One to two days is a good enough time to spend in Pisa. Generally, people make it a day trip from Florence because it’s convenient and all everybody wants to see is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If that’s what you’re planning to do as well, you’ll find this itinerary very useful. Read ahead.
Everything you must know BEFORE visiting The Leaning Tower of Pisa can be found on the official website here. Check the timings, available slots and ticket prices.
Buy your tickets from the website, print them and carry a photo ID along. Stuff your daypack with water bottles, snacks, hats, sunglasses and sunblock, especially if you’re visiting during summer. Tuscan summers can get pretty hot. Wear comfy sneakers because the complex is huge and there’s a lot of walking to be done.
Best to carry purses/bags that will stay put on your chest instead of your back. Lots of thieves on the prowl at every tourist attraction.
Pisa is best reached by train from Florence or Livorno. For Eurail pass holders, regional trains are included in the pass. However, some trains have mandatory reservations, so check before you book. We traveled by the Trenitalia train ‘Livorno Centrale’ from Firenze SMN that stops at Stazione Pisa Centrale.
- Board the 7AM train to Pisa from Florence SMN. It’s a 50 mins journey through rural Tuscany with beautiful glimpses of endless vineyards and olive groves.
- Board a bus from Stazione Pisa Centrale to Piazza Dei Miracoli or Square of Miracles. that’s where the Leaning Tower and rest of the monuments are located. It’s at a 3km distance from the station. Get down at Via Bonanno 113 right across from the complex entrance.
- Grab a coffee and pastry for breakfast from a nearby cafe and head to the complex entrance. It opens at 9am but it get’s pretty crowded. Avoid buying any souvenirs from the vendors outside the complex, they’ll get overcharge you.
If you want a free pass to the cathedral, make sure you pick that up at the ticket office on site.
- Enter the complex at 9 am and the first thing you should do, if you absolutely want to, join the rest of the crowd in taking a picture with the Leaning Tower in whatever pose you wish to – hugging the tower, pushing the tower, holding the tower. It’s going to look funny but you won’t be the only one doing that. Hundreds of people take pictures in same poses all around you but if you make it early, you’ll at least get a decent picture sans the crowd. People queue up for spots to take pictures in.
- Go straight to the tower and head up to the top. It takes about 30 minutes to see the tower. Appreciate the fact that you’re standing inside what was one of the wonders of the world.
- Now you have the day free to visit rest of the monuments int he complex. Head to the cathedral and see it from inside. The interiors of the cathedral left me speechless and awestruck. Every single cathedral across Italy is gorgeous. See it for yourself.
- There are public restrooms next to Campo Santo. Find shade and take a break from the scorching sun. You’ll find people sitting on the lawn behind the cathedral and having picnic of sorts. Break into your stash of snacks and drinks. Replenish those energy levels.
- If you have purchased tickets to the other monuments, make your way to Campo Santo, cemetery. There’s an exhibit of ancient sculptures, tapestries, scriptures and other artifacts, in the halls around the cemetery. The way every little thing has been preserved for ages, is noteworthy.
- During my visit, the Opera del Duomo Museum was closed for renovation so I didn’t get a chance to see it.
- The Baptistry is the monument at the very beginning of the complex. What I loved the most about it is it’s unique structure. How beautiful are those intricate carvings on the dome!
- Take one last look at the complex and make your way out. If you wish to stay until evening, catch a bus to Pisa downtown by Arno river. Wander around Ponte di Mezzo bridge and soak in the Tuscan culture.
- If you wish to return to Florence directly from Square of Miracles, walk to Torre 1 Bus stop on Via Giovanni Battista Niccolini to board a bus back to Stazione Pisa Centrale. Embark upon your return train journey.
Tick off the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ from your bucketlist.