Best Things to Do in Pisa, Italy: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Flora Backup
here are the best things to do in Pisa, Italy in 2023
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Are you thinking about visiting Pisa in Italy this year? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Pisa. These charming sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Ah, Pisa! A name that conjures the image of its iconic Leaning Tower in an instant. But let’s uncover more: Pisa isn’t solely about that. Resting in the heart of Tuscany, this captivating city offers much beyond. Imagine wandering down cobblestone lanes, each unveiling centuries-old artistry, or relishing a slice of genuine Italian pizza as the sun dips behind the River Arno. So, when it comes to things to do in Pisa, a world of experiences awaits.

Now, you might be thinking, “What to do in Pisa beyond that famous tilted tower?” Well, you’re in for a delightful surprise. From the awe-inspiring Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta to the tranquil vibes of Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa offers a rich tapestry of experiences that go far beyond the obligatory tower selfie.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, or someone simply looking to soak up the Italian sun, Pisa has something for everyone. And the best part? It’s all easily accessible, making it perfect for a weekend getaway or even a day trip from nearby cities like Florence or Lucca. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the hidden gems of this Tuscan paradise. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Pisa.

The top places to visit in Pisa,Italy right now
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Best Places to Visit in Pisa

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Pisa? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this iconic vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Pisa places to visit.

Are you looking to discover a destination’s rich history by exploring renowned landmarks like impressive architectural wonders and vibrant squares? Or would you prefer to meander along serene waterways to fully embrace the local atmosphere, indulging in delectable culinary experiences and exploring bustling markets? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Pisa can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Pisa that you should know about.

1. Leaning Tower Of Pisa

Ahh the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the city’s poster child and a must-see in Pisa. But don’t just snap a photo from the ground; take the 294-step spiral staircase to the top. The climb might leave you a bit winded, but trust us, the panoramic views of Pisa are worth every step. From up here, the city unfolds like a beautiful Italian tapestry, with terracotta rooftops, the sparkling River Arno, and the lush Tuscan countryside stretching as far as the eye can see.

While the tower’s tilt—caused by unstable foundation soil—might give you a slight sense of vertigo, it’s completely safe and has been stabilized by engineers. Plus, it adds a distinctive twist to your typical tower climb. You’ll also get a close-up look at the tower’s intricate marble and stone craftsmanship, a testament to Pisa’s rich architectural history.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the city's iconic symbol and a must-see attraction.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the city’s iconic symbol and a must-see attraction.

Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply looking for that perfect Instagram shot, scaling the Leaning Tower offers a different perspective on the city. A visit to this destination is among those best things to do in Pisa that you’ll remember long after you’ve returned home.

2. Piazza dei Miracoli

Curious about where to go in Pisa to witness a collection of architectural wonders that will leave you in awe? When it comes to Piazza dei Miracoli, or the Square of Miracles, the name says it all. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a home to the iconic Leaning Tower, the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and the serene Baptistery.

But don’t just rush through; take your time to soak in the atmosphere. The lush green lawns contrast beautifully with the white and grey marble structures, creating a surreal, almost dreamlike setting. It’s one of those unique places in Pisa where history, art, and spirituality converge.

Piazza dei Miracoli offers diverse experiences: photography, facades admiration, or contemplative moments amid its beauty.
Piazza dei Miracoli offers diverse experiences: photography, facades admiration, or contemplative moments amid its beauty.

The Piazza dei Miracoli offers a multitude of experiences for those snapping photos, admiring the intricate facades, or simply sitting on the grass contemplating the beauty around. It’s not just a place to visit; it’s a place to feel, to breathe, and to understand why Pisa is more than just a leaning tower.

3. Discover the Artistic Treasures at Museo Nazionale di San Matteo

If you’re an art aficionado, the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo is one of those Pisa places to visit that should be right there on your list. Tucked away from the bustling tourist spots, this museum is a hidden gem that houses an impressive collection of medieval art. From sculptures to paintings, the exhibits here offer a deep dive into Pisa’s rich artistic heritage.

Pondering about what to do in Pisa if you’re a history enthusiast? Well, this museum answers that question with rooms filled with artifacts that tell the story of the city’s past. You’ll find works by renowned artists like Giovanni and Andrea Pisano, setting the stage for an enriching experience.

Visiting the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo is one of the best things to do in Pisa.
Visiting the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo is one of the best things to do in Pisa.

More than just a visual treat, the museum is an emotional journey. As you wander through the various rooms, you’ll feel a connection to the artists and their masterpieces, almost as if they’re whispering their stories in your ear. It’s one of those coolest things to do in Pisa that offers both education and inspiration.

Looking to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in some authentic Pisan culture? The Museo Nazionale di San Matteo should be high on your list of Pisa attractions.

4. Camposanto Monumentale

The Camposanto Monumentale, a place that effortlessly combines history, art, and spirituality. This walled cemetery is one of the best places in Pisa to find a moment of serenity amidst your bustling travel itinerary. Built in the 12th century, the Camposanto is said to be the most beautiful cemetery in the world, and it’s easy to see why.

Legend has it that the cemetery’s soil was brought back from the Holy Land during the Crusades. Whether or not that’s true, there’s an undeniable aura of sanctity that envelops you as you explore.

Camposanto Monumentale offers serene moments amid your busy travel schedule.
Camposanto Monumentale offers serene moments in Pisa amid your busy travel schedule.

The cemetery is also a treasure trove of art. Frescoes that date back to the 14th century adorn the walls, and the intricate sarcophagi are a testament to the craftsmanship of yesteryears. It’s not just a place to pay respects; it’s a gallery that showcases the pinnacle of Pisan art and architecture.

5. Piazza delle Vettovaglie

Stepping into Piazza delle Vettovaglie places you at the very heart of Pisa’s vibrant local scene. To see this bustling square is one of the unique things to do in Pisa for anyone who wants to experience the city like a local. By day, the square is a hub for fresh produce markets where you can find everything from sun-ripened tomatoes to fragrant herbs. By night, it transforms into a lively social scene, complete with cafes, bars, and street musicians.

Are you a food lover? This is your spot. The surrounding streets are filled with authentic Italian eateries where you can indulge in mouth-watering pasta dishes or grab a quick, yet delicious, panini. The piazza itself is a feast for the senses, with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingling with the scent of Italian spices.

To see Piazza delle Vettovaglie is one of the unique things to do in Pisa for a local experience.
To see Piazza delle Vettovaglie is one of the unique things to do in Pisa for a local experience.

But Piazza delle Vettovaglie isn’t just a food lover’s paradise. It’s also a place where history and architecture come alive. The square is surrounded by beautiful old buildings, each with its own story to tell. The arches that encircle the square add a touch of Renaissance elegance, making it a perfect spot for some Instagram-worthy photos.

If your aim is to immerse yourself in Pisa’s local culture while savoring exquisite cuisine, consider prioritizing Piazza delle Vettovaglie among your choices.

6. Arno River

Contemplating on where to visit in Pisa to enjoy the natural beauty of the river? Explore the Arno River. The river cuts through the city, offering picturesque views that are straight out of a postcard. Now, you might be wondering, what’s the best way to enjoy this beauty? A leisurely stroll along its banks, of course!

Reflecting on the coolest activities in Pisa? Well, sometimes the simplest things offer the most joy. As you walk, you’ll pass by charming Italian houses with their pastel facades and flower-laden balconies. The reflections of these buildings in the water create a mesmerizing effect, perfect for photography enthusiasts.

To appreciate Pisa's natural beauty by the river, explore the Arno River.
To appreciate Pisa’s natural beauty by the river, explore the Arno River.

But the Arno River isn’t just a pretty face; it’s also steeped in history. Many of Pisa’s significant historical events unfolded along these banks. Take a moment to stop by the Ponte di Mezzo, a bridge that has seen countless stories and is a popular gathering spot during festivals.

And if you’re a fan of sunsets, you’re in for a treat. The sky turns into a canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples as the sun dips below the horizon. It’s a sight that will make you fall in love with Pisa all over again.

7. Orto e Museo Botanico

The Orto e Museo Botanico stands out as a hidden gem when considering unique places in Pisa. It’s often overlooked yet brimming with enchantment. Nestled in the heart of the city, this botanical garden and museum offers a tranquil escape from the bustling tourist spots. It’s a haven for plant lovers, history buffs, and anyone in need of a peaceful retreat.

The garden dates back to the 16th century, making it one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. As you wander through the lush pathways, you’ll encounter a diverse collection of flora, from exotic tropical plants to native Italian species. Each section is meticulously curated, offering a visual and educational feast.

The Orto e Museo Botanico is a hidden gem among Pisa's unique attractions.
The Orto e Museo Botanico is a hidden gem among Pisa’s unique attractions.

What makes this spot even more intriguing is its museum. Here, you’ll find fascinating exhibits that delve into the world of botany, from ancient herbal remedies to modern-day conservation efforts. It’s a place where science and beauty coalesce, showcasing Pisa’s rich cultural tapestry, and indeed a visit to this museum is among those best things to do in Pisa.

8. Osteria La Toscana

Ah, Italian food! Who can resist the allure of pasta, wine, and all things delicious? But let’s get specific: Pisan cuisine is a world of its own, and Osteria La Toscana is the place to dive in. This cozy eatery offers a culinary journey that’s as rich as the city’s history.

From the moment you step in, you’ll feel the warmth of Italian hospitality. The rustic decor, complete with wooden tables and vintage photos, sets the stage for a memorable meal. And let’s talk about the food—oh, the food! Freshly made pasta, locally sourced ingredients, and a wine list that’ll make any sommelier swoon.

Upon entering Osteria La Toscana, you'll immediately sense the warmth of Italian hospitality.
Upon entering Osteria La Toscana, you’ll immediately sense the warmth of Italian hospitality.

Curious about what to do in Pisa when you’re a foodie? This is it. The menu features traditional dishes like ‘Pappa al Pomodoro,’ a hearty tomato and bread soup, and ‘Cecina,’ a chickpea pancake that’s a local favorite. Each dish is a love letter to Pisan culture, prepared with skill and served with passion.

And don’t even get me started on the desserts. Tiramisu, panna cotta, and a selection of fine Italian cheeses await to round off your meal. Osteria La Toscana isn’t just a restaurant; it’s an experience that tantalizes all your senses.

9. Church of Santa Maria della Spina

Thinking of the best places to go in Pisa that you should be on top of your go-to list? The Church of Santa Maria della Spina often flies under the radar. Yet, this petite church, perched elegantly on the banks of the Arno River, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It’s like finding a rare gem in a city already sparkling with jewels.

The church’s intricate façade is a visual feast, adorned with sculptures, pinnacles, and tabernacles. Step inside, and you’re greeted by an intimate space that feels like a secret sanctuary. The stained-glass windows cast a soft, ethereal glow, making the interior feel almost otherworldly.

The Church of Santa Maria della Spina boasts an intricate facade adorned with sculptures, pinnacles, and tabernacles, a visual delight.
The Church of Santa Maria della Spina boasts an intricate facade adorned with sculptures, pinnacles, and tabernacles, a visual delight.

But what truly sets this church apart is its history. Originally built in 1230 to house a thorn from Christ’s crucifixion crown, the church has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. It’s not just a building; it’s a living testament to Pisa’s rich spiritual heritage.

10. Palazzo Blu

If you’re on the hunt for the coolest things to do in Pisa that offer a blend of art, history, and culture, look no further than the Palazzo Blu. Situated in the heart of the city, this striking blue palace is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

The exterior alone is a marvel, with its vivid blue façade standing out like a sapphire amidst the city’s historic architecture. Once you step inside, you’re transported into a world of artistic splendor. The museum houses an impressive collection of artworks, ranging from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Paintings, sculptures, and historical artifacts—there’s something here for every art lover.

When on a hunt for the coolest things to do in Pisa, explore Palazzo Blu.
When on a hunt for the coolest things to do in Pisa, explore Palazzo Blu.

The palace also hosts temporary exhibitions, featuring works from renowned artists like Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec. These exhibitions offer a fresh perspective, making each visit a one-of-a-kind experience.

But the Palazzo Blu isn’t just about art; it’s a journey through time. The building itself dates back to the 14th century and has undergone various transformations, each layer adding to its rich tapestry of history. It’s a living, breathing monument to Pisa’s cultural heritage.

The Palazzo Blu is a must-visit for anyone looking to delve deeper into the city’s artistic and historical landscape.

11. Pisa Charterhouse

For those in search of serene escapes from the city’s hustle, the Pisa Charterhouse (Certosa di Pisa) emerges as an unparalleled haven. Resting in the nearby hills, a short drive from the urban core, this Carthusian monastery embodies tranquility and the allure of natural beauty, offering a haven of peace and scenic allure.

The Charterhouse is a sprawling complex that includes a church, cloisters, and a series of small hermitages where monks once lived in solitude. The architecture is a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles, offering a visual feast for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.

The Pisa Charterhouse offers an unmatched haven for those seeking serene escapes from the city's hustle.
The Pisa Charterhouse offers an unmatched haven for those seeking serene escapes from the city’s hustle.

As you wander through the tranquil gardens and cloisters, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world. The meticulously maintained grounds are adorned with ancient olive trees, fragrant rose bushes, and a variety of medicinal herbs that the monks used for centuries.

One of the highlights is the church’s stunning frescoes, which depict scenes from the life of St. Bruno, the founder of the Carthusian Order. The artistry and attention to detail in these works are truly awe-inspiring.

A blend of history, art, and spirituality, the Pisa Charterhouse should be high on your list of cool destinations in Pisa. It’s a hidden gem that provides a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural tapestry.

12. Knights’ Square

For those who think Pisa is all about the Leaning Tower, the Knights’ Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri) is a revelation. This historic square is one of the Pisa things to do for history enthusiasts and architecture buffs alike.

Once the political center of medieval Pisa, the square is now dominated by the Scuola Normale Superiore, one of Italy’s most prestigious universities. The building itself is a masterpiece designed by Giorgio Vasari, the same architect who worked on the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

This historic square, Piazza dei Cavalieri, is a must-do for history enthusiasts and architecture buffs in Pisa.
This historic square, Piazza dei Cavalieri, is a must-do for history enthusiasts and architecture buffs in Pisa.

But it’s not just about the architecture. The square is steeped in history, from its time as the headquarters of the Order of Knights of St. Stephen to its transformation into an educational hub. A statue of Cosimo I de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, stands proudly in the center, a nod to the square’s storied past.

While you’re there, don’t miss the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The interior is adorned with naval flags captured from battles against the Ottoman Empire, adding another layer to the square’s rich history.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Pisa

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Pisa? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Pisa:

How do I get around Pisa?

Navigating Pisa is a breeze, thanks to its compact size and efficient public transportation. Buses and taxis are readily available, but honestly, the best way to explore is on foot. You’ll stumble upon hidden gems you’d otherwise miss!

What else is there to see in Pisa besides the Leaning Tower?

While the Leaning Tower often steals the spotlight, Pisa has much more to offer in terms of history, architecture, and culture. Here are some other attractions you shouldn’t miss:

  • Pisa Cathedral (Duomo di Pisa): Located in the same Piazza dei Miracoli as the Leaning Tower, this Romanesque cathedral is an architectural masterpiece with its intricate façade, bronze doors, and stunning mosaics.
  • Baptistery: Also in the Piazza dei Miracoli, the Baptistery is known for its remarkable acoustics and a mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. It’s the largest baptistery in Italy.
  • Campo Santo (Holy Field): This monumental cemetery, enclosed by high walls, is said to have been built around a shipload of sacred soil from Calvary, where Christ was crucified.
  • Santa Maria della Spina: A small yet beautiful Gothic church located along the Arno River, it’s known for its detailed façade and intricate sculptures.
  • Museo Nazionale di San Matteo: This museum houses an impressive collection of Tuscan art, including sculptures, paintings, and illuminated manuscripts.
  • Piazza dei Cavalieri: Once the heart of medieval Pisa, this square is home to the Scuola Normale Superiore, an elite university, and the Palazzo della Carovana, a grand building with a façade designed by Giorgio Vasari.

What’s the best time to visit Pisa?

Spring and fall offer the most pleasant weather, avoiding the summer tourist rush. However, if you’re a fan of lively festivals, consider visiting during the Luminara di San Ranieri in June. The city lights up, literally!

Is Pisa safe for tourists?

Absolutely. Pisa is generally safe for tourists. It’s a popular destination with a moderate crime rate. Regular precautions like safeguarding belongings and staying aware of surroundings are advisable, as in any city. Overall, visitors can explore and enjoy Pisa with reasonable confidence in their safety.

Here are the best things to do in Pisa, Italy
Here are the best things to do in Pisa, Italy

Can I climb the Leaning Tower in Pisa?

Yes, you can climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower is open to visitors who can ascend its 294 steps to the top. The incomparable experience offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding landscape, making it a popular attraction for those visiting Pisa.

Is Pisa worth visiting?

Absolutely, Pisa is more than just its iconic Leaning Tower. This Tuscan gem offers a rich blend of history, art, and culture, all wrapped up in a charming atmosphere. From hidden gardens to vibrant squares and delectable cuisine, Pisa provides a well-rounded Italian experience that’s definitely worth the trip.

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How can I spend a day in Pisa?

In a day, start with the iconic Leaning Tower and Piazza dei Miracoli for early morning photos. Head to Museo Nazionale di San Matteo for art, then stroll along the Arno River. Enjoy a Tuscan lunch at a local osteria. End your day exploring the hidden corners of Pisa’s Old Town.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Pisa

So there you have it, folks—a comprehensive guide to the best places to go in Pisa that goes beyond the iconic Leaning Tower. From hidden gardens and historic squares to mouthwatering cuisine and vibrant street life, Pisa offers a rich tapestry of experiences that captivate every type of traveler. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or someone simply looking to soak up the Tuscan sun, Pisa has something for you. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to fall in love with this Italian gem. Arrivederci!

The top things to do in Pisa, Italy for all types of travelers
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