Pisa, Tips for Visiting..
A few words about Pisa 🗣️
Pisa is yet another piece of Italy’s most beautiful puzzle that is known as Tuscany. The small town is built around the Arno River and has become famous due to a construction error, which has immensely impressed the whole world. This is none other than the widely known Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The town has only 90,000 residents and has based its growth on the Middle Ages, while nowadays it lives and breathes from tourism. It is noteworthy that the number of visitors, on a daily basis, is half of that of its residents (around 50,000 during high season)!Most of them stay for only a few hours, as the town is small and one can manage to see everything in short time. But Pisa stays alive even when the lights are turned on, when the countless students go out to have fun and fill every street with life and vividness. Choose to stay for one night, so that you get to meet a completely different Pisa, without the tourist bustle of daytime.
a) There are more leaning towers in the town, apart from the famous Pisa Tower. b) After the recent restoration, it is estimated to maintain its stability for another 300 years! c) In Pisa’s baptistery the great astrophysicist Galileo Galilei was baptized. Galileo was baptized there in 1565. d) It is the largest baptistery in the entire Italy. e) The Square of Miracles symbolizes the main stages of a human life: the Baptistery represents birth, the cathedral represents living and Camposanto (cemetery) represents death!
Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli)
Baptistery (Battistero)The externally imposing baptistery looks nothing like its plain interior space. Inside there are only a few things to explore, while its acoustics steal the show.
Open: Every day 08:30-20:00
Cathedral (Pisa Duomo)On the outside, the Cathedral of Pisa is pretty big and imposing with beautiful architectural touches. Its interior, on the other hand, is plain and the only things that draw the eyes are the golden coffered ceiling and the gigantic columns.
Open: Every day 10:00-20:00
Pisa TowerYou might have seen it in thousands of photographs, from all angles, yet if you stand before it you will exclaim “Wow, it is impossible”. The 60-meter leaning tower is one of the most well-known world heritage monuments. Do not just marvel at it from the ground. The ticket might be pricey, but it is worth going to the top and gazing at your future…be it somewhat crooked!
SOS: You can go up only if you have made online reservations. Book ONLY from the official website without any extra charge.
Open: Every day 08:30-20:00
Cemetery (Camposanto Monumentale)The Camposanto Monumentale cemetery is totally out of the ordinary, as it is an architectural jewel! The elements that steal the show are the sculptures and murals from the Middle Ages, as well as the prevailing silence.
Open: Every day 08:00-20:00
Sinopie MuseumWe would probably characterize it as a mural exhibition rather than a museum. It is worth taking a quick look around with the combo ticket of the three monuments.
Open: Every day 08:00-20:00
Important note: The three attractions of the Square of Miracles (Cemetery, Baptistery, Sinopie Museum) have individual costs, but you have the chance to get the combo ticket which includes two or three of them, for a lower price.
Combo ticket: 1 Monument 5 € –> 2 Monuments 7€ –> 3 Monuments 8€
Outside the square
Walk in the city centerWhoever wants to get to know Pisa better can simply take a walk around its city center. There they will come across palaces, medieval squares, bridges, the botanical garden, while they will also find dozens of options for coffee, ice-cream and food.
PorketaThe porketa is one of the favorite meats of the Italians, who “honor” it throughout the whole day. In the city you will mostly find it inside sandwiches, and combined with some local cheese and your favorite sauce, it will swiftly win over a special place in your belly…sorry, we meant heart!
Pisa night lifeDuring the day the town stays alive thanks to the thousands of tourists that wander around its streets. But when darkness falls, the scenery changes and the baton is passed over to the students, who keep the town’s streets and bars buzzing until late! Give in to Pisa’s “unknown” night-time allure!
Chiesa di Santa Maria della SpinaThe gothic Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina church is located next to the River Arno, very close to the town center. On the outside, it mesmerizes the visitor with its white and plain lines. Inside the church simplicity and beautiful sculptures are prevalent, while it is said that there is a “thorn” from the crown worn by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion.
Knights’ SquareThe enormous Knights’ Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri) may, at first glance, seem empty and characterless, yet it holds its own great part of history. During the night it turns into an entertainment hub, while it’s also the place where most public events are held. The building that draws all eyes is none other than the imposing Palace of the Knights!
Arno RiverWith a traditional gelato in hand you will have the chance to walk along the Arno River and take in some unique images that look like paintings. Reflecting on its waters you will see churches and dozens of buildings in shades of yellow, white, green, salmon, maroon, orange and blue (the famous blue Palazzo)!
Transportation Pisa 🚎
Transportation in the town is a simple business, since you can easily get to know it on foot. Distances are short and everything is quickly accessible. If you get there by car, you can park it for free at the Park Pietrasantina and reach the center on foot (8 minutes).
Food Pisa 🍔
Food in Pisa will not trouble you much, especially if you love pasta, pizza and cheese/cured meats platters! On the town’s central streets you will find many –mostly tourist- restaurants that serve dishes mediocre in quality and taste. Search for restaurants located in the streets around the Arno River! For a full meal you will pay 20-25€ per person.
Ristorante Galileo: The absolute restaurant to have a quality meal in the city. It is located on the south bank of the river, away from tourist trails, and offers delicious local flavors.
L’Officina della pizza: For original pizza without bells and whistles in very reasonable prices. It has only one disadvantage (?)…it is located far from the center.
Antica Bottega di Pisa: It is located in a tourist spot, but it has pretty good prices and good product quality. It is not a tourist trap.
Lavorazione di carni insaccate: For some decent and filling street food in the delle Vettovaglie Square, it is an excellent choice to fill your stomach without emptying your pockets.
Gelateria De’ Coltelli: It probably has the best gelato in town with many flavors and easy access (next to the Arno River).
Filter Coffee Lab: It may not exude a strong Italian scent, but it is a decent option for quality coffee and good breakfast (which is hard to find in this town).
Cecco Rivolta: A very good option in the town center to enjoy your wine accompanied by some cured meats and cheese (in the delle Vettovaglie square).
Vicolo Divino: A small wine bar with a big heart and a wide variety of wines. It will amaze you with its simplicity and quietness.
Accommodation Pisa 🏨
Pisa is a stop-and-go destination, so this is why prices are not very high, related to the rest of Italy. Hotels, with their low prices, aim to keep visitors for more than one day. For now, it looks like they are heading in the right direction. The average price per night is 75€.
Palazzo Cini Luxury Rooms in Pisa: It is the best option for accommodation in Pisa and it is only 500 meters away from the center. The luxury of the rooms, the breakfast and its price make it the most VFM hotel in town.
Rosso di Sera Tuscany: A very good option for accommodation in Pisa that includes breakfast and clean/modern rooms, in reasonable prices. The only problem is that it is located 2km away from the center.
Hotel Bologna: It makes for a good option in the town center, which provides high-quality rooms, at the respective cost.
Hostel Pisa: Clean and colorful, this hostel has a good reason to get on your list with the prospective places for accommodation. The reason is none other than the excellent quality to price ratio.
Rosso di Sera Tuscany B&B: A B&B with comfortable, modern and simple rooms. Prices are quite reasonable and the location is perfect, as it is only 50m away from the heart of Pisa.
Tips Pisa 💡
- On the upper floor of the baptistery there is a window with a view of the cathedral (Duomo), which not a lot of people know about and it is ideal for photographs!
- Around the Square of Miracles there are police and army forces present for your safety.
- In order to be allowed inside the Tower of Pisa you will have to leave your bags at the coat room at the opposite building (Lupa capitolina). There is no charge, you will simply have to show your ticket.
- The best and most affordable restaurants are located on the south side of the Arno River.
- Do not buy knock-offs from illegal street sellers, fines are heavy.
- There are dozens of pick-pockets both inside and around the Square of Miracles.
- Make sure you have bought water from a supermarket, as prices in central spots are very high.
- Do not get inside the town’s historical center with your car. A ticket will be waiting for you at home!
- If you want to take the best photographs with the Tower of Pisa you must be there during the sunrise. You will not be able to find even one square meter available later in the day!
- Visit the town on a weekday! The groups and visitors on weekends are up to three times more!
- There are websites (even with names such as towerofpisa.org) that charge a 10€ commission for every ticket! Book your tickets for the Square of Miracles ONLY from the official website, without any extra charges!
- The best period to visit is January-March, when there are fewer visitors and prices are pretty reduced..
- Pisa is in northern Italy, so rainfalls are pretty common.
- You should carry an umbrella, no matter which season you visit it.
- Do not buy tickets from people that will approach you inside the Square of Miracles. They are probably invalid.
- During the afternoon many restaurants/trattorie remain closed!
- The tombstones of the Camposanto Monumentale have been placed from a few centuries up to a few years ago.
- Pisa is a necessary excursion for anyone that visits Tuscany.