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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For one weekend 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 4,000sqm (43,060sqft) of books. This year, Pisa Book Festival takes place from 30 September to 3 October.
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.