The Anti-Tourist

I like to beat new paths for myself.

How to spend one day in Pisa

By 19:02:00 , ,

The beauty of the main Tuscan cities like Pisa or Siena is that a short 1 - 2 hour train ride will get you to most of them - they're well connected to each other and the train service is frequent and efficient! Whenever I'm in Tuscany, I always try to include quick day trips to either Pisa, Siena and Lucca for a brief change of scenery and pace. 

Naturally, you can't say you've visited Pisa without visiting the iconic leaning tower, but it turns out there's much more to the city than one building! And after the mind-blowingness that is Florence, Pisa is a welcoming breath of fresh air and a much slower city. Read on to discover how I make the most of one day in Pisa:

Stepping out of the train station, head straight north towards Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, and keep your eyes peeled for Tuttomondo, urban artist Keith Haring's last mural. Don't miss out on the smaller things though - even merely strolling down Corso Italia is fun and gives you completely random things to see, from street art to performers, and of course, shops.

Going all the way down Corso Italia will get you straight to the Piazza del Duomo. After the long terracotta-hued streets, the Piazza is a long stretch of green turf and white marble that makes up the Duomo (Cathedral), Baptistery, Cemetery, and of course, the leaning tower. They're lovely pieces of Renaissance architecture surrounded by grassy fields where you can lay in the sunshine and enjoy a picnic outside or a good book. 

While at the Piazza, the Cathedral  and the Baptistry (the circular building) together with the Camposanto, the cemetery, are well worth your time. There is a combined ticket for all the sights which costs anything from 5 to 9 euro, while the ticket for the Tower costs 18 Euro (you can buy all tickets from here).

A small tip on the Piazza: as inviting as the nearby restaurants may seem, be aware that they will be probably outrageously over priced, being in such close proximity to the leaning tower. The further away you walk, the more authentic (and cheap) will the eateries be. Remember - always follow the locals!

A few streets west, Piazza dei Cavalieri is an often overlooked landmark in Pisa. The piazza today is part of the University of Pisa, but for years had served as the political hub of the city. Follow this map to get there - Pisa's easy enough to get used to once you're there. 

Although obvious enough, you can't really miss out on the River Arno, the lifeline of Pisa. As you're crossing back from the Piazza del Duomo to the station, check out Santa Maria della Spina, which is set right along the river. 

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