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Travel Guide Europe Italy Tuscany Pisa

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Introduction

Pisa

Pisa

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Famed for its Leaning Tower, Pisa is situated in the Tuscany region of Italy. Although the Tower is one of the world’s most famous buildings, there are plenty of other attractions in Pisa. Piazza dei Miracoli (The Square of Miracles) includes not just the Tower, but the Duomo (Cathedral), the Baptistry and the Camposanto Monumentale (the Monumental Cemetery). There are also several other churches and palaces that are worth a visit while in this wonderful town.

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Neighbourhoods

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Sights and Activities

Main Sights

  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa - The structure was conceived as the cathedral's bell tower. Construction began in 1173 and the tower started leaning soon afterwards due to subsidence of the ground underneath its base. A project to keep the tower from leaning more and tipping over finally reached a successful conclusion in 2001, and the tower is again open to those wishing to climb it. Climbing the tower requires a reservation-based ticket for €18. Tickets can be bought for the tower on the day, for a specific entry time. This could be 45 min-2 hr after the purchase time, but there is a lot to see while you wait. It is better if you buy tickets online for €18 well in advance (up to 20 days). The tickets are non-exchangeable, effectively non-refundable, and only good for the tower, so they're a bit of a risk to purchase in advance. Make the effort to climb, though, and you'll be rewarded by the view. Curiosity: the famous Pisa leaning tower is not the only one, due of the marshy land that they are built on, there are other 2 towers in Pisa: the Bell Tower of San Nicola Church, near the banks of Arno and the Bell Tower of San Michele of Scalzi Church. For safety reasons, children who will not have turned 8 by the end of this year are not permitted to enter. Under-18s must be accompanied by an adult. ID may be requested to certify the age.
  • The Duomo, or Cathedral - A splendid cathedral, containing artwork by Giambologna, Della Robbia, and other major artists. Fine Romanesque style with double aisles and a cupola, a huge apse mosaic partly by Cimabue, and a fine pulpit by Giovanni Pisano in late Gothic/early Renaissance style. Free (a maximum of two coupons per person).
  • The Baptistry - Large round Romanesque dome with many sculptured decorations and a fine view up top; climb this if you want a great view with the Leaning Tower visible in your photos. Arabic-style pavement, pulpit by Nicola Pisano (father of Giovanni), and fine octagonal font. At regular intervals, the ticket-checker-guard at the entrance comes into the baptistery and gives an audio-treat of echo-effect. The guard shouts out few sounds which when echoed sound like pure beautiful music. You can also cast your inhibitions to the wind, stand by the wall, and sing long notes that turn into chords by yourself, as the echoes go round and round the dome of the building. Single ticket €5. A combined ticket with two museums is €7 and three museums is €8. It can be combined with the Monumental Cemetery and the Sinopie Museum
  • The Camposanto Monumentale, or Monumental Cemetery - A huge cemetery building with lots of interesting art, including a collection of ancient Roman sarcophagi and splendid medieval frescoes by the "Master of the Triumph of Death". There is also a 19th century statue of the famous mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, a native of the city. Single ticket €5. A combined ticket with two museums is €7 and three museums is €8. It can be combined with the Baptistery and the Sinopie Museum. Free entrance to the cemetery on 1 and 2 November.

Other Sights

  • The Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri
  • Knight's Square, designed by Giorgio Vasari
  • The Medici Palace
  • Museo dell'Opera del Duomo Museum

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

Pisa experiences a borderline humid subtropical (Cfa) and Mediterranean climate, since only a single month receives less than 40 millimetres. The city is characterized by mild winters and very warm summers. This transitional climate keeps Pisa from enjoying a summer devoid of rain, typical of Central and Southern Italy, as the summer (the driest season) experiences occasional rainshowers. Rainfall peaks in the autumn months.

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Getting There

By Plane

Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA) is served by around 20 airlines, with both domestic and international flights. Ryanair has the bulk of flights with 20-30 destinations throughout Europe served. The airport is close to the city and is only around a 25-minute walk. The airport is 2 kilometres from the railway station. Connections with Pisa are available by train and bus, and bus and train connections to and from Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence are also available.

By Train

Pisa is served by trains from Florence and Lucca. Rome to Genoa trains stop at Pisa Centrale.

By Car

From Florence take the A11 motorway, Pisa Nord exit, then SS1 Aurelia road for around 6 kilometres. From Rome and Bologna, take the A1 motorway to Florence, then the A11 motorway, using the Pisa Nord exit. From Genoa, take the A12 motorway, using the Pisa Nord or Pisa Centro exits.

By Bus

Regular buses run from Florence and Lucca to Pisa.

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Getting Around

There are regular buses around town, including from the train station to the Field of Miracles. Attractions are within a half hour walk of each other. Local bus tickets are available at tobacco shops; there are also vending machines both at the station and the airport.

Many car rental agencies are at the airport. While you will not need a car in the city itself, it can be a good choice if you want to go around Tuscany from Pisa. To get to the car rental offices take the shuttle bus in front of the airport's arrival hall to the right, close to the city bus stop.

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Eat

As a general rule, try not to eat near the Leaning Tower where prices are high and quality low. Head instead to the central area (5-10 minutes walking from Piazza dei Miracoli): you can find very good, cheap restaurants there. For example, there are excellent, friendly and reasonably priced cafeterias in the busy small vegetable market, Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Also Via San Martino, close to the south bank of the river, offers some places with good quality and low price.

This said, near the Leaning Tower, in via Roma, there's a good Indian Restaurant, with a beautiful atmosphere and really good, though not always cheap, dishes. In Piazza dei Miracoli, there's a quite good restaurant-pizzeria, cheap enough, the Kinzica.

In any case, don't miss Salza, in Borgo Stretto, with high prices but absolutely gorgeous chocolate, sweets and pastries of all kinds. Don't sit down inside, though, because you end up paying €10 for two coffees.

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Drink

During summer nights, everybody stays around the banks of the rivers, sipping drinks bought from the several bars in the area. A few very good wine bars are also available for colder, winter nights.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Pisa or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Work

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Learn

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Keep Connected

Internet

Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.

Post

Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 43.7161354
  • Longitude: 10.3965843

Accommodation in Pisa

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Pisa searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Pisa and areas nearby.

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This is version 18. Last edited at 9:42 on Sep 7, 17 by Utrecht. 72 articles link to this page.

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