The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most visited monuments in the world. We took a day trip from Florence to Pisa. We really wanted to see this much-talked-about structure. There are lots of astonishing pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, also a lot of funny ones where tourists try pushing or pulling the tower.
We were initially excited about this visit but as soon as the complex was underwhelming. Read on to know why.
- How to reach Pisa from Florence?
- What do to in Pisa?
- Few things to keep in mind
- Where to stay?
- Watch our complete day trip to Pisa here:
How to reach Pisa from Florence?
Train/Bus: Pisa is quite accessible from Florence by train. I personally love Italian trains because of their speed, comfort & frequency. From Florence, it takes less than an hour to reach Pisa. If you have a Eurail Pass, then you don’t have to pay for reservations as well! But if you don’t have the Eurail pass (we highly recommend it), the train ticket is hardly EUR 15. Bus tickets are lesser than EUR 10 & it takes to about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Car/Taxi: There are many car rental companies in Florence. Pisa is about 85 km away & it takes about 1 hour 10 minutes from Florence. Renting a car or hiring a taxi is quite expensive than going by public transport.
What do to in Pisa?
1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa (EUR 18)
The leaning tower of Pisa is one of the most important monuments in Italy & the world. Millions of people visit the tiny town of Pisa just to witness a tower has leaned due to earthquakes. I had not read up on the leaning tower much & hence I had too many expectations from it.
I thought the tower will be full of frescoed walls, sculptures, amazing stories, but when I entered, I was in for a shock. The leaning tower of Pisa was originally built to be a bell tower for the complex, hence it is empty from inside. Yes, empty. The height is about 192 ft so not even quite tall. From the top, you can get a normal panoramic view of the square of miracles but that’s about it. Is it worth paying the Euros to go on top of the leaning tower of Pisa? Well, you can decide for yourself.
2. The Cathedral (Free)
When you enter the square of miracles, you will instantly realize that the real star of Pisa is not the leaning tower. The cathedral of Pisa is indeed the true star here. It is free to enter & there is a reason why it is a must-visit monument not only in Pisa but also in the whole of Italy.
I am unable to describe the beauty of the cathedral in words. Here are a few pictures that might make you understand why I am praising the cathedral of Pisa so much.
3. The Baptistery (EUR 5 for 1, 7 for 2, 8 for 3)
The Baptistery of San Giovanni is over 850 years old but it looks as good as a new structure. This baptistery has some of the most amazing acoustics. The best part about this structure is that even though there are supporting pillars, it looks pillarless. If you love symmetry, you will love taking pictures of the Baptistery from the inside.
Go on the top level, look out of the window towards the leaning tower of Pisa to take an amazing picture of the cathedral.
What is Composanto? Well, it is a cemetery. It is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Exploring Composanto was definitely my favorite monument in Pisa. I found it much more interesting, peaceful & informative than the Leaning Tower of Pisa itself. The cemetery is not an ordinary one. Its walls are not ordinary. The walls of the entire cemetery are covered with Frescos about life & death. If you look closely at these walls, it is definitely going to teach you some things about life.
Composanto is full of artifacts. The archaeological collection found here is truly a treasure & if you have enough time, relish the treasure.
5. The Sinopie Museum
Just when you enter the ticket office, you will get to see a few glimpses of the Sinopie Museum. It is quite interesting & a must visit attraction in Pisa. Sinopie is a different type of Fresco art. It is around 600-800 years old & if you are a history buff, you are in for a treat. A lot of master painters & architects’ blueprints are found on the walls of the Sinopie Museum.
6. Opera Del Duomo Museum (On & Off)
Opera Del Duomo Museum is all about cathedral works. If you are interested in Catholic history, you must visit the museum. It is not always open though. Right now, it is shut for renovation. You check its status when you are buying the tickets for the complex. You can see many priceless sculptures, objects, parchments & other artifacts important to Christianism.
7. Sunset by the Arno river
This entry might look weird but really, you must get to Arno River. It is about 1 km away from the complex. A simple 10 minutes’ walk will take you to Arno River. You can also go on the other side of the river to visit Santa Maria della Spina. Sunset by the river will definitely remind you about all the good things in life.
Few things to keep in mind
- There is no need to stay in Pisa if you want to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You can stay in Florence for 3-4 days & give Pisa just one day out of it.
- Being a world famous spot, Pisa has a lot of tourists coming in every day. Make sure you arrive early in the morning to avoid the rush.
- Most tourists do not go beyond the complex but you should go outside & explore the area around the Arno river. Pisa is definitely much more than the Leaning Tower.
- Buying a combo ticket is the best deal here. Even if you are not very interested in museums, buy the combo ticket because it is the cheapest way to explore the entire complex.
- Buy tickets either from the official ticket seller (located inside the square of miracles) or book it online from the official website only.
Where to stay?
We stayed in Florence during our day trip. We stayed at a lovely B&B called Martindago. There are many types of accommodations are available in Pisa. You can check out the options & book it on booking.com.
Watch our complete day trip to Pisa here:
Photos: Awara Diaries