Pisa, Tuscany, Italy
Famous for its Leaning Tower, this city in Tuscany also offers many other attractions including the Museo delle Sinopie, the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo. This vibrant city is also home to a large university, elegant shops, lively markets, bars, cafes and plenty of good restaurants.
The stunning square of Campo dei Miracoli, Field of Miracles is also found in Pisa. This historical city is ideal for those looking for a taste of Italy's cultural past. This lively city is built along the river Arno and is ideal as a base for exploring the area.
There is no beach in Pisa itself but there are several beaches that can be reached within 20 minutes by bus, train or car. There are some nicer beaches slightly further away and some will say they are worth the extra miles. Castiglioncello is about 40 minutes away by train and is mainly large rocks to dive off rather than sand but is still lovely and the town itself is lovely too.
Things to Do
Top of any to do list really has to be the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This beautiful bell tower dates back to 1173 and is 55m high. There are galleries and arcades on most floors so it is worth climbing the 294 steps to the top and as a reward you will be treated to some fantastic views.
The Leaning Tower is situated in the Cathedral Square, otherwise known as Miracles Square, along with the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the monumental graveyard. These three structures are considered central to religious life and symbolize the main stages of human life. The Baptistry represents birth, the Cathedral represents life and the graveyard represents death. The square is surrounded by a large grassy lawn which is ideal for relaxing and taking in the beautiful surroundings.
Pisa is full of impressive sites and offers many churches, museums and monuments for you to wander around so take a stroll through the narrow streets and enjoy the many sights of Pisa. Although you will see more if you are on foot, many visitors choose to take a horse carriage ride or a boat tour which is certainly the more relaxing alternative.
Pisa is also home to the oldest botanic gardens in Europe so if you are looking for somewhere to relax for a couple of hours then this is the place.
Out and About
Pisa has the usual souvenir shops where you can buy your very own little Leaning Tower of Pisa but there are also lots of elegant stores and markets that are held daily. There is also an antique market that is held every second weekend.
There are many different types of restaurants in Pisa and whilst visiting, you may want to try some frog soup or one of the many popular fish dishes and to round off your meal you could have some Torta co'bischeri which is a cake made of chestnuts, pine nuts and chocolate.
Nightlife in Pisa is fairly lively and whilst you will not be out partying till the early hours, there are plenty of places that stay open relatively late. Pisa is a young city so a lot of the crowd are students who tend to congregate round the restaurants, bars and clubs on the Arno promenade and the centro storico. In the summer, lots of young people tend to go to the coast or the Versilia where there are lots of pubs and clubs.
There are various festivals celebrated throughout the year with San't Ubaldo in May which sees many different events and a lovely flower festival. The liveliest month has to be June though and there are various events going on to celebrate different things. Events include the city centre being decorated with thousands of candles, firework displays, street markets and massive street parties that can be enjoyed by all.
Whilst in Pisa, why not take some time out and visit the nearby hidden villages and hilltop towns and explore the surrounding countryside.
The charming town of Lucca is approx 17km from Pisa and although it is quieter than the likes of Florence, it is still very lively. Most of the centre is traffic free so why not rent a bike and tour the city walls and tree-lined promenade on your bike. There is a market held daily in the town square and there are several shops and cafes here too so it is great for a chilled out afternoon.
A little further a field is Florence with its many historical sights and attractions. If you like designer labels you will be at home here or you can just enjoying wandering round and seeing what the city has to offer.
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