Pisa is one of those locations so well known for one particular landmark… that we can often forget that it has so much more to offer. A relatively short train ride away from Florence, Pisa makes an excellent day trip if you’re basing yourself in Florence. It’s also incredibly close to the beautiful city of Lucca too, which I would highly recommend staying in!
CURRENCY | EURO
TIME NEEDED | 1 – 2 days
SEASONS & WEATHER | Mild in winter, hot in summer. The popular seasons for travel are spring through to autumn! Visit anytime!
LANGUAGES | Italian, but English is quite widely spoken
HOW TO SAY HELLO | Ciao
HOW TO SAY THANK YOU | Grazie
TRANSPORT | Walking, bike and bus are best!
NEAREST AIRPORT | Pisa International Airport (PSA)
NEAREST TRAIN STATION | Pisa Central Station
Things to visit, places to see…
Everything within Pisa is easily walkable. Even the airport is quite close, meaning a short transfer time, via the ‘PisaMover’ train, from the plane to the central train station.
Torre di Pisa, ‘The Leaning Tower of Pisa‘ | Granted, it would be quite hard to miss this one. But definitely look into booking a time slot to walk up inside the tower too. The views over the terracotta rooftops are beautiful, and the slight disorientation of climbing within a leaning building, and navigating the steps, worn smooth by millions of visitors, is an experience in itself.
The Piazza Dei Miracoli | (Once known as the Piazza del Duomo) This is essentially the central green space where you will find the Torre di Pisa, along with the equally impressive San Giovanni Baptistery, Cattedrale di Pisa and Campo Santo, another impressive structure with a tranquil, central courtyard and incredible frescos (murals). (Tip: this piazza is also the place to get that shot of the tower! Also, make sure to book a time for the Baptistery, Tower and Cathedral in the ticket office opposite the Lupa capitolina plinth just across the grass from the tower!)
Piazza dei Cavalieri | A beautiful, spacious, renaissance square, tucked away amongst the city streets. Small intriguing streets and alleyways and arches lead to it.
Walk along the Arno River | From the Ponte Solferino, which is where you’ll likely end up on the most direct route to the tower from the train station, you’ll have a beautiful sweeping view of the buildings along the river as you wander along.
The Santa Maria della Spina | Along the Arno River look out for this uniquely small, gothically styled church.
Ponte di Mezzio & Borgo Stretto | Along the Arno you will likely come across this simple but elegant bridge. Make sure to walk along the Borgo Stretto on it’s Northern side to wander along this narrow street, filled with warmly coloured buildings each packed with cafes, boutiques and restaurants.
Find some Gelato! | A famous Italian sweet treat, Pisa has a number of great gelato shops (Gelato Dipendente and Gelateria De’ Coltelli have awesome reviews!) so you’re bound to find something good no matter where the craving hits. Lemon and Pistachio are my firm favourites!
Places to eat
Perhaps one of the best parts about a trip in Italy really, is the food. You’ll be excited for lunch and dinner everyday, not to mention great cappuccinos in the morning. Like any great Italian city, Pisa has it’s own range of delectable options.
For Coffee |Little Star Cafe (£ Independent), Pasticceria Cioccorocolato (£ Independent, Great for breakfast too or a pastry!), Filter Coffee Lab (££-£££ Independent)
La Taverna di Pulcinella | £ | Amazing reviews, even from Italians, so you know it must be good! You’ll find it on the South side of the Ponte di Mezzo, perfect for a quick, reasonably priced, and hearty Italian pizza. With vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options too!
Gusto Giusto | £ | Warm and welcoming, and also very flexible around the menu they have created. Great vegetarian options available!
Allabona Pisa | ££ – £££ | If you’ve had your fill of pizza at lunch, make sure to try Allabona for dinner. It has an array of tuscan dishes, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options too. Not to mention a great eco ethos, with organic wines, local produce and recyclable plates and cutlery.
Il Peperoncino | ££ – £££ | Close to the tower and lovingly ran by an owner who passionately loves what he does.
Places to stay
I sadly didn’t leave enough time to stay in Pisa as I had accommodation booked in the nearby city of Lucca. However I would have loved to spend the night here to see the tower and architecture glowing in the night. After a browse on booking.com I’ve found some amazing accommodation options which I would definitely stay at on a return journey.
BUDGET | £
Safestay Pisa | A perfect backpacker option for solo travellers, or for those on a tight budget. Simple, bright and close to the train station (great if you have a heavy backpack!).
Hotel Amalfitana | A great location in between the tower and train station. It has it’s own restaurant with vaulted brick ceilings on the interior and a beautiful and secluded al fresco area embraced by plants.
MID-RANGE | ££
B&B Di Camilla | B&B’s are plentiful in Pisa, and Di Camilla has incredible reviews and a beautiful outdoor space.
Hotel Bologna | Simple and elegant rooms, with modern decoration in warm rustic hues of terracotta red and brick. Close to the train station, but also offering an airport shuttle service too!
LUXURY/SPECIAL OCCASION | £££
Grand Hotel Duomo | Elegant rooms and the view from the terrace… close to the tower, which can even be viewed whilst having breakfast and sipping a cappuccino, perfect.