If you are planning to visit Tuscany and you love beauty, don’t miss to spend a day in Pisa, one of Italy’s greatest cities of art and the perfect lively place to enjoy the Tuscan mood.
Pisa is famous all over the world for its iconic Leaning Tower, one of the most popular symbols of the Italian style. The Tower of Pisa is part of the awesome monumental complex of Miracle Square that represents the most beautiful example of Romanesque Architecture in Italy and makes a visit to Pisa an unmissable stop when travelling around Toscany.
The city of Pisa has a rich historical and cultural heritage: its University is one of the oldest in Europe and thanks to the students the city is extremely lively and exciting. Pisa is perfect for a visit on foot and besides its well known artistic masterpieces it offers a lovely tourist-free medieval city centre where you will experience authentic tuscan everyday life.
Below we want to recommend you the best places to see during your vacation in Pisa and the best attractions and museums to visit.
- Duomo di Pisa: the imposing, elegant Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, is the most important religious monument of Miracle Square. At the time it was built, it was the biggest church in the world and it marked the beginning of a new artistic style that spread throughout Tuscany and beyond: the Pisan Romanesque Style. Its impressive interior, decorated with monolithic granitic columns, houses many artistic treasures, including Giovanni Pisano’s Pulpit, a masterpiece of Italian sculpture and the beautiful apse mosaic, on which Cimabue worked. Admission to the Duomo di Pisa is with free pass. If you visit the official website you can find all the informations how to get a free pass to visit the Duomo.
- Torre Pendente: the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most famous tourist attraction of Piazza dei Miracoli. It is the bell-tower of the Duomo and one of the most popular monuments of the world. The legend says that the famous scientist and astronomer Galileo Galilei made experiments on gravity from the top of the tower.The Leaning Tower is open to visitors and you can climb to the top to enjoy a wonderful view of the city of Pisa. We suggest you to book your ticket in advance so you don’t have to wait in line: only a limited number of visitors are allowed on the tower for a certain time, about 30 minutes. You can find all the informations how to buy the ticket on the website
- Baptistery of San Giovanni: entering from the main entrance of the medieval walls of Pisa this imposing baptistery welcomes you to the Piazza dei Miracoli. It is the largest baptistery of the world and in the majestic interior you admire the famous Pulpit by Nicola Pisano, a 13th century work that marked the beginning of Italian sculpture. The Baptistery has an exceptional acoustics, due to the fact that it has a double dome and every 30 minutes it is possible to listen to a demonstration of the famous echo.
- Camposanto Monumentale: the elegant Monumental Cemetery of Pisa is the most recent of the spectacular monuments of Miracle Square and was built to house the graves of noble and illustrious citizens. The interior is a rectangular gallery where you admire wonderful roman sarcophagi and a series of beautiful frescoes painted by famous artists such as Taddeo Gaddi, Spinello Aretino and Benozzo Gozzoli. If you visit the official website you will find the combinations of tickets for the monuments of Miracle Square, including also the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo with the famous Ivory Madonna by Giovanni Pisano and works of Nicola Pisano, Tino di Camaino and Nino Pisano, and the Museo delle Sinopie with the extraordinary preparatory drawings for the frescoes realized in the Camposanto Monumentale.
- The Medieval City Walls: you will enjoy an original itinerary in Pisa walking on the medieval walls and admiring the Piazza del Duomo from a new wonderful point of view. You can discover the city from above and easily reach the medieval heart of Pisa.
- Piazza dei Cavalieri: it is located not far from Piazza del Duomo and is one of the most elegant squares of Italy. In the Middle Ages it was the political centre of Pisa and in the 16th century it was chosen by Cosimo I de’ Medici as the seat of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen and was realized by Giorgio Vasari. Here you admire the majestic Palazzo dei Cavalieri, that houses one of the most renowed university institutions of Europe, established by Napoleon in 1810: the Scuola Normale Superiore, that is part of the Pisa University Sistem.
- Borgo Stretto: from Piazza dei Cavalieri you soon get to Borgo Stretto, one of the main shopping streets of Pisa, located in the medieval heart of the city. You will enjoy a walk under the porticoes, crossing medieval narrow streets that run you to small lovely squares and let you discover the best places where to taste authentic Tuscan food.
- The Lungarni: in a short distance from the medieval heart of Pisa you reach Ponte di Mezzo, where you enjoy a splendid view of the river Arno and of the Lungarni, the elegant riversides of Pisa with beautiful historical palaces overlooking the river. This is the best place to admire an unforgettable sunset in Pisa. From here you can easily reach Palazzo Blu on the left bank of the Arno river, an historical building with a blue facade, which houses important art exibitions.
- Chiesa della Spina: following the south bank of the river Arno you soon come to the lovely little church of Santa Maria della Spina, which stands on the Lungarno Gambacorti, shortly before Ponte Solferino. This elegant church is a jewel of Gothic architecture in Pisa and takes its name from a thorn in Christ’s Crown, a relic once preserved here.
- Tuttomondo: this beautiful example of Street Art by Keith Haring is a hidden treasure of Pisa located a few steps from Pisa Railway Station, close to the main pedestrian shopping street of Pisa, Corso Italia. You don’t need to enter a museum to admire this work of art conceived as a gift for everyone living or passing by Pisa. The colorful mural is painted on the wall of the Church of Sant’Antonio and is a powerful celebration of love in the world, reflecting the energy that the american artist found in Pisa.
If you visit Pisa in the next future and you wish to experience the city with a local guide have a look at our page.
How to reach Pisa city centre:
From Pisa Airport you can reach Pisa Centrale Railway Station in a few minutes by taxi or by the electric People Mover just outside the terminal.
From Milan or Rome take the Intercity direct train to Pisa Centrale Railway Station or the Frecciarossa fast train and change in Florence Santa Maria Novella Railway Station.
From Rome take the Frecciabianca fast train to Pisa Centrale Railway Station.
From the A11 Autostrada (motorway) take the Exit Pisa Nord and follow the direction to Pisa.
From the A12 Autostrada (motorway) take the exit Pisa Centro and join the SGC Florence-Pisa-Livorno freeway following the direction to Pisa centro (Pisa city centre). You can park the car at your hotel or at the public parkings of Via Pietrasantina (just 15 minutes walk from Miracle Square) and Via di Pratale.
Blog created by our tour guide Antonella Bertolani!