Pisa, located in the beautiful Tuscany, is globally renowned for its iconic leaning tower. However, the city offers more than just this famous masterpiece. Stroll through the cobbled streets of this historic city and discover hidden gems such as ancient churches, the Arno River, and vibrant squares. Since the city is not very large, half a day is sufficient to explore it. In this article, we will discuss the most beautiful sights of Pisa.

Visit the Piazza dei Miracoli Square

The Piazza dei Miracoli square, also known as the Square of Miracles, is where the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is located. This historic square is a UNESCO World Heritage site that not only houses the leaning tower but also the Duomo di Pisa and the Battistero di Giovanni. It’s not surprising that the Piazza dei Miracoli is one of the most visited squares in the world. A visit to the Piazza dei Miracoli is a must during your trip to Pisa.

Admire the Tower of Pisa

Of course, during a visit to Pisa, we couldn’t skip the iconic tower. A cliché photo of “pushing” against the tower was also a must. The 56-meter high bell tower stands on the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli square and is known for its distinctive tilt. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. The construction of the tower began in 1172 on unstable ground, resulting in a leaning tower that became even more tilted over the years. Various reinforcement measures have been taken over the years to prevent further sinking. The tower was even closed to the public for a period. Nowadays, the tower can be visited again. Via a narrow staircase with 296 steps, you can reach the top of the tower and enjoy a beautiful view of the city.

To climb the tower, you need a ticket. Be prepared for long queues. It is advisable to plan your visit to the tower as early in the day as possible. Especially in the high season (June – September), it can be very crowded. If you book your ticket online in advance, you don’t have to wait and can proceed directly. If you are not traveling during the high season, booking in advance is not necessarily required.

You can book a ticket via the following link.

Exploration of the Cathedral of Pisa

Next to the iconic Tower of Pisa stands the beautiful Cathedral of Pisa (Santa Maria Assunta), often overlooked. But trust us, this historical cathedral deserves as much attention as its leaning neighbor! It is a masterpiece of white marble beautifully sculpted in Romanesque architecture. The interior, consisting of even more marble, frescoes, mosaics, and stunning paintings, is equally impressive.

If you visit the cathedral, don’t miss the famous pulpit. Carved from marble by the renowned sculptor Giovanni Pisano, it is one of the highlights of the interior. So be sure to take the time to admire this artistic masterpiece.

Best of all, the cathedral is usually less crowded than the tower, so you can take your time to explore and enjoy the beautiful architecture and art. Visiting the cathedral is free. Please note that you should wear modest clothing (no bare shoulders, short skirts, or shorts), or you may be denied entry.

Visit the Baptistery

The Battistero San Giovanni, like the Tower of Pisa and the Cathedral of Pisa, is also located on the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli square. The baptistery is a cylindrical building with a domed roof, built between the 12th and 14th centuries. The building also leans a little, but not as extremely as the Tower of Pisa. Take the time to admire the masterpiece and step inside to explore the simple but beautiful interior. From the balcony, you also have a nice view of the Tower of Pisa and the cathedral.

Admire the Santa Maria della Spina

When you walk from the Piazza dei Miracoli square to the Arno River, you’ll see a beautiful church on the other side of the water. It is a small but beautiful Gothic church built in the 13th century. Despite its modest size, the church is known for its refined architecture and delicate sculptures adorning the exterior. This church is definitely worth a visit.

Visit the Orto Botanico di Pisa

The botanical garden “Orto Botanico di Pisa” is a historic botanical garden located in the heart of Pisa, near the Arno River and the University of Pisa. The garden was established in 1544 and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. It houses an extensive collection of plant species and is a pleasant place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

Walk through Borgo Stretto

If you are looking for a shopping destination in Pisa, Borgo Stretto is the street to visit. It is not just a shopping street; it is also a beautiful place to enjoy typical Italian townhouses painted in terracotta and pink shades. It is a picturesque street where you can soak in the local atmosphere while walking past many shops, cafes, and restaurants.

How to travel to Pisa?

Visiting Pisa can be part of a tour through the Tuscany region. Check out this article for the most beautiful sights in the Tuscany region (link to another general Tuscany article). You can travel to Pisa by your own transport or choose to fly. Pisa has its own airport, allowing you to book a direct flight to Pisa from most European cities. For the cheapest tickets, check out SkyScanner. From the airport, you can travel to the center of Pisa by train, bus, or taxi.

If you are driving to Pisa, keep in mind that traffic in the city center can be busy, and there is limited parking. It is advisable to park in designated parking areas outside the center and then continue by public transport or on foot.

Pisa is also well-connected to Italy’s national rail network. Therefore, the city is easily accessible from other Italian cities. You can buy your ticket at the station or choose to book your ticket in advance via the website.

Tip: Since Pisa is relatively small, and half a day is enough to visit the city, we recommend exploring the surrounding region as well. You can do this, for example, by renting a car through Sunnycars or Rentalcars.

Where to stay in Pisa?

If you want to stay close to the main attractions, book your hotel in the Santa Maria district. Keep in mind that accommodation costs in the center are higher. For a more budget-friendly option, accommodation near San Giusto, near the train station, is a good choice. Here, you’ll also find many charming local cafes and restaurants!

Check the following link for all accommodations in the area.

Best time to travel to Pisa

The high season in Pisa runs from June to August, when most tourists visit the city. Although this is the busiest time of the year, it also has its advantages. It is the time of year when the city comes to life, with many festivals and events. Want to avoid the crowds as much as possible? Choose to visit the city in the low season. Accommodation prices are lower during this time, and you will spend less time waiting in line to visit the main attractions.

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