Pisa is one of the most visited towns in Italy, thanks to its world-famous Leaning Tower. One of the most famous buildings in the world, the Leaning Tower is known around the globe as a symbol of this town and of Italy as a whole. But there’s much more to this town than just a famous photo opportunity.

Pisa is a relatively small city, and its compact historic center is ideal for exploring on foot. With excellent rail connections to nearby cities like Florence and Rome, Pisa is easy to reach and fun to explore. Although it’s worth visiting the city just to see the tower and get your photo with this famous structure, Pisa’s historic center is charming enough to reward spending a day or two exploring.

Once you’ve dropped off your bags at a luggage storage near the train station, you’ll be ready to explore the historic center of town. Just a short walk from the train station, you can encounter the beauty and history of this famous Italian city for yourself.

Getting to Pisa

Although Pisa does have an international airport, a huge portion of the city’s visitors come via the Pisa Centrale train station. The train station can be reached from Florence Santa Maria Novella by direct train in under an hour and at a cost of only about nine euros. That makes this one of the easiest and most affordable ways to reach Pisa from the nearest major city. Florence is also connected to Rome via a high-speed train line, so Pisa is easy to reach from other cities in Italy, though, in most situations, you will have to change trains in Florence.

Pisa Centrale is also easy to reach from the popular tourist hotspot of Cinque Terre, a set of five beautiful coastal villages overlooking the Ligurian Sea. It’s easy to combine a trip to Cinque Terre with a visit to Pisa to see two different sides of this part of Italy.

What to do in Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Obviously, you can’t visit Pisa without seeing the famous Leaning Tower. One of the most visited and most photographed buildings in the world, this tower dates back to the 12th century, and its famous lean started almost immediately due to unstable foundations. Many attempts have been made to correct the tower’s lean over the years, but now it is held at a precarious angle to preserve its historic and architectural interest.

You can climb a couple of hundred steps to reach the top of the tower and get incredible views over the city. But due to the iconic tower, many of the best views are from the ground.

You may experience long lines to get into the tower, so it’s worth considering booking your ticket in advance.

Pisa Cathedral

The Leaning Tower was built to be the bell tower of Pisa Cathedral, and you’ll find this incredible structure just next door. This is the oldest structure in the so-called Piazza dei Miracoli, the Piazza of Miracles, and its architecture is indeed miraculous. First opened back in 1118, the Cathedral has been the spiritual heart of the city for centuries.

Inside, you’ll find priceless paintings from the Renaissance and mosaics from the medieval era. Don’t miss the 27 paintings behind the main altar that were created in the 16th and 17th centuries by some of the biggest names in Tuscan art of the time. And check out the marble egg where a beam of the sun falls on March 25 every year from a carefully designed window to celebrate what used to be the start of the Tuscan year.


The third structure in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli is the beautiful Baptistery. Begun in the 12th century, it was not completed until the 14th century, when its iconic domed roof was added. This is the largest baptistery in Italy and easily one of the most beautiful. Check out the ornate statues and architectural details of the exterior before going inside to see the contrast with the relatively plain interior of this beautiful building.

Piazza dei Cavalieri

Functioning as the main square of the historic heart of the city, Piazza dei Cavalieri is famous for the ornate palace that occupies one side of the square and was once the headquarters of the Knights of St. Stephen. Most of the incredible architecture here dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, but this is no museum. The square functions as a kind of communal living room for modern Pisa, just as it did during the Renaissance, and it’s a wonderful place to get a drink, a bite to eat, or just people-watch and soak up the lively atmosphere of this famous city.

Scotto Garden

Pisa is a popular place, and at busy times, the crowded streets of the city can be overwhelming. If you need to get away and take a break in some serene surroundings, the Scotto Garden is the perfect place to go. Containing a 15th-century fortress, the garden has plenty of historical interest to go with its scenic beauty. Stretch out on the grass in the shade of a tall tree and soak up the atmosphere of this hidden gem.

Palazzo Blu

This striking blue building located on the banks of the river Arno is hard to miss. But the interior is just as pleasing as the outside. This is one of the top art galleries in Pisa, with an astonishing collection of Italian art on display inside the medieval building.

Pisa from Centrale Rail Station

Centrale Station makes a great base for exploring the historic heart of Pisa. The Piazza dei Miracoli and the famous Leaning Tower are about a 20-minute walk away from the train station, while Palazzo Blu and Scotto Garden are much closer, requiring a walk of around 10 minutes. Along the way, you’ll encounter beautiful medieval streets and the lively atmosphere of this famous city. Leave the bags behind at Centrale, and you’ll have all of Pisa in front of you, just waiting to be explored.

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