Pisa is one of Italy’s most famous tourist cities. The Leaning Tower of Pisa located in the city of Pisa, Tuscany Region, Italy is a tourist attraction that attracts millions of visitors every year. Travelers usually only come to Pisa to visit this symbol leaning tower and take pictures and then leaving. However, Pisa has much more interesting things than that. The Pisa travel guide is shared below will help visitors gather enough tourist information to have a great budget trip in Pisa in general and the leaning tower of Pisa in particular. So, what to do and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Pisa for the first-time? Let’s check out our Pisa travel blog with the fullest Pisa travel guide (Pisa Italy travel guide, Pisa tourist guide, Pisa guide) from how to get there, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do… as well as suggested Pisa itinerary for 1 day to find out the answer!
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Pisa travel guide: Overview of Pisa
This beautiful city of Pisa is located in the province of Pisa, in the Italian region of Tuscany. The city is located on the banks of the Arno River just before it empties into the Ligurian Sea. The city of Pisa was once a Roman port. At the beginning of the 15th century, Pisa was occupied by the Florence people, so this place was strongly influenced by the Renaissance art and culture which was originated from Florence. The city was heavily damaged during World War II with more than 53 times of bombing. More than half of the area of downtown Pisa was completely destroyed, but with the spirit of perseverance, the people rebuilt the city just a few decades later.
The city of Pisa was a navy base and an important trading port in many centuries ago. Its heyday was around the 10th century when it was a maritime region, considered one of the four mainly maritime states in history of Italy.
Pisa travel guide: When should I visit Pisa?
Depending on the characteristics of each season, the leaning tower will give you different feelings and scenes. From March to June, the weather is very pleasant and cool. This is the best time to visit Pisa and admire the tower at its most beautiful angles.
From June to September the temperature will be higher. The weather will be hot and dry, but there are many other outdoor activities that you could take part in.
From September to December, the temperature drops to low when autumn comes. At this time, the scene will be changed in color, creating a very poetic scene.
From about December to March next year is winter. The scenery will be covered in white snow. This is also a good time you should come and see the famous leaning tower of Pisa.
Pisa Italy travel guide: Is Pisa safe to travel?
Pisa is quite safe to travel as well as visit. However, the biggest problem for tourists when visiting this area is pickpocketing and petty theft. Pickpocketing happens every day here, especially around the leaning tower of Pisa. Documents related to money, passports, airline tickets should have copies and be kept carefully.
Pisa travel guide: How to get to Pisa?
Because it is a popular tourist destination, there are many ways to get to Pisa.
Pisa International Airport, also known as Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA), which connects flights to and from Pisa. Visitors usually do not visit Pisa first during their visits in Italy but will visit somewhere such as Rome, Florence, Positano, Cinque Terre and then get to Pisa later (usually Florence because of the close distance), so visitors often take domestic flights within Italy.
There are two main stations in Pisa: San Rossore Station and Pisa Central Station (Pisa Centrale railway station). Trains to Pisa depart from Florence, Rome, Genoa, etc., very convenient for tourists to travel.
The city of Florence is about 82km from Pisa. So you can travel by train from Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station in 1 hour for a fare of 16 euros. Then you can reach the leaning tower by taxi, bus, horse-drawn carriage or walking depending on your budget.
If you depart from Cinque Terre, take the train from La Spezia Centrale Station to Pisa Centrale station for 1 hour of riding, then buy a bus ticket to the Pisa or Torre area.
You can buy online tickets at the homepage of Trenitalia – the largest train liner in Italy. I found that if traveling time less 1 hour, the ticket price is not much different than buying online early. So if you getting from Florence to Pisa or from Cinque Terre to Pisa, you can buy tickets at the Trenitalia’s ticket vending machines or buy at the ticket offices at the stations for convenience, without having to buy online in advance.
Getting from railway stations to the Leaning Tower of Pisa
You find Stazione 1 station and stop at Torre 1 station, then getting to the leaning tower of Pisa by bus. Bus ticket price is €1.5 and it takes about 10 minutes. Tickets are purchased at the small grocery store located in the station near the entrance. Exit the station gate and you will immediately see the bus stops. If you want to take a taxi, it only takes about 5 minutes and costs about €10-13. It takes about 25 minutes on foot to get there.
Note: The above bus ticket is valid for 75 minutes. If you come to Pisa with main purpose to take check-in photos of the Leaning Tower and not buy tickets to visit inside, you can use this ticket for the return trip. In fact, the day I went, I saw many tourists get on the bus from this bus stop to return to the railway station, so the bus driver could not control it. Whether if you have a ticket or not, no one knows because it’s too crowded.
Most visitors choose to walk from the station to the leaning tower in about 25 minutes. On the way you will also discover famous places such as Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Viale Antonio Gramsci Street and Ponte Solferino bridge.
There are many bus routes connecting major cities in Italy with Pisa. Currently, there are three main bus liners including Autolinee Lazzi, CPT (Compagnia Pisana Trasporti), CLAP. Pisa’s main bus station is located in the area of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II.
Visitors can also rent a self-driving car to travel to Pisa or buy a day tour to get to Pisa from Florence or Cinque Terre. See more here.
Pisa travel blog: Transportation in Pisa
Pisa is a small city, so the distance between the main attractions here is quite short, visitors can choose the means of transportation here as follows:
- Bus: Small buses operating in Pisa can help visitors traveling around Pisa easily and economically. Buy tickets right on the bus.
- Taxi: Taxis in Italy are not cheap at all and neither is Pisa. If not needed, you might not to take it.
- Bicycles: Some hotels in Pisa offer bicycle rentals. There is also a bike rental service called Cicopli in Pisa (like those in Taiwan or China).
- On foot: As shared above, Pisa is a rather small city, the distance between attractions is not far, so walking is the most economical and also the simplest way.
Pisa tourist guide: Where to go and what to do?
In addition to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa has many other great places to explore and take pictures. The most prominent ones are the four religious buildings at the Duomo Square (Cathedral Square or Piazza dei Miracoli, Square of Miracles). These monumental and massive structures include the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Baptistery of Pisa, the Cathedral of Pisa, and the Campo Santo (Monumental Cemetery)… Visiting here you will get an unforgettable historical experience. Don’t come just because of the leaning tower of Pisa but forget these surrounding historic structures.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa is the symbol and also the most attractive attraction in Pisa. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was originally the bell tower of the church, built in 1173. This work was built in 2 centuries and completed in 1372. Due to errors in the design and construction process, the 8-storey tower is leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees. It accidentally forms the highlight of this architectural work. Not only considered a symbol of Italy, the leaning tower of Pisa is also recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
The tower is 55.86m high, including 8 floors connected by round pillars made of white marble. On the 1st floor, there are many sculptural decorations and the 8th floor is designed as the top of the bell. The tower body is gradually reduced, the foot is 19.6m in diameter and the top is 12.7m.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa still stands with at an incredible leaning angle of 5.5 degrees. Before being restored at the end of the 20th century, the leaning angle of the tower was almost twice this number. Although the foundation is quite soft, the tower is still standing, so you can rest assured to climb the steps to its top to have a panoramic view of this beautiful city of Pisa.
You should leave bulky luggage at the entrance because the stairs are very narrow. Ticket price is €18 to climb to the top of the tower, online skip the line ticket is €28. Very long queue, taking photos also has to queue, so climbing to the top is no exception. If you want to take photos with less people in background, you should not take a photo right at the entrance gate, but take a walk around to the opposite side, there will be less people.
Buy a Pisa skip the line ticket online for only €20 here.
Camposanto Monumentale di Pisa (Monumental Cemetery of Pisa)
The Camposanto Cemetery was begun in 1278 and was only completed in 1464. Therefore, it’s the youngest of the four structures located on the Duomo square, although the 84 Roman sarcophagi here date from the 3rd century. Although it is a cemetery, I feel it’s like a historical architecture.
Although this place was massively damaged in the American bombing raid in 1944. The famous mural and fresco masterpieces were all restored after World War II. You should not miss this place when coming to Pisa.
Among the most famous tombs here, the most famous one is the tomb of the great mathematician Fibonacci. More or less, it is clear that the Fibonacci sequence – this classic series of numbers in mathematics has been a name attached to our school days for a long time, isn’t it? Today this sequence of numbers is one of the most amazing mathematical proofs applied in many fields such as art, biology, architecture, music and even finance, securities, forex. The Camposanto Cemetery will easily retain visitors by its quiet and tranquil.
Cathedral of Pisa
The focal point of Pisa’s Miracoli Square is the Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa) along with the Leaning Tower of Pisa are among the most photographed structures in Italy. The church was designed by the Italian Architect Buscheto and in his honor after his death his body was buried in the false arch of the marble façade.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most recognizable and most famous building in the central square of the Duomo. However, Cathedral of Pisa is the largest structure here. The Cathedral of Pisa is impressive by its elegant multi-storey façade and elaborately decorated interior with splendid mosaics.
The last building of the four most famous architectural works is the Baptistery of Pisa. This is considered a masterpiece of Roman Catholic architecture. Construction began in the 12th century and took two centuries to complete. Because it was built on the same ground as the leaning tower of Pisa, this church is also slightly leaned. The massive building is now the largest baptistery in Italy and also the most important religious building of the city.
Book tickets online to access the baptistery of Pisa, the museum, the memorial cemetery and the cathedral of Pisa for only €9 here.
You should buy tickets online in advance and this ticket is also skip the line ticket to avoid long queues. These places are as crowded as the leaning tower of Pisa, but the combo to access all places is only €9, so I find it very cheap.
Museo di San Matteo
The next place you should visit is the Museo di San Matteo museum. There are many famous works of art on display and regularly exhibitions of Tuscan Renaissance art are held for visitors.
Address: Piazza San Matteo In Soarta, 1, 56127 Pisa PI, Italy
Hours: 8:30AM–7PM/Monday: Closed
Orto e Museo Botanico Botanical Garden
This is the first botanical garden in Europe, founded in 1544 by the famous botanist Luca Ghini. It consists of many areas including: gardens, ponds, greenhouses,…
Address: Via Luca Ghini, 13, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy (Other address: Via Roma 54, Pisa)
Opening hours: 9AM-5PM (October 1 to March 31) / 8:30AM-8PM (April 1 to September 30)
Knights’ Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri)
Considered the center of the city of Pisa. Standing at the square, visitors will easily see the beautiful Palace of della Carovana and the church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri.
Address: P.za dei Cavalieri, 1, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy
Opening hours: 24/24
Palazzo Blu Museum
It’s a place to store works of art. Palazzo Blu is a small palace built in the 14th century, now converted into a museum. It houses works of art by Italian artists. It is also home to regular art exhibitions.
Address: Lungarno Gambacorti, 9, 56125 Pisa PI, Italy
Church of Santa Maria della Spina
The Church of the Virgin Mary Santa Maria della Spina was built in the 14th century in the Pisan Gothic style. This is a small church, located on the bank of Arno River, but with unique architecture and historical significance, this is a tourist attraction.
Address: Lungarno Gambacorti, 56125 Pisa PI, Italy
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10am to 6pm (lunch break 1:30pm – 2:30pm)/ Saturday, Sunday: 10am to 7pm (lunch break 1:30pm – 2:30pm)
Lungarnos is an area that runs along the Arno River in Pisa. Walking along here, visitors will have the opportunity to admire the peace of Pisa, looking the beautiful palaces, romantic bridges, …
Address: River Arno, Pisa
It is not located in Pisa but not far from Pisa. This is the famous wine route of Tuscany. Visitors can rent a vespa to run along this road, seeing the vineyards and can stop anywhere they want. Enjoying the local food and wine is a very poetic experience.
Address: Chianti, Tuscany
Take a day trip to Lucca
Lucca is a beautiful little city, just 25 minutes by train from the leaning tower of Pisa. Walk or cycling along the roads, explore the Medieval and Renaissance buildings in the center and breathe in the atmosphere of the city are best things to do here.
Pisa Italy travel guide: Where to stay?
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Bologna Hotel Pisa (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel San Ranieri (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- NH Pisa (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel Alessandro della Spina (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Affittacamere Delfo (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel Pisa Tower (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Pisa travel guide: What and where to eat in Pisa?
Cafes and restaurants around the leaning tower of Pisa are very rich and diverse. I think the food prices here are pretty good. A meal costs around €8-15. View overlooking the square and leaning tower of Pisa.
Below are some good cafes and restaurants you can drop by to try:
- Oro Gelateria: Super delicious gelato (ice-cream). The best one you can find in Pisa.
- Osteria La Mescita Pisa: The best for wine tasting and delectable food.
- Gusto Giusto: Listen the suggestions from the restaurant owner Gianni for your meal.
Pisa tourist guide: Suggested itinerary to visit Pisa in 1 day
- 8AM – 9:30AM: Breakfast, then getting to Pisa.
- 9:30AM – 10:30PM: Visit the leaning tower of Pisa
It is one of the main sightseeing spots in the Duomo square (Piazza del Duomo), and is the most attractive attraction. If you intend to climb the tower, you need to buy tickets in advance because the number of tickets to access the top of the tower are limited each day.
- 10:30AM – 11PM: Visit the baptistery (Pisa Baptistery)
- 11AM – 11:30AM: Visit Pisa Cathedral (Duomo di Pisa)
- 11:30AM – 12AM: Visit Camposanto Cemetery
- 12PM – 2PM: Have lunch, resting
- 2PM – 2:30PM: Visit Knights Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri) in the center of Pisa city.
- 2:30PM – 3PM: Stop by Gelateria L’Angolo d’Oro to enjoy its famous ice cream.
- 3PM – 4PM: Visit Palazzo Blu – formerly a palace, now a museum.
- 4:10PM – 4:20PM: Visit the Church of Santa Maria della Spina
- 16:30PM: Visit and shop at Corso Italia Street
- 5PM: Return to the departure point (station) or move to the next destination or return to the hotel.
Pisa travel blog: Before you go
- To visit and take pictures comfortably you have to spend 18 euros.
- It is not recommended to visit Pisa in summer.
- You only can visit the inside of the leaning tower within 30 minutes.
- The number of people specified for a visit is 30 people.
- Children under 8 years old are not allowed inside.
- Children 8 to 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
- When entering the tower to visit, only cameras and camcorders are allowed.
- If you do not intend to go inside the buildings, it only takes about 2-3 hours is enough for a visit. However, if you want to go inside, you have to queue for a long time. One day is not sure to visit all of 4 spots.
- Beware of pickpockets in Pisa.
- Pisa station is a transit hub for many other Italian cities, so it’s very crowded. You should be careful when taking the train here.
- Souvenirs here are also cheap compared to other Italian tourist cities like Florence or Milan. So if you intend to buy souvenirs in Italy, you should buy them here.
Pisa travel guide: Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Pisa you can refer to
- Pisa Half Day Tour from Florence
- Pisa Cathedral Guided Tour with Leaning Tower Admission Ticket
- Pisa Tour with Wine Tasting Experience and Leaning Tower Skip the Line Ticket
- Leaning Tower of Pisa Skip-the-Line Ticket
- Baptistery, Sinopie Museum, Cathedral, and Monumental Cemetery Ticket in Pisa
- Florence and Pisa Day Tour from Rome
- Pisa and Cinque Terre Guided Day Trip from Florence or Pisa
- Private Day Tour of Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa (from Florence)