You say Pisa and you immediately think of the Leaning Tower, one of the most famous monuments in the world. But Pisa is much more than just its tower, it is also home to the extraordinary complex of buildings known as the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), with its magnificent cathedral and baptistery. Step away from the tower and you’ll discover the old town with Renaissance palaces, medieval tower-houses, churches in Romanesque and Gothic style, the Botanic Gardens (one of the oldest in Europe, recently restored), and the River Arno, which you can admire by walking through old streets called Lungarni.
Pisa was the birthplace of Gailileo Galilei and hosts an important university, founded in 1338, and the Scuola Normale Superiore, opened in 1813. As an Etruscan settlement and a Roman town, Pisa formed part of the Longobardo Kingdom, and then of the Carolingio Empire before becoming part of Italy after 1861. The medieval period coincided with the peak of Pisa’s economic and political power. Pisa was one of the four Italian coastal republics until it was annexed to the Ducato of Tuscany in 1406.
Pisa is the starting point to discover the province, with its unspoilt and well-preserved landscape. Do not miss a visit to San Miniato (50 km), Volterra (65 km), San Gimignano (80 km) and Florence (105 km).
Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery
Pisa Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni) shares grounds with Pisa Duomo (where the Leaning Tower is located). It took more than two centuries to complete. This amazing marble Baptistery is the largest one in the whole of Italy, and dates back to the 12th century. Pay your visit in the early morning to experience the amazing acoustics. The Cathedral is an incredible work of art with more than a thousands years of history, and its design influenced many other buildings in the whole country.
The Leaning Tower
One of the most outstanding architectural structures of medieval Europe (partly due to human error during construction), the Leaning Tower is today the most famous landmark of Pisa. It is the bell tower of the Cathedral whose construction began in 1173, and continued for over two centuries. This miscalculated eight-story building is over 55 metres high and leans at an angle of 5 degrees. Without any doubts, this popular tourist attraction is a "must" when visiting the city. Don’t forget the camera, since this is a perfect place to take some amusing photos.
Even if Italy is mostly known for its fantastic wines, it offers great beers as well. In a relaxed atmosphere, at Orzo Bruno you can try some of the locally brewed brands in addition to the classics, together with an inviting selection of cold cuts and cheese.
Good to know
Pisa is a small city, hence the best way to see it is on foot. The company which operates Pisa’s local transport system is CPT (Compagnia Pisana Trasporti) and its information office is in Piazza Sant'Antonio.
- The new LAM service divides the bus network into two main lines (LAM red and LAM green, that stop at the most "popular" spots in the city centre) and guarantees departures every 10 minutes. You can purchase bus tickets, which you will then validate on board, at the Central Railway Station, in Via Cesare Battisti 53, or directly on board (at a higher price, though).
- Local, interregional, Intercity and Eurostar trains stop at Pisa Central Railway Station, connecting Pisa to the main Tuscan and Italian destinations. Train tickets are sold at the ticket office, but for short tracks - up to 20 km - also at the newsagent’s. Self-service ticket machines can also be found in the station.