Italian cities all have their own signature landmarks and salient qualities, and Pisa, of course, is no different. Its famous tower, the campanile of the city's cathedral, is its most recognizable landmark. Built over the course of 177 years, this world-famous architectural misstep was reopened to the public in 2001 and again in 2008 after more restructuring.
Whether you wish to take the obligatory comedic picture with the tower in the background, or snap some photos of the city from the tower's top, the tower is a must-see part of any visit to Tuscany. Combined with a day or two spent in Florence, Pisa is a fun stop on your Italian itinerary.
Day 1: Leaning Tower of Pisa
If you plan on climbing the tower, get there early, as the number of visitors allowed inside the tower is limited. The doors open at 8 am, so be prepared – it's a good idea to book tickets in advance. Even if you do not intend to climb the tower, you’ll get the best pictures before and after the crowds and vendors throng around it, so plan on taking pictures early in the morning or closer to dusk.
If Pisa is the first day of your Tuscany ramblings, you might want to book a hop-on, hop-off tour. From this double-decker, open-air bus you'll be get a guided tour of the city via two different routes, and you can get on and off as many times and as often as you want. Highlights include sites such as the Piazza Arcivescovado and the Lungarni, a series of streets along the Arno river.
Day 2: Florence
From Pisa, you should visit Florence. Known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is where you will find masterpieces such as Micheangelo's David and Giotto's bell tower. To really make the most of your day trip, book a city tour. You'll get to see works by Micheangelo and many other important Renaissance artists; the full-day tour includes the Piazzale Michelangelo, Giotto's bell tower, Baptistery and Accademia Gallery in morning and the Franciscan Church of Santa Croce, Piazza Signoria and Uffizi Gallery in afternoon. You'll also get lunch.
Following your tour of the city, get dinner at a trattorio or head for a club - while not as swinging as Rome's, Florence's nightlife still has plenty to do, with a variety of wine bars, pubs and dance clubs jumping into the next morning.
Day 3: Tuscan Countryside
The third day on your trip to Pisa should include some time in the Tuscan countryside; its serene, pastoral beauty is breathtaking, and a good way to experience it is by visiting a winery in the nearby Chianti region. Winery tours are good bargains, and after a busy day in Florence, a day spent sampling vintages and relaxing in the Tuscan sun is a great way to round out your trip.