Reasons You Should Visit Pisa, Italy, at Least Once in Your Life

The Leaning Tower is the most famous landmark of Pisa, Italy
The Leaning Tower is the most famous landmark of Pisa, Italy
Photo of Francesca Masotti
4 September 2021

Pisa is one of the most exciting cities in Italy, with plenty of things to see and do. Obviously, the main spot in town is the Leaning Tower, but the city is a vibrant college town and offers plenty of other spots that are worth a look.

Visit the leaning tower before being whisked off to the coastal village of Levanto on Culture Trip’s 10-day tour of Northern Italy, where you’ll be guided by our local insider.

To climb the Leaning Tower

Building, Church
Map View
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
© Chris LaBasco / Alamy
Everyone knows that Pisa has a tower and that the tower leans. This spectacular torre is located on Piazza dei Miracoli, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. After taking one of those essential 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, on sunny days, the sea far in the distance.

To admire the Duomo

Cathedral
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Pisa, Pisa Province, Tuscany, Italy. The Baptistery in the Campo dei Miracoli, or Field of Miracles.  Aka Piazza del  Duomo.
© Classic Image / Alamy

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 Assunta. This church is an excellent example of Roman-Pisan gothic architecture and is completely made of white marble. The contrast of colours between the white façade of the Duomo and the surrounding green grass is simply spectacular.

To see the birthplace of Galileo

Building, Historical Landmark
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The famous Italian scientist Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa in 1654, in the Ammannati House located on 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 along Borgo Stretto, one of the oldest streets in Pisa.

To live the college atmosphere

University
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Beautiful Cavalieri Square in Pisa called Piazza dei Cavalieri - PISA TUSCANY ITALY - SEPTEMBER 13, 2017
© 4k-Clips / Alamy

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 favourite spots among students is Piazza dei Cavalieri, also home to one of the greatest universities in the world, the Scuola Normale Superiore, founded by Napoleon.

To be impressed by the graffiti by Keith Haring

Art Gallery, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
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Keith Haring s wall painting Tuttomondo Pisa Tuscany Italy
© Stock Italia / Alamy
Tuttomondo is the name of the graffiti realised by Keith Haring in 1989 for the city of Pisa. 180sqm (1,940sqft) in size and located a few rides from the Central Station, on the south wall of the church of Sant’Antonio Abate, Tuttomondo represents peace and harmony in the world.

To see Santa Maria della Spina

Church
Map View
Pisa, Italy - August 14, 2019: Gothic church Santa Maria della Spina on the embankment of the Arno River in Pisa, region of Tuscany, Italy
© Kate After / Alamy

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 riverbank, this is a perfect place for taking some stunning pictures.

To eat gelato

Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream
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Pisa is full of good ice cream shops, but the best of all is La Bottega del Gelato, a small gelateria located on Piazza Garibaldi, near the Arno River. There is nothing better than ordering an artisan gelato made with seasonal and fresh ingredients and, then, tasting it while strolling down the narrow cobblestoned streets of the town, admiring the buildings.

To live a real Italian moment

Architectural Landmark
Map View
fruit and vegetable market by piazza delle vettovaglie, Pisa,Tuscany,Italy,Europe
© nigel FRANCIS / Alamy

Italians love markets of all kinds, but food markets are something they excel at. The old vegetable and fruit markets around Piazza delle Vettovaglie, one of the most frequented squares in 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.

To admire romantic sunsets

Natural Feature
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Golden sunlight hit on the top of the Leaning Tower and Pisa Cathedral in Italy at sunset
© I-Wei Huang / Alamy

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 colourful buildings and palaces. It is the perfect place to watch the sun go down and live a romantic moment with your partner. Don’t forget to take beautiful pictures to remember the view.

To explore the city by bike

Train Station
Map View
Pisa is a very small town, so you can easily explore it in one day. The best way to move around 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 by Galileo Galilei Airport, just 1km (0.6mi) from the city centre.

To go to the beach

Natural Feature
Map View
Marina di Pisa sunset view of the town waterfront. Tuscany, Italy.
© Panama / Alamy

One of the best things to do in Pisa, even in the last days of summer, is to visit the beaches. Pisa is well connected to the coast via public transport, and the beaches are 15-20 minutes away from the city. The closest beach is Marina di Pisa, but, for better experiences, go to the little town of Castiglioncello, which has both rocky and sandy beaches, which are a 30-minute train ride away.

These recommendations were updated on September 4, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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