• PISA

  • PISA

    a Magnificent Urban Composition

Welcome to Pisa

One of Italy’s great cities of history and art , Pisa is justly famous for its Leaning Tower and Piazza dei Miracoli. But there’s a less well-know side to its heritage that’s also well worth discovering : the historic centre with its Reinassance palazzos, medieval tower houses, Romanesque and gothic churches, and the warren of narrow streets and small piazzas that back the riverfront esplanades.

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Luminara di San Ranieri (light festival)

Pisa flight drone

Introducing Pisa

One of Italy’s great cities of history and art , Pisa is justly famous for its Leaning Tower and Piazza dei Miracoli. But there’s a less well-know side to its heritage that’s also well worth discovering : the historic centre with its Reinassance palazzos, medieval tower houses, Romanesque and gothic churches, and the warren of narrow streets and small piazzas that back the riverfront esplanades.

There’s much worth seeing here : Piazza dei Cavalieri with its church of the same name and the impressive graffito facade of the Palazzo della Carovana, the botanical gardens and the National Museum of San Matteo, with its unique collection of 12th- and 13th- century masterpieces. But Pisa’s also a young and dynamic city, with its university and prestigious research institutes: the Scuola Normale Superiore, the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, and the CNR (National Research Council).

It has much to offer in terms of leisure, too. There’s excellent shopping on Corso Italia and under the arcades of Borgo Stretto, and authentic trattorias around the market in Piazza delle Vettovaglie. A short boat trip downriver along the Arno is the San Rossore natural park, a protected area that’s given over to macchia and Mediterranean paintlife.

Open all year round. Pisa has a rich and eclectic programme of civic and cultural events: Pisan new year, the Internet Festival and Pisabookfestival during Giugno Pisano, the Luminara light festival, the historic regatta and the Battle of the Bridge pageant, the Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare (even four years) and the Anima Mundi festival of sacred music.

In the immediate environs of Pisa, sights worth seeing include the Romanesque basilica of San Piero a Grado, the Charterhouse of Calci with its museum of natural history, and the fortified village of Vicopisano, with its Palazzo Pretorio and castle designed by Brunelleschi.

A little way up the valley of the Arno are Pontedera, whose Piaggio museum is a place of pilgrimage for Vespa lovers from all over the world, and San Miniato, famed for its white truffles and the ideal base for exploring the surrounding countryside.

Overlooking the Valdera, Colline Pisane and Val di Cecina in the southern reaches of Pisa province rises the ancient town of Volterra, renowed for its Etruscan and medieval ruins and now home to a major Etruscan museum, a remarkably good art gallery, and a museum of alabaster.

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The Leaning Tower

The Leaning Tower & Piazza dei Miracoli

Info about…

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous structures in the world – not because of its gently rising series of arches, but because of its legendary tilt.

Constructed as the bell tower to accompany the cathedral, the tower began to shift on its foundations in 1178, before the architect, Bonanno Pisano, had completed the first three tiers.

Fortunately, the lean has now been halted, due to tricks with cables and counter-subsidence. The tower now leans on an angle of 4.1 meters (13 feet), rather than the previous 5 meters (16 feet). It’s well worth paying the extra to climb the spiral stairs leading to the top of the Leaning Tower for views across Pisa. Make sure you book ahead as reservations are compulsory and numbers are limited.

Tel. 050 835011



Pisa Baptistery(Battistero)

Pisa Battistero

Info about…

The wedding cake white marble of the Pisa Baptistery, or Battistero, is one of the stunning collection of buildings on the Piazza dei Miracoli.

The Leaning Tower may be more famous, but the Baptistery captivates visitors with its ornate round shape and mix of architectural styles.

Rounded Romanesque arches make up the ground level, while pointed Gothic shapes take over on the remaining arches and the building’s cupcake dome.

Inside, there’s a beautifully carved pulpit by Nicola Pisano and a huge ornate marble font, used for total-immersion baptisms.

While you’re here, climb the stairs to the gallery for a bird’s-eye view, and discover the building’s remarkable acoustics by whispering sweet nothings beneath the dome.

Tel. +39 050 3872211



Pisa Duomo

Piazza del Duomo , Pisa

Info about…

Pisa’s marvelously striped marble cathedral is a textbook example of Pisan Romanesque architecture, dating back to 1064.

Roughly cross-shaped, the duomo features a galleried exterior topped with a small dome and completed with a rounded apse.

Inside, the building’s five naves create a sea of pillars rising to a golden coffered ceiling.

Much medieval detail was lost during a disastrous fire in 1595, but the mosaic by Cimabue surrounding the altar survived intact. Another highlight is the ornately carved pulpit by Giovanni Pisano.


10am-8pm summer, to 5pm winter



Piazza dei Miracoli


Pisa Cemetery (Camposanto)

Pisa Cemetery

Info about…

Camposanto Cemetery is a monumental complex of buildings on Piazza dei Miracoli.

Constructed in a cloister design with wings sprouting from a central dome, the massive complex was built on hallowed earth brought to Pisa from Calvary in the Holy Land, during the Fourth Crusade.

According to legend, this soil is reputed to reduce bodies to skeletons within a day of burial.

The cemetery is also famous for its precious frescoes. Most of the artworks were destroyed during WWII, but those that remain are displayed in the Fresco Room. The most famous are the Triumph of Death and Last Judgment.

You’ll also see Roman sarcophagi, reused during the Middle Ages as the final resting place of prominent Pisans.

Tel. +39 050 3872211



Knights’ Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri)

Pisa_Knights' Square

Info about…

In Roman and medieval days, the Knights’ Square was Pisa’s central city square, a place for meetings and discussion.

The piazza was lavishly remodeled by the famous architect Vasari in the 16th century, creating a landmark example of spacious Renaissance town planning.

The grand space is gracefully lined with palatial palazzos and the church of the Knights of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The church was also designed by Vasari, and named for the religious and military order founded by Cosimo de’ Medici.

A statue of Cosimo stands in front of the Palazzo dei Cavalieri, which features detailed monochromatic etchings on its facade known as sgraffiti, also contributed by Vasari.


Museo della Grafica

Museo della Grafica

Info about…

Pisa’s museum of graphic arts is housed in Palazzo Lanfranchi. One of the biggest public collections of contemporary graphic arts , it offers scholars , students and enthusiasts a truly stellar overview of the art of graphic design.

The museum also traces the development of the graphic arts in the 19th and 20th centuries with documentary exhibits of work by Sebastiano Timpanaro , Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti and Giulio Carlo Argan.

Tel. +39 050 2216060



National Museum of San Matteo

National Museum of San Matteo

Info about…

Located in the medieval monastery of the same name beside the river Arno , the National Museum of San Matteo has one of Europe’s finest collections of medieval art.

Its collections include a complete series of works by leading Pisan and Tuscan painters from the 12th to the 17th centuries and an impressive section dedicated to ceramics and archaeological finds.

Among its masterpieces of Pisan sculpture from the 12th to 15th centuries are the polyptych of Simone Martini , originally in the church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria , a Nativity by Tino di Camaino , and the Madonna del Latte by the brothers Andrea and Nino Pisano.

Tel. +39 050 541865



Palazzo Blu

Palazzo Blu

Info about…

Palazzo Blu stands of the south bank of the Arno, just a stone’s throw from Ponte di Mezzo in the heart of the old town of Pisa , this former seigniorial residence is now one of Pisa’s major arts venues.

The palazzo’s permanent collection can be viewed free of charge , while it also host occasional exhibitions of works by major artists

Tel. +39 050 2204650



Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina

Pisa_Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina

Info about…

The exquisite church of Santa Maria della Spina is one of the prettiest fairy-tale churches in the world.

Designed in classic Pisan Gothic style, the tiny striped marble church was built to house a thorn from the Crown of Thorns.

The building dates back to 1230, with Gothic enlargements in the 1350s. Originally, the building sat much closer to the river, and it was moved to its present site on the riverside walkway in 1871.

The interior is less ornate than the fanciful exterior, with many statues and details being lost during the relocation. However, a magnificent Madonna and Child remains, sculpted by Andrea and Nino Pisano in the mid-14th century.


Palazzo Reale

Palazzo Reale , Pisa

Info about…

Pisa’s Palazzo Reale is one of the city’s most prestigious buildings.

Designed by Bernardo Buontalenti, it was formerly home to the courts of the Medici , Lorraine and Savoy dynasties.

The palazzo now contains a National Museum with an impressive collection of local artefacts, Medici tapestries and suits of armour.

Among the paintings, there are works of Rafael, Rosso Fiorentino, Bronzino and Antonio Canova.

Tel +39 050 926539



Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Info about…

The Botanical Gardens of the University of Pisa were created in 1543 by the physician and botanist Luca Ghini.

They are the oldest university botanical gardens in Europe.

Originally located near the Medici shipyards , in 1563 they were transplanted to the north-eastern fringe of the city’s historic centre, before moving to their present location in 1591.

Tel. +39 050 2211310



Domus Galilaeana

Domus Galilaeana

Info about…

Domus Galilaeana, home of the italian institute of science history, works to prote study and research in the work of Galileo Galilei and, in a broader sense, the history of ancient, modern and contemporary science.

Its library includes two missives by Galileo among its many holdings, one of which, on the laws governing falling bodies, is written in Galileo’s own hand.

Tel. +39 050 23726



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Domus Mazziniana


Info about…

Domus Mazziniana contais the spiritual and material legacy of the house of the Nathan-Rosselli family, where the italian statesman Giuseppe Mazzini lived his last years.

It is home to the Centre for Mazzini Studies, with its important library on the history of the Risorgimento, and a museum whic preserves the relics, medals, flags, autographed papers, books, documents and personal effects of Mazzini.

Tel. +39 050 24174



Museum of Calculation Instruments

Museum of Calculation Instruments

Info about…

Not far from the Piazza dei Miracoli, the University of Pisa’s museum of calculating machines offers a unique and fascinating journey down the history of information technology.

The Pisan Electronic Calculator, the Olivettis that dominated the market in 1960s, portable calculation machines from 1800 to the present day: unique examples of an exceptional collection that tell the story of computers from a scientific perspective.

The museum has a room dedicated to the Pisan physicist Antonio Pacinotti, with a number of his inventions (including the famous machinetta or dynamo) which illustrate the history of electromagnetism and document the theory which underlies the industrial use of electricity.

Tel. +39 050 2213626



Archeo site of the Roman Ships of Pisa

Archeo site of the Roman Ships of Pisa

Info about…

In 1998 during the works at the foundations of Pisa-San Rossore train station , not far from the Leaning Tower, the remains of 16 ancient ships, well preserved and dating back to Roman period (1st century B.C. – 4th century A.C.) were found.

Their cargo included goods such as ropes, fishing equipment, anchors, baskets and fishing pots.

Guided visits to the archeological site only on booking.

Tel. +39 055 5520407




Fondazione Cerratelli, stage costumes exhibition

Fondazione Cerratelli

Info about…

Fondazione Cerratelli is home to the priceless collection of costumes by the famous Florentine fashion house.

Its collection of 25,000 stage costumes and another 20,000 artefacts including film posters, set photos , playbills and sketches is now conserved and on show to the public in a 1800m2 facility in Villa Roncioni di Pugnano (San Giuliano Terme)

Tel. +39 050 817900



Charterhouse of Calci

Charterhouse of Calci

Info about…

Founded in the 15th century, the charterhouse of Calci is a monumental Baroque complex comprising a large internal courtyard – the focus of the common life of the monastery and its point of contact with the outside world – surrounded by a series of abutting buildings containing the sleeping quarters, vegetable gardens and areas reserved for the observation of the Carthusian rule.

The monastery was inhabited by Carthusian monks until 1970s. It is now open to visitors.

Tel. +39 050 938430



Museum of Natural History

Museum of Natural History - Calci

Info about…

One wing of the charterhouse of Calci accomodates the University of Pisa’s museum of natural history and territory.

One of the oldest museums of its kind in the world, its paleontology, mineralogy and zoology collections are impressive, and its whale gallery one of the biggest in Europe.

Tel. +39 050 2212970



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Food & Drink

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