Pisa, Italy, is widely known for its leaning tower, but there is much more to this Tuscan city. Visitors to Italy’s Tuscany region will marvel at the melodic singers in Pisa’s Baptistry with its renowned acoustics. Art lovers will find the Assumption of Mary fresco in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta dome mesmerizing. A casual stroll along the Arno River provides plenty of opportunities to photograph the picturesque architecture and bridges of Pisa.
1.Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower, also referred to as Tower of Pisa or Leaning Tower of Pisa, is a freestanding campanile in Pisa, Italy. The famous stone bell tower is widely known for its tilt, an unintentional architectural curiosity. In fact, its famous lean has garnered a place among the Seven Wonders of the World. Seven bells, the largest weighing 3.5 tons, has kept time in Pisa since at least 1655, with each bell having a singular musical note. The architectural wonder is made even more spectacular because of its location on famed Piazza dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles). Visitors can purchase tickets to climb the tower.
Piazza del Duomo, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-83-20-11
Other than the Tiber, the Arno River is central Italy’s most important river, flowing through both Florence and Pisa. Pisa was built along either side of the waterway, making it appear to cut through the city. A stroll along the river offers visitors a tranquil and picturesque experience. Photography buffs can capture the essence of Pisa architecture, plus the five stunning bridges that span the water. A guided walking tour of Pisa includes a stretch along the river. Another way to experience the beauty of Arno River is by ferry boat. Capture images of Renaissance palaces reflected in the water.
© Bagno Tirrenia
Bagno Tirrenia, founded in 1932, is situated between Calambrone and the Marina di Pisa. It’s the oldest bathhouse on the Tuscan coast, located on the southern end of Migliarino Natural Park. This coastal resort offers guests endless activities like beach games and sports, singing competitions, group dances, live music, and prize lotteries. Guests can lounge on the beach under the shade of an umbrella, or get out on the water with a paddle board. Acquamarina Restaurant provides a banquet of local traditional dishes either inside or on the 200-square-meter outdoor terrace. Visitors can take in an evening performance of the symphony orchestra, or enjoy other genres like rock, soul, progressive, and blues.
Viale del Tirreno, 18, 56128 Tirrenia, Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-05-03-70-61
© Patryk Kosmider/stock.adobe.com
Built in 1278, Camposanto Monumentale, or Holy Field, is Pisa’s Monumental Cemetery commissioned by Archibishop Federico Visconti. It’s among the oldest Christian medieval structures dedicated to the dead, and is the resting place of early upper-class Pisans. Built around a central quadrant, the inner walls were once adorned with frescoes depicting Life and Death. Many frescoes have been restored and are displayed in the north gallery. The Triumph of Death frescoe was fully restored and returned to its original location in 2018. Sepulchers in Camposanto Monumentale honor local families and the city’s Medieval past. Corridors, turned galleries, established a museum of archaeological objects.
Piazza del Duomo, 17, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-83-50-11/12
5.La Staffetta Tap Room
© La Staffetta Tap Room
Many travelers have discovered La Staffetta Tap Room in Pisa on their way to or from another attraction. Word of mouth has made this one of the most popular places in Pisa for refreshing craft beer. From hoppy Italian beers to session IPA to hemp ale, there are surprisingly tasty choices. Although not a restaurant, they do offer light bites like meats and cheeses, and sandwiches. Most of the beers here are local, either from La Staffetta, or from other local breweries. The tap room has a modern urban edge and offers views of Arno River from the sidewalk patio.
Lugarno Antonio Pacinotti, 24, 56126, Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-32-87-47-84-43
6.Le Dune Beach
Le Dune Beach is a waterfront luxury resort located in Calambrone, not far from Pisa. This seaside getaway is famous for its Tuscan hospitality, comfort, and elegance. Guests can relax on the beach, indulge in a fine dining experience, lounge by a pool with a sea view, or enjoy panoramic views from the American-style bar. Accommodations include beachfront apartments, or two styles of luxury cabins. The property also features gazebos with cots, deck chairs, beach towels, and a bar and restaurant. For family-friendly outdoor fun, there is a children’s playground, plus a beach volleyball field, and canoe, paddle board, and pedaló rentals.
Viale del Tirreno, 66, 56128 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-32-40-45-09-36
7.Museo delle Sinopie
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Museo delle Sinopie is one of the few places on earth where visitors can view sinopie (preliminary sketches) of frescoes that provide a glimpse into the fresco painting process. The museum safeguards numerous sinopias, done by 14th and 15th century artists in red earth pigment. Sinopias were painted over into frescoes. After fire damage during WWII, frescoes were peeled from the walls in an effort to restore and preserve them, revealing the sinopias beneath. The sinopias were also then removed and moved to the museum. Visitors can see beautiful frescoes, numerous sinopias, short films about fresco painting, and scale models at Museo delle Sinopie.
Piazza Arcivescovado 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-83-50-11/12
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8.Museum of Calculating Machines
© Museum of Calculating Machines
The Museum of Calculating Machines is housed in the town’s renovated slaughterhouse, now repurposed as a museum. This fascinating museum contains a historical collection of scientific instruments, including a geometrical compass that was invented and used by Galileo Galilei. Over 2000 items spanning 500 years are arranged into groups – large calculators, calculators, and scientific instruments. Visitors will want to look out for the Pisan Electronic Calculator, one of the world’s first large computers, built in Italy in 1961. Additionally, guests will find an archive of letters, notes, and manuscripts from notable scholars like Enrico Fermi and Antonio Pacinotti.
Via Bonanno Pisano, 2, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-057-14-27-45
9.Museum of Cathedral Works
© Alessandro Cristiano/stock.adobe.com
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, or Museum of Cathedral Works, is located in what was once an Episcopal seminary. Open to the public in 1986, the museum is the result of a lengthy project designed to present the medieval sculptures and art of Pisa. Many pieces are from the Piazza del Duomo reflecting the classical, Byzantine, and Islamic art of Pisa, or the three spirits. There are sculptures from the Baptistery, remains of Emperor Henry VII’s tomb, and an alterpiece from the St. Rainerius altar. Numerous medieval liturgical items like Giovanni Pisano’s Ivory Madonna to Pierre Ballin’s 17th century gold table service to a neo-Gothic chalice from Louis Phillippe, King of France.
Piazza del Duomo, 23, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-83-50-12
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10.Museum of Human Anatomy
The Museum of Human Anatomy, opened by Tommaso Biancini in 1832, displays a collection of over 1,600 specimens. Visitors can expect to see anatomical statues, skulls, fetal skeletons, wax models, and prepared specimens. There are also Egyptian and Colombian mummies, and a wax death mask by Paolo Mascagni. Pisa, a university town since 1343, is home to other collections, such as the Pathological Anatomy Museum next door. It displays examples of how nature can sometimes go wrong – a two-headed baby chick with four legs, a six-legged dog, and other curiosities. The Veterinary Anatomy Museum displays anatomical models of animals. Similar examples are scattered throughout Pisa.
Via Roma, 57, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-05-02-21-86-01
11.National Museum of San Matteo
© National Museum of San Matteo
The National Museum of San Matteo is housed in the former 11th-century Benedictine convent of San Matteo. Virtually destroyed during WWII, only remnants of the church and medieval wall remain. The convent was transformed into a museum after the building was restored in 1949. Visitors will find Pisa’s largest collection of art here. Medieval pottery and crockery, precious jewels, medieval coins and seals, and stone statues dating to the middle ages are all displayed. There are Romanesque sculptures, plus masterpieces by sculptors Donatello and Nicola Pisano. The museum has a collection of over 200 wood sculptures from the 13th century to the modern era, plus distinguished paintings over the same period.
Piazza San Matteo In Soarta, 2, 56127 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-54-18-65
12.Natural Park Migliarino San Rossorre
Travelers who thrive on off-the-beaten-path destinations will want to make their way to Natural Park Migliarino San Rossorre. This regional park is home to a massive strip of coastal Tombolo pine wood alive with flora and fauna, and dotted with fossils. Palazzetto a San Rossore, by contrast, is home to oak trees centuries old. Wild boar, fox, fallow deer, porupines, and blackbirds are abundant inland. Microclimates deliver varied experiences from sandy coastal shores and dunes to wetlands to woodlands. Of the park’s 57,000 acres, over 23,000 are rural. Visitors can walk or bike the nature paths, have a picnic, or experience a famous sunset.
Massaciuccoli Tenuta di San Rossore, Cascine Vecchie, 56122 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-53-91-11
13.Orto Botanico di Pisa
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Orto Botanico di Pisa is the world’s first university sponsored botanical garden, founded in 1543. Although it began on the Arno River banks, it was moved nearly 50 years later to its present location in 1591. Visitors will find plants from five continents on the seven-acre garden. Ancient trees, Tuscan swamp species, American and African desert succulents, and aromatic Mediterranean plants are all represented here. The Botanical Museum showcases 17th-century portraits of famous botanists, wax and plaster botanical models, water-based didactic tables, botany tools, paleobotany collections, and herbs, plus a closet of seeds representing the botanical garden are all here.
Via Luca Ghini, 13, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-05-02-21-13-10
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Palazzo Blu is a hub of cultural activities and temporary art exhibitions. It’s located along the Arno River in a dusty-blue 14th-century building. Inside, an ornate 19th-century interior provides the backdrop to Foundation Pisa’s illustrious art collection. On the second floor, visitors will find works spanning the 14th to 20th centuries. A variety of temporary exhibits that change frequently, grace the center’s first floor. Also on the first floor, visitors can tour the noble residence of the palace and see it as it would’ve appeared in the 19th century. There is also an archaeological section in the building’s basement. Admission includes access to the entire offerings.
Lungarno Gambacorti, 9, 56125 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-05-02-20-46-50
15.Pedicab Pisa City Ecotour
© Pedicab Pisa City Ecotour
Progetto Pedicab Pisa offers the first-ever eco-friendly pedicab tours of Pisa’s historical center to travelers. Driver, Roberto Alberti, explains the legends, curiosities, and famous people in Pisan history. Guests will explore Piazza dei Miracoli and squares and attractions along the main streets. Discover the birthplace of Galileo, the homes of writer Mary Shelley and poet Lord Byron, the home of Pisa’s last executioner, and the hidden mysteries of the city. Progetto Pedicab offers City Sightseeing, Hop On, Hop Off, and food and wine tours. Guests will be amazed by Roberto’s entertaining depth of knowledge making this activity both educational and fun.
5, Via Amergio Vespucci 97, Piano 3, Interno, 56125 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-37-37-54-29-67
16.Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles)
© Robert Hoetink/stock.adobe.com
Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) is the most visited square in Pisa, Italy. It is a fusion of early Christian, classical, eastern, and Lombard styles that come together in stylish harmony. Many of the city’s most important and famous attractions are here, including Pisa Cathedral, the Leaning Tower, Camposanto, the Baptistery, Opera del Duomo Museum (Museum of Cathedral Works), and Sinopie Museum. The magnitude of details throughout the Piazza and monuments is awe-inspiring. Tickets to various attractions in the square are located at the square entrance. Visitors must check bags here, as they are not allowed in some attractions.
Piazza del Duomo, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-83-50-11
© Bill Perry/stock.adobe.com
Pisa Baptistery is located in Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles). The immense structure, Italy’s largest baptistery, was founded in 1152 as a worthy and hormonious addition to majestic Pisa Cathedral. The Baptistery is where Christian sacraments of baptism took place at the grand octagonal baptism font. Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, father and son architects and sculptors, made changes to the original structure and added the pulpit and exterior sculpted figures, ushering in a new Renaissance of sculpture. The double dome of the baptistery accounts for its exceptional acoustics. Today, an attendant sings a few notes to demonstrate the acoustics every 30 minutes.
Piazza del Duomo, 23, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-83-50-11/12
Pisa Cathedral, founded in 1064, wasn’t completed until 1118. This magnificent Cathedral is the cornerstone building in the Piazza dei Miracoli. The cross-shaped edifice is a design masterpiece. The ornate façade features a series of gorgeous marble and stone arches and lavish bronze doors. An Islamic bronze griffon, alternating striped color shades, and other exterior details demonstrate Arab and Mediterranean cultural design influences. The interior is marked by sumptuous, rich details. The ceiling over the main aisle has gold decorations, and the basilica dome features a stunning Assumption of Mary fresco. A renovation was completed before the Cathedral’s 900th anniversary in 2018.
Piazza del Duomo, 56126 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-83-50-11/12
19.Pisa Urban Treasure Hunt
Visitors to Pisa who prefer the excitement of navigating their own way around rather than joining prescribed tours will love Pisa Urban Treasure Hunt. This innovative app for smartphones provides visitors with a fun and interactive tour of Pisa. Users are challenged to recognize monuments or places and point a smartphone toward the object. It uses visual recognition technology to trigger another level of immersive actions. There are three treasure hunts that range in difficulty. The more challenges met, the more points users accumulate. Points can be redeemed for prizes at the Pisa Tourist Office.
Piazza Michele da Montopoli, 14, Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-05-71-44-90-24
20.Smile & Ride
Smile & Ride, located near the Pisa railway station, helps visitors discover Pisa and Tuscany on a variety of bikes. They provide bike rentals, guided bike tours, and bikes and accessories for purchase. To venture out with a rental, Smile & Ride offers trekking bikes, e-bikes, folder bikes, city bikes and tandems. They can help you create the perfect itinerary and provide local tips for exploring on your own. Smile & Ride leads eight guided bike tours that highlight history, art, Tuscan natural beauty, and regional gastronomy. Tours-on-demand and customized tours are also available. Bike rental fees can be applied to a bike purchase.
Piazza Matteotti, 41, Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-057-13-11-01
21.The Certosa & Natural History Museum of Calci
The Certosa & Natural History Museum of Calci is situated in and old monastic complex. Visitors can tour the Natural History Museum, and with a museum ticket can also tour the old Carthusian monastery. Museum highlights include an intriguing collection of whale skeletons, collections of fossils and minerals, a section of dinosaurs, an aquarium of live fish, and an unusual collection of stuffed animals donated by a single hunter. Visitors can tour The Certosa, also known as the charterhouse or monastery, only on a guided tour. Highlights include ethereal pink or blue frescoes in the chapels, austere monks’ quarters with contemplative gardens, and palatial suites reserved for visiting nobility.
Via Roma, 79, 56011 Calci, Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-050-93-84-30
Although there’s a certain freedom to exploring a city independently, travelers often have a deeper understanding of the place they’re visiting when taking guided tours. Bellaitalia Tour provides visitors to Pisa a rich travel experience via any of their many tours that explore historical buildings, cultural monuments, and beautiful landscapes. The Pisa Private Walking Tour is a good place to start where tour guests discover the historic center of Pisa and the Leaning Tower. Cinque Terre and Pisa Shore Excursion is another must-do tour. Guests depart Port of La Spezia for a daytrip to the Cinque Terre UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Via Chiassatello 71, 56121 Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-39-22-55-35-67
23.Caf Tour & Travel
Caf Tour & Travel is a sightseeing tour company that has been guiding travelers on cultural, classic, and customized tours since 1954. Two favorites in Pisa are the Pisa Guided Walking Tour and the Pisa Guided Visit and Leaning Tower tour. The hour-long, afternoon walking tour takes visitors around Piazza dei Miracoli to view the dazzling exteriors of monuments in Piazza including the Leaning Tower, Baptistery, and Cathedral, plus a tour of Piazza dei Cavalieri. The longer Pisa Guided Visit offers the same informative outdoor experience, plus admittance to the Cathedral, and an opportunity to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Via Degli Alfani, 151, 50122 Firenze, Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-055-28-32-00
24.Do Eat Better Experience
Pisa, and Tuscany in general, has often been synonymous with fine foods, so where better to take a foodie tour than here? Tour guides lead visitors to popular, historical eateries for an authentic “pisano” experience of flavors. The 3.5-hour tour introduces guests to rural Tuscan cheeses and salamis, cecìna focaccia, and gourmet gelato. Other possible tastings include Tuscan soup, ribollita. Pisan breed stew, and uccelletto-style beans and sausage. Guests will enjoy this social eating experience of food and stories. Tours leave from Piazza Garibaldi on Tuesdays and Sundays. The walking tour takes place primarily in pedestrian-only parts of downtown with one serving at each stop.
Piazza Garibaldi (under the statue), Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-057-14-27-45
25.II Pineto Parco Avventura
© II Pineto Parco Avventura
Outdoor enthusiasts will love Il Pineto Parco Avventura, an exhilarating adventure park set in the woods of Marina di Pisa. There are eight courses situated among the trees that challenge visitors’ agility. Courses range from easy to difficult, and are designed to accommodate both children and adults. The most demanding courses will challenge even avid climbers. Although the park itself is free, tickets for courses offer two hours of use. The park is open daily from mid-morning to two hours prior to sunset during summer, and on weekends only the rest of the year. Safety equipment is provided for the courses, but visitors should wear comfortable clothes and close-toed shoes.
Via di Gualduccio, 566128 Marina di Pisa, Pisa, Italy, Phone: +39-33-96-66-25-54
25 Best Things to Do in Pisa, Italy
- Leaning Tower of Pisa, Photo: QQ7/stock.adobe.com
- Arno River, Photo: Marcus/stock.adobe.com
- Bagno Tirrenia, Photo: Bagno Tirrenia
- Camposanto Monumentale, Photo: Patryk Kosmider/stock.adobe.com
- La Staffetta Tap Room, Photo: La Staffetta Tap Room
- Le Dune Beach, Photo: Pakhnyushchyy/stock.adobe.com
- Museo delle Sinopie, Photo: Khun Ta/stock.adobe.com
- Museum of Calculating Machines, Photo: Museum of Calculating Machines
- Museum of Cathedral Works, Photo: Alessandro Cristiano/stock.adobe.com
- Museum of Human Anatomy, Photo: mdurinik/stock.adobe.com
- National Museum of San Matteo, Photo: National Museum of San Matteo
- Natural Park Migliarino San Rossorre, Photo: e55evu/stock.adobe.com
- Orto Botanico di Pisa, Photo: Dmitry Naumov/stock.adobe.com
- Palazzo Blu, Photo: Magdalena Juillard/stock.adobe.com
- Pedicab Pisa City Ecotour, Photo: Pedicab Pisa City Ecotour
- Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), Photo: Robert Hoetink/stock.adobe.com
- Pisa Baptistery, Photo: Bill Perry/stock.adobe.com
- Pisa Cathedral, Photo: bizio_ti/stock.adobe.com
- Pisa Urban Treasure Hunt, Photo: EdNurg/stock.adobe.com
- Smile & Ride, Photo: dbvirago/stock.adobe.com
- The Certosa & Natural History Museum of Calci, Photo: lorenza62/stock.adobe.com
- Bellaitalia Tour, Photo: william87/stock.adobe.com
- Caf Tour & Travel, Photo: radiokafka/stock.adobe.com
- Do Eat Better Experience, Photo: MikolajLesiak/stock.adobe.com
- II Pineto Parco Avventura, Photo: II Pineto Parco Avventura
- Cover Photo: Anatoly Repin/stock.adobe.com