Pisa with it’s famous eponymous tower is an excellent choice for city break fans looking to discover the enchanting region of Tuscany. Although the tower seems to be the first attraction many prospective visitors think of, Pisa hosts a multitude of architectural gems and reminiscence churches.
Explore with us below why Pisa should be on your next city break.
Pisa is a city located in the Tuscany region of Italy, renowned worldwide for its Leaning Tower, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.
But Pisa has much more to offer than just its famous tower. With a history dating back to the Etruscan civilization, Pisa has a rich cultural and artistic heritage, which has been preserved over centuries.
In the Middle Ages, Pisa was one of the most powerful city-states in Italy, rivaled only by Venice, Genoa, and Florence. The city’s prosperity was based on its strategic location on the Arno River, which allowed it to become an important center of trade, especially with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world.
The city’s wealth was reflected in its architecture, with impressive palaces, churches, and public buildings built during this period.
Pisa is not just a city of the past. It is also a vibrant and modern city, with a lively cultural scene and a thriving economy. It is home to one of the most prestigious universities in Italy, which attracts students from all over the world.
Visitors to Pisa can enjoy a range of activities, from exploring its museums and galleries to sampling its delicious cuisine and enjoying its lively nightlife.
We can truly say Pisa is a city of contrasts, where ancient and modern meet in perfect harmony. Its rich history, magnificent architecture, and vibrant culture make it a must-visit destination for any traveler interested in Italy’s cultural heritage.
Travel to and around Pisa
As we mentioned in our Florence article, we travelled to this city as part of a small city break hack on our way to Florence. Given that flights to Florence can be quite peppered we decided to explore nearby airports.
A good hack to see both cities is to fly to Galileo Galilei Airport (Pisa Airport – PSA) and then get a coach or public transport to Pisa. In this way you also get to see Pisa and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
For more suggestions, read this article on how to find cheap flights. Similar to our trip to Rome, our advice is to fly on a Friday mid day and make your way to the city of Pisa. This will give you enough time to check in and enjoy dinner at your destination.
Best time to travel to Pisa
The best times to explore Pisa are during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, from April to June and September to October. During these months, the weather is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for walking around and exploring the city’s landmarks.
Additionally, there are fewer tourists compared to the peak summer season, which means shorter lines and more affordable prices.
However, if you are looking to visit during the summer, July and August are the busiest months with long queues at the Leaning Tower of Pisa and other popular attractions. It’s best to book tickets and accommodations in advance during this period.
The winter months from November to February are also less crowded but cooler, with occasional rain showers. Nonetheless, Pisa offers a vibrant atmosphere all year round, with plenty to see and do in every season.
Where to stay in Pisa
In terms of accommodation, we would recommend booking your travel through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. You can use the widget below to quickly check accommodation options as well.
For a good night’s sleep and an authentic Italian experience be sure also to check out Agriturismo Il Poggio alle Ville, just a stone’s throw away from Florence. They offer genuine family hospitality and authentic memorable Tuscan experiences such as: truffle hunt, home made tortelli with wild boar ragù and all you can eat pizza days!
To get a 10% off your booking email them directly at: [email protected] quoting the following code: Paul&Hrisi2021
Sure, like we say in our article on how to plan a holiday, do account for the overall cost as you have to factor in breakfast.
Things to do in Pisa
One of the most famous landmarks in Pisa is the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The square is dominated by four magnificent buildings: the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the Camposanto Monumentale.
To cover the main attractions, you can also join a Pisa guided tour and learn about the cathedral, baptistery, and the famous Leaning Tower with the option to climb the tower.
Apart from the Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa has many other historic landmarks worth visiting. The city’s medieval walls are still visible in some areas, while the Palazzo della Carovana, the Church of Santa Maria della Spina, and the Palazzo Blu are among the city’s other architectural highlights.
We found Pisa to be a very colourful city and full of life and tourists. To that regard we suggest in order to avoid the crowds in the mid-day sun make sure you wake up a little earlier than your usual hour.
1. Take a Photo with the Leaning Tower
This iconic landmark is perhaps the main reason you even considered to come to Pisa to begin with. The Leaning Tower, also known as the Torre Pendente, is undoubtedly the most famous of these structures.
Its construction began in the 12th century, and it took almost two centuries to complete. The tower’s lean was the result of a poorly designed foundation, which started to sink during construction.
Despite this flaw, the tower has become a symbol of Pisa’s architectural prowess and ingenuity.
One thing we might want to add is you could think that such a big square could cater for all the posers looking to hold up the tower however, do be warned it can be tricky to find a good spot so others aren’t in your shot.
Needless to say we also did which is by now the traditional photo of supporting the tower.
2. Enter the Pisa Cathedral
Pisa Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Pisa and a must-visit for anyone traveling to this beautiful Italian city.
The cathedral was built in the 11th century in the Pisan Romanesque style and has since undergone numerous renovations and restorations.
The exterior of the cathedral is stunning, with its white and green marble façade adorned with intricate carvings and statues. The interior is just as impressive, featuring a spacious nave with marble columns and intricate frescoes on the walls and ceiling.
Visitors can also marvel at the ornate pulpit and beautiful altar, both of which are made of exquisite white marble.
We thought Pisa Cathedral is a true masterpiece of Italian architecture and artistry. A visit to this stunning monument is an essential part of any trip to Pisa.
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3. Marvel at the The Pisa Baptistery of St. John
The Baptistery, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was built in the 12th century and is the largest Baptistery in Italy. Its stunning architecture features a round plan with an exterior covered in white and green marble.
The interior boasts a lofty dome and intricate details such as the hexagonal pulpit by Nicola Pisano, considered one of the most significant pieces of medieval sculpture.
Overall a very excquisite building which we thought is a great point of interest for any tourist looking to visit the Miracle Square.
4. Cross over on Ponte Solferino
The bridge was built in the early 20th century and it connects the historical city centre with the railway station. It spans over the Arno River, offering breathtaking views of the city and its landmarks.
The bridge is lined with colourful buildings and it is a popular spot for taking photos and admiring the scenery. Walking along Ponte Solferino, visitors can also catch glimpses of the nearby palaces and churches, as well as the hills surrounding the city.
We suggest you take a few photos with the colourful buildings in the background as they are quite magical as you make your way to Miracle Square.
5. Walk on Via Santa Maria
Another suggest would be considering walking on the adjacent street that leads to Miracles Square. This enchanting street filled with all sorts of souvenir shops and restaurants encapsulates the touristic atmosphere with the tower and cathedral visible in the background.
Final Thoughts on Pisa
Pisa is an enchanting city filled with wonderful buildings some which are iconic not only for the city itself but are almost synonymous with Italy itself. The city is a great opportunity for a city break or if you want to merge it as part of a 2 city trip like us.
Pisa is safe and is a great destination for families, couples and solo travelers. We think Pisa is a great city break opportunity for anyone living in Europe and its easy accessibility on the trainline or airlines make it a great contender for your next city break destination.
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