Florence / Pisa (Italy)

Pisa tourist attractions

Top 15 Pisa attractions, sightseeing & activities Pisa Italy

Pisa tourist attractions

Top 15 sights of Pisa, an overview of the most beautiful attractions, activities and the Tower of Pisa in Italy. What are the places of interest in Pisa?

Top 15 Pisa tourist attractions

Whoever says Pisa immediately thinks of the leaning tower of Pisa in the Tuscan town. However, for much of the Middle Ages, Pisa was a very important player in the western Mediterranean. There was a lot of trade with countries such as Spain and North Africa and this sparked a cultural revolution, which led to the construction of high-profile structures such as the Duomo, Baptistery and Campanile. In the thirteenth century Pisa was defeated by the port city of Genoa and this ushered in a period of decline. In the fifteenth century the city even came into the hands of competitor Florence.

PisaThe Leaning Tower of Pisa in Piazza dei Miracoli
Pisa ItalyThe Arno River that flows through Pisa, Italy

Pisa therefore has a rich history, which should not be forgotten. Pisa is the capital of the province of Pisa located in the Italian Tuscany. The city has around 90,000 inhabitants and has a traditionally favorable location on the River Arno. Today Pisa is a large student city. One of the most famous people who studied here is Galileo Galilei. Pisa has, of course, become most famous for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which has been sinking into the marshy wetlands for years. For that reason alone, the city thrives with the thousands of tourists who visit each year. However, there is much more to admire than just the famous Piazza dei Miracoli, where the Pisa tower can be seen.

Landmarks of Piazza dei Miracoli

When planning a visit to Pisa, you should always see the entire Piazza dei Miracoli first. And by the whole square is meant looking beyond the leaning Campanile of Pisa. On the square you will also find a beautiful Duomo, the Camposanto and Baptistery. Then follows a top 10 of the other beautiful tourist attractions in Pisa:

Leaning Tower of Pisa

1. Leaning Tower of Pisa

Most people know the campanile or the freestanding bell tower of Pisa under the term: Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Torre Pendente was built from 1173 on swampy ground, so the tower started to collapse when the third floor of the tower was placed. Nevertheless, construction continued, so that the building was finished in 1350. Several interventions have already been made to reduce the slope of the tower. This makes the building safe and accessible to the public again. The tower is about 56 meters high and originally belongs to the Duomo, which is also located in Piazza dei Miracoli.

How to book tickets: Would you like to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Then during the high season it is really recommended to book tickets in advance for a fixed time slot to avoid annoying waiting times. This 'fast track-ticket' also provides access to the cathedral. To visit the other sights on the square such as the Baptistery, Camposanto cemetery, the museum and again the cathedral there is a special combi ticket. You can also choose to purchase an 'all access ticket' that includes all the above highlights.

1. Fast track Leaning Tower + Duomo 2. Ticket 'Rest of Piazza dei Miracoli' 3. All access

Duomo Pisa

2. Duomo (Cathedral)

Pisa Cathedral is located in Piazza dei Miracoli and was built by Buscheto from 1064. The cathedral is an example of a Pisan-Romanesque architectural style. The exterior is characterized by the four-part facade consisting of arches and colonnades. In the left arcade is the tomb of the architect and on the outside you will also find the bronze doors from 1180. In the Duomo, you must see the pulpit of Pisano, the mosaics in the apse and the painting The Tombs of the Emperor of Camaino .

Pisa Cathedral

3. Battistero di San Giovanni

The baptismal font of Saint Giovanni can be found opposite the Duomo in Piazza dei Miracoli. The round Baptistery was first built in Romanesque style, but was completed in Gothic style by the Pisano brothers due to lack of financial resources. Nicola Pisano also made the marble pulpit in 1260. The inlaid marble baptismal font is by the hands of Da Como. The Baptistery is included in this combi ticket.

Pisa sightseeing

4. Camposanto

A fourth highlight of the Piazza dei Miracoli is the Camposanto. The construction of this cemetery was started in 1278 by Di Simone and according to legends the structure with its marble arcades is said to contain earth from the Holy Land. There were also beautiful frescoes, but as a result of bombing during the Second World War, only parts of them are left. The Camposanto is included in this combi ticket.

Other things to do in Pisa

Pisa Tuscany

5. Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina

The Santa Maria della Spina is a church on the banks of the Arno. The place where you find the church now is not the place where the church was originally built. But as a result of the flooding of the Arno, the Santa Maria della Spina was rebuilt in 1871 in its current safer spot. Characteristic of the church are the many Gothic pinnacles, spires and niches, in which statues of apostles and saints are placed. The church was built in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries for a very special reason: it had to preserve a precious relic. This relic included a thorn (in Italian: spina) from the crown of thorns of Jesus Christ. This was a gift from a Pisan merchant.

Pisa attractions

6. Piazza dei Cavalieiri

Another famous square in Pisa is the Piazza dei Cavalieiri. In the square you will find the famous Palazzo dei Cavalieiri, which is home to one of the most prestigious parts of the University of Pisa: the Scuola Normale Superiore. This building was designed in 1562 by the famous architect and artist Vasari. Characteristic of the building are the black and white sgraffito, decorations in wet lime. Before becoming part of Pisa's university, the Palazzo was the headquarters of the Cavalieri di Santo Stefano, the knighthood of Saint Stefano, after whom a church in this square is also named. This Chiesa di Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri was built from 1565 by Vasari, among others, and was intended for the knighthood, which was founded by Cosimo de Medici. It is striking that the facade of this church was designed by the illegitimate son of Cosimo.

Pisa tourist attractions

7. Walking on the city wall

If you just want to take a quiet walk, this is also possible in Pisa. The famous Camminamento delle Mura di Pisa takes you along the Arno and over the city walls of Pisa. Buy a tasty gelato at one of the many ice cream stalls along the way and enjoy the beautiful views that this walk offers you. The city walls of Pisa are one of the best preserved city walls in Europe and are centuries old. A ticket costs approximately three euros and is valid once. From the city walls you can once again take a look at the beautiful structures of the Piazza dei Miracoli from above and you end your trip at the Torre del Piagge. In the meantime you can leave the walls in several places.

Museum in Pisa

8. Palazzo Blu

The Palazzo Blu or Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi is a museum, where many temporary art exhibitions are shown and cultural activities are held. The museum is located in the historic center of Pisa and is maintained by the Fondazione Palazzo Blu. The building owes its name to the blue color that was discovered during an architectural renovation. The color is not surprising, as it suited the Russian family that took over the palace in the eighteenth century. The Palazzo Blu also has a permanent collection, consisting of three sections. The collection consists of objects from the time of the founding of Pisa, the Simoneschi collection and the state apartments. The auditorium often hosts conferences, workshops and events (info and tickets).

Pisa

9. Borgo Stretto

The Borgo Stretto is the most famous street in Pisa. It is a real shopping street with fourteenth- and fifteenth-century porticos of palaces. The street starts at the bridge Ponte di Mezzo and goes in the direction of the Pisa towers. Along the way you will come across Piazza del Pozetto, where you will find a copy of Madonna dei Vetturini by Nino Pisano on a tabernacle. You will also find the medieval Chiesa San Michele on this street. It is built on the site where a temple dedicated to the Roman god Mars had previously been built. It is a church in Gothic style and you will find works of art by Lupo di Francesco, Nino Pisano and Rosselli, among others.

Visit Pisa

10. Giardino Scotto

The Giardino Scotto or Cittadela Nuova is a city park within the ancient city walls of Pisa. In 1095 the Church of San Andrea was founded on these grounds and many crafts took place here in the late Middle Ages. The Florentines turned it into a fortress after Pisa fell to Florence. In 1785 the fortress fell into the hands of Domenico Scotto, after which private gardens were laid out behind the fortress in 1936. Subsequently, the gardens were donated to the citizens of Pisa and it became a city park.

Pisa in Italy

11. Orto e Museo Botanico di Pisa

The Orto Botanico di Pisa is the oldest botanical garden in Italy and is currently affiliated with the University of Pisa. The garden has been around since 1544 and was established under the reign of Cosimo I. The botanist Luca Ghini was in charge of the botanical garden. The garden is divided into several sections with a botanical school, ponds, greenhouses and several buildings worth seeing. Must-sees are, for example, the herb gardens, the old botanical institute and the large tree gardens (website).

Pisa activities

12. Pisa sightseeing by bike

A nice way to discover the city of Pisa is by bike. Cycle for three hours under the guidance of a guide along the sights of Pisa and listen during this bike tour to anecdotes and wonderful stories about the history of the city. Read more about this bike tour in Pisa.

Things to do in Pisa

13. Museo di San Matteo

On the Arno is a medieval monastery with an ornate Gothic facade. For years the building served as a prison, but eventually it was transformed into a museum, focusing on Pisan painting and sculpture from the twelfth to the fifteenth century. A real eye catcher is the crucifix of San Ranierino by Giunta Pisano. You can also admire medieval art and Islamic ceramics in this museum. Another admirable section is the code miniatures, where you'll find the Calci Bible (museum website).

Pisa things to do

14. Mural Tuttomondo (Keith Haring)

Keith Harring's last mural ever can also be found in the Tuscan town and can be viewed completely free of charge. The artwork is called Tuttomondo and is one of the few permanent murals by the graffiti artist. You can find the artwork on the facade of the Monastery of San Antonio near Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. The artwork was created in 1989, just a few months before Harring's death. It is 180 square meters in size and you will find thirty figures in exactly one week. The symbols stand for peace and tolerance.

landmarks

15. Basilica Romanica di San Piero a Grado

The San Piero a Grado is a church just outside Pisa. The church was built on the site where once stood one of the gateways to Pisa where, according to legend, Saint Peter landed in Italy. The bell tower of the church was destroyed during the Second World War, so only the base of it has been rebuilt. The interior of the church is serene, but contains a few nice sights. First, you will find the chapel, where Saint Peter prayed for the first time in Italy. On the wall you will find a huge fresco by Orlandi from the late fourteenth century. You will also find portraits of the popes from Saint Peter to John the XVIII.

Popular activities in Pisa Italy

In addition to the above tourist attractions, you can enjoy many fun activities in Pisa, such as various guided tours. Coming from Florence, the city is easily accessible by train. With an hour's journey you go direct by Trenitalia train to Pisa. There are also several day trips that take you from Florence to the highlights in Tuscany.

Pisa B&Bs and hotels

If you are looking for a place to stay in Pisa or the surrounding area, the best place to stay is a Bed & Breakfast. The city does have a number of hotels, but when it comes to B&Bs, you have plenty of nice addresses to choose from, all of which have received excellent reviews. For example, Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast is my favorite, which is definitely decorated with a lot of style and is only 700 meters from the city center. If you prefer a stay with modern, luxurious and large rooms, Palazzo Cini Luxury Rooms on the south side of the center is worth a look. If you really want to be in the heart of the city center, the hospitable la Lu cozy rooms is an excellent B&B.

Hotels Pisa
Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast
More info
Pisa hotel
Palazzo Cini Luxury Rooms
More info
Pisa B&B
B&B la Lu cozy rooms
More info

Are you coming to Pisa by car? Then B&B Relais Paradisee, a 15-minute walk from the Tower of Pisa, is a must see, where you can also park your car at the residence. Are you looking for a quiet location just outside the city? Then Fattoria L’Olmetto holiday farm, 3 kilometers from the city center of Pisa, is a wonderful place to spend the night, from where you have a good base for making day trips in the area. Do you want to stay overnight near the airport? Then take a look at the cozy B&B La corte di Stelio, from where you can easily explore the area with your car.

Bed & Breakfast Pisa
B&B Relais Paradise
More info
pisa hotels
Fattoria L'Olmetto (3 km)
More info
Bed & Breakfast Pisa
La Corte di Stello (bij luchthaven)
More info

Where are the sights in Pisa?

FAQ What to do in Pisa - sights and attractions

What are the sights in Pisa?

The main attractions are in Piazza dei Miracoli where you will find the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Camposanto. Furthermore, in Pisa the Santa Maria della Spina, the botanical gardens, Piazza dei Cavalieiri and the Borgo Stretto are the main highlights. In this article you can read all about the Pisa attractions.

What are the sights in Tuscany?

In Tuscany you will find a number of beautiful cities with a medieval character such as Siena, San Gimignano and Lucca. In addition, the Tuscan capital Florence should not be missed with its beautiful Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery. In addition, the beautiful Chianti wine region is located in Tuscany. More info about Tuscany and the Florence area.

What are the sights in Florence?

The main attractions are the Duomo, or the cathedral of Florence, and the Uffizi museum. Other places of interest are Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria square, Palazzo Pitti with the Boboli Gardens, the Medici Chapels, the Galleria dell'Accademia, Piazzale Michelangelo and the Basilica di Santa Croce. In this article you can read all about the Top 25 Florence attractions.

Where is Pisa located?

Pisa is located in the Italian region of Tuscany and in the province of the same name. The city is located near the coast, 83 kilometers west of Florence.

Pisa attractions
Our readers say
4.8 (95.83%) 196 reviews
November 30, 2021 Simone: "We had a fantastic holiday in Florence and Tuscany because of the interesting tips for sightseeing and activities in Florence."