- Around the tower, there are many people trying to sell you anything and everything including professional photos of you and the tower. Be prepared!
- Be careful of pickpockets especially in crowds
- Bags are not allowed and the baggage storage at the Tower is busy and usually takes awhile
- Stow Your Bags was a convenient and cheap way for me to store my luggage near the central station so I recommend that instead
- Although your main visit might be to the tower and sites around it, leave some time to explore the river area and walk through the beautiful small streets of the old town
- Most people speak English as well as some other languages in this touristy city
- As with most of Tuscany, my favourite months to visit are May/June and September/October when it is usually a little less busy, not too hot and not too cold
- Pisa International airport is located just south of the city. The Pisa Mover monorail takes 5 minutes to the city centre is very reasonable. Taxis are an alternative.
- The Pisa Centrale rail station is conveniently located in the city centre
- Getting around the city is easy on foot or you can use a bus tour for less walking
- I only made a day trip to Pisa so didn’t stay there overnight
- As usual, I would recommend checking reviews on a site such as Booking.com
- Also, if you are only staying for the day, it is easier to get accommodation in a less touristy place
For snacks, I enjoyed cakes and pastries from Cristallo Cafè and Salza. There are many bakery options around the city centre. It was hard to choose just one thing to try, so I narrowed it down to four!
Porcetta (pork) is a specialty of the region. I had a very tasty porcetta sandwich from L’Ostellino, which was stuffed with a lot of other delicious vegetables and sauce. Although I didn’t get a chance to try it, a local friend also recommends I Porci Comodi for Tuscan-style sandwiches.
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: No, it is easy to find the places of interest
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Yes, the city is very used to tourists and most people speak English
Q: Is it a walkable city?
A: Yes it is walkable
Go to Italy
Go to Country Map