Famous for its Leaning Tower, Pisa is also home to interesting museums and art galleries which deserve to be discovered. If you are planning a weekend in the Tuscan town, be sure not to miss these must-visit spots during your tour.
The most important and famous art gallery of Pisa is undeniably Palazzo Blu, a big center for temporary exhibitions and cultural events located near the Arno River, in the heart of the city. It is not difficult to find it thanks to its spectacular façade, the palace is one of the most visible landmarks of the Tuscan town. The name of this building comes from the blue color of the façade painted during a recent restoration. Palazzo Blu hosts every year gorgeous exhibits, the most important past ones were dedicated to Dalì, Picasso and Modigliani.
The legend says that the Botanical Gardens of Pisa are the oldest of Italy. What is sure is that the Botanical Museum and its Garden are arguably the most spectacular spots you will see in town. In the 16th century, Luca Ghini, the founder of the Botanical Gardens, started the habit of preserving plants for educational and scientific purposes. Today the museum hosts big collections of plants, including the herbarium, an area with dried plants used for paper sheets.
National Museum of Saint Mathew
The National Museum of Saint Mathew is one of the most important museums of Pisa that preserves a collection of masterpieces, paintings and sculptures of the early Medieval age, as well as archaeological and ceramic pieces. The museum is situated in the ancient convent of Saint Mathew and contains works belonged to some famous Tuscan artists, like Giovanni Pisano, Donatello, Andrea della Robbia, etc.
Museum of Opera del Duomo
Located in Piazza del Duomo, near the Cathedral and leaning tower, this museum hosts all the works removed from the Duomo and Baptistery, such as masterpieces of Tino di Camaino and Giovanni Pisano, as well as reliquaries from the 17th to the 18th centuries and paintings from the 15th to the 17th centuries. The most interesting room is the one which contains detailed models of the Duomo building that explains the various additions made to the church during the centuries.
Centro Arte Moderna
This gallery of contemporary art, situated in the centre of Pisa near the Arno river close to the National Museum of Saint Mathew, was born in 1976 and is a real hidden gem unknown even by many Pisans. The owners hosted a large number of interesting exhibitions dedicated to contemporary artists, painters and photographers. If you want to discover something different and unknown, Centro Arte Moderna is the perfect place.
Museum of Ancient Ships
Opened last year, the Museum of Ancient Ships of Pisa is a very interesting museum located in the Arsenali Medicei, a spectacular location on the Pisan Lungarno, which hosts archaeological materials and Roman and Medieval ships so well preserved that they were discovered by builders in 1998 at the San Rossore train station. Inside the ship, other interesting artefacts were found that survived in clay amphorae, such as olives, cherries, walnuts, wines, leather sandals and so on.