Pisa, though a small city in Italy, is everything but small in terms of attractions and experiences. In fact, it is one of the most visited places in the country that brim with numerous sights and activities for everyone in the family. It is located in Tuscany in Central Italy, right next to the Ligurian Sea. You can get here by going on a 1.5-hour drive from Florence or by train or plane.
Upon hearing this name, what immediately comes to mind is, of course, the Leaning Tower. However, more than this world-famous structure is a collection of other sites that is worth checking. And if you’re planning a holiday with the family, here are reasons why you should make it Pisa!
We’ve just said that the Leaning Tower is oftentimes synonymous to Pisa. So, it deserves to be at the top of your reasons to visit Pisa. There’s a reason for its name, which is the fact that the tower itself leans due to the soft ground it’s been built on. It cannot sufficiently support the tower’s weight that caused the tower to start leaning during its construction, which worsened after its completion. Stand outside it and take photos of this marvellous sight before going up its 300 steps to the top where superb views of Pisa can be seen.
Though the most popular attraction in Pisa is the Leaning Tower, you shouldn’t miss visiting one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of Italy, the Duomo of Santa Maria dell’Assunta, situated right in Piazza Dei Miracoli. When you come here, you will be in awe of its Roman-Pisan Gothic architecture that features white marble. And after taking photos, do make sure to admire the beautiful contrast between the white colour of the structure and the spectacular green grass in its surroundings.
So, yeah, I love sunsets! Who doesn’t right? But among all the sunsets I’ve watched, Pisa has one of the most romantic sights I’ve ever seen. The Arno is magical, and the surrounding colourful palaces and buildings definitely make a good point from where you can admire the setting sun. Capture that brief moment as the sun slowly changes from bright orange to a deep red to give way to the night. Make sure to keep your camera handy to keep memories of this stunning sight.
You might be wondering how there is a thermal resort in Pisa. As a matter of fact, Pisa has one of the oldest hot springs in Tuscany. Casciana Terme is the perfect place where you can relax and unwind in a place that’s away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Aside from here, you can also explore other natural hot springs located in natural sceneries, some of which are already part of enclosed spa centres.
The Santa Maria Della Spina is an amazing Gothic church—small and simply spectacular but closed to the public. However, it is still picture-worthy so make sure to keep your camera handy and snap as many shots you can possibly make!
Sure, you’ve had gelato in your place. But have you tried Italy’s gelato? If you haven’t, then, you should try it. Pisa has a lot of good ice cream shops including La Bottega del Gelato, which is a small gelateria situated in Piazza Garibaldi close to the Arno River. Get yourself an artisan gelato made with fresh and seasonal ingredients and enjoy every drop of it while strolling on the cobblestone streets of Pisa.
If you’re a beach bud, then the beaches in Pisa deserve a visit. Whether you want a rocky or a sandy beach, you can find that here. On the last days of summer, Italians and tourists flock to Pisa to visit the beach, which are only 15-20 minutes away from the city centre. The beaches are also easily accessible thanks to the city’s public transportation. If you want our recommendation, the closest beach is the Marina di Pisa, but you can also go to the little town of Castiglioncello. It’s both sandy and rocky, perfect for all types of beachgoers.
On November of each year, Pisa holds the Pisa Book Festival and becomes the country’s capital of independent publishing. More than 100 exhibitors from all over Italy come together to participate in more than 200 events and 4,000 square metres of books.
See? Pisa may be a smaller city than other Italian cities, but you cannot underestimate its offerings. While my favourite remains to be its gelato, I’m sure there are more things waiting for you to experience.