Top 15 Amazing Things to Do in Pisa (Italy)
Pisa in Italy with its world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is, without question, one of the absolute best highlights in Tuscany. However, only few people know that there are so many other wonderful things to do in Pisa. A picturesque old town, interesting museums and the fantastic scenery on the river Arno are just a few of the best attractions that should not be missed during your vacation. Thanks to its proximity to the coast, the beautiful beaches of Pisa invite to spend a few relaxing days by the sea. But also the surrounding area, with the numerous possibilities for excursions, holds many remarkable places worth seeing. But what actually the best things to see and to do in Pisa, what are the insider tips and which activities should definitely be on any bucket list?
In this travel guide, we have summarized all the important information and tips about Pisa in Italy. In addition, we show you amazing pictures, the most stunning attractions and day trips, wonderful beaches and where to stay best on a vacation in Pisa.
General Information about Pisa
The 91,000-inhabitant city of Pisa in Italy is located in the western part of Tuscany and is a true dream of every traveler. The absolute most important attraction is in this medium-sized Italian city is certainly the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which makes this city one of the most famous places to visit in Tuscany. Moreover, Pisa is a popular student city in Italy and almost half of all inhabitants are students, which gives the Tuscan metropolis a youthful flair. As a result, in the charming alleys there are numerous stores and boutiques for shopping, hip restaurants and cool cafés, which also attracts with reasonable prices.
A visit to Pisa is actually a great way to combine sightseeing with sun, beach and sea. In fact, the city of Pisa is located near the coast, only 10 kilometers from the sea and the numerous beautiful beaches. A popular seaside resort is the charming Marina di Pisa, where marvelous bays invite for swimming and relax. The surrounding natural parks, such as the Natural Park Migliarino San Rossore, which give the industrial Pisa a particularly green charm, are also unique and worth seeing.
The Best Things to Do in Pisa
During a trip to Pisa in Italy there are plenty of stunning attractions to discover. Some tourists only visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa. What a pity! The charming old town as well as the surrounding area offers countless other fantastic places to see. So that you don’t miss anything during your vacation, here is a list of the most amazing things to do in Pisa.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is certainly one of the most famous attractions in Italy, and a visit is part of the fixed program of any trip to Tuscany. It is located in the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli, the so-called Square of Miracles, where, in addition to the famous bell tower, there is a whole range of monuments and sights. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, about 55 meters high, is not only a unique photo motif, during a visit, you also have the opportunity to climb this architectural wonder.
The construction of this tower took almost 200 years, from 1173 to 1372, during which time it already began to lean. Initially, it tilted to the north, then during construction in 1272 it began to lean to the south. Finally, for safety reasons, it was renovated from 1990 to 2001 and straightened to 4 degrees. Nowadays, together with the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Cemetery, the Leaning Tower is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Tip: You can save time by buying an online ticket because the queue to climb the tower is usually very long. Especially in the high season, tickets can be sold-out days in advance!
The Pisa Cathedral (Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta)
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as the Pisa Cathedral, is one of the most beautiful attractions in the city. It is located in the gigantic green Piazza dei Miracoli and, together with the Leaning Tower and the Baptistery, forms a fantastic ensemble that has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1987. Like the Campanile, this grandiose cathedral took around 200 years to build. Not only impressive from the outside, but also the interior of the Pisa Cathedral is really worth visiting. Here you can admire precious marble columns, frescoes, mosaics and altarpieces. The pulpit of Giovanni Pisano from the early 14th century should also be seen.
Tip: If you book a ticket for a visit to the tower, the entrance fee of 7,- Euro to the cathedral of Pisa is already included!
A real highlight of Pisa is the Baptistery, an imposing attraction located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Piazza dei Miracoli, right next to the Cathedral and in the square in front of the Leaning Tower. With a diameter of 33 meters and with a height of about 54 meters, this place of worship is the largest baptistery in the world and therefore a special feature in Pisa. Already impressive from the outside, a tour of the interior is also interesting and worth a visit. During a tour, a beautiful baptismal font awaits you, built by Guido Bigareli da Como in the 13th century. Furthermore, a “St. John the Baptist statue” and a picturesque marble pulpit can be admired.
Tip: Don’t miss going up to the upper gallery of the building, wherefrom you will enjoy an outstanding viewpoint of the cathedral.
The Monumental Cemetery
The Camposanto Monumentale, that is the monumental cemetery, is definitely one of the most captivating attractions in Pisa. It is located on the edge of Piazza dei Miracoli and can be perfectly combined with a visit to the Leaning Tower. This imposing cemetery was built in 1277 and, according to a tradition, the inner courtyard is filled with sacred earth from Palestine. Inside, you can visit an elongated cloister with round arch arcades. Especially unique here are the frescoes that have decorated the walls since the 14th century. The Triumph of Death and the Last Judgment by Francesco Traini and Bonamico Buffalmacco is only one of the most important works of art that can still be admired during a tour of the Monumental Cemetery.
Piazza dei Cavalieri
The Piazza dei Cavalieri, also known as Knights’ Square, is absolutely one of the most wonderful places in the old town and a visit is definitely one of the best things to do in Pisa. Here you can expect marvelous attractions from the Renaissance period. Among the most impressive buildings is the Palazzo dei Cavalieri, which was built in 1560 by the architect Giorgio Vasari. The oldest palace called Palazzo della Carovana, which is now an elite university, the church Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri and not to forget, the beautiful clock palace Palazzo dell’Orologio are also worth seeing.
The Cathedral Museum
The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is the Cathedral Museum of Pisa and, above all, absolutely worth seeing for art and culture enthusiasts! It is located in a former convent from the 15th century and was completely renovated in 2019. Here you will find numerous art treasures from various eras, which come from the surrounding buildings of the cathedral district. Highlights here are the sculptures of well-known artists from the 11th to 16th century, such as the Madonna and Child by Giovanni Pisano.
Tip: There is a café on the upper floor from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A real insider’s tip!
A small oasis in the city of Pisa is the enchanting Botanical Garden. It was founded in 1544 by the botanist Luca Ghini and is nowadays the oldest botanical garden of a university in the world. The entrance fee is moderate and there are all kinds of beautiful things to see, especially for botany fans. Various species of cacti, agave, an evergreen magnolia, date palms, bamboo and the two oldest trees in the park, a ginkgo biloba and the magnolia grandiflora, both dating back to 1787, are just a few of the green highlights.
River Arno & Church Santa Maria della Spina
During a city walk through Pisa, a visit to the banks of the Arno River should not be missed because also here, numerous attractions await you. On a stroll along the riverbank, you can marvel at the countless colorful townhouses and palaces, but also many museums are located here. If you cross the historic bridge Ponte Soferino, you will also come directly to the church of Santa Maria della Spina, a wonderful little church that is a popular photo motif. Also interesting there is the Palazzo Blu, a pretty palace from the 14th century.
Really worth seeing is the maritime museum “Museo delle Navi Antiche di Pisa”, dedicated to the history and archaeology of the city of Pisa. Far away, art lovers have the opportunity to visit the Museo della Grafica Palazzo Lanfranchi and the National Museum San Matteo.
Carthusian Monastery of Calci & Natural History Museum
The Carthusian Monastery, about 10 kilometers away, is a real insider’s tip among the best things to do near Pisa. An absolute must-visit here is the Natural History Museum, which was founded in 1596 and is one of the oldest museums in the world. The exhibits are more than comprehensive and can easily keep up with the huge natural history museums of the big cosmopolitan cities! In more than 400 years, curiosities from all over the world have been collected here, well sorted and are now exhibited on an area of 5,000 m². Among the absolute highlights here are the exhibitions of bears and wild animals, but also the gigantic collection of birds.
The main attractions of the museum, however, are the giant whale skeletons on the top floor, which you hardly see anywhere else. Even a blue whale skeleton over 30 meters long is on display here.
Migliarino San Rossore Nature Park
The Migliarino San Rossore Natural Park, with a surface area of 24,000 hectares, is a true natural jewel in Pisa and, moreover, an insider tip, especially if you are staying in this region for a few days. Just 6 kilometers from the city center, this natural attraction delights visitors with its beautiful landscapes, through which countless cycling and hiking routes run. Famous in this park is the long Tuscan avenue, which invites you to go on long walks down to the sea. There you will also find some natural beaches to swim, since this section is still one of the few undeveloped coastlines along the Italian Tuscany!
The variety of animals living there is also unique. With a bit of luck, you can observe red foxes, deer, wild boars or even wolves in their natural habitat.
The Beaches in Pisa
Especially worth visiting are the many fantastic beaches of Pisa. Probably the most beautiful section can be found near Marina di Pisa, about 10 kilometers from the city center. Here you will find an exceptionally beautiful ambience with pastel-colored beach houses and snow-white pebble bays. The sea is deep blue and crystal clear, and truly invites jumping into the cool water. It’s also great that the beaches are open to the public and free of charge! A little south, in the direction of Livorno, the sandy beaches are lined up, which is especially preferred by families with small children. The individual beach sections are divided into private beach resorts, the so-called Bagnos. You have to pay for them, but there are umbrellas and sunbeds.
Tip: Behind the beach are some good accommodations, such as the Sea Breeze Apartment, perfect if you want to combine sightseeing in Pisa with sun, beach and sea.
Pisa: Guided Tours, Tickets & More
If you don’t necessarily want to explore Pisa on your own, you have the option of joining a guided tour. Online, at GetyourGuide you can find not only recommended city tours, but also cheap entrance tickets for the Leaning Tower, cooking classes, day trips in the region and much more.
Also great are the reviews, which you can compare before booking!
Where to Stay in Pisa
In Pisa and its surroundings, there is a fantastic offer of accommodations. From well-priced hotels, to vacation apartments, comfortable B&B and villas with pools, everything is available. If you are looking for recommendable accommodation in Pisa, we can give you these tips…It’s worth a look!
- B&B in the Old Town: The Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast is a lovely place in a prime location, which impresses with its comfort, but also with its delicious breakfast.
- Hotel with Pool: The Villa Scorzi is a real insider tip! The property is situated in a quiet area, just outside of Pisa and enchants with a wonderful garden and a beautiful pool.
- Budget-friendly Hotel: The Hotel Di Stefano is located in the center and offers rooms for a reasonable price. Astounding is also the view from the roof terrace to the Leaning Tower.
- Charming B&B: The Vecchio Granaio with its pool is fantastic accommodation to explore Pisa and Lucca and to visit the beaches around.
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