Pisa is a city in the Tuscany region of Italy. The city sits on the banks of the Arno River, close to the Ligurian Sea. Like many of the classic Italian cities, the best things to do in Pisa revolve around history, monuments, art, shopping, dining, and culture.
The city is almost synonymous with the Leaning Tower. But, it is only one of the best places to visit in Pisa, Italy. It is home to several monuments that are considered masterpieces in art and architecture. The churches, towers, public squares, palaces, and sculptures are some of the most beautiful things to see in Pisa. Even the ancient cemetery of this city is a monument. The grandeur you see when you visit Pisa came from an era of innovators, creators, artists, merchants, and visionary rulers.
Pisa is the heart of Tuscany and flourished immensely in the later Middle Ages, just like other Italian regional capitals such as Rome and Florence. Many of the Pisa tourist attractions you see today were developed during this period. The city had a longstanding artistic, architectural, cultural, ideological, and military rivalry between Florence and Rome. However, many of the Pisa attractions were developed under the rule of the Medici family of Florence.
The Middle Ages also saw the migration of several artists and scientists between these Italian cities. As a result, you will see their influence on one another in architecture, culture, and art. The places to see in Pisa exhibit Romanesque, Gothic, Art Nouveau, and Baroque designs. This is quite similar to the historic buildings of Florence. Even the interiors of the churches and palaces feature similar artworks in the form of frescoes, paintings, and carvings.
You will also come across several pieces of public art during Pisa sightseeing. These include statues, fountains, reliefs, sculptures, stoneworks, and so on. Some of these magnificent works were created by artists or craftsmen from Florence and Rome.
While Tuscany has its own unique aesthetics, the influences make Pisa sightseeing even more interesting. It helps you link the history of the city with the larger picture of Italian culture. The cultural activities to do in Pisa carry the traditions of Italy while presenting their own unique flavor. You will experience this in the music, performance arts, food, and language.
Take time to explore the markets for local products, street food, and traditional Tuscan cuisine. Like other Italian cities, fashion shopping is also among the top things to do in Pisa. You can explore the malls or visit vintage establishments in the markets. Here you will find the famed Italian tailors. Alongside ancient paintings, you should also enjoy the artwork of fabric, metal, and leather when you visit Pisa.
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Top 28 Tourist Places to Visit in Pisa, Italy
Also known as the Square of Miracles and Cathedral Square, this historical spot is home to most of the best things to do in Pisa, Italy. The square has the Pisa Cathedral, Baptistry, Gothic Cloisters, New Hospital of Holy Spirit, and the famous Leaning Tower.
The story of this square dates back to the 11th century and it is considered the historic heart of Pisa. In just this part, you can cover the top tourist attractions of Pisa. You will need 2 to 3 hours to explore this entire square and the monuments there.
I suggest you should go for a Guided Tour of Piazza dei Miracoli.
This Baptistery was built in 1363 but was designed in 1153 by Diotisalvi. Originally Diotisalvi fashioned a Romanesque baptistry. His architectural plan was used as the base.
Then Nicola and Giovanni Pisano added gothic elements to the design during the 1200s. Finally, the Gothic dome you see today was designed by Cellino de Nesse. It is one of the best places to visit in Pisa, Italy. This is also the largest Baptistry in Italy. You will need 30 to 45 minutes to explore the monument and its interiors.
I suggest you should book a Guided Tour of Baptistery of St. John in advance.
3. Camposanto Monumentale di Pisa
This cemetery was established in 1277 and was designed by Giovani di Simone, a renowned Italian architect. Instead of a simple open graveyard, Simone designed an ornate cloister of buildings.
The structure is one of the most beautiful things to see in Pisa from outside and within. You will see graceful arches with carved columns and statues. The interiors feature beautiful frescoes and Roman sarcophagi.
The Camposanto is also included among the top things to do in Pisa for its historical and cultural significance. It is home to the lamp that Galileo used to calculate the movement of a pendulum.
The Camposanto is also considered one of the holiest Pisa attractions. It is home to the soil of Golgotha, pieces from Christ’s cross, a thorn from his crown, a piece of Mary’s dress, and 11 relics of the Disciples. You will need about an hour to explore the monument and the treasure within it when you visit Pisa, Italy.
This cathedral is the fourth-largest Gothic structure in the world. The pink, white, and green marble create a beautiful yet imposing facade. It is one of the most beautiful places to see in Pisa, Italy.
The construction of this cathedral began in the 13th century. Several architects contributed to its creation over the years. This includes Arnolfo di Cambio, Filippo Brunelleschi, and Rainaldo. The interior of the church features some of the most beautiful artworks that you would come across. You will need about an hour to explore this cathedral.
I suggest you should book a Guided Tour of Pisa Cathedral in advance.
This monumental tower is the highlight of Pisa sightseeing. The construction of this monument began in 1173 and spanned over 200 years. Owing to unstable ground the tower began sinking into the ground from one side. As a result, it appears to be leaning on one side. That’s this tower’s claim to fame.
However, it is also one of the finest works of architecture with a wonderfully carved facade. Tourists love taking pictures with the Leaning Tower, it seems like one of the things you must do in Pisa. You will need an hour to explore this monument from outside and within during Pisa travel.
I suggest you should get a Reserved Entry Ticket of Leaning Tower in advance.
6. Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri
This church was built in 1568 for the Knights of the Order of St. Stefano. It was designed by Giorgio Vasari and later additions were done under Giovanni de Medici.
The white and pink marble facade creates a simple yet regal appeal. However, the interior of the church features more elaborate artwork. It is among the most beautiful things to see in Pisa, Italy.
You will see frescoes depicting battles of the Knights as well as relics from the wars. The church also has beautiful paintings and sculptures created during the 1500s.
This Pisa attraction contains works of artists like Cigoli, Empoli, Giovanni Fancelli, Ligozzi, Allori, and many others. It takes at least an hour to truly admire the wealth of artworks in this church.
7. Piazza dei Cavalieri
Also known as the Knight’s Square, this place used to be the hub of political activity during the Middle Ages. It was also the operational headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen.
The square is home to several tourist attractions in Pisa including the church of the Knights. You can see the Turkish banner captured by the Knights in naval battles.
Other places to see in Pisa at this square include the Knight’s Palace, Collegio Puteano Palace, Consiglio dei Dodici Palace, Statues of Tuscan Dukes, Pietro Francavilla Fountain, and Statue of Cosimo I Medici. You can easily spend half a day exploring the monumental attractions at Knight’s Square when you visit Pisa.
8. Palazzo della Carovana
This palace goes by several names and served different purposes over the ages. It is called Palazzo della Carovana, Palazzo dei Cavalieri, Palace of the Knights, and Palace of the Elders. It was used by Tuscan Grand Dukes, Knights of St. Stephen, and Napoleon Bonaparte.
The palace is one of the most important places to visit in Pisa, Italy owing to its rich history. The facade itself will tell you about the people who lived there. You will see statues, coat of arms, reliefs, paintings, busts, and banners spread throughout the palace. You will need an hour to tour Palazzo dei Cavalieri.
9. Church of the Santo Sepolcro (Chiesa del Santo Sepolcro)
The history of this church dates back to 1138. It served as an annex for the settlement of the Templars. It was redesigned by Diotisalvi and used by the Knights of Malta.
The octagonal shape and pyramid roof are the most distinguishing features of this church. The church holds a special place in Pisa’s culture. It is associated with the story of Santa Ubaldesca and Maria Mancini Colonna. The church is considered a blessed and holy place of healing. You should take 30 to 45 minutes from Pisa sightseeing to admire it.
10. Botanical Garden and Museum (Orto Botanico di Pisa)
These are the oldest University Botanical Gardens in all of Europe. They were established in 1544 by Luca Ghini, a renowned botanist, naturalist, and physician of the time.
During his time, Ghini put together a massive collection of plant specimens of several species. The gardens and the museum celebrate his contributions and continue the research.
If you are interested in botany and the historical evolution of natural sciences, this is one of the best activities to do in Pisa, Italy. The gardens house various plants, some of which cannot be found anywhere else.
The museum showcases samples, seeds, rate specimens, research journals, illustrations, and more. You will need at least an hour to explore this place when you travel to Pisa.
11. Museum of Palazzo Reale (Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale)
This palace was built in 1587 and was designed by Buontalenti. It became the centre for the Tuscan Grand Duchy when Pisa became the capital of the region. It was housed by the Medicis and Hapsburg Lorraine.
Today this Palace houses the Soprintendenza ai Beni Artistici e Culturali. The collection includes incredible religious and secular artworks created post-Middle Ages.
The museum is among the best places to visit in Pisa for art admirers. You will see works by Rafaello, Rosso, Guido Reni, Canova, Fiorentino, and more. The collection also includes antiques belonging to the Medici family. You will need about 2 hours to tour the palace and the museum.
12. Borgo Stretto
Alongside historical sightseeing, shopping is one of the top things to do in Pisa, Italy. While there are numerous shopping streets, markets, and malls in the city, Borgo Stretto stands on its own.
It is considered the most elegant as well as opulent shopping street in the city. You will find a variety of high-end and luxury brands for fashion, food, and lifestyle products. The street is also home to some of the historic local businesses.
Borgo Stretto also features some of the most popular bars, cafes, and restaurants in the city. Fine dining is something that you must do in Pisa without fail. You will also find restaurants serving authentic and traditional Tuscan cuisine.
Finally, this street was the birthplace of Galileo Galilei. If you want to pay a visit to the birth house of the great scientist, look for Cafe Settimelli. Galileo was born in the same building. This street is also home to several other historical buildings. You can easily blow off a couple of hours of Pisa travel exploring the streets and shops here.
13. Church of Saint Michael ‘in Borgo’
This church and monastery were originally built during the 10th century AD. At that time, it was a Roman temple dedicated to Mars, the Roman God of War. It was turned into a church in the 14th century.
It is one of the oldest churches in the city and one of the most important historical things to see in Pisa, Italy. This church shows a transition from ancient Roman culture to Christianity. It is also exemplary of the transfer of rule from Rome to the Tuscan Grand Duchy.
The church was designed by Fra Guglielmo and is best known for the three-level Gothic loggia facade. The interior of the church used parts of the Roman temple. You will get to see aspects of Roman architecture in the structure. The interiors also exhibit a variety of artworks and artifacts created between the 13th and 17th centuries. You will need about an hour to explore this church.
14. Palazzo Blu
Palazzo Blu is a 14th-century house with a Blue colored facade and 19th-century interior decorations. It was the former home of Doge Giovanni Dell’Angelo. This is one of the most interesting Pisa tourist attractions.
The historic part of the building will show you the life of a high-ranking official in the 19th century. The other part is now a museum of Art and Culture. The collection includes archeological artifacts, graphical art, coins, paintings, medals, sculptures, and belongings of famous historical figures.
The museum also houses more than 300 works of art. You would have to keep an hour aside from Pisa travel to explore this building and museum.
15. Santa Maria della Spina
This church is one of the highlights of Pisa sightseeing for two reasons. First, it is home to a thorn from Christ’s crown. And second is its intricate Gothic architecture.
You will see impeccably symmetrical designs decorated with arches, pinnacles, spires, statues, steeples, reliefs, and carvings. You can easily spend 30 to 45 minutes admiring the craftsmanship of the church.
16. San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno Church
Also known as the Old Duomo, this church was first built in the 11th century. The church underwent several reconstructions between the 11th and 19th century. But, it retains much of its original structure and design.
It is considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in the city. The church is also included among Pisa tourist attractions for the stonework and artworks within its walls. You will need 20 to 30 minutes to explore this church.
This 200 square-meter mural was designed by Keith Haring, a renowned American artist. The theme of this mural is world peace and harmony. People often miss this modern artwork during Pisa travel. But, it is as important as some of the ancient art pieces in the city.
The mural showcases 30 figures interlinked and connected like a puzzle. They represent different aspects of world peace. The connections show the inter-relationship of these aspects. You should take a few minutes to admire this huge art piece when you visit Pisa.
18. Domus Galilaeana
This institute is dedicated to the History of Science and Pisa’s own Galileo Galilei. It contains more than 40,000 books, letters, drawings, and artifacts. These belong to various scientists from different periods.
If you are interested in the history and evolution of science, you must visit this place in Pisa. The collection here also includes original first-edition works of Galileo and tools used by Pius Emanuelle. You will need about an hour to explore the collection of this institute.
This ancient art museum is housed in a 13th-century building. The building is an important historic monument by itself. It has served various roles over the years. It is now among the best things to do in Pisa owing to its collection of ancient artworks and religious artifacts.
You will see paintings, statues, parts of altars, relics, and even spoils of war. Collectively, this museum has some of the most interesting things to see in Pisa. Some of the highlight exhibits include sculptures by renowned artists, liturgical documents from the Middle Ages, Egyptian artifacts won in wars, ancient Roman artifacts, garments of Saint Ranieri, original parts of the Leaning Tower, and the Pisa Griffin bronze statue.
You will need at least an hour to tour this museum and it is a must-do in Pisa for history lovers. You will get to see centuries of history in one place.
I suggest you should get a Skip-the-Line ticket for the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in advance.
20. Sinopie Museum
This museum is entirely dedicated to the art of frescoes, specifically to the drawings used to create them. These drawings are called Sinopies. The museum features a collection of such drawings used to create various frescoes painted in different churches of the city.
You should visit this Pisa attraction to see how the magical paintings were created by renowned artists. The museum also has multimedia exhibits that showcase the evolution of a fresco in different stages. It is one of the best things to do in Pisa for aspiring artists. You will need an hour or so to tour this museum.
21. Pisa City Walls (Mura di Pisa)
Although not as visually appealing as other places to visit in Pisa, these walls are an important part of the city’s history. These walls have been around since the 11th century. They have protected the city from numerous invasions and sieges.
A guided tour of these walls is one of the popular activities to do in Pisa as it tells you about the hardships and battles the city has endured over the years. It also gives you a perspective on the artistic, philosophical, political, and military rivalries of different regions of Italy. You will need about 2 hours for this tour.
22. Museo della Grafica (Palazzo Lanfranchi)
This museum is housed in Palazzo Lanfranchi and focuses on contemporary graphics art, specifically on prints and engravings. The collection includes works by well-known contemporary artists such as Carlo Carra, Emilio Greco, Corrado Cagli, Alberto Ziveri, and more.
This museum also features temporary exhibits of contemporary artworks by regional and international artists. You will need about 30 to 45 minutes to explore this museum.
23. Teatro Verdi
Opened in 1867, this theatre has become a major part of Pisa’s culture. The theatre hosts concerts, ballets, orchestras, and more. It is one of the most popular cultural activities to do in Pisa, Italy.
The stage has hosted some great names including Pietro Mascagni, Leopoldo Mugnone, Arturo Toscanini, and more. You should check the show schedule of the theatre and experience a performance here during Pisa travel.
24. Museum of Ancient Ships (Museo delle Navi Antiche)
Pisa used to be a Maritime Republic and naval prowess was an integral part of its history. This museum is dedicated to ancient ships. The oldest one here dates back to the 3rd century BCE. You will see parts of many historic ships and their conquests.
You will also see a reconstruction of the ships and great sailors and captains. It is one of the most interesting Pisa attractions if you like maritime history. The museum also shows you the evolution of ship-building technology over the ages. You will need about an hour to tour this museum.
25. Cosmopolitan Beach
This beach is only 20 minutes outside the city and is a great spot for fun things to do near Pisa, Italy. You can come here to relax after sightseeing. Enjoy the view of the magnificent ocean and enjoy on the sandy beach.
It is also among the popular places to visit near Pisa for watersports including wakeboarding, jet skiing, surfing, windsurfing, canoeing, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and more. You can easily spend 2 to 3 hours enjoying the beach.
This abandoned marble quarry is one of the most historic tourist attractions near Pisa. The quarry full of white marble carved in places is a beautiful sight by itself. But, the mine also has an interesting history. In its time the quarry had supplied marble for many of the Pisa attractions and sculptures. You will need 3 to 4 hours to tour the quarry.
I suggest you should book your Tour of Carrara Marbal Quarry in 4×4 in advance.
27. Parco di San Rossore
The full name of this park is Parco Regionale Migliarino, San Rossore, and Massaciuccoli. It is one of the best places to visit near Pisa for a nature retreat. The park has a lot of beautiful trails to enjoy hiking, bike rides, and horseback tours. You can easily spend 2 to 3 hours exploring the place during Pisa travel.
28. Paragliding in Pisa
While the city is beautiful from the ground, it looks even more so when admired from the sky. The paragliding tour takes you on a breathtaking tour of the Tuscan landscape. It is one of the best things to do near Pisa, Italy. You will glide over towns, villages, farms, and vineyards. It is a beautiful ride and you will need about 2 hours for the experience.
If you are looking for more places to visit in Pisa, check out the sections below. We have compiled a complete list of all the attractions and activities that you can explore in the city and around it.
Things to do in Pisa, Italy
Monuments, Museums & Historical Places to Visit in Pisa, Italy
- Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Fontana dei Putti
- Catedralle di Pisa
- Angelo Caduto
- Medici Palace
- Palazzo Gambacorti
- Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
- Torre Guelfa
- Torre di Santa Maria
- Lupa Capitolina
- Palazzo delle Vedove
- Quaratesi Palace
- Torre del Campano
- Museo dell Opera del Duomo
- Palazzo Blu
- Battistero di San Giovani
- National Museum of San Matteo
- Baptistry of St. John
- Museo dello Aviotruppe
- San Piero a Grado
- Cantieri le Navi Antiche di Pisa
- Museo Nationale de Palazzo Reale
- Museo delle Sinopie
- Chiesa di Santa Caterina a’Alessandria
- Chiesa de San Michele
- Museo della Grafica
- San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno
- Chiesa di San Frediano
- Chiesa di San Sisto
- Museo di Storia Naturalle
- The Arsenals & Museum of Ancient Ships
Nature & Wildlife Tourist Spots in Pisa, Italy
- Lake Massaciuccoli
- Parco di San Rossore
- Riserva del Paduletto
- Parco Regionale Migliarino
Entertainment & Leisure Tourist Spots in Pisa, Italy
- Pisa Botanical Gardens
- Giardino Scotto
- Vialle delle Piagge
- Sunlight Park
- Teatro Verdi
- Park Piccolo Mondo
- Arena Garibaldi
- Parco Don Bosco
Shopping in Pisa, Italy
- Mercanto Settimanale
- Corso Italia
- Mercatto delle Vettovaglie
- Borgo Stretto
- Ponte di Mezzo Antique Market
- Borgo Largo
- Centro Commerciale
- Via San Martino Flea Market
- Piazza dei Miracoli
- Centro Commerciale Parco Levante
- Piazza Vittorio Emanuele Spring Market
Beaches & Islands in Pisa, Italy
- Spiaggia Marina di Vecchiano
- Spiaggia Tirreno
- Spiaggia La Tintalleria
- Bagno Uappala
- Spiaggia Libera
- Bagno Gorgona
- Cosmopolitan Beach
Offbeat Places, Tours, & Adventures in Pisa, Italy
- Wine Tour
- Bicycle Tours
Sightseeing in Pisa, Italy
- Piazza del Duomo
- Piazza dei Cavalieri
- Monument Galileo
- Logge dei Banchi
- Lungarni di Pisa
- Piazza delle Vettovaglie
- Piazza Lanfranchi
- Porta Nuova
- Borgo Stretto
- Piazza dei Maracoli
- Ponte di Mezzo
- Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi
- Piazza delle Vettovalglie
- Palazzo Agostini
- Mura di Pisa
Food, Dining, Restaurants, & Street Food in Pisa, Italy
- Bar Livorno
- La Grotta
- Il Ristoro della Pe’
- La Taverna di Pulcinella
- La Scaletta
- Osteria dei Cavalieri
- Bordatino alla Pisana
- Orzo Bruno
- Pasta e Ceci
- Trattoria da Stelio
- La Pergoletta
- Gelateria de Coltelli
- Pane e Vino
- Pizzeria Quarto D’Ora Italiano
- La Buca 2
- Gusto Guisto
- Gelataria Artigianale Rufus
- Gusto al 129 Pizzeria
- Trattoria SantOmobono
- La PergOletta
Where to Stay in Pisa?
Here we have listed Top Rated Luxurious, Mid-Range and Budget Hotels in Pisa. You can check below listed hotels for your perfect stay in Pisa.
- Hotel Pisa Tower
- Hotel San Ranieri
- Hotel Di Stefano
- NH Pisa
- AC Hotel by Marriott Pisa
- Palazzo Cini Luxury Rooms
- Five Roses Bed & Breakfast
- You & Me
- B&B di Camilla
- Hotel Alessandro della Spina
- Grand Hotel Duomo
- Grand Hotel Bonanno
- Grand Hotel Continental
- B&B Hotel Pisa
- Hotel Riviera Blu
- Hotel Bristol
- Toscana Charme Resort
- Bologna Hotel Pisa
- Hotel Amalfitana
- Time Out
- Hotel Terminus & Plaza
- 5 Keys
- Villa Tower Inn Hotel
- Hotel Villa Primavera
- Fattoria L’Olmetto
- Hotel La Pace
- Casa Betania
- B&B La Papaya
Custom Tours Package in Pisa
How to Reach Pisa, Italy?
The city is served by the Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport which receives direct flights from several cities in Europe. You can directly visit Pisa from London, Athens, Dublin, Tirana, Casablanca, Frankfurt, Berlin, Bristol, Manchester, Paris, Seville, Amsterdam, and several others. The airport also gets direct flights from Dubai in the UAE.
Galileo Galilei airport is quite close to the city center. You can easily walk to the central train station within 20 to 30 minutes. There is also a shuttle that takes you to the station from the airport. You will also get buses and cabs to get to various places in Pisa from the airport.
The Pisa Centrale station directly connects with several cities in Italy. You can travel to Pisa by train from Florence, Rome, Genoa, Naples, Reggio Calabria, and other destinations in the country. You can also get easy access to buses both direct and connecting to reach Pisa from major cities and towns in Italy.
If you are planning to get to Pisa by road, you should head for route E80, SS1, SS67, or SR206. All of these routes intersect in Pisa.
There are no direct water routes to visit Pisa.