Based in Italy’s Tuscany region, Pisa is more than just a leaning tower. I have listed my favourite things to do in Pisa, but as always, if you feel something should be added to the list please do get in contact and I will add it.
1) Leaning Tower of Pisa
OK, this was always going to be number one, but it’s because it’s so iconic. Constructed in the 12th century, the lean wasn’t intentional. The foundations were unstable and inevitably the building began to lean to one side. Fortunately it hasn’t collapsed and they have taken a number of measures to ensure it won’t. The architect maybe should have seen this coming though, I mean ‘Pisa’ is Greek for marshy land, which wasn’t deeply considered when building the tower.
2) San Miniato
In this medieval town you will get the full Tuscany experience. Look out for white truffles while you are here, something San Miniato has become synonymous for. So well known for them, the town also hosts an annual event which gathers chefs and aficionados from around the world.
3) Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
I try not to list too many cathedrals and churches on my lists of things to do, as they can get a bit ‘samey’, but the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is definitely one to look out for, epitomising Pisa architecture of the times.
4) Saint Michael Church
Did you know there is a second leaning tower? You couldn’t make these things up. It’s the bell tower connected to the church which is based near the Arno river. This is also a great option if you want to get a good photo without all the crowds.
5) Campo Santo
I perhaps like this area more for the peaceful courtyard rather than the surrounding stone structure, but it has to be said it’s a great sight to see. A chance to sit down in the sun and take in the beauty of it all, this is an amazing structure within the Square of Miracles.
6) Take A Photo On The Ponte Di Mezzo Bridge
The bridge crosses the Arno river and offers some great views of Pisa. The best shots I feel are taken at sunset, sunrise or early evening as it starts to get dark and the lights come on.
7) Piazza Dei Miracoli
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site (I say now, on the year I was born so a good while ago), the name actually came from a famous poet. The best part is the wide plazas means you can explore without being squashed by crowds of tourists.
Construction started back in 1153, when Pisa was booming, but a good 100 years after the cathedral was built. The absolute must here is the marble pulpit, highlighting the unbelievable Romanesque style.
9) Have A Coffee In Piazza Della Pera
Surprisingly empty of tourists, this is a great option for lunch time or for a cheeky coffee break and you will see locals in their favourite gathering spot. The surrounding buildings are, like much of Pisa, simply stunning.
10) Museo Nazionale
This is the number on museum in Pisa and can be found along the Arno river. If you want to dig deeper into the history of this stunning city then this is the place to go, presenting sculptures and paintings of times gone by.
11) Museum of Human Anatomy
A little bit different to the Museo Nazionale, this is actually one of the cities oldest museums. With mummies, skeletons and skulls on offer, this is a great one for the whole family and might keep the kids a bit more excited than simply looking at architecture and paintings.
12) Keith Haring Mural
This isn’t graffiti, Pisa actually commissioned Keith Haring to create this modern masterpiece in 1989. Stretching 180 square metres, this won’t be on every travel guide for the city but I feel it is just as important a sight as the cathedral and religious buildings. This is also one of Keith’s final pieces before he passed away.
13) Have Lunch in Giardino Scotto
Pisa is definitely a great place if you enjoy parks and gardens, while Giardino Scotto is one of the best. Surrounded by an ancient fortress, this incredibly peaceful garden will normally be visited by joggers and locals coming out for a walk or something to eat. During the summer months, you might want to look out for the open air cinema.
14) Palazzo Dei Cavalieri
Built in the 16th century, this was the central location for the knights of Saint Stephen, hence the area being called the Knights Square. You can simply walk around and admire the decorations on the building, definitely one to look out for.
15) Shopping In Borgo Stretto
Based right in the centre of Piza, the shops aren’t exactly cheap, with many designer labels on offer. It’s also a great place to relax and have a coffee in a cafe. But even if you’re not a fan of shopping, it is still worth checking out for the architecture.