Is it just the leaning tower in this small town Or is there more things to see around ? Maybe a tour of this town limiting - Is Pisa worth visiting? Get your reasons and decide whether it is worth visiting Pisa - the Tuscan town with the leaning tower. This post gives you the pros and cons of adding this town to your Italy itinerary along with interesting facts about the leaning tower of Pisa and the town itself.
One of the dilemmas I faced when planning my Italy itinerary was whether it is worth including Pisa in it. I recall the numerous questions that ran through my mind – is Pisa just about the leaning tower or is there more? Is that monument so worth the time which could be better spent in one of the other Tuscan towns? Interestingly, there are pretty common questions that most travelers to Italy, especially Tuscany have – Is Pisa worth visiting?
Being a complete heritage buff, it was hard for me to resist the lure of this unusual UNESCO World Heritage site. And thankfully, I was able to fit Pisa in as a day trip from Florence. Having done so, I can definitely give you some of the answers that you are seeking in your dilemma of whether is Pisa worth it.
My answer is yes. However, I recommend that but you spend only half day in Pisa. You can easily do this from Florence or any of the other cities in Tuscany.
The rest of this post is about my reasons for supporting this answer. It involves some fun facts about the Leaning tower of Pisa and the town itself. I will also be sharing reasons that might take a few points away from visiting Pisa for you. And of course, if you do decide that you want to visit Pisa, then all you have to do is just read this post of mine on planning a day trip to Pisa from Florence.
- 1 Reasons why Pisa is worth visiting
- 2 4. Pisa is an easy day trip from Florence or Rome
- 3 The cons (rather caveats) of visiting Pisa
- 4 Booking Resources
Reasons why Pisa is worth visiting
1. These interesting facts about the Leaning Tower of Pisa make the first reason
There is no doubt that the Leaning tower of Pisa is one of the most iconic landmarks of Italy. However, these fun facts about the leaning tower of Pisa are what make it so.
- The tower was designed as a bell tower and was built over a period of almost 200 years, starting in 1173 and ending in 1372.
- It was never designed to lean. However, The lean was caused by the soft ground beneath the tower, which started to sink on one side during the construction process.
- The tower is 56 meters tall. In fact, it measures 55.86 meters on the low side and 56.67 meters on the high side.
- The Leaning Tower is a classic example of Romanesque architecture and is made of white marble
- The Leaning tower of Pisa has eight levels including the top one for a bell chamber. There are seven bells – one for each musical note in each of the levels.
- The heaviest bell in the Leaning Tower weighs 3600 kgs.
- The tower’s incline had increased to an angle of 5.5 . It was closed to the public in 1990 due to safety concerns, but it was reopened in 2001 after a restoration project. Now, the lean has been reduced to about 3.99 degrees from the vertical.
- There are 297 steps leading up to the top of the tower, and yes, you can still climb to the top for a panoramic view of Pisa.
- Galileo Galilei is said to have dropped two cannonballs of different masses from the top of the tower to demonstrate that their speed of descent was the same, regardless of their mass.
- The tower has survived several earthquakes over the centuries, including a major one in 2009.
2. There is more to see than just the leaning tower when visiting Pisa
Here is one big one that will influence your decision of whether it is worth visiting Pisa – it isn’t the only attraction that makes up the UNESCO World Heritage site in Pisa. It is in fact, just one of the four monuments in the Piazza dei Miracoli that are included in the Pisa UNESCO World Heritage site. The other three attractions in Pisa include –
- The Pisa Cathedral – It was in fact the first building to build in the square. Also, known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, this has a beautiful interior with works of art and stunning architecture.
- The Baptistry – This was once the largest baptistery in Italy. The circular building is made of white marble, and features an impressive dome, as well as many sculptures and frescoes. It is famous for its acoustics and its impressive marble pulpit.
- Camposanto Monumentale – This monumental cemetery features impressive Gothic architecture, as well as many valuable frescoes and sculptures.
In addition to these three monuments, you can also, visit the two museums in the square – The Sinopie Museum and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
All the monuments can be viewed for free from the Piazza dei Miracoli. You only need tickets for –
- Climbing the Leaning tower of Pisa
- Entering the Baptistry and the Camposanto Monumentale
- Visiting the museums in the square.
3. There are more activities in Pisa than just the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Besides the Piazza dei Miracoli, you can also, try these other activities in Pisa.
- Visit the other art galleries and museums like the Palazzo Blu, Museum of Ancient Ships of Pisa, and the National Museum of San Matteo
- Take a stroll by the River Arno – the lifeline of Pisa
- Enjoy a taste of Tuscan food with a food tour. There are many available on Viator or GetYourGuide. Use the links to browse and book one.
- Try a cooking class in one of the local’s home.
There are lots of walking tours in Pisa that can be booked online. You even have Golf cart tours and self guided bike tours of Pisa. They really help you with the hidden gems of this small town and get you closer to the culture of the place.
4. Pisa is an easy day trip from Florence or Rome
If you are already in one of these two major cities of Italy, then you can definitely plan a day trip to Pisa.
Florence is closer than Rome – at a distance of 90 km from Pisa. There are multiple options that you can consider – train, bus or guided tours. Given the distance, it is in fact possible for you to do Pisa in half a day. Read my earlier post on how to plan a day trip from Florence to Pisa where I share details on the various options that I have mentioned here.
Rome on the other hand is slightly further away from Pisa. It is around 300 km and takes around 3 hours by train. So while a day trip to Pisa from Rome is possible, half a day would be a bit of a squeeze.
There are numerous options for guided day trips from Florence and Rome. These might even be convenient as they can be booked online and all your transport is taken care of. From Florence, you can opt for this half-day tour of Pisa through GetYourGuide.
5. You can add another Tuscan adventure along with your half day in Pisa
Since half a day in Pisa is possible, you should definitely consider adding another city or experience to your plan. That way you will definitely feel Pisa is worth a visit.
There are numerous options that can be combined with the Pisa day trip. You will find many tours available for the same from Florence and Rome. All of these can be booked in advance through GetYourGuide or Viator. Some of the most recommended options are as below –
- Day Trip from Florence to Pisa, Siena & San Gimignano
- Pisa and Cinque Terre Full-Day Tour from Florence
- Pisa and Lucca from Florence
- Pisa and Lucca from Rome
- Florence and Pisa Full-Day Small-Group Tour from Rome
The cons (rather caveats) of visiting Pisa
While my reasons are strong enough to convince you that Pisa is worth a visit – at least a half-day tour. However, there are a few caveats that I would like to share. These are just some mistakes that I made and some things that I only figured out after visiting Pisa. Knowing these will just help you plan your visit here better.
1. Pisa really gets crowded – especially around the Leaning Tower.
It is best to plan to visit Pisa in the first half of the day. Try getting there early – preferably by 9 am so that you can beat the crowd. It just gets heavier through the day. You will hardly ever get a photo without anyone bombing your frame.
2. Book in advance and be prepared to wait
If you want to climb the tower, you need to book well in advance and ensure you are there at time slot allotted to you. Only 45 people are allowed in at a time interval of 30 minutes. You miss your slot, you miss your climb.
The tickets generally get sold out at the venue. So, it is best to book it online through this GetYourGuide link or their website.
The Cathedral though free to visit also has a timed entrance. They allow only 90 people every 30 minutes. You need to get your free pass at the ticket counter in the Piazza dei Miracoli but might have to wait for your turn.
As I said, not really cons that will stop you from visiting Pisa. More like tips to get the best out of your trip.
I hope you have got your answer to the question is Pisa worth it? I wonder if you agree with me on my suggestion that it is worth it as a half-day trip or a day trip. Message in and let me know. Meanwhile, remember to pin this to your board.
Before you go, pin this
- Just in case you decide to stay back in Pisa, you can book your hotel room using Booking.com They have B&B, holiday homes and hotels in this region listed on their site.
- GetYourGuide offers numerous tours, skip-the-line tickets, transfers and day trips for your day trip to Pisa. You can check the reviews of these offerings and book yours here. Don’t forget to check out their walking tours of Pisa.
- Another website that you can consider for your Pisa trip is Viator.com. They also, have tickets, day tour options from Florence and other cities in Italy.
- For any of your travel needs or general shopping, consider using Amazon through this link.
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Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.
I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings. I have recently published my first book – When Places Come Alive – a collection of stories that are based on legends, landscapes, art and culture of a place which is available in both ebook and paperback format.