Historically a maritime rival with the likes of Venice and Genova, Pisa, Italy gets its current fame from a failed, but phenomenally beautiful architectural project. The leaning tower of Pisa is certainly the attraction that draws most foreigners to this Italian city, but there is definitely more here to explore. We were able to visit Pisa on a number of occasions when we lived in Italy, and enjoyed ourselves every time. Without further ado, here are our top tips for planning a perfect day in Pisa.
Schedule ample time at Piazza del Duomo.
Otherwise known as Campo dei Miracoli, Piazza del Duomo is arguably one of the most beautiful public areas in the world. Itís nothing short of exquisite, and you definitely donít want to shortchange yourself by not spending enough time here. Itís home to three of the most beautiful Ė and famous Ė Romanesque structures many people will ever have the opportunity to see. Thatís right. The Piazza del Duomo is home to the famous leaning tower of Pisa, an intricately-designed baptistry and of course the Pisa cathedral. Additionally, there are a couple of museums on and near the grounds of the Campo dei Miracoli with interesting artefacts and pieces of artwork that are worth your time to see. Youíll also find restaurants, souvenir shops and several chances for historic carriage rides just across the street.
The perfect picture of the leaning tower of Pisa, AKA the Torre di Pisa, is elusive but not impossible.
In addition to the challenge of waiting until thereís a break in the tourist foot traffic, you can expect to spend some time circling the famous Torre di Pisa to determine the best angle from which to take your best shot. This is going to be a personal decision for each and every photographer. The leaning tower of Pisa is certainly a picturesque building in its own right, but some will prefer to photograph the building by itself while others prefer including the smaller cherub statue in front, or getting a photograph of the leaning tower along with the baptistry and the Pisa cathedral. There are many photogenic angles however, so those who put in the time and exercise a bit of patience can expect to be rewarded.
Pack some picnic supplies to fully enjoy the grounds of the Campo dei Miracoli.
Remember, the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa comes complete with a large lush lawn thatís perfect for reading, sketching and yes, enjoying the perfect travel picnic. Of course there are a number of decent restaurants in the city of Pisa for vacationers to enjoy. If you only have a day in the city however, this is the best place to enjoy a meal. Particularly if the weather is cooperating.
Allow some time to explore the older, medieval section of Pisa proper.
Sure, the Piazza del Duomo gets all of the tourist air time, but Pisa has other gems to offer the inquisitive traveler and the old city center is one of them. Those who arrive by train at Stazione Pisa Centrale will find themselves on the edge of this part of town, so including its exploration on the way to Campo dei Miracoli only makes good scheduling sense.
Arrivals in Pisa, Italy can take place by car, train, bus and airplane.
If you have time to explore Italy at your leisure, then arriving by car is a good idea as it allows you to venture off to other nearby sites and activities, such as shopping for exquisite marble souvenirs in nearby Carrera, wine tasting in Bolzano or heading off for a romantic weekend in fair Verona.
That being said, the other methods of getting to Pisa certainly have their value. The train is particularly convenient if youíre traveling to and from Venice, since itís necessary to visit that particular city on foot.
Clearly, Pisa has more to offer than its famous leaning tower. Medieval architecture, stunning grounds and centuries of history await the exploration of vacationers visiting Pisa, Italy.
Photo Credits: The images in this article were photographed by the Trek Hound team, but these and other pictures of Pisa are available through a creative commons agreement with our sister site, Pictures of Travel Places.