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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Diaz

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Pisa, Italy

Updated: May 6

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While Pisa may not boast as many popular tourist attractions as larger Italian cities, this fact shouldn't be viewed negatively. Instead, it presents an opportunity to embrace a city with fewer crowds and appreciates its unique charm. Rather than comparing Pisa to other destinations, let's appreciate it for what it truly is—a genuine Tuscan city abundant in medieval history and breathtaking landscapes. Continue reading for valuable tips to make the most of your visit to delightful Pisa.

I won't attempt to sway your personal feelings toward Pisa. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. However, I encourage you to approach Pisa, or any other place, with an open mind, leaving behind any preconceived notions. This not only shows respect for the local community but also enhances your overall travel experience. Let's reject self-fulfilling prophecies and embrace all the incredible offerings that Pisa has in store.

Getting to Pisa, Italy

Pisa is a great and approachable destination for your next Italian adventure. In my opinion, we were in town for a long weekend, which was a perfect amount of time. If you only want to see the leaning tower and a few other top tourist attractions, Pisa is definitely doable in a day or two. However, I highly recommend you stay a little longer and explore more of the Tuscan city if you have the chance.

By Plane

Pisa is easily reached by plane from all over the world. The Galileo Galilei International Airport, located right outside of Pisa's city center, makes it very convenient for international visitors to reach Pisa. Getting from the airport to Pisa is easy and cheap:

By Shuttle Train

The PISAMOVER shuttle train will get you into Pisa Central Station in 5 minutes for €5. The shuttle runs 365 days a year between 6 AM and midnight, making it easy to travel back and forth from the airport. Just look for signs; it's impossible to miss.

By Taxi

A taxi can get you to your accommodation in Pisa in 5-15 minutes. If you’re traveling with a group, it might actually be cheaper to take a taxi than to use the PISAMOVER.

By Train

Plenty of trains connect Pisa to the rest of Italy, making it easy to combine with other destinations. Pisa is only 1 hour from Florence, 2 hours from Bologna, and 2-3 hours from Rome. Beware that Pisa has two train stations: Pisa S. Rossore station located next to the Leaning Tower and Pisa Central Station in the southern part of the city center.

Touring From Other Cities

Pisa's compact size and location in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside make it a popular day-trip destination from larger Italian cities. You can easily arrange a trip by training yourself online, but if you'd rather leave the planning to the professionals, there are guided tours available from Florence to Pisa (and Rome).

Things to Do in Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, was originally constructed as the freestanding bell tower of the Pisa Cathedral. Built in the 12th century on a soft and unstable foundation in Tuscany, the tower started to lean during its construction. After a lengthy pause, construction was finally completed in the 14th century, causing the tower to lean further. Between 1993 and 2001, stabilization efforts reduced the tilt from 5.5 to 3.97 degrees, making it possible for visitors to enter the tower.

I highly recommend ascending the nearly 300 steps to the top of the Tower of Pisa. Not only will you be rewarded with a magnificent view of the city, but the experience of climbing this iconic structure is also a thrilling adventure to check off your bucket list. The narrow and uneven steps, combined with the tilt of the tower, create a whimsical sensation as if you've indulged in a few too many glasses of wine before entering. However, with a limited number of people allowed inside at a time, the experience feels safe and comfortable. Just be mindful of your footing—haha!

Tip: Since only a specific number of visitors are permitted inside the tower each day, it's crucial to reserve a designated entrance time when purchasing tickets. Arriving late will result in refusal of entry. Considering that lines can be lengthy, it's wise to secure skip-the-line tickets in advance. If you seek a more enriching experience and wish to delve deeper into the tower's history, I recommend booking a guided tour.

Pisa Cathedral (Duomo)

The Duomo di Pisa is a stunning cathedral to behold from the outside and inside. The black and white marble interior, gilded ceiling, and incredible artwork are breathtaking. The Lamp of Galileo and the cupola of the dome were my personal favorites. Open to the general public as well: Entrance is included if you purchase tickets to one or several monuments (Tower, Baptistery, Camposanto), the Sinopie Museum, or the Opera del Duomo Museum. If you only want to visit the Cathedral, you can do that for free, but you’ll need to obtain a fixed-time free pass at the ticket office.

Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles)

This UNESCO World Heritage site houses not only the Leaning Tower but also other remarkable structures like the Pisa Cathedral, Baptistery, and Camposanto Monumentale. Take your time to appreciate the intricate details and historical significance of these magnificent buildings.

Camposanto Monumentale

This historic cemetery adjacent to the Cathedral offers a peaceful and reflective atmosphere. Explore its serene cloister, admire the frescoes, and appreciate the collection of Roman sculptures and artifacts.

Explore Pisa's historic center

Wander through the charming streets of Pisa's historic center. Discover hidden gems, quaint shops, local cafes, and gelato stands. Take in the vibrant atmosphere and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Palazzo Blu

This art museum hosts a variety of exhibitions, showcasing works by renowned artists. Explore the diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and contemporary art installations in a beautiful historic building.

Explore the Birthplace of Galileo Galilei

Step into history and visit the birthplace of Galileo Galilei, the renowned scientist and pioneer of modern science and observational astronomy. Galileo was born in Pisa in 1564, and today, you can witness his humble beginnings by visiting Casa Ammannati, the recognized birthplace of this great mind. While in the area, be sure to admire the plaque affixed to the building, which serves as a meaningful tribute to Galileo's incredible legacy.

Where to Eat in Pisa, Italy

Trattoria di Cera

Located near the Leaning Tower, Trattoria di Cera offers authentic Tuscan cuisine in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Enjoy traditional dishes like homemade pasta, hearty soups, and mouthwatering meat specialties. Don't miss their famous tiramisu for dessert.

Osteria dei Cavalieri

Situated in the heart of Pisa's historic center, Osteria dei Cavalieri is a popular restaurant known for its warm ambiance and delicious food. Indulge in a variety of Tuscan delicacies, including fresh seafood, grilled meats, and flavorful vegetarian options. Pair your meal with a selection from their extensive wine list.

La Buca di Sant'Antonio

This family-run restaurant has been serving Pisa since 1782, making it a true culinary institution. Located near the Arno River, La Buca di Sant'Antonio offers a menu that blends traditional Tuscan recipes with innovative twists. From delectable pasta dishes to succulent roasted meats, the restaurant offers a delightful dining experience.

Ristorante La Pergoletta

Located just a short walk from the Leaning Tower, Ristorante La Pergoletta is a charming eatery that combines Tuscan tradition with innovative culinary techniques. With a focus on using fresh, high-quality ingredients, they serve delicious dishes like homemade pasta, grilled meats, and delectable desserts. Their extensive wine list complements the dining experience perfectly.

Il Crudo

For seafood lovers, Il Crudo is a must-visit restaurant in Pisa. Situated near the Arno River, this seafood-centric eatery offers a wide selection of fresh raw and cooked seafood dishes. From sushi and sashimi to seafood risotto and grilled fish, each dish is prepared with precision and creativity.

Cafes + Bakeries in Pisa, Italy

Caffè dell'Ussero

Established in 1775, Caffè dell'Ussero is one of the oldest and most iconic cafes in Pisa. Located near the Arno River, it has been a gathering place for artists, writers, and intellectuals throughout history. Enjoy a cup of coffee or indulge in delicious pastries while immersing yourself in the cafe's charming atmosphere.

Gelateria De' Coltelli

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Gelateria De' Coltelli, a popular gelateria in Pisa. With a wide range of flavors, including classic choices and unique creations, this gelateria offers creamy, high-quality gelato made with fresh ingredients. Take a stroll along the Arno River while enjoying your refreshing treat.

Pasticceria Salza

Pasticceria Salza is a renowned pastry shop and bakery that has been delighting locals and visitors since 1899. Indulge in a variety of delectable pastries, including cannoli, sfogliatelle, and traditional Tuscan cakes. Their selection of biscuits and cookies is also worth exploring. Pair your pastry with a cup of coffee for a delightful experience.

Le Petit Café

Located near the Leaning Tower, Le Petit Café is a cozy and inviting cafe that offers a relaxing atmosphere. Enjoy a wide range of coffee specialties, from espresso to cappuccino, along with freshly baked croissants and pastries. It's a great spot for a quick breakfast or a midday pick-me-up.

Where to Stay in Pisa, Italy

Grand Hotel Duomo

Situated in the heart of Pisa, just a few steps away from the Leaning Tower, Grand Hotel Duomo offers comfortable accommodations with stunning views of the iconic landmark. This elegant hotel features spacious rooms, a rooftop terrace, and an on-site restaurant serving delicious Tuscan cuisine.

Villa Tower Inn

Nestled in a historic villa overlooking the Leaning Tower, Villa Tower Inn provides a unique and luxurious stay in Pisa. The elegantly decorated rooms offer panoramic views of the city, and guests can enjoy the tranquil garden and terrace. The villa is located within walking distance of major sights and offers a serene escape from the bustling city.

Hotel Alessandro Della Spina

Located close to the Pisa Central Train Station, Hotel Alessandro Della Spina offers comfortable accommodations for both leisure and business travelers. The rooms are modern and well-equipped, and the hotel features a bar, a fitness center, and a terrace. The historic center of Pisa is easily accessible from the hotel.

AC Hotel Pisa by Marriott

Conveniently situated near the Pisa International Airport, AC Hotel Pisa provides contemporary and stylish accommodations. The hotel offers spacious rooms, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool. It is well-connected to the city center, making it a suitable choice for both business and leisure travelers.

Best Time to Visit Pisa, Italy

The best time to visit Pisa, Italy is typically during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are relatively smaller compared to the peak summer season. However, I had the opportunity to visit Pisa in December, and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Overall, The best time to visit Pisa, Italy depends on personal preferences and the type of experience you seek.

Pisa, Italy offers a unique and captivating experience for travelers seeking to explore its rich history, iconic landmarks, and authentic Tuscan culture. Whether you visit during the bustling spring or fall seasons, or embrace the magical atmosphere of December, Pisa has something to offer for everyone. From marveling at the Leaning Tower and exploring the birthplace of Galileo Galilei to savoring the delicious cuisine and immersing yourself in the city's charming streets, Pisa promises an unforgettable journey. So leave your preconceptions behind, open your mind to the wonders of this Tuscan gem, and let Pisa enchant you with its timeless beauty.




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I'm Samantha! A photographer and I believe that every picture has a story. As a blogger, I share my travel stories with everyone. I think it's important to document my travels and share my experiences with others. I've been to some amazing places and I've seen some incredible things. I want to share my stories and photos with the world.

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