Pisa, the old maritime republic sitting by the River Arno, has a lot more to offer than its world-famous Leaning Tower.
Here is a three-day tour to fully discover and experience the city, starting from the famous piazza dei Miracoli and then meandering towards the most hidden of treasures, a tour that will take you from old and contemporary art to the city’s nightlife, romantic strolls and a relaxing, beachfront end to the day.
You can’t go to Pisa and not visit the world-renowned piazza dei Miracoli, a grassy expanse boasting four of the most striking architectural masterpieces. Begin at the Cathedral, the marble façade marked by powerful columns and statues, before continuing to the Baptistery, another gem you absolutely can’t miss.
After exploring the piazza, arrive at the much-anticipated tilted monument and climb to the top of the Campanile, better known as the Leaning Tower, its massive fame (and name) due to its sloping position. After a hefty climb, conclude your visit in the Camposanto Monumentale, the cemetery that contains a collection of ancient Roman sarcophagi and the breathtaking frescoes by Buonamico Buffalmacco.
In Italian fashion, conclude the day with an aperitivo [happy hour] in piazza delle Vettovaglie, one of the many centers of nightlife in Pisa, followed by a dinner savoring the local delicacies of Pisa, such as the San Miniato white truffle.
Begin the day with a visit to the Museo delle Sinopie, where you can admire the preparatory drawings of the numerous 12th- and 13th-century artists who worked on the walls of the city’s famous cemetery for years.
In the afternoon, head over to the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, to journey through years of ceramics, painting and sculpture that have defined the art of Pisa.
Don’t miss Keith Haring’s wall mural, Tuttomondo, which can be found near the train station. It’s a massive, colorful work of art embodying the idea of peace.
Finish the day with a walk along the Arno River where the clear night sky illuminates the church of Santa Maria della Spina, a small treasure of Pisa’s Gothic period.
For your third day in Pisa, venture to a lesser-known “leaning tower”. Head to the church of San Michele degli Scalzi, found in the Piagge quarter, not far from the Arno River, and you’ll find the church’s bell tower slanting at a full five degree angle, a result of the uneven terrain, also responsible for the slope in the tower of Piazza dei Miracoli.
What better way to finish a trip to Pisa than a beach trip to Marina di Pisa, the mouth of the Arno River, where you can walk along the beach, enjoy a spectacular Tuscan sunset and delight in a seafood dinner, perhaps savoring the famous local dish, Cacciucco.