BEST THINGS TO DO IN PISA IN ONE DAY

WHAT TO DO IN PISA IN 1 DAY

Are you planning your Tuscany trip and especially your Pisa itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Pisa in one day? Then this post will help you plan your trip and find out about what to do and see the Pisa main attractions and more Pisa travel tips.

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 Pisa’s main attractions.

However, the question about more things to do in Pisa is legitimate. I did not know much about Pisa’s other attractions, 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?

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.

Piazza dei Miracoli , also known as Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, the main attraction
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR ONE DAY IN PISA

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 via train (yes, ditch your car and get here by train, which is super easy and comfortable). There are two main train stations, and my tip is to arrive at one train station 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.
    Pisa Gate, how to arrive to the Leaning Tower of Pisa
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  • If you get to Pisa via 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 Pisa For One Day

With this Pisa itinerary, you will not need a taxi/car, nor do you – necessarily – have to use public transportation. Yes, you will probably walk more than 8-10km, but it is so worth it. 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 on the bus – plus they are more expensive. And you need to validate your ticket, whether you bought it from the bus or a tobacco shop/newsagent.

1 Day in Pisa – Best Time to Visit

Never visit Italian cities in the summer- at least not if you want to avoid tourists’ heat and crowds. Like hardly any other country, Italy is stuffed with people in the summer months, and Pisa is no exception. Many people visit the leaning tower, so especially in that area, it gets crowded. But even other areas are busy.

The shoulder season is certainly the best time to visit Florence 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. Those months also mean lower accommodation prices.

Pisa For 1 Day – Where to Stay 

In case you want to stay overnight, here are some well-rated accommodations:

THINGS TO DO IN ONE DAY IN PISA

So, here are the best things to do in Pisa in 1 day. Ideally, you get to Pisa quite early – so, whether you come from Florence or another place in Tuscany, it means waking up early/earlyish.

Piazza dei Miracoli = Piazza del Duomo

9 am – Try to be at Piazza del Duomo early. In summer, this means try to be here around 8 am. 

Day trip to Pisa, The leaning tower of Pisa
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My tip is to visit Piazza del Duomo first because this is the busiest place in all of Pisa – for a good reason, and it is a must-see in 1 day in Pisa. 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.

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.

TICKETS: There are several options – except for the cathedral, you have to pay for the entry. You can either buy

  • single tickets for 7€ for each attraction EXCEPT (the Leaning Tower)
  • a single ticket for the Leaning Tower for 20€  
  • a ticket that includes all attractions for 27€
  • a ticket that includes all attractions except the Leaning Tower for 10€

These prices are for adults. There might be discounts available for younger people, so please check before buying a ticket for the full price.

Some tours take care of it, and you book the tour you are interested in.

So, here are the main attractions on Piazza del Duomo: 

The Cathedral (Duomo) – Cattedrale di Pisa

Visit the cathedral – it is free! Okay, you probably want to know a bit more, so here is the info.

The Cathedral in Pisa - a must for a one-day Pisa itinerary
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It is a medieval, Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary’s Assumption and a great example of Romanesque architecture. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Pisa and one of the main attractions in Pisa.

You will need a ticket to visit the Cathedral – it is free to visit, but you will still need a ticket with a dedicated time on it. You can get the Cathedral ticket at the ticket shop (well signed) (for other Pisa attractions, you have to pay). If you buy any ticket for one of the other attractions on the square, you get a free pass to visit the Cathedral, not subjected to a fixed time. Then it is highly recommended to book your tickets in advance

OPENING HOURS: The Cathedral is open to visitors from 10:00 am to 6 pm and from 01:00 pm on Sundays and religious holidays.

  • TIP: Please dress appropriately and be silent inside.

The Baptistery (the Circular Building)

The completion of the Baptistery took more than 200 years, but once 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. 

The Baptistery in Pisa in one day is a must
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It is the biggest baptistery in Italy these days. You can also visit the inside (this is where Galileo Galilei was baptized).

OPENING HOURS: It is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. You need a ticket to visit it. You can either buy a ticket for this attraction only (around 7€) or a ticket that includes entry to several attractions (20-27€).

Camposanto (a Monumental Cemetery)

The Camposanto is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tuscany.

Camposanto in Pisa, what to see in Pisa in 1 day
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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.

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Single tickets for Camposanto are 7€, but you can also buy tickets for all attractions. The entrance is free on the 1 and 2 November on the occasion of All Souls and Saints day. Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

SINOPIE MUSEUM

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. 

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Single tickets for the museum are 7€, but you can also buy tickets for all attractions. Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

Museo dell ’Opera del Duomo / Opera del Duomo Museum

Here you’ll find displays of collected treasures from the cathedral and baptistery, plus etchings of the original Camposanto frescos.

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Single tickets for this museum are 7€, but you can also buy tickets for all attractions. It is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, also known as the Tower of Pisa, is the cathedral’s campanile (bell tower). As a result of an unstable foundation, it is tilted. But I am sure, it is safe to go up. Pretty sure. Yes, I guess it is safe. No, I am certain that it is safe and if dogs had been allowed on the tower, I would have climbed all the stairs to the top myself.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the best attraction in Pisa
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It is probably the most famous landmark in Pisa and maybe one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions. A picture of you holding the tower up is a must – well, maybe. I did not take one, but in my defense: 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 number of people are allowed inside the tower, and there are many 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 20€ (for the Leaning Tower only, you can also buy tickets that include all attractions for 27€).

  • Tip: During the busy season (April end of September), I recommend buying tickets in advance. I visited in early April, and the 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. Click here for skip-the-lines tickets and guided tours.

OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Single tickets for the tower are 20€, but you can also buy tickets for all attractions. It is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

Walls

There are also walls you can walk. It is just a very short path, but it gives you an elevated view over the piazza.

Picture from Pisa from the walls, an itinerary for Pisa
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The Baptistery seen from the wall, what to do in Pisa in one day
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Entry is about 3€ – this is not included in the “ticket for all attractions”. This was, by the way, the only attraction I was allowed to visit with my dog, and so I did.

If you have visited all attractions on the square, it probably is already lunchtime, and it took you several hours – I did not do much here and was “done” after 2 hours or so.

From the Piazza del Duomo, head to the next pretty square – the Piazza del Cavalieri. It is about 600 meters (less than 0.5 miles) from the Leaning Tower.

Knight Square – Piazza Dei Cavalieri

The Piazza del Cavalieri is the symbol of the Medici rule over Pisa, and during the Middle Ages, the piazza was the civil and political center of Pisa.

Knight Square - Piazza Dei Cavalieri in Pisa
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Knights Square in Pisa
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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 further south to the Arno River and 

Stroll Arno River

Walk along the beautiful Arno River.

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Building along the Arno River in Pisa
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On a sunny day, it is charming 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 the Palazzo Blu and many other colorful buildings nearby.

Santa Maria Della Spina

Santa Maria Della Spina church is a very distinctive 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). Its locations and size are very unique, to say the least.

Day trip to Pisa, stroll the river
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Santa Maria della Spina one of the most beautiful places to visit in Pisa, Italy
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Palazzo Blu

Just keep walking a few more minutes to reach Palazzo Blu, a venue that is a center for temporary exhibitions and cultural activities. 

Palazzo Blu at the Arno River
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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).

Corso Italia 

Walk until the Ponte di Mezzo and then slowly head to Corsa Italia.

Corso Italia in Pisa, the main shopping street
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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.

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in Pisa, where to visit in Pisa
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Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in Pisa, a place to go in Pisa
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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.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO DO IN PISA IN ONE DAY

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.

Here are more amazing places to visit in Tuscany – the prettiest towns, villages, and cities in Tuscany.

Visiting Italy for the first time? Then check out my travel tips for Italy.

I liked my time one day in Pisa and think that there is more to it than just the tilted tower. But I think that half a day (if you don’t visit the inside of any attractions in Pisa) could be enough to see the main points of interest.

I hope this post has helped you create your Pisa itinerary for 1 day, and you will have fun one day in Pisa.

Safe Travels, Arzo
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