Located in Tuscany in central Italy and sitting on the River Arno, Pisa is the home of Galileo Galilei, the Leaning Tower and so much more.

Although the exact date of foundation cannot be known, the great Virgil calls Pisa a great and developed centre ever since its early years as part of the 7th century Etruscan lands. Brought into Rome in 180 BC as Portus Pisanus, the city’s history has been dictated by its maritime successes or failure. Warding off invaders like the Saracens and the nearby Genoese in the centuries after the Roman Empire’s decline, the city remained independent until defeat to Venice in 1206, which sparked a gradual decline up until its final defeat by Florence in the 15th century.

However, much of the city’s medieval beauty has been preserved despite heavy bombing during World War II, making Pisa one of the jewels of Italy.


Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) is one of the world’s most prominent centres for medieval art and architecture. Although most of the buildings in the Campo tilt, the most famous is unquestionably the Leaning Tower. Officially acting as the bell tower of the cathedral, the Tower began leaning soon after its construction in 1173 and has historically defied attempts to return it to its intended vertical state. It is said that when Benito Mussolini ordered concrete to be poured into the foundations, the tower simply sank further into the soft soil.

More important religious site is the Duomo of St. Mary next to the Tower. Started in 1064 and continually modified thereafter, this truly beautiful and daunting building contains the mummified body of St. Ranieri, Pisa’s patron saint.

The Baptistery is equally difficult to miss, being a fine example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture, with the lower section’s rounded arches in the former style and the upper’s pointed arches more reminiscent of the latter.

Outside of the Campo, the Knight’s Square is another attractive location. Later rebuilt in Renaissance style by the artist and writer Giorgio Vasari, the Square was the old location of the Portus Pisanus ancient forum.

For anyone searching out museums, the Museo Nazionale di St. Matteo is a must-see, containing sculptures and paintings from the 12th to the 15th century, including pieces by the great sculptor Nicola Pisano and the fresco painter Masaccio. The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is also worth a look, containing artefacts from the Cathedral.


The city’s history as a port along with the number of local craftsmen ensures a fine selection of goods, particularly if you’re a fan of terracotta and leather.

Like most Italian cities, Pisa enjoys plenty of markets. Every day, the Piazza delle Vettovaglie is the best place to pick up fine food and drink.

For the main shopping districts, be sure to go down the Borgo Stretto and the Corsa Italia.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Pisa has plenty of pizzerias, restaurants and cafés, but try not to focus too much on the Campo dei Miracoli, as prices tend to be much higher. Instead, try the Via San Martino and the Piazza delle Vettovaglie.

Local dishes are inspired by the regional cuisine, but emphasising all types of meat. Hence dishes like Pisan beef and Pappardelle with a duck or hare sauce are specialities. Dried fruits tend to dominate dessert menus, so why not try the Torta Pisana or the chestnut-based Castagnaccio?

Tourist Information

APT Pisa Tourist BoardVia Pietro Nenni, 2456124Tel: +39(0)50 929 777aptpisa@pisa.turismo.toscana.it


Pisa is served by Pisa ‘Galileo Galilei’ Airport, the main airport in Tuscany. Providing international and domestic flights, it is a short distance from the city centre.

Among the many airlines operating, British Airways runs from London Gatwick and Ryanair from London Stansted, Liverpool and Glasgow.

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