What to see in Pisa: one-day itinerary in the city of the Leaning Tower
Famous worldwide for its leaning tower, the city of Pisa in Tuscany is a true jewel of art and history. Its picturesque historic center is characterized by narrow streets, medieval and Renaissance buildings and green areas that deserve to be seen at least once in a lifetime.
Here are several attractions not to be missed on a one-day itinerary in Pisa.
Piazza dei Miracoli and its Leaning Tower
Piazza dei Miracoli is undoubtedly the first attraction to visit on a trip to Pisa. This square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and houses some of the city’s most famous monuments, such as the famous Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery, and the Monumental Cemetery.
The Cathedral is built in Pisan Romanesque style and dates back to the 12th century. Outside, it is characterized by a facade of white and black stripes. On the other hand, inside, you can admire frescoes and marble decorations.
The Baptistery, also in Pisan Romanesque style, is one of the oldest buildings in the square, dating back to the 12th century. It features a beautiful dome that dominates the square.
Giotto’s bell tower, better known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is certainly one of the world’s most photographed and well-known monuments, thanks to its characteristic lean.
Finally, the Monumental Cemetery, dating back to the 13th century, is a monumental cemetery that houses numerous frescoes and sculptures, some of which date back to antiquity.
Piazza dei Cavalieri and the Scuola Normale Superiore
After seeing Piazza dei Miracoli and admiring its monuments, you can move on to the nearby Piazza dei Cavalieri, one of the most picturesque squares in Pisa.
The square owes its name to the presence of the Scuola Normale Superiore, one of the most prestigious Italian universities, founded in 1810 by Napoleon Bonaparte. The Scuola Normale is housed inside the Palazzo della Carovana, an imposing building dating back to the 16th century, designed by the famous architect Giorgio Vasari.
The square was also the seat of the powerful Order of St. Stephen, founded by Cosimo I de’ Medici in the 16th century to counter Turkish piracy. The Palazzo degli Anziani, with its bell tower, was the seat of the Order, while the church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri housed the founder’s tomb.
The square was then redesigned in the 17th century by the great architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini, who gave it its current appearance, with the equestrian monument of Cosimo I and the facades of the buildings decorated with the Medici coat of arms.
Walking along the Lungarni
The Lungarni in Pisa are the streets that run along the banks of the Arno River, offering a panoramic view of the beauties of the Tuscan city.
Walking along these streets, you can admire numerous monuments and historic palaces, such as the Palazzo Blu, the Church of Santa Maria della Spina, and the Palazzo delle Vedove.
In particular, the Church of Santa Maria della Spina is a Gothic gem that overlooks the Arno and houses some important works of art, including the Madonna and Child by Nino Pisano.
The Lungarni are also ideal for a romantic stroll, especially at sunset, when the light reflects on the river, creating a unique atmosphere.
Other things to see in the center of Pisa
In addition to the Piazza dei Miracoli, Piazza dei Cavalieri, and the Lungarni, Pisa offers many other exciting places to visit.
Corso Italia, the city’s main street, is the center of shopping, with fashion stores, jewelry shops, and typical Tuscan products.
The center of Pisa also hosts numerous historical attractions, such as the Church of San Frediano, with its beautiful Romanesque façade, or the Royal Palace, with its impressive Gothic portal in the Pisan style, and the Throne Room with frescoes from the 16th century. The National Museum of San Matteo is also worth a visit. This museum houses a collection of medieval and Renaissance art, including paintings, sculptures, and sacred furnishings.
For nature lovers, Giardino Scotto is a green oasis in the city’s heart, with exotic plants and trees. The garden also houses a botanical museum, an artificial lake, and a children’s play area. Another must-see garden is the Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli Natural Park, which extends over vast dunes, pine forests, and coastal marshes. The park hosts numerous naturalistic trails, ideal for trekking and wildlife enthusiasts.
Pisa is a city that has a lot to offer to all its visitors, even for just a day. If you are looking for a place to stay near Pisa, do not miss the opportunity to sleep in a historic tower in Lucca. The L’Antica Bifore Guesthouse, located in the heart of the city walls, will give you an unforgettable experience. Our accommodation offers the charm of a period environment, combined with all modern comforts, for a stay of absolute relaxation.