06 Jun PISA IN ONE DAY
Pisa is a Tuscany gem, known worldwide mostly for its Leaning Tower, that awakens the interest of everyone for its peculiar inclination. The reality is that apart from the tower, there is very little to see in Pisa, and the main tourist area can be visited by foot in under half day. However, don’t let that confuse you into thinking that there’s nothing to see or do here, cause, believe me, there are so many reasons to visit it. Spending a day here wandering the old town, admiring its architecture and eating the Italian way will perfectly complement the one-day visit to the city of Pisa. And an indispensable when visiting Tuscany.
WHAT TO VISIT
La Piazza dei Miracoli / The Square of Miracles
This walled square of green grass houses the main tourist attractions of Pisa: the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Monumental Cemetery. Literally, you can spend the whole morning visiting it, buying souvenirs in the more than thousand stands, having coffee or just strolling and get dazzled by its unique architectural oddities.
Tip: Around the square you will find many restaurants with special tourists menus and tempting prices, but the quality of these tempt to be not very good; are simply tourists restaurants. So, if you want a good meal you better go a little away from it.
The Leaning Tower
The Tower of Pisa is the first picture that comes to mind when anybody thinks of Pisa. It really is the most peculiar and impressive structure – how it is still standing is beyond me.
You cannot miss climbing to the top of the tower for an amount of 18€. The arcades with their characteristic columns and the bell chamber atop feature a helicoidal marble stairway composed of 293 steps… and without elevator! But I promise you that the amazing view of the city and the Square of Miracles from atop the tower deserves all the effort of the climb.
And why not take the typical but tantalizing photo holding the tower? Oh! Of course, you can also do your own version as I do. Be creative as possible, it is more fun!
The Cathedral is a wonderful example of Pisan-Romanesque architecture built in white-and-grey marble. Inside there are works of art dating back to the eighteenth century. The entrance is free and, in my opinion, totally worth a visit.
Is the largest Baptistery in Italy and is dedicated to John The Baptist. Although it doesn’t seem, is a bit higher than the Tower of Pisa and also features for having an impressive acoustics.
And along with Camposanto are the most visited landmarks of Italian high school students every year. There’s a good luck ritual consisting of going around the Baptistery as many times as the mark you would like to get on your graduation exam.
A gothic-style cemetery representing the cycle of life, where you can appreciate many sarcophagus and tombs of the Roman period. A legend says that the bodies buried in that land will be decomposed in just 24 hours.
Piazza dei Cavalieri
In less than 10 minutes from the Square of Miracles and heading to Via Santa Maria and then to the tiny Via dei Mille and Via Corsica you’ll finally arrive at Piazza dei Cavalieri. Known as the Knight’s Square, this square has served life as a political centre and has been home to a bunch of Knights. Nowadays, the main building (the Palazzo della Carovana) is a part of the city’s university. In the square, there are also a tiny church and another palace, The Clock Palace.
On leaving the square for the other side, we will arrive in the characteristic Borgo Stretto, a tiny medieval road surrounded by loggias and open galleries with small shops and cafès that always catch the attention of people for taking you back a step in time. As just this street ends, you’ll be in front of Ponte di Mezzio, on the Arno River. Don’t cross the Arno just yet and head to your left onto the Lugarno Mediceo, the road along the Arno River, known mostly for the Palazzo Vecchio and for the Church of San Matteo and National Museum, home to important pieces of art by internationally Italian artists.
Along the other side of the river, runs the Lugarno Galileo Galilei and the Lugarno Gambacorti where we find the Gambacorti Palace, the Palazzo Blu and one of the most beautiful gothic churches I’ve ever seen, Santa Maria della Spina.
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele
Leaving the river for Logge di Banchi (just in front of Ponte di Mezzo) and continuing down the street we will be onto Corso Italia, the most important and renowned street of Pisa, and a true paradise for anyone that loves shopping. Following this street to its end will arrive at Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, an amphitheatre-shaped square surrounded by a fully pedestrian open gallery full of shops where several historic buildings look into. Here is where the Central Train Station of Pisa is.
Located just 3 minutes away the Square of Miracles, you’ll find the Botanical Gardens of Pisa, a place that brings some of nature into the artistic town of Pisa. The entrance to the garden is 2.50 € per adult, but for about 6 € the families with children can enjoy it.
Ruins of Terme di Nero
Also located 3 minutes walking from the Tower of Pisa these thermal baths are the only remaining architectonic monument of the Roman Empire era in Pisa.
HOW TO GET TO SQUARE OF MIRACLES
If you arrive by train to Pisa
From the Central Railway Station
By bus: catch the LAM ROSSA and stop in Via Cammeo. / nº4 bus: Piazza Arcivescovado stop. / nº21 – night bus: Via Cammeo Stop.
By foot: Leaving the main entrance of the station, you’ll see the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, go through Via Crispi, then go straight to the Solferino Bridge, cross it, and take Via Roma until you reach The Square of Miracles.
From the Railway station of Pisa San Rossore
By foot: Exit through the underpass of Piazza Fancelli. Then continue straight until you reach Via Pisano, turn left and go straight until you reach the Square of Miracles.
If you arrive by plane to Pisa
By bus: catch the LAM ROSSA and stop in Via Cammeo. / nº21 – night bus: Via Cammeo Stop.