Good, what’s there to tell about Pisa? It’s got a leaning tower, that’s right, but what they don’t want you to recognize is that it’s one of probably hundreds of leaning towers through Italy. The truth is that Pisa is in all probability best done on a two-hour stop en route from one city to another city, because you’ve most likely just got to have the picture of yourself holding up the tower, correct? Yeah, we supposed so. No worries, we’ve all done it. The bottom line is that except you’ve got a cause to stay longer, Pisa’s the perfect stop.
What to Do in Pisa Italy
There’s really only one great reason people come to Pisa, and that’s to see the well-known leaning tower. Thankfully it’s very accessible to the main train station, so you can drop your handbags in a locker and climb on a bus for the short drive to the pristine square around the Pisa’s leaning tower and church. The Leaning Tower in Pisa is actually just the bell tower for the nearby cathedral, which is rather amazing in its own right.
The things to do in Pisa beyond the leaning tower
Pisa is much more than the “odd” famous tower, symbol and pride of the town. With this post about the things to do in Pisa, I tell a bit more about the city hoping to make you feel the desire to get out the Square exploring its historical center.
Pisa is a lively city of about seventy thousands people born at the time of the ancient Greeks. Historians tell that the founder could be a man called Pelope coming from the Greek city of Pisa after the fall of Troy, that build the new city on a land occupied by the Liguri.
Pisa was an important trade center during the Etruscans Age and one of the four Repubbliche Marinare (Maritime Republics) during the Middle Age together with Genoa, Venice and Amalfi. From the tenth to the thirteen century, these city-states built big fleets to protect their land and to trade with cities along the Mediterranean Sea.
Pisa is synonym of scientific and experimental culture, thanks to the insights of Galileo Galilei, considered as the Father of the modern science. Pisa gave the birth to the Italian mathematic, astronomer, physicist, and philosopher, on 1564. Suspected and convicted of heresy by the Roman Inquisition, he spent many years of his life under arrest in a small village close to Florence. Today, the Cathedral of Santa Croce in Florence houses his grave close to many other important persons of the history.
Pisa is an important university campus and a relevant research district unique in Italy. It hosts the University, the CNR (national research council) institute and two exclusive Grand écoles, The Scuola Normale Superiore and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, reserved to the best students of all the country, and listed between the best institutes of Europe and of the entire world.
Pisa is crossed by the Arno River, the same that flows in Florence. It has ruins of tower houses and ancient walls that in the past protected the city by the enemies.
Pisa has a synagogue and other two leaning towers in addition to the famous one in the Square of Miracles: the church of San Nicola in Via Santa Maria and the church of San Michele agli Scalzi in the area of the Piagge along the river.
Pisa is well connected with Florence, Lucca, and the coast by bus and train, and the Galileo Galilei International Airport is the main airport of Tuscany and of central Italy.
PIAZZA DEI CAVALIERI
Piazza dei Cavalieri, long time ago known as Piazza delle Sette Strade (Square of the seven streets), is the second largest square in the city with many historical buildings that hosted the political powers of the city in the middle ages and Renaissance, but most of them are not accessible to tourists, as they are now property of the University of Pisa or Scuola Normale Superiore (a prestigious elitary school).The Italian name of the piazza translates to “Knights’ Square.” By day this is a simple square but at night it transforms completely: people join together here with guitars, bongo drums and beers. There is always music and people dancing and is probably the best place where to meet some locals.
PIAZZA SANTA CATERINA
The real name is Piazza Martiri della Libertà, but commonly is called Piazza Santa Caterina, from the name of the church. Surrounded by tall trees, there are lots of cool shaded areas as well as a number of benches where you can sit and take a breather.
PIAZZA DELLE VETTOVAGLIE
Piazza delle Vettovaglie has been the thriving heart of the city since the Middle Ages. Once called Piazza dei Porci (Pigs’ square, as it was home to the meat market), it is a porticoed square, home to a lively daily market. Thanks to the inexpensive restaurants and bars serving quick meals and excellent aperitivs the square gets really busy from dinner time to late.
Giardino Scotto is a fortess converted to a public park, har a big playground for kids with colorful flower-beds, tall trees and some cool grassy areas. During the summer movie nights and concerts are often held here.
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Visits of the cathedral and the baptistery (behind the church) are recommended, and cheap in comparison to the tower itself. The tower is from time to time open for climbing and sometimes not, based upon its stability, and it’s a good idea to book tickets in advance if you’re eager to climb it.
Getting To Pisa Italy
It’s in all likelihood that Pisa isn’t your only check in Italy, so your entering point is in all probability to be either Rome’s Fiumicino Airport or Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Either way, you’ll probably be taking the train to Pisa. Look for deals on airfare to Italy.
Where to Stay in Pisa Italy
If you’re determined to pass the night in Pisa, there are lots of hotels and hostels to select from. There is a university present, so if that’s your reason for visiting you’ll want to make sure your accommodations are around the university. You can begin by looking through Pisa hostels and Pisa hotels and book a room today.