Pisa is best known for its leaning tower but there is much more to see in Pisa, Italy. The area around the cathedral and tower is beautiful and can easily occupy several hours. Pisa was one of the four great maritime republics in the middle ages and retains a good selection of monuments from that era. There's also the Arno River, a university, and several interesting museums. It's a good city for strolling and enjoying at a leisurely pace.
Pisa is in the northern half of Tuscany, not far from the coast and about an hour west of Florence (see Tuscany Map
Pisa has a small airport, Aeroporto Gallei
, with flights to other Italian airports, some European cities, and Great Britain (find flights to Pisa
). To get from the airport into Pisa, take bus number 3. Airport car rentals include Avis, and Europcar. Pisa is easily reached by train or bus from Florence, the coast of Tuscany, and Rome. Local buses serve nearby towns. To get to Pisa by car, take the A11 or A12 autostrada
Pisa Tourist Offices:
Pisa has a tourist office in Piazza Duomo and at Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 16. There's also a branch at the airport.
When to Visit Pisa:
Pisa can be hot and crowded in summer, especially in the area around the cathedral and tower. Many of the tourists come for the day only so if you're visiting in high season, you might want to spend the night and enjoy the sites in the morning or evening. Spring and fall are the most pleasant times to visit Pisa.
Staying in Pisa:
Here are Pisa's top rated hotels
. If you want to experience Pisa like a local, consider staying in a holiday rental apartment like Behind the Tower
in central Pisa.
The Gioco del Ponte
, bridge game, is a re-enactment of a medieval contest between Pisans living north of the Arno River and south of the river. A parade with participants dressed in medieval costume starts the festival. Then two teams of 20 members push an huge cart along the middle of the bridge, trying to push it into the opposite team's area.
Every four years, Pisa hosts the annual Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics, a boat race between the maritime republics of Pisa, Venice, Genoa, and Amalfi. The race is preceded by a parade with costumed participants representing the four republics. See photos
Pisa Cafes and Restaurants:
Caffe dell'Ussuro is a historic Pisan cafe opened in 1794. The cafe is in a fifteenth century palazzo at Lungamo Pacinotti, 27. One of my favorite Pisa restaurants is Ristorante Lo Schiaccianoci, at Via Vespucci 104 near the train station. You'll find traditional food in Al Ristoro dei Vecchi Macelli, Via Volturno 49, and Antica Trattoria da Bruno, Via Bianchi 12. (both recommended by Touring Club of Italy)