Things to do in Pisa

Things to do in  Pisa

Lean into it

Pisa is synonymous with its most famous attraction—the Leaning Tower—but there's more to this storied Tuscan city than its listing bell tower. Tours of the cathedral, baptistery, and bell tower in Piazza dei Miracoli top the list of things to do in Pisa, but the adjacent (and often overlooked) old town is also a delight. Check out the spindly Church of Santa Maria della Spina, sip espresso in Piazza dei Cavalieri, stroll along the top of the medieval city walls, and soak up this university town’s sassy student vibe.

Top 9 attractions in Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

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Perhaps one of the world's most beloved architectural mistakes, the Leaning Tower of Pisa's inimitable tilt has made the UNESCO World Heritage site an Italian icon. While travelers flock to snap photos of themselves "holding up" the tilted tower—originally intended as a bell tower for Pisa Cathedral—you can also ascend the 294-step spiral staircase for stunning views over Pisa.More

Piazza dei Miracoli

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One of the most famous sights in all of Tuscany—perhaps all of Italy—stands in the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa. This grassy expanse is home to the city’s cathedral complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Duomo, Monumental Cemetery, and Opera del Duomo Museum. The headliner, however, is the Leaning Tower of Pisa.More

Carrara Marble Quarry

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The pure white marble from Carrara’s quarries has been used since Roman times for everything from landmarks like the Pantheon to Renaissance sculptures like Michelangelo’sDavid. Take a guided tour through the massive underground caverns and open-air quarries and see where this stone has been mined for centuries.More

Pisa Cathedral (Duomo)

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Visitors flock to Pisa’s famous leaning tower, which is part of a magnificent cathedral complex centered around the 17th-century Duomo and adjacent baptistery. A splendid example of Pisan Romanesque architecture, the Duomo’s original and renovated elements include a splendid apse mosaic, ornate pulpit, golden coffered ceiling, and more.More

Pisa Baptistery (Battistero)

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Pisa’s Leaning Tower may be more famous, but the nearby baptistery (battistero) is equally captivating. Clad in white marble with intricately carved rows of Romanesque and Gothic arches and a cupcake dome, the baptistery is one of the essential sights in the city’s UNESCO-listed cathedral (duomo) complex.More

Knights' Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri)

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Pisa’s most famous attraction may be its Leaning Tower, but for centuries its heart was Knights’ Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri), remodeled by the architect Vasari in the 16th century into a classic example of Renaissance civic planning. Today, the square is home to Pisa’s university in the medieval center.More

Monumental Cemetery of Pisa (Camposanto Monumentale)

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Italy is home to some of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, including the Monumental Cemetery of Pisa (Camposanto Monumentale). Part of the UNESCO-listed cathedral complex, this Gothic cloister features intricate marble arches encircling a central courtyard, 14th-century frescoes, chapels, and rows of Roman sarcophagi.More

Church of Santa Maria della Spina (Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina)

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Pisa’s exquisite Church of Santa Maria della Spina (Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina) is covered in intricate and fanciful stonework, a hallmark of the 14th-century Pisan Gothic style. With its fairytale exterior and magnificent Madonna of the Rose by Andrea and Nino Pisano inside, this church is a tiny gem and the perfect foil to the grandeur of the city’s Duomo.More

Church of San Sisto (Chiesa di San Sisto)

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The Church of San Sisto (Chiesa di San Sisto) is one of the oldest in Pisa, and its simple stone facade is an excellent example of early Pisan-Romanesque architecture. Contrast this modest masterpiece with another of Pisa's attractions, the ornate Gothic Duomo, by taking a guided tour of both.More

Top activities in Pisa

Cinque Terre tour in Small Group from Pisa
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Leaning Tower of Pisa Entry Ticket
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Pisa tour by bike : The Road To The Sea
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Pisa perfect walking tour

Pisa perfect walking tour

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Share your Pasta Love: Small group Pasta and Tiramisu class in Pisa
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Pisa Private Walking Tour

Pisa Private Walking Tour

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Private pasta-making class at a local's home with tasting in Pisa
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All about Pisa

When to visit

Pisa is best visited in spring and early fall, in the months of April, May, June, September, and October. These months can be busy and expensive, but they offer temperate weather and the conveniences of peak travel season without massive crowds. Travelers visiting in June can partake in the Feast of St. Ranieri, also called the Luminara of San Ranieri, when the city is illuminated with lamps and candles on the Arno River and with midnight fireworks.

Getting around

Given that Pisa’s main attractions are clustered on the Piazza dei Miracoli, the city is best explored on foot. Walking from the Pisa Centrale train station to the piazza takes roughly 20 minutes, but bus lines Nos. 120 and 140, among others, cut the travel time in half. Also, bikes are great for exploring the city and traveling further afield—the Ciclopista del Trammino route takes bikers along the Arno River to Marina di Pisa on the coast.

Traveler tips

A little-known fact: Pisa has more than one leaning tower. The obscure Basilica San Nicola is located on Via Santa Maria just north of the National Museum of the Royal Palace, a stone’s throw from the Arno River. Pay attention as you pass and you’ll notice that the church’s bell tower is tilting, albeit slightly. Also, the bell tower is unusual, consisting of circular, octagonal, and hexagonal sections.

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A local’s pocket guide to Pisa

Rebecca Winke

Pisa is home to much more than just its iconic bell tower, as travel writer Rebecca has discovered on her many visits to this Tuscan beauty.

The first thing you should do in Pisa is...

book your tickets to the Leaning Tower. You’re going to visit sooner or later, so you may as well be smart about it and avoid the hassle of a long line.

A perfect Saturday in Pisa...

is spent far away from the crowds in Piazza dei Miracoli and instead involves exploring the narrow lanes lined with shops and eateries in the historic quarters of San Martino and San Francesco.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Leaning Tower. Sure, it’s a travel cliché, but this listing bell tower seems to defy gravity and will stop you in your tracks no matter how many photos you’ve seen of it.

To discover the "real" Pisa...

explore the city’s bookshops. Pisa is home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities and has long been a cultural and literary hub. Browse its many landmark “librerie” to mix with local Pisani and students.

For the best view of the city...

take a walk along the medieval walls that circle the old town and overlook rooftops and gardens from about 35 feet (11 meters) above ground for a unique perspective of the historic center.

One thing people get wrong...

is assuming that there is nothing in Pisa beyond Piazza dei Miracoli. This historic city has a lively center with cafè-lined squares, funky shops and galleries, and an authentic feel that seems worlds away from the tourist hubbub.

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People Also Ask

What is Pisa famous for?

​​Pisa houses one of Italy’s most iconic landmarks, known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This famed 12th-century bell tower tilts about 4 degrees due to a faulty foundation and is part of the city’s cathedral complex on Campo dei Miracoli that includes the church, baptistery, bell tower, and cemetery.

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How many days do you need for Pisa?

You can visit Pisa’s Campo dei Miracoli—site of the Leaning Tower and cathedral complex—plus the city’s old town in a single day. Keep in mind that you must reserve timed tickets to the Leaning Tower in advance, so choose an early morning entry to make the most of your day.

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How can I spend a day in Pisa, Italy?

Begin at the UNESCO-listed Campo dei Miracoli with a visit to Pisa’s cathedral, baptistery, and—of course—Leaning Tower (book tickets in advance to climb the tower). Afterwards, take a stroll through the city’s handsome old town to admire its landmark churches, palaces, and squares plus the storied university district.

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Why is the Leaning Tower of Pisa a tourist attraction?

Part of the UNESCO-listed Pisan Romanesque cathedral complex, Pisa’s gravity-defying bell tower is both an architectural treasure and a souvenir-snapshot must. The tower’s remarkable tilt is fun to photograph as an optical illusion, with a person in the foreground “propping” the tower up with their hand.

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What else is there to do in Pisa aside from the Leaning Tower?

Pisa has one of Tuscany’s most captivating old towns, with lively squares that bustle with locals and students of the city’s historic university, plus a collection of landmark churches. Take in the Santa Maria della Spina Church, sip a cappuccino in Knights’ Square, and marvel at Keith Haring’s final mural.

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What is there to do in Pisa for teens?

Teen visitors love to climb the vertigo-inducing Leaning Tower, so begin there (prebooking is essential). Then, head to the old town, buzzing with university students. Check out street art by Keith Haring, get your fill of thrills and chills at the Museum of Veterinary Anatomy, and browse the edgy streetwear shops.

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