search and book flights

Pisa

Pisa

Pisa is a Tuscan city in Central Italy, which is well known for the leaning tower of the city's cathedral. But the city of about 90.000 residents has much more to offer than the "Tower of Pisa". There are many sights to discover, like for example over 20 historic churches, old bridges, beautiful buildings and lots of museums.

We created a short overview of the most important attractions in Pisa for you:

On this page:

  • Piazza del Duomo
    - Cathedral
    - The Tower of Pisa
    - Baptistery
    - Camposanto Monumentale
    - Ospedale Nuovo di Santo Spirito
    - Palazzo dell'Opera
  • Knights' Square
  • Museo Nazionale di San Matteo
  • Santa Maria della Spina
  • Orto botanico di Pisa
  • Vittorio Emanuele Square

Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo

The Piazza del Duomo, which is also known as Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), is a wide walled square and one of the most important medieval architectural complexes in the world. You can see the following buildings on this square:

Cathedral

The construction of the Cathedral five-naved cathedral began in 1064, what makes it the oldest building on the Piazza del Duomo. It was built with a distinctive Pisan Romanesque style of architecture with a noticeable Byzantine influence. Just like the The Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral is also tilted, but not nearly as much as the tower.

The Tower of Pisa

The Tower of Pisa, also known as "The Leaning Tower of Pisa", is the main attraction in the city. It's located right behind the Cathedral. The tilt of the tower began during the construction, because the building was built on a section of dense clay mixture. Of course the building doesn't look like it was supposed to look like but since the tilt is very significant, it's what makes this tower so famous.

For a long time the Leaning Tower was closed for tourists because it wasn't safe climbing up the tower. But after eleven years of structural strengthening, the tower reopened in 2001.

Baptistery

The Baptistery was the second building on the Piazza del Duomo. It was dedicated to St. John the Baptist and built in the mid 12 century. The round building was constructed in a Romanesque style - at least most of it. In the 14th century there were some Gothic style elements added to the building.

With a circumference of 107,25 meters, the Baptistery on the Piazza del Duomo is the largest baptistery in Italy.

Camposanto Monumentale

The Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery) is a walled cemetery with two doorways, which was completed in 1464. It's supposed to be one of the nicest cemeteries in the world and contains a large collection of Roman sarcophagi and sculptures.

Ospedale Nuovo di Santo Spirito

In the past the Ospedale Nuovo di Santo Spirito was a hospital for poor people, pilgrims and abandoned children. The building was built in 1257 by Giovanni di Simonein in a Gothic style with the interior painted in black and white.

Today just a part of this building still is a hospital. The middle part contains a museum with drawings of the Campo Santo frescoes.

Palazzo dell'Opera

Last but not least, there's the Palazzo dell'Opera on the Piazza del Duomo. It's a complex of houses, which were built in different time periods, mainly for the workmen of the cathedral complex. For a long time the rooms were not open to the public but since 2014, after some of the rooms in the upper floor where changed into a platform for temporary exhibitions, they can be entered by visitors.

Knights' Square

The Knights' Square is the second main square of Pisa. It used to be the political hub in the Middle Ages. In the second half of the 16th century the place became the base of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen. Today, a higher learning institution which belongs to the University of Pisa is the main house on this square.

The square has a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful buildings, which were constructed by the famous Italian architect Giorgio Vasari. One of the most fascinating buildings on the square is the Santo Stefano church. It's a sandstone and marble structure with a complex painted wooden ceiling.

It's easy to reach the Knights' Square by bus but it's much nicer to get there by walking along the scenic streets of the city.

Museo Nazionale di San Matteo

The Museo Nazionale di San Matteo contains a large collection of antique Tuscan paintings, created between the 12th and 14th century. You can see works by Ghirlandaio, Gentile da Fabriano, Lippo Memmi and Taddeo Gaddi.

There are also many other medieval masterpieces in this museum, like for example Pisan sculptures of the 14th- and 15th-century by Andrea della Robbia, Francesco di Valdambrino, Donatello and Nicola.

Opening hours:

Tuesday – Saturday: 8.30 am – 7.30 pm

Sunday: 8.30 am – 1.30 pm

Santa Maria della Spina

Santa Maria della Spina

Santa Maria della Spina is a pale Gothic church right by the River Arno. Although it's a very small church, it's one of Pisa's most impressive buildings. It was erected in the 13th century and originally known as "Santa Maria di Pontenovo". In 1871 the building was slightly altered while it was rebuild because of a dangerous infiltration of the Arno River.

The tiny church has a rectangular plant and on the outside it consists of pure marble in polychrome bands. There are lots of statues from the main Pisane artists of the 14th century, rose windows and intricate details to be seen.

The interior is also very nice but not as fascinating as the exterior. It's a single room with a painted ceiling and the Madonna of the Rose sculpture by Andrea and Nino Pisano in its center.

Opening hours:                                                    

Monday – Friday: 10.00 am – 14.00 am and 15.00 pm – 18.00 pm

Saturday and Sunday: 10.00 am – 18.45 pm

Orto botanico di Pisa

Orto botanico di Pisa

The Orto botanico di Pisa is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world and belongs to the University of Pisa. The garden was moved twice (1563 and 1591) and is now located at via Luca Ghini 5.

The garden is a perfect place to discover the science of botany. Discover exotic flowers, greenhouses and herb gardens but also fountains, ponds, a library and a very interesting gallery of natural objects.

Opening hours:

Monday – Friday: 8.30 am – 5.30 pm

Saturday: 8.30 am – 1.30 pm

Vittorio Emanuele Square

The Vittorio Emanuele Square is the first big square that you will see in Pisa, when you walk from the train station to the city center. The recently restored square is a popular meeting place in Pisa.

There is a public food market with lots of cheeses, freshly baked macaroons, dried meats, sweets and tasty snacks, that takes place every Wednesday. You can also go shopping in the stores fronting the piazza, eat something in a restaurant or have a drink in one of the bars.