Pisa is a beautiful city in Tuscany that is world renowned for its leaning tower. While the city has historical churches, tons of outdoor activities, delicious food, and history, most visitors simply make this place a stopover to see the tower. If you have more time, stay a day or two to explore a city no one else bothers to ever really see.
- Hostel Prices: Hostels are expensive in Pisa with dorms ranging from $30-40 USD per night. Private rooms start at $80.
- Budget Hotel Prices: Budget hotels start at around $60 USD per night for a double room.
- Average Cost of Food: It’s easy to have a great (and expensive) Italian meal here but it’s also easy to eat for less than $13 USD a day. Most restaurant meals with wine will cost around $27 USD per person. In tourist hot spots, add about $13 USD to that. Quick eats like pizza, paninis, and light snacks will cost $4-5 USD. Fast food will cost $10 USD for a value meal. At all restaurants, add $2-3 USD for the “coperta” (sit down fee).
- Transportation costs: The bus fare us about $2 for a single ride ticket. Taxis are very expensive (like everywhere in Italy). It’s best to avoid them.
Top Things to Do
- Piazza del Duomo - This area is home to the famous Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, the Baptistery and all the tourist and vendors who come here. Come take a look at the tower, walk up it, and take the quintessential picture of you trying to hold it up (or push it over)!
- See Piazza dei Cavallieri - This square was at one time the center of the medieval Pisa. It has tons of detail and a good place to see medieval architecture.
- Visit Camposanto – According to legend, this cemetery was built on the spot where the Crusaders placed the soil they brought back from the Holy Land. It was the site of many pilgrimages during the middle ages. A bit of off the beaten track, morbid tourism!
- See Museo di San Matteo – This is an art and history museum with a special collection of original art, collected from the churches of Pisa. Despite its somewhat petite size, this museum is host to one of the biggest exhibits of Tuscan renaissance art in all of Europe.
- Relax in a natural spa – The thermal waters that run through the baths here have been used for thousands of years. Rich in various minerals, they are said to have healing and rejuvenation properties. Many people utilize the pools for relaxation in addition to rehabilitation, respiratory, and cardiovascular treatment.
- Attend a local cultural evens – There are two major ones, the first being the Gioco del Ponte. This is a historical reenactment that occurs every summer, where teams of 20 attempt to battle across the Ponte di Mezzo. On June 16th is the Luminara festival, when all the lights along the river are dimmed, and thousands of candles are lit in honor of patron saint San Renieri.
- See the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina Originally built between 1223 and 1230, this church is an awesome Gothic-architectural site. The outside of it is extremely ornate and covered in statues and tabernacles. The main attraction, the Madonna of the Rose, can be found inside.
- The University of Pisa – First founded in 1343, this is one of the oldest universities in Italy. The campus is beautiful, with lots of interesting architecture to see and take pictures of. The oldest academic botanical garden, known as the Orto botanico di Pisa, can also be found here. It originally opened in 1544.
- Avoid the summer – Summertime is hot, crowded, and expensive. Tourist are plentiful, and accommodations are pricier and harder to come by. You could go in late February and be there for perfect 70 degree weather.