Must-Visit Attractions in Pisa, Italy

In the heart of Tuscany lies the small but delightful city of Pisa
In the heart of Tuscany lies the small but delightful city of Pisa | © StevanZZ / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Francesca Masotti
4 September 2021

From the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the Botanical Gardens and Torre Guelfa, the Italian city of Pisa has an abundance of exquisite attractions that deserve to be discovered – and appreciated – by curious travellers. Here’s our list of must-visit places to see in Pisa, Italy.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Building, Church
Map View
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa Cathedral, Piazza del Duomo, Tuscany, Italy
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The Leaning Tower is a must-see if you’re in Pisa – which you can do with Culture Trip by joining our specially curated 10-day Northern Italy tour, led by our local insider. Visiting the old-white marble torre pendente is pricey at €18 (£15) per person and the climb is hard, but it’s worth it for two reasons – the price includes a tour of the cathedral and the view of Pisa from the top is simply superb.

Mura di Pisa

Museum, Architectural Landmark
Map View
View of the elevated walkway on the ancient city walls of Pisa with a corner tower and a tourist walking from behind in summer, Tuscany, Italy
© Simona Abbondio / Alamy Stock Photo

Built in the 12th century, making them the oldest intact walls in Italy, these medieval ramparts are now open to the public along a 3km (2mi) section – providing spectacular views over the city. They’re open over the weekend: Friday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm, with free tours on Friday evenings.

Camposanto Monumentale

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
PISA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 : View of Camposanto Monumentale, known as monumentale cemetery, built in 12th century, in Pisa
© Ekin Yalgin / Alamy Stock Photo

The Camposanto – or sacred field – is a large rectangular cloister near the Piazza dei Miracoli with a gallery of arches decorated with gothic tracery that open onto a courtyard. Construction began in 1278 and continued for several centuries. If you want to visit a spot without huge queues of tourists, this is the place for you.

Museum dell'Opera del Duomo

Museum
Map View
at the piazza museo dell opera del duomo Pisa Tuscany Italy
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One of the best designed museums in Tuscany, the Opera del Duomo Museum is also one of the quieter attractions in Pisa. This is probably because it’s very near the famous tower and the cathedral, so it’s often overlooked by tourists who go there instead. Even if the museum artefacts don’t thrill you, the views of the Leaning Tower from the second floor are pretty superb.

Piazza delle Vettovaglie

Architectural Landmark
Map View
fruit and vegetable market by piazza delle vettovaglie, Pisa,Tuscany,Italy,Europe
© Nigel Francis / Alamy Stock Photo

Piazza delle Vettovaglie, which translates as supply square, is one of the oldest squares in Pisa: it’s also the heart of the city nightlife. It was formed by a succession of arcades comprised of shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. Nearby each morning is the Vettovaglie market – where you can shop like a local.

Iglesia de Santa Maria della Spina

Church
Map View
Arno River and Santa Maria della Spina Church, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy, Europe
© Robert Harding / Alamy Stock Photo

This small gothic church – dating from the early 13th century – is one of the tourist hotspots in Pisa, on the banks of the River Arno. Santa Maria della Spina is unfortunately closed to the public but it’s worth a visit outside just to admire its white-marble façade.

Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale

Museum
Map View
Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale museum Pisa city Tuscany region Italy Europe
© Peter Forsberg / Alamy Stock Photo

This palace in Palazzo Mediceo was designed by architect, Bernardo Buontalenti, for Francis I of the Medici. Now a museum, it showcases artworks from the collections of some of the most important European families. It was also the residence of the Lorraine and Savoy families – and hosted famous Italian artists and scientists, such as Galileo Galilei and Francesco Redi.

National Museum of San Matteo

Museum
Map View
Saints Pisa museo di San Matteo 14th Century Italy Italia
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If you’re into ceramics, wooden sculptures and ancient paintings, the National Museum of Saint Mathew is worth a visit. The collection spans the early medieval period up to the 16th century and includes sculptural works and paintings by Donatello, Beato Angelico and Ghirlandaio.

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

School
Map View
Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa - Italy
© Leonid Andronov / Getty Images

Crossing the River Arno after a little walk in Borgo Stretto – a street with several shops – you’ll reach the rounded Piazza dei Cavalieri: one of the most important squares in Pisa. This place is home to Pisa Normal School and Torre della Muda, made famous by Dante’s Inferno.

San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno

Church
Map View
Italy, Tuscany, Pisa, San Paolo a Ripa d' Arno, Church
© Riccardo Sala / Alamy Stock Photo

Pisa, like many Italian towns, has plenty of beautiful churches to visit. The church of San Paolo, founded in 805CE, is one of the oldest in town and was expanded in the 11th and 12th centuries. It contains a Roman sarcophagus but it’s the Pisan-Romanesque-style façade that is well worth the visit.

Jardin Botanico de Pisa

Botanical Garden
Map View
Orto botanico di Pisa (Orto Botanico dell Universita di Pisa), the oldest university botanic garden in the world, Tuscany, Italy
© Dmitry Naumov / Alamy Stock Photo

The oldest botanic gardens in Italy are in Pisa, just down the main street from the Leaning Tower. It’s maintained by the University of Pisa and hosts rare plants, which are used by students for research and study. The added bonus for budget travellers is that a visit here is free.

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

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