It’s not just about that tower. With its easy-access airport and convenient train connections to other must-see spots such as Florence and Lucca, Pisa is the gateway to Tuscany. Perfectly pint-sized, the city is easily soaked up on a short break, too. Enjoy sweet, icy gelato in its squares, stroll the banks of the Arno river and rest your head comfortably at one of these top hotels in Pisa.
Pisa may be atmospherically aged, with shuttered villas and sun-beaten shopfronts, but Palazzo Cini injects a dose of modernity with crisp white walls, moody lighting and jacuzzi bathtubs. That’s not to say it’s lacking old-world character – it’s set in a renovated Art Nouveau villa. Ceilings are beamed and public rooms spill out onto a garden scented with orange and jasmine trees. Breakfast is usually served a few minutes away, but ask for a light option in-room, to enjoy luxuriously in bed.
It’s a bit like spending a night in the Sistine Chapel – many of the rooms at this historic B&B come with elaborate frescoed ceilings. Stately four posters and cooling terracotta tiles add to the scene, while windows open up to archetypal Tuscan views in the form of red-brick Palazzo del Podestà. Throw-back charm extends to the breakfast room – where you’ll gorge on flaky pastries and cappuccinos each morning – and to the unfailingly friendly service.
If you’re thinking of using Pisa as a base to explore Tuscany, you can’t beat this location – just a five-minute walk from the central Pisa train station. There are only three rooms, which means amicable host Flavia can turn her attention to pulling together Tuscan salamis and organic yoghurts for breakfast on the terrace, or decadent wine-soaked dinners (on request). Families should book the Yellow Rose room, complete with a bunk bed for kids and kitchenette.
Style, luxury, a serene garden – this stylish B&B is Pisa’s premier pick for loved-up couples. Washed in whites and creams, the former theatre feels styled for an interiors shoot, down to the silver teapots at breakfast and piles of books doubling as nightstands in rooms. Soft lighting, floaty fabric curtains and quirky features – think old fireplaces and vaulted doorways – add an extra layer of romance.
From the surrounding olive groves and historic chapel to the gourmet restaurant pouring delicious Brunellos, this resort is the ultimate Tuscan pin-up. Set in rolling hills a little outside of Pisa, the manicured gardens, flecked with local cypress, sparkling pool and proximity to quaint villages such as Ghizzano, are all lovely enough. But the best part of a stay here is the chef-led cookery classes, where you’ll learn to make ribbony pasta like a local.
Come to Pisa for the tower, stay for the beaches. An easy hop from Pisa airport, Apartment Tirreno – a collection of simple one- and two-bedroom apartments – is a moment’s walk from Bagni Folgore, one of a string of golden beaches fringing the Tuscan west coast. The apartments are ideal for families wanting to do their own self-catering, or couples looking for room to spread out.
It’s so close to the airport, you could walk there from the runway – but that doesn’t mean this cosy, family-run hotel is in no-man’s land. Pisa’s historic centre is just about within walking distance, too, and there’s definitely nothing airport hotel about this place. Relaxed and tidy rooms in an Art Nouveau villa come with painted floral wall details, statement chandeliers and warm service from hosts Fabio and Silvia.
Looking for more insider tips? After a long day of sightseeing, you can grab a bite at one of the best restaurants in Pisa. Then, make a plan to leave the city behind – if you’re not convinced here are our top reasons why you should explore Tuscany. To help you plan your itinerary, here are 20 must-visit attractions in Tuscany that you absolutely have to check out. For a restful night of sleep we recommend one of the best hotels in Lucca, or if you find yourself a little further afield, one of the best hotels in San Gimignano.
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