24 hours in Pisa
Written by Angela Corrias
Erected where the Arno River once flowed into the Tyrrhenian Sea, this ancient maritime republic was a fierce competitor with other sea powers, including Venice, Genoa, and Amalfi. Now nestled on the river’s alluvial plain, Pisa is no longer the home of a seafaring empire, but it has never lost its cultural and artistic splendour.
Italians love their breakfast. Join them before starting your sightseeing and get a creamy cappuccino and tempting pastries at Pasticceria da Principe near Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.
It’s never too early to start queuing for the Leaning Tower in UNESCO-listed Piazza dei Miracoli. If you didn’t book online, climb the city’s symbol right after your morning coffee to enjoy the breathtaking view.
Visit Museo di Palazzo Reale (Lungarno Pacinotti 46), the 16th-century mansion residence of local ruling families. It’s now open for the public to admire the original furniture, ornaments, and more.
For lunch, try some local cuisine, such as Pisan-style fried anchovies, beef-based mucco pisano recipes, or the traditional tomato-based pappa al pomodoro at Ristorante Galileo (Via San Martino 6/8).
After lunch, head to Lungarno Fibonacci 2 and enjoy the newly renovated Giardino Scotto, an ancient fortress which is now a popular public garden with terraces, pine-scented alleys, and playgrounds.
Stroll around Borgo Stretto, the former commercial district where trendy stores have replaced old artisan workshops. Lined with elegant arched colonnades, this narrow street is always busy with locals and tourists.
In Piazza dei Cavalieri, enjoy the prestigious Normale University and the tower where Count Ugolino allegedly starved to death as chronicled in Dante Alighieri’s poem Divina Commedia.
For dinner, treat yourself with the generous portions at popular fish restaurant La Rampa (Lungarno Gabriele D’Annunzio 74), or tuck into the traditional delicacies of La Sosta dei Cavalieri (Via San Frediano 3).
Round off your day wandering about the waterfront boulevards of Lungarni, along the Arno River, where you can enjoy the alluring combination of night lights, historical palaces, and cafés.
Compact and flat, the beauty of Pisa’s city centre lies in its hidden alleys, and the best way to enjoy them is on foot.
The fastest way to get around is by public transport, provided by CPT. 70/120/240-minute tickets cost €1.20/€1.60/€1.90 (US$1.30/US$1.75/US$2.10).
Bicycle and scooter
It’s possible to hire bikes or other two-wheeled vehicles per hour or for the whole day across the city centre.
Sightseeing buses and trains stop at the main landmarks. From April to October, you can book a ferry boat for a river cruise.
Distance: 4,231 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 20 minutes