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13 things to see in Pisa: the best attractions and things to do


Pisa is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany and throughout Italy. Founded, according to legend, by the Achaean warriors after the Trojan War, it is a very ancient city that actually dates back to at least the Etruscan period. Became one of the four Maritime Republics, for years it was one of the most flourishing centers of Italy, as evidenced by its buildings often decorated with works taken as "spoils of war".

Are you planning a trip to this wonderful destination? Here what to see in Pisa, what are the best attractions and things to do!



Index

  1. Historic Centre
  2. Tower of Pisa
  3. Pisa Cathedral
  4. Baptistery of San Giovanni
  5. Museum of the Opera del Duomo
  6. Monumental Cemetery
  7. Sinopie Museum
  8. Royal Palace
  9. Lungarno and the Arsenals
  10. Borgo Stretto and Borgo Largo
  11. Piazza dei Cavalieri
  12. Blue Palace
  13. Tuttomondo by Keith Haring
  14. Other attractions to visit
  15. 8 things to do in Pisa
  16. User questions and comments

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1 - Historic center

One can only begin to discover Pisa from its wonderful historic center, the place where the major attractions of the city are gathered. From Campo dei Miracoli to the Duomo, it is undoubtedly worth your visit. For a first approach to the city, we recommend a guided walking tour with a local guide, who will show you all of Pisa and will tell you all its secrets!

Walking through the streets of the center you will surely come across the Lungarno, one of the places where the inhabitants of Pisa love to stroll. You can come across Piazza dei Cavalieri, walk the alleys of Borgo Stretto and Borgo Largo, admire important historical buildings such as the Palazzo della Sapienza and the Palazzo Agostini, or enjoy excellent dishes of the Pisan tradition in one of the many inns and restaurants present here!

The historic center develops between the Lungarno to the south and Piazza dei Miracoli to the north. The best way to find out is absolutely on foot, as the main attractions are very close to each other (Torre di Pisa-Lungarno 1 km, 11 min on foot).



The best accommodation solution: if you decide to visit Pisa, know that the historic center is the best solution to sleep in! You will find a wide offer ranging from small b & bs to luxury hotels.

2 - Tower of Pisa

Without a doubt the symbol of the city and one of the symbols of Italy. It is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, not far from there.

Built in 1173 on a sandy bottom, the Tower immediately began to hang, perhaps also due to the shallow foundations (only 3 meters). Over the centuries there have been several attempts to stop the rising slope of the tower, which today stopped at 4 meters thanks to the latest found in 1998: removing the soil on the north side to create a counter-balance and fix steel tie rods. and lead counterweights that reach 900 tons. Today you can visit it inside and climb to the top, on the panoramic terrace, from which to enjoy an incredible view over the entire Campo dei Miracoli!

Buy your ticket in advance: being the most famous monument, the queues are huge! Therefore, buy tickets in advance at a fixed time or book the guided tour with ticket included.

  • in Piazza del Duomo, Piazza dei Miracoli. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center, such as from Piazza dei Cavalieri (600 m, 7 min). Reference bus stop Torre 1 - Get directions
  • Tower, Baptistery and Monumental Cemetery every day 9: 00-18.00. Cathedral every day from 10 am to 00 pm. Admission is allowed up to 18 minutes before closing time
  • single time ticket € 18,00

3 - Cathedral of Pisa

In front of the Leaning Tower is the Cathedral of Pisa, or the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which it represents one of the greatest Romanesque artistic expressions that you will find in Pisa.

Built by the architect Buscheto in 1064, it is located right in the center of Campo dei Miracoli The cathedral it blends classical, Norman, Byzantine, early Christian and Arab elements. The exterior is richly decorated with multicolored marble, mosaics and bronze objects, while the interior is characterized by the particular alternation of white and black marble, gray marble columns and coffered ceiling.



  • in Piazza del Duomo, Piazza dei Miracoli. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center, such as from Piazza dei Cavalieri (600 m, 7 min). Reference bus stop Torre 1 - Get directions
  • every day, from November to February 10: 00-12: 45 and 14: 00-17: 00, March 10: 00-18: 00, from April to September 10: 00-20: 00, October 10: 00- 19:00 pm
  • free, entrance ticket to be collected at the ticket office in Piazza dei Miracoli

4 - Baptistery of San Giovanni

But the beauties of Piazza dei Miracoli don't end here! As soon as you set foot in this place full of beauty, your attention will surely have been drawn to large domed structure placed in front of the Duomo. We are talking about the Baptistery of San Giovanni.

Built in 1153 by the architect Diotisalvi, it contains inside a Pulpit depicting the Life of Christ and the Virtues. The construction of the Baptistery, which remains today the largest in Italy, saw some problems during its construction, mainly related to the lack of money, which led to the construction of the dome with different materials, including red tiles and lead plates.

Save on the ticket: to visit the monuments of Campo dei Miracoli you can take advantage of the combined ticket, saving considerably on the final price, or book a guided tour of the Baptistery, Cathedral and Tower.

  • in Piazza del Duomo, Piazza dei Miracoli. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center, such as from Piazza dei Cavalieri (750 m, 8 min). Reference bus stop Torre 1 - Get directions
  • every day, from November to February 10: 00-17: 00, March 9: 00-18: 00, from April to September 8: 00-20: 00, October 9: 00-19: 00
  • cumulative ticket "Piazza dei Miracoli" 1 monument € 5,00, 2 monuments € 7,00, 3 monuments € 8,00, 4 monuments € 9,00

5 - Museum of the Opera del Duomo

On the southern side of Piazza dei Miracoli, behind the Tower of Pisa and near the marvelous Fountain of the Putti, is the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, inaugurated in 1986. It is one of the most important museums in the city and houses numerous collections of objects found in Piazza dei Miracoli.

Inside collects numerous works of an ecclesiastical type: sculptures, paintings and much more, among which the Islamic griffin that stood on the roof of the Cathedral, the statues of Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, liturgical scrolls and the sculptures of Tino di Camaino. A real journey to discover some works of immense value, with magnificent views of Piazza dei Miracoli and the Tower.



  • in Piazza del Duomo, Piazza dei Miracoli. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center, such as from Piazza dei Cavalieri (550 m, 6 min). Reference bus stop Torre 1 - Get directions
  • every day, from November to February 10: 00-17: 00, March 9: 00-18: 00, from April to September 8: 00-20: 00, October 9: 00-19: 00
  • cumulative ticket "Piazza dei Miracoli" 1 monument € 5,00, 2 monuments € 7,00, 3 monuments € 8,00, 4 monuments € 9,00

6 - Monumental Cemetery

In the northernmost part of Campo dei Miracoli there is the Monumental Cemetery, a place full of history. Right here the Crusaders brought the holy land taken on Mount Golgotha ​​upon their return, and here prominent figures of the Pisan reality were buried.

The current arrangement of the Camposanto comes directly from the nineteenth century, a period in which the burials were moved indoors. Further restoration work began in 1945 after the bombings of the Second World War, but have not yet been completed.

  • in Piazza del Duomo, Piazza dei Miracoli. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center, such as from Piazza dei Cavalieri (700 m, 8 min). Reference bus stop Torre 1 - Get directions
  • every day, from November to February 10: 00-17: 00, March 9: 00-18: 00, from April to September 8: 00-20: 00, October 9: 00-19: 00
  • cumulative ticket "Piazza dei Miracoli" 1 monument € 5,00, 2 monuments € 7,00, 3 monuments € 8,00, 4 monuments € 9,00

7 - Sinopie Museum

Last, but certainly not least, in Campo dei Miracoli there is the Sinopie Museum, the last of the attractions to be part of the combined ticket for the entrances. It is about an art museum, focused on the Sinopias, unique in the world. Sinopia is the first phase in the production of a fresco, it is therefore the first drawing traced over the first coat of plaster on the wall.

The purpose of the museum is therefore that of to preserve and better preserve the sinopias recovered from the Camposanto, discovered following the fire caused by the bombings of the Second World War. Unfortunately a large part was destroyed, the recovered part was restored and transported to this museum, thus making the sinopias visible to all visitors!

  • in Piazza del Duomo, Piazza dei Miracoli. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center, such as from Piazza dei Cavalieri (700 m, 8 min). Reference bus stop Torre 1 - Get directions
  • every day, from November to February 10: 00-17: 00, March 9: 00-18: 00, from April to September 8: 00-20: 00, October 9: 00-19: 00
  • cumulative ticket "Piazza dei Miracoli" 1 monument € 5,00, 2 monuments € 7,00, 3 monuments € 8,00, 4 monuments € 9,00

8 - Royal Palace

From the Campo dei Miracoli we cross the historic center and with a relaxing walk we reach the Lungarno. Here is the Royal Palace, built in 1159. Residence of the Caetani family, then passed to the Medici: it was Cosimo I who ordered the reconstruction of the building between 1583 and 1587.

Since 1989 the Royal Palace has become the seat of the National Museum of the Royal Palace, which collects the works of all the dynasties that have followed one another inside the palace. In addition to admiring the wonderful rooms and the Royal Apartments, you will find masterpieces made by leading exponents of Italian art, such as Raphael, Canova and Guido Reni, but also ancient objects such as armor, private collections of Flamboyant paintings and much more.

  • in Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti 46. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center, such as from Piazza dei Cavalieri (600 m, 7 min) or from the Tower of Pisa (850 m, 10 min). Reference bus stop Pacinotti 1 - Get directions
  • Mon and Wed-Sat 9: 00-14: 00, Tue and Sun closed
  • full € 5,00, reduced € 2,00

9 - Lungarno and the Arsenals

And here we are finally in one of the most romantic places in Pisa, the Lungarno! The city is in fact perfectly divided in half by the river and on its banks you can stroll kissed by the sun, while admiring the view. Here there are several historic buildings and important monuments. In the evening, however, this place is filled with people who indulge in an aperitif at sunset, and then continue to spend the evening!

Here you can also visit the two historic Arsenals of the city, the Republican Arsenals and the Medicean Arsenals. The former are the oldest and today they are used as an events center, where exhibitions and various anniversaries are also held. The latter were commissioned by Cosimo I de Medici and were the place where the galleys, or the large ships of the family, were built. Today they house the Museum of Ancient Ships of Pisa.

Walk at sunset: the Lungarno is always a wonderful place, but in the evening, when the sun goes down, it becomes even more magical. The sky is tinged with red and orange and the colors are reflected on the water, creating wonderful plays of light. Camera in hand and watch the show.

  • the Lungarno develops all around the Arno river. Arsenali Repubblicani in Via Bonanno Pisano 2, easily reachable from Piazza dei Cavalieri (1,4 km, 17 min) - Get directions / Arsenali Medicei in Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli 16, easily reachable from Piazza dei Cavalieri (1 km, 12 min) - Get indications
  • Republican Arsenals based on events, consult the official website of Pisa / Arsenali Medicei Wed 14: 30-18: 30, Fri-Sun 10: 30-18: 30. Times may vary, consult the official website
  • Republican Arsenals based on events, consult the official website of Pisa / Arsenali Medicei full € 10,00, reduced € 5,00

10 - Borgo Stretto and Borgo Largo

Let's go back for a walk in the historic center, where we will come across Borgo Stretto, simply called "il Borgo" by the Pisans, one of the most typical and ancient districts of Pisa. It is located a short distance from the Lungarno and is full of historic buildings. Here you can see the Casino dei Nobili, dating back to the eighteenth century, but also medieval markets under the arcades that still today line the streets that open into small squares. The main square is Piazza delle Vettovaglie, which in the evening turns into one of the liveliest areas in all of Pisa!

And if starting from the Lungarno you walk through the arcades of Borgo Stretto, its natural continuation is Borgo Largo, which it develops mainly around Piazza del Pozzetto. This small area is also characterized by arcades and an ancient charm.

Borgo Stretto starts from Piazza Garibaldi, on the Lungarno, and goes north through the historic center. Perfect for walking, it can be easily reached from Piazza dei Cavalieri (300 m, 4 min). Reference bus stop Pacinotti 3 - Get directions

Take a photo of the Madonna dei Vetturini: in the Borgo Stretto, at number 2, near Piazza Garibaldi, there is a copy of the famous statue of the Madonna dei Vetturini by Nino Pisano. Be sure to take a photo stop.

11 - Piazza dei Cavalieri

In the heart of the historic center is Piazza dei Cavalieri, it certainly is one of the most suggestive places in Pisa. Designed by Giorgio Vasari, the square takes its name from the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano, commissioned by Cosimo I de 'Medici.

Decorated with allegorical figures and zodiac signs, Piazza dei Cavalieri is also the place where important historical buildings stand, such as Palazzo della Carovana, current seat of the Scuola Normale of Pisa, and the Torre dell'Orologio, in which the so-called "Torre della Fame" was incorporated, where in 1289 Count Ugolino died, sung by Dante in the Divine Comedy. Here, moreover, there is also the National Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, a church dating back to the end of the 500th century, characterized by mannerist architecture and which houses famous paintings by Vasari and Bronzino inside.

The square is located in the historic center, easily reachable on foot from the Leaning Tower of Pisa (600 m, 7 min) and from the Lungarno (600 m, 7 min). Reference bus stop Corsica - Get directions

Enjoy a coffee: on the square there is the Caffè dei Cavalieri, an ideal place to stop for a relaxing break. You can choose between different types of filtered coffee, accompanying them with excellent brioches.

12 - Palazzo Blu

From the historic center, crossing the Ponte di Mezzo, you arrive at the Palazzo Blu, easily recognizable by its bright blue color, which certainly stands out among all the other buildings and palaces of the Lungarno. It is a museum that organizes various exhibitions and is managed by the Pisa Foundation.

In fact, in this building there are no permanent exhibitions, but numerous temporary exhibitions, which focus on different areas and topics. The purpose of the foundation is to foster and help enrich the cultural offer of Pisa, as well as to enhance the proposal of the circuit of museums overlooking the Lungarno, thus giving tourists and visitors various learning opportunities. You can consult all the current exhibitions on the official website.

  • in Lungarno Gambacorti 9. Easily reachable on foot from Borgo Stretto (400 m, 5 min) and from Keith Haring's Tuttomondo (600 m, 8 min). Reference bus stop Gambacorti 1 - Get directions
  • Tue-Fri 10: 00-19: 00, Sat-Sun and holidays 10: 00-20: 00, closed Mon. For current or future exhibitions, consult the official website
  • full € 3,00, reduced € 2,00

13 - Tuttomondo by Keith Haring

Totally different from the attractions we have talked about so far, the "Tuttomondo" Mural by artist Keith Haring cannot fail to be included in the list of things to see absolutely in Pisa. This huge "fresco" was painted on the rear facade of the Convent of the Friars "Servi di Maria" of the Church of Sant'Antonio, in the outskirts of the city.

It is one of the last works made by the artist before he died and it is also one of the most suggestive. The mural depicts 30 stylized characters that fit together and represent different aspects of a world at peace. It is a spectacular work which, painted in just one week, it was specially designed to be permanent, using colors that can keep the color quality intact for a long time.

It is located in Via Riccardo Zandonai, on the facade of the Convent, on the opposite bank of the Arno from the historic center. It is easily accessible on foot from the Palazzo Blu (600 m, 8 min), a little further from the Leaning Tower of Pisa (1,5 km, 19 min). Reference bus stop Pisa P.Za Sant'Antonio - Get directions.

Check out the 30 figures in the mural: yes, in the work there are 30 figures, each of which has a precise symbolism. The man climbs, symbol of ambition, the man with the arm that marks the infinite, to represent the cycle of life, the three ethnic groups and so on.

Other attractions to visit

If you have more time, here are some other tips on what to see, based on your interests!

The first thing is certainly the Church of Santa Maria della Spina, a small church on the Lungarno. It is practically never open, but it is worth a visit even only from the outside for its particular opening. IS always talking about churches, we advise you to visit the Church of San Michele in Borgo (free), in the Borgo Stretto, and the Church of San Pietro (free), near the Lungarno. A note about visits: you will most likely find them closed, as they are mainly open for celebrations, but they are also worth a visit from the outside.

For nature lovers, we recommend a visit to the Botanical Garden and Museum (€ 4,00), the botanical gardens dating back to the sixteenth century, inside which you will find an alboretum, medicinal plants, wonderful fountains and a dedicated museum. For a little relaxation, we recommend you to reach the Giardino Scotto, the city park.

Finally, Pisa is full of museums, among these certainly stands out the National Museum of San Matteo (€ 5,00), which houses collections of medieval religious art. Also worth visiting are the Gipsoteca di Arte Antica of the University of Pisa (free) and the Museum of Calculation Instruments (€ 2,50).

8 things to do in Pisa

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  1. Take a funny photo with the Leaning Tower: unleash your imagination! Who supports it, who eats it, who grabs it, who ... let's leave it alone! Find the right perspectives and fill your Instagram with funny photos!
  2. Take a photo at the Church of Santa Maria della Spina: this very small and particular Church will immediately attract your attention! It is located on the Lungarno, on the opposite bank from the historic center, and is absolutely worth a photo
  3. Perfect shot from Porta Nuova: this is one of the entrance doors to Piazza dei Miracoli and, from the right angle, you can admire the beautiful Duomo framed by the door. Make sure you arrive early in the morning to not get too many tourists in the middle of the shot
  4. Walk through the walls of Pisa: walking along the walls, you can admire a beautiful view of Piazza dei Miracoli and its main attractions. An experience not to be missed! The route is about 3 km long
  5. Lunch break at I Porci Comodi: a very small place much loved by Pisans and tourists! Here you can taste traditional dishes in a wonderful environment. Do not miss the Lampredotto, but you will also have a wide alternative of sandwiches and cutting boards
  6. Taste the Co 'Bischeri Cake: this is the most famous dessert in Pisa, which is still handcrafted today in all pastry shops and ovens. Impossible to leave Pisa without first tasting this specialty
  7. Tasting of Tuscan wines: Tuscany is a land rich in excellent wines, known above all for Chianti! Then do not miss the opportunity to spend half a day in the hills of Tuscany with wine tasting, departing from Pisa
  8. Relax in Marina di Pisa: if you are visiting Pisa in the summer, we recommend that you spend at least one afternoon relaxing on the beach in Marina di Pisa, with several bathing establishments and excellent places to stop in the evening

Plan your stay in Pisa: flights and hotels

Pisa is easily accessible by car or train. Alternatively, the city is equipped with the Galileo Galilei International Airport (compare flights from € 29,00). It is a destination to visit all year round, but for the temperatures it is better to favor the period April-June and September-October.

As for accommodation, the best solution is to sleep in the historic center (compare accommodation on booking - from € 45,00). For those looking for nightlife, this is along the Arno with quieter and more romantic places, in the University area with more lively clubs. Pisa is perfect to be explored on foot, as all the attractions are close together.

If you are traveling with children, visit the Leaning Tower, the city park, the Botanical Garden and the Museum of Ancient Ships.

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