Check the Leaning Tower off your list of must-sees in Italy, and explore Pisa’s less famous but equally lovely historic center. Afterward, head farther afield to the postcard-ready coastal villages of the Cinque Terre and the captivating landscapes of Tuscany. Here are your options for three days in Pisa.
Day 1: Pisa great and small
An image that has become a touchstone of popular culture, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most iconic monuments in the world. Spend the first hours of the day enjoying the city’s historic center on a guided walking, Segway, or bike tour of sights such as the Renaissance Knights’ Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri) and pocket-size Santa Maria della Spina. Once the crowds have dispersed, take on the sprawling cathedral complex with a guided tour that includes skip-the-line access to ensure you have ample time to savor the Duomo, Leaning Tower, Baptistery, Opera del Duomo Museum, and Camposanto cemetery. End your day with a food tour, wine tasting, or private cooking class to sample Tuscan cuisine.
Day 2: Coastal beauty
Take a day trip to the nearby Cinque Terre, five tiny fishing villages clinging to the coastal cliffs of neighboring Liguria. Travel among the colorful hamlets on foot via the panoramic footpath, by train via the local route that hugs the coastline, by boat—or by motor vehicle on a full-day tour that includes transport. Most itineraries include time to linger over a lunch of Ligurian specialties, such as fresh seafood and pasta tossed with pesto genovese. Later, relax on the beach and soak up some Mediterranean sun.
Day 3: The Tuscan hills
It’s back to Tuscany for your final day, using Pisa as a base to explore the pastoral countryside and hill towns of the surrounding region. Popular Tuscan day trips from Pisa include jaunts to San Gimignano and medieval Siena, often with a wine-tasting stop in the Chianti hills. True oenophiles might opt for a day dedicated to touring Tuscan wineries and sampling the most prestigious regional labels. Or, combine wine tasting with art, choosing a tour that stops by Florence and the Uffizi Galleries. If you prefer a slower pace, spend a leisurely morning in Pisa, then join a half-day tour to a nearby city such as Lucca or Volterra.