Pisa is one of Italy’s most visited cities and has plenty of things to see and do. Obviously, the main spot in town is the torre pendente (leaning tower) known worldwide, but the city is a vibrant college town and offers other spots that worth a look.
Everyone knows that Pisa has a tower and that the tower leans. This spectacular torre is located in Piazza dei Miracoli, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. After taking one of those stereotypical tourist photos, climb to the top of the belltower. The stairway is made of almost 300 marble stairs but the view is worth the effort. From the very top of the tower it’s possible to admire a breathtaking view over the city, the Arno river, surrounding mountains and far in the distance, the sea is visible on sunny days.
Everyone comes here to see the tower, but Piazza dei Miracoli is also home to one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy, the Duomo of Santa Maria dell’Assunta. This church is an excellent example of Roman-Pisan Gothic architecture and is completely made of white marble. The contrast of colors between the white façade of the Duomo and the surrounding green grass is simply spectacular.
The famous Italian scientist Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa in 1654 in the Ammannati House, located in Via Giuseppe Giusti 24. Unfortunately there is no museum and the house is not open to the public, but you can take some pictures of the beautiful façade and then have a pleasant walk in Borgo Stretto, one of the oldest streets in Pisa.
Most tourists don’t know that Pisa is one of the most important college towns in Italy. The University of Pisa, founded in 1343, is one of the oldest and most highly respected in all of Europe. One of the favorite spots for students is Piazza dei Cavalieri, also home to one of the greatest universities in the world, the Scuola Normale Superiore, founded by Napoleon.
Tuttomondo is the name of the graffiti realized by Keith Haring in 1989 for the city of Pisa. 180 square meters tall, located a few rides from the Central Station on the south wall of the church of San Antonio Abate, Tuttomondo represents the peace and harmony of the world.
On the opposite side of the Arno river from the Leaning Tower, there is Santa Maria della Spina, which is an amazing Gothic church. This small church is simply spectacular but sadly, it’s closed to the public. Located near the river bank, this is the perfect place to take some stunning pictures.
Pisa is full of good ice-cream shops but the best of all is La Bottega del Gelato, a small gelateria located in Piazza Garibaldi, near the Arno river. There is nothing better than ordering an artisan gelato made with seasonal and fresh ingredients and then a stroll along the narrow cobblestoned streets of the town tasting it and admiring the buildings.
Italians love markets of all kinds but food markets is something they excel at. The old vegetables and fruits markets around Piazza delle Vettovaglie, one of the most frequented squares of Pisa, is a great stop if you want to buy some fresh food for a quick lunch or just to live an authentic Italian moment.
There is something magical about the Arno, especially the sunsets. In Pisa, the river carves up the historic part of the city and is surrounded by colorful buildings and palaces. It is the perfect place to watch the sun go down and live a romantic moment with your partner, and then take beautiful pictures to remember the view.
Pisa is a very small town, so you can easily explore it in one day. The best way to move in Pisa is walking or cycling. Getting hold of a bike is easy thanks to the several bike-sharing services located in the central station and airport Galileo Galilei, just one kilometer from the city center.
For one weekend in November every year, Pisa becomes the Italian capital of independent publishing. The city hosts conferences and stands with more than 100 exhibitors from all over Italy, over 200 events and 4,000 square meters of books. This year, Pisa Book Festival takes place from 10 to 12 of November and the guest country of this edition will be Finland.
In the province of Pisa, you can find one of the oldest hot springs in Tuscany, Casciana Terme. This thermal resort is the perfect destination for those who need to relax and spend a few hours in a silent and comfortable place away from the crowds and chaos of the city.
One of the best things to do in Pisa even in these last days of summer is to visit its beaches. Pisa is well connected to the coast with public transport and the beaches are 15-20 minutes away from the city. The closest beach is Marina di Pisa, but for better places go to the little town of Castiglioncello that has both rocky and sandy beaches, a 30 minutes train ride away.