Pisa is located in Tuscany and 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 take their super cliched picture with the tower (I’m not judging. I took one too.). There’s so much more to the city than just the tower. I urge you to spend a night or two in the city and roam around. Few tourists stay in the city or roam outsider the tower area so, when you do, you’ll have the city to yourself and get to see the real local side!
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Pisa
1. The Leaning Tower
2. Admire the Duomo
3. Visit Camposanto
4. See Museo di San Matteo
5. Take a day trip to Lucca
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Visit the Baptistery of St. John
Located right next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Baptistery of St. John is actually slightly taller than the Tower. Construction of the Baptistery began in the 12th century. The exterior is highly ornamental with intricately-carved reliefs. Because the interior is very plain, it may not be worth battling the crowds to go inside.
2. Check out the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
At the east end of Piazza del Duomo is the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. This building houses an art collection related to the religious structures in the plaza. Note: This is currently closed for extensive renovations. Check when you arrive to find more information.
3. See Piazza dei Cavallieri
This square was at one time the center of the medieval Pisa. It has tons of detail and is a good place to see medieval architecture.
4. Attend a local cultural event
The Gioco del Ponte is a historical reenactment that occurs every summer when 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.
5. See the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Originally built between 1223-1230, this church is an awesome example of Gothic architecture. 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.
6. Check out 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 take in. The oldest academic botanical garden, known as the Orto Botanico di Pisa, can also be found here and dates back to 1544.
7. Get your art fix for free
Palazzo Blu (the Blue Palace) lies along the river in the historic center. It is home to over 300 artworks ranging from the 14th to 20th centuries. Entry is free and open daily (except Mondays) from 10am-7pm with extended hours on the weekends.