One-Day Pisa Itinerary – the Best Things to Do and See in One Day
- 1 One-Day Pisa Itinerary – the Best Things to Do and See in One Day
- 1.1 Piazza dei Miracoli = Piazza del Duomo
- 1.2 Knight Square – Piazza Dei Cavalieri
- 1.3 Stroll Arno River
- 1.4 Santa Maria della Spina
- 1.5 Palazzo Blu
- 1.6 Corso Italia
- 1.7 Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II
Pisa is mostly known for one of the most famous buildings in the world – the Leaning Tower of Pisa! The bell tower is one of the main attractions in the town of Pisa, located in Italy’s Tuscany region, and probably even in Europe!
However, the question about more things to do in Pisa is legitimate. I mean, to be honest, I did not know much about the other attractions in Pisa and it seems that there is not much to do in Pisa in one day. For sure it is one of the best day trips from Florence – but what is there to do and see?
Well, of course, there is much more to do and see in Pisa, and there are some more stunning buildings as well and this 1-day Pisa itinerary will help out find out about the best things to see in Pisa.
While the leaning tower will surely dominate your day, here are a few more places to visit in Pisa and some travel tips for your first trip to the city.
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PISA TRAVEL TIPS
Before jumping to the itinerary, here are a few travel tips for Pisa that will help you plan your day better!
How to Get to Pisa:
If you come to Pisa for one day only, my tip is to arrive at one train station (yes, ditch your car and get here by train, which is super easy and comfortable) and leave from another.
So, this way, you do not have to go back and forth.
Try to get to Pisa S. Rossore station. From there, it is quite close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which will be the first attraction to visit on this day. The approach is lovely already.
On the way back (if you do not stay overnight), you can depart from Stazione Pisa Centrale.
If you come by car, there is a car park – Pisa Tower Parking – close to the tower. However, spots are limited in the summer, so come early to get a paid parking spot (and don´t leave any valuables in the car, as apparently theft is common there).
How to Get Around
With this Pisa itinerary, you will not have to use public transportation.
Yes, you will probably walk more than 8-10km, but it is so worth it, and if you need to, you can hop on a bus (don’t forget to buy tickets from a tobacco shop, as sometimes, you cannot buy tickets in the bus – plus they are more expensive – and you need to validate your ticket, whether you bought it from the bus or from a tobacco shop/newsagent).
Best Time to Visit Pisa
Never visit Italian cities in the summer- at least not if you want to avoid the heat and crowds of tourists. Italy, like hardly any other country, is stuffed with people in the summer months and Pisa is no exception.
The shoulder season is certainly the best time to visit Florence. So, if you can, visit Florence in April or May (early June would probably be okay, too, though not perfect) or from mid-September to October, or even in the winter months.
Best Things to Do in Pisa in One Day – An Itinerary
Piazza dei Miracoli = Piazza del Duomo
9 am – Try to be here early, in summer try to be here around 8 am.
It will be busy all day, so at 9 am, you will be able to take some nice pictures without too many other people in them.
My tip is to visit here first because this is the busiest place in all of Pisa – for good reason. Because here is where you will find the Leaning Tower of Pisa, as well as the Baptistery, which shares the piazza with the imposing Camposanto (sacred burial ground) and the Cathedral.
You will need tickets to visit all of these – the cathedral is free to visit, but you will still need to get a ticket with dedicated time on it. You can get the ticket for the Cathedral at the ticket shop (well signed), but if you want to visit any of the other attractions, you need to pay. AND I advise buying the tickets in advance if you don’t want to stand in line forever or don’t want to come super early so you can be the first one in line.
So, here are the main attractions on Piazza del Duomo:
The Cathedral (Duomo)
Visit the cathedral – it is free! Okay, you probably want to know a bit more, so here is the info… It is a medieval, Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and a great example of Romanesque architecture. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Pisa and one of the main attractions in Pisa.
The Baptistery (the Circular Building)
The completion took more than 200 years, but once it was finished in the 14th century, it was the second building on the piazza and is an example of the transition from the Romanesque style to the Gothic style. It is the biggest baptistery in Italy these days. You can also visit the inside (this is where Galileo Galilei was baptized).
Camposanto (a Monumental Cemetery)
It is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tuscany. A legend claims that bodies buried in this ground will rot in just 24 hours. You can also visit the inside and see Medieval and Early Renaissance art adorning the walls of the monumental buildings in the Camposanto.
Museo dele Sinópe
Here lies the preserved, original sketches of the Camposanto, but you can also see preparatory drawings by numerous artists from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Museo dell ’Opera del Duomo
Here you’ll find displays of collected treasures from the cathedral and baptistery, plus etchings of the original Camposanto frescos (it is currently closed for renovation).
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, also known as the Tower of Pisa, is the campanile (bell tower) of the cathedral. As a result of an unstable foundation, it is tilted.
It is probably the most famous landmark in Pisa and maybe one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world. A picture of you holding the tower up is a must (hmm, I did not take one but in my defence: I was ashamed to ask a stranger taking a picture of me doing it, but if I had known someone there, I totally would have done so myself…because, as said, it is a must-do activity in Pisa.
But you can also visit the tower itself.
Only a limited amount of people at a time are allowed inside the tower and there are a lot of stairs – 300 to be exact. You have to leave your bag, including small handbags, downstairs (no extra cost).
Tickets at the ticket center are around 18€ (for the Leaning Tower only, you pay extra for the baptistery).
Tip: During the busy season (April end of September) I recommend buying tickets in advance. I visited in early April and lines were quite long at 9 am (and the lines did not get shorter)!
I think “skip-the-lines-tickets” make sense in a country like Italy which bursts of tourists.
There are also walls you can walk. It is just a very short path, but it gives you an elevated view over the piazza. Entry is about 3€.
From the Piazza del Duomo, head to the next pretty square.
Knight Square – Piazza Dei Cavalieri
The Piazza dei Cavalleri is the symbol of the Medici rule over Pisa, and during the Middle Ages, the piazza was the civil and political center of Pisa.
The piazza is home to the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa Normal School), the Torre della Muda (made famous by Conte Ugolino’s tale in Dante’s Inferno), and the church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri.
From the piazza, head to the Ponte di Mezzo.
Stroll Arno River
Once you have reached the Ponte di Mezzo, I recommend not passing it yet. Stay on that side of the river and walk along the beautiful Arno River.
On a sunny day, it is absolutely lovely and less busy than the Piazzale del Duomo. It is also one of the most beautiful places in Pisa.
I walked all the way until the next bridge, which is Pont di Mezzo. This way, I had the best view of one of the most unique churches I have come across in Italy – the Santa Maria della Spina – and also the Palazzo Blu and many other colorful buildings nearby.
Santa Maria della Spina
Pass over the Ponte di Mezzo bridge and head to the Santa Maria della Spina church. You can visit the inside, and though it is not as spectacular, it is great for taking a quick peek (and it is free to visit).
Just keep walking a few more minutes to reach Palazzo Blu, a venue that is a center for temporary exhibitions and cultural activities.
You can book guided tours and educational initiatives – but you can also visit independently (find out more about current exhibitions, prices and opening hours here).here
Walk until the Ponte di Mezzo and then slowly head to Corsa Italia.
The two historical quarters of this side of the city, Mezzogiorno, are divided by this street. Corsa Italia is the main shopping street with loads of shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II
At the end of the street is the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II.
Recently restored, it soon became one of the preferred meeting places in Pisa and it is a lovely square that I spent some time in before heading to the main train station (Stazione Pisa Centrale), which is around the corner.
Okay, these are my tips on how to spend one day in Pisa. I tried really hard and still had an hour or two to spend – however, to be really honest, there was not much I was interested in seeing. I liked my time in Pisa and think that there is more to it than just the tilted tower, but I also think that half a day (if you don’t visit the inside of any attractions in Pisa) or one full day in Pisa is enough to see the main points of interest.
Do you prefer guided tours from Florence? Then check out these tours – sit back and relax and let the others do the work and organizing while you enjoy!
Half day trip from Florence- find out more here.
This tour from Florence has admission fees to the main Pisa attractions already included
This tour from Florence offers some more stops – what about a combined trip from Florence to see Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa in one day (including wine tasting).
Florence on a budget – here is how to have an amazing time in Florence without spending a lot!
Here are more amazing places to visit in the Tuscany – the prettiest towns, villages, and cities in Tuscany
Visiting Italy for the first time? Then check out my travel tips for Italy