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Things to do in Pisa

Things to do in  Pisa

Welcome to Pisa

The Tuscan city of Pisa is synonymous with its most famous attraction—the leaning tower—but there's so much more to this historic city than a teetering building. While Pisa is one of Italy's most popular destinations for day tours from nearby Italian destinations—especially if you have your eye on posing on the Piazza dei Miracoli pretending to hold up the iconic leaning tower—few realize the tower is actually the bell tower for the adjacent 11th-century cathedral, and that the piazza's enormous baptistery is the largest in Italy. And while Florence might be the bigger draw today, visitors who explore beyond the tower of Pisa are rewarded with history and art. Giorgio Vasari designed the lovely Piazza dei Cavalieri and a church on the square, inside of which there's a piece by Donatello. The tiny 13th-century church of Santa Maria della Spina sits right on the Arno River in the city center. Keith Haring's last public work is a huge mural on the wall of the Church of Sant'Antonio. You can discover these and more lesser-known sights on a walking tour, or easily reach other Italian cities with an organized day trip that handles the logistics. Heading out into the countryside from Pisa, visitors can wander the medieval streets of historic Siena, circle the town of Lucca walking atop its city walls, go wine tasting in the Chianti hills, or hike the trails linking the five towns of the Cinque Terre.

Top 8 attractions in Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

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Perhaps one of the world's most beloved architectural mistakes, the Leaning Tower of Pisa's inimitable tilt has made the UNESCO World Heritage site an Italian icon. Travelers flock to snap photos of themselves “holding up” the tilted tower—originally intended as a bell tower for Pisa Cathedral—although you can also ascend the 294-step spiral staircase for stunning views over Pisa.More

Piazza dei Miracoli

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One of the most famous sights in all of Tuscany—perhaps all of Italy—stands in the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa. This grassy expanse is home to the city’s cathedral complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Duomo, Monumental Cemetery, and Opera del Duomo Museum. The headliner, however, is the Leaning Tower of Pisa.More

Knights' Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri)

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Pisa’s most famous attraction may be its Leaning Tower, but for centuries its heart was Knights’ Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri), remodeled by the architect Vasari in the 16th century into a classic example of Renaissance civic planning. Today, the square is home to Pisa’s university in the medieval center.More

Pisa Cathedral (Duomo)

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Visitors flock to Pisa’s famous leaning tower, which is part of a magnificent cathedral complex centered around the 17th-century Duomo and adjacent baptistery. A splendid example of Pisan Romanesque architecture, the Duomo’s original and renovated elements include a splendid apse mosaic, ornate pulpit, golden coffered ceiling, and more.More

Pisa Baptistery (Battistero)

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Pisa’s Leaning Tower may be more famous, but the nearby baptistery (battistero) is equally captivating. Clad in white marble with intricately carved rows of Romanesque and Gothic arches and a cupcake dome, the baptistery is one of the essential sights in the city’s UNESCO-listed cathedral (duomo) complex.More

Monumental Cemetery of Pisa (Camposanto Monumentale)

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Italy is home to some of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, including the Monumental Cemetery of Pisa (Camposanto Monumentale). Part of the UNESCO-listed cathedral complex, this Gothic cloister features intricate marble arches encircling a central courtyard, 14th-century frescoes, chapels, and rows of Roman sarcophagi.More

Church of Santa Maria della Spina (Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina)

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Pisa’s exquisite Church of Santa Maria della Spina (Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina) is covered in intricate and fanciful stonework, a hallmark of the 14th-century Pisan Gothic style. With its fairytale exterior and magnificent Madonna of the Rose by Andrea and Nino Pisano inside, this church is a tiny gem and the perfect foil to the grandeur of the city’s Duomo.More

Church of San Sisto (Chiesa di San Sisto)

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The Church of San Sisto (Chiesa di San Sisto) is one of the oldest in Pisa, and its simple stone facade is an excellent example of early Pisan-Romanesque architecture. Contrast this modest masterpiece with another of Pisa's attractions, the ornate Gothic Duomo, by taking a guided tour of both.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Pisa

How to Spend 1 Day in Pisa

Top activities in Pisa

Pisa Private Walking Tour

Pisa Private Walking Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Pisa

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Awesome Experience in Pisa!
Robert_M, Oct. 2022
Private Pisa Discovery Walking Tour with Leaning Tower Access
Her English was very polished.
star-4
Quick way to see the top sites in Pisa
Meredith_S, Aug. 2022
Small Group Golf Cart Tour in Pisa
A quick relatively comfortable way to see the key sites in Pisa !
star-5
A great way to see Pisa
Russ_S, Jul. 2022
Small Group Golf Cart Tour in Pisa
A great way to see Pisa in a short afternoon !!
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Easy
Nicole_S, Jun. 2022
Tower of Pisa & Cathedral with All Museum Reserved Entrance
I recommend to anyone looking to see Pisa and not spend a lot.
star-4
Obtaining our tickets was...
Glen_R, Oct. 2022
Monumental Complex of Pisa Cathedral Square
The sights are easy to see and you can make a quick stop, walk through Pisa, and see the Basilica, Baptistry and take the obligatory picture of the leaning tower in a couple of hours.
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Great Day in Pisa
Stephen_F, Sep. 2022
Best of Pisa: Small group tour with admission tickets
He was informative, timed our tour so that we were able to see unique things that only occur at certain times during each hour and showed us where and how to get those Iconic Leaning Tower pic's.
star-5
Perfect introduction to Pisa
David_E, Sep. 2022
2-Hour Small-Group Walking Tour of Pisa Off The Beaten Path
If you’re interested in history or short on time and keen to see all the main sites then this is for you.
star-5
Absolutely amazing!!!
Chinyere_E, Aug. 2022
Pisa and Florence Private Full-Day Tour from Carrara Port
If you only have a day to see Pisa and Florence from the Carrara Port and you love luxury and certain comforts in life, then this is the tour for you.
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Fantastic cooking experience in Pisa
Clare_J, Jul. 2022
Share your Pasta Love: Small group Pasta and Tiramisu class in Pisa
She was very patient when showing us what to do, particularly with my 12 year old son, and she is very knowledgeable about Italian food and seasonal ingredients.
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Highly recommend!
Aoife_W, May 2022
2-Hour Small-Group Walking Tour of Pisa Off The Beaten Path
An amazing and knowledgeable tour guide well worth it if you want to understand the beautiful city of Pisa beyond the main attractions.
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Best food tour in Pisa
Heather_S, Mar. 2022
Pisa Food Tour - Do Eat Better Experience
Marta was an excellent guide, spoke English very well and had great knowledge of Pisa.
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Great to have walked the parts of...
KokBoon_L, Apr. 2018
Explore Pisa City with Skip-The-Line Leaning Tower Climbing
Also, from different angle, we get to see that the Tower is not a straight tower even if it is upright.
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Stunning place to visit. Well worth...
Debbie F, Sep. 2017
Leaning Tower and Cathedral of Pisa afternoon timed-entry Ticket
Stunning place to visit.
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The whole trip to Pisa and Florence...
HATTON T, May 2017
La Spezia Private Shore Excursion of Pisa and Florence
He spoked very good english and sapnish.
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Nice review of Miracle Square in...
Melinda H, Jun. 2016
Best of Pisa Guided Walking Tour with Leaning Tower Entry Ticket
Although I'm not sure I would return to Pisa, this was a nice way to see it and get the most out of it for a single quick trip.
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Great way to spend the day.
Craig_W, Aug. 2019
La Spezia Private Shore Excursion of Pisa and Florence
It was a great way to see Pisa and Florence in 9 hours.
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The three main things to see in Pisa are all together
Robert_I, Jun. 2019
Pisa all inclusive: Baptistery, Cathedral and Leaning Tower guided tour
All the main monument attractions of Pisa are in one large area.
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Amazing experience
Edward_L, Jul. 2022
Small Group Golf Cart Tour in Pisa
We went round all of the main attractions and some lesser known places as well.
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Pisa Perfection
Dianna_S, Jul. 2018
Private Pisa Discovery Walking Tour with Leaning Tower Access
She was born in Pisa, her English is fabulous, she was informative without being boring, and added a bit of humor as well.
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Pisa
Diane V, Jul. 2018
Leaning Tower and Cathedral of Pisa afternoon timed-entry Ticket
Unfortunately we were too late to see the Baptista.
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All about Pisa

When to visit

Pisa is best visited in spring and early fall, in the months of April, May, June, September, and October. These months can be busy and expensive, but they offer temperate weather and the conveniences of peak travel season without massive crowds. Travelers visiting in June can partake in the Feast of St. Ranieri, also called the Luminara of San Ranieri, when the city is illuminated with lamps and candles on the Arno River and with midnight fireworks.

Getting around

Given that Pisa’s main attractions are clustered on the Piazza dei Miracoli, the city is best explored on foot. Walking from the Pisa Centrale train station to the piazza takes roughly 20 minutes, but bus lines Nos. 120 and 140, among others, cut the travel time in half. Also, bikes are great for exploring the city and traveling further afield—the Ciclopista del Trammino route takes bikers along the Arno River to Marina di Pisa on the coast.

Traveler tips

A little-known fact: Pisa has more than one leaning tower. The obscure Basilica San Nicola is located on Via Santa Maria just north of the National Museum of the Royal Palace, a stone’s throw from the Arno River. Pay attention as you pass and you’ll notice that the church’s bell tower is tilting, albeit slightly. Also, the bell tower is unusual, consisting of circular, octagonal, and hexagonal sections.

A local’s pocket guide to Pisa

Rebecca Winke

Pisa is home to much more than just its iconic bell tower, as travel writer Rebecca has discovered on her many visits to this Tuscan beauty.

The first thing you should do in Pisa is...

book your tickets to the Leaning Tower. You’re going to visit sooner or later, so you may as well be smart about it and avoid the hassle of a long line.

A perfect Saturday in Pisa...

is spent far away from the crowds in Piazza dei Miracoli and instead involves exploring the narrow lanes lined with shops and eateries in the historic quarters of San Martino and San Francesco.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Leaning Tower. Sure, it’s a travel cliché, but this listing bell tower seems to defy gravity and will stop you in your tracks no matter how many photos you’ve seen of it.

To discover the "real" Pisa...

explore the city’s bookshops. Pisa is home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities and has long been a cultural and literary hub. Browse its many landmark “librerie” to mix with local Pisani and students.

For the best view of the city...

take a walk along the medieval walls that circle the old town and overlook rooftops and gardens from about 35 feet (11 meters) above ground for a unique perspective of the historic center.

One thing people get wrong...

is assuming that there is nothing in Pisa beyond Piazza dei Miracoli. This historic city has a lively center with cafè-lined squares, funky shops and galleries, and an authentic feel that seems worlds away from the tourist hubbub.

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