May, 16 2019 ( Updated May, 16 2019)
A fascinating city
Now we all know Pisa is home to the leaning tower. Yet with 54 UNESCO World Heritage sites on the doorstep, it’s home to so much more!
Dating back to the fifth century BC, this ancient city offers a tantalising display of art, architecture and academic enlightenment, set against the romantic banks of River Arno.
Today you can discover a unique Tuscan city - where science, art and religion unified into greatness to establish the 12th century University of Pisa (home to Europe’s oldest academic botanical garden), where this unique mindset flourished in the Italian Renaissance and where this symbolic unity of minds continues to this day.
Morning to explore
Once you’ve enjoyed a morning cappuccino, make a bee-line towards the must-see tourist site in Pisa; Piazza dei Miracoli (otherwise known as, the Square of Miracles). This spectacular piazza is Pisa’s main religious centre and is the place to spot the most famous of Italian landmarks; the leaning tower of Pisa!
Thanks to insufficient piloting and shifting soil, the iconic 8-tier bell tower was leaning from the off-set, in 1173. Thankfully the freestanding bell tower has so far stood the test of time, and today leans at an impressive 5m off the perpendicular. Between 1589 and 1592, Galileo discovered the rules of gravity from the top of this famous leaning tower, with the help of 2 spheres.
The largest Baptistery in all of Italy can be found in Piazza dei Miracoli. Built in 1363 and located just west of the cathedral, this distinct building is acoustically perfect, despite leaning to one side, like the tower! The pulpit and Italian Renaissance sculpture by Nicola Pisano are nothing short of astonishing.
Also within the piazza, is the sacred burial ground of Camposanto, which is surrounded by cloisters and is adorned by frescoes and fine works of art. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta boasts a beautiful pulpit and forms a spiritual focus for the holy site. Once you’ve taken in these breath-taking sites, it’s always enjoyable to sit on the well-tended lawns and enjoy a peaceful moment to simply take it all in, and watch the crowds go by.
World class sightseeing can be hungry work. Luckily Pisa offers plenty of authentic, laid-back restaurants and 'trattorias', as well as a throng of local pizzerias for easy-going, on-the-go lunches. The best local Pisan restaurants to enjoy a spot of lunch at are ‘Gusto Giusto’, ‘L’Ostellino’, ‘Allabona Pisa’ and ‘I Porci Comodi’ (wine bar included!).
Once you’ve enjoyed an authentic lunch, there are a host of top cultural sites in Pisa to suit all tastes. Fascinating places and landmarks to visit include the Orto eMuseo Botanico’Arboretum and Herbarium (the perfect haven for nature lovers), the Gipsotecca di Arte Anticadell’ Universita and the Palazzo Blue gallery for art enthusiasts and Piazza dei Cavalieri, Arsenali Medicei Pisa and Palazzo Agostini dell’Ussero o Rosso for history fans.
Those looking for the perfect photo opportunity in Pisa will also be spoilt for choice. As well as the obvious choice in the leaning tower of Pisa, there’s also plenty to inspire professional and amateur photographers alike. From Keith Haring’s iconic 1989 art mural ‘Tuttomondo’ (dedicated to universal peace), to the Fortezza di Pisa, Cittadelle e Aresenal Repubblicano, Citadelle Galileiana, Palazzo da Scorno and the Ponte di Mezzo, there is plenty to see and to snap!
As the daylight begins to give way to dusk, you’ll want to enjoy a sunset stroll along Lungarno Gallilei, which runs along the River Arno. Take to the bridge, for that perfect photogenic moment.
Dining out in Pisa
For those keen to savour a fine dining experience in Pisa, there’s plenty to tuck into! The best rated restaurants in Pisa are ‘Nautilus Restaurant', ‘Ristorante La Scaletta’, ‘Casa Mazzali', ‘V Beny' and ‘Ristorante Foresta’. Others well worth booking are ‘Hostaria Le Reppubliche Marinare Pisa’ and ‘Peperoncino’.
Pisa city is easily reached by car, train, bus and air. So, there’s really no excuse not to enjoy a picture-perfect day trip here!