How to plan a Pisa day trip from Florence – things to do & tips

A marble cathedral with its gilded ceiling
The Camposanto & its arches that emanate a strange feeling
A baptistry that once was the largest in that land
And a tall tower that leans owing to the soft sand.

Just some of the things to do in Pisa in one day. Discover how you can do a Pisa day trip from Florence. 

The 12th-century tilted medieval High Rise that had precariously withstood the sands of time is a part of many bucket lists. As a kid, even I was totally fascinated with the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy and wondered if I could manage this lone UNESCO World Heritage Site in my time-constrained Italian itinerary. Thankfully, with Florence as one of my destinations, Pisa in one day was very manageable. In fact, as I discovered, you only need half a day from Florence to see all the Pisa sightseeing places.

Do a Pisa day trip from Florence to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Do a Pisa day trip from Florence to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Pisa is conveniently located just 90 km from Florence and is a very popular day trip option from this city. In fact, you will find numerous options for a Florence day trip to Pisa that include wine-tasting tours and other popular Tuscan towns like Lucca, Siena and San Gimignano. Many visitors just stop by Pisa on their way to Cinque Terre from Florence.

In this blog post, I will be helping you plan a Pisa day trip from Florence. You will find useful suggestions on the best options for a Pisa tour from Florence and the key things to do here. My guide will also include information on the tickets to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the other attractions nearby along with the best time to visit them. I will also, be answering a lot of the commonly asked questions – so stay tuned for that!

Planning a Pisa trip?

In case you are looking for some quick links to tours, places to stay and travel accessories for your Pisa or Florence trip, you can consider using these online options.

  • Just in case you decide to stay back in Pisa, you can book your hotel room using 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 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.
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this.

Which is the best way to do a Florence day trip to Pisa?

Given the proximity of Pisa to Florence, I found multiple options for a day trip. From trains to private Pisa tours by car, renting a car or just taking a bus – you can pick the one that suits you the most. Personally, I recommend the train as it is not only convenient but cost-effective. If you are keen on getting a guided tour, you can still take the train and opt for one of the many Pisa guided tours available. You can even download some audio tours of Pisa to help you.

In any case, let me detail all the options for a Florence to Pisa day trip

Florence to Pisa by train:

Florence - the capital city of Tuscany Italy
Florence – the capital city of Tuscany Italy

There are regular trains that depart from Florence’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella to Pisa Centrale every hour from 4.30 am to midnight every day. There are two types that you can pick from  – Speed trains and Regular trains. The average price of the train ticket from Florence to Pisa is around USD 9 one way.

The Speed trains take around 45 – 50 mins to cover the distance between Florence and Pisa and get filled quite fast. You might need to reserve these in advance. This can be done as early as 90 days prior to your travel dates.

On the other hand, regular train tickets to Pisa Centrale from Florence are easy to get. You can pick them up at Firenze Santa Maria Novella through the automated ticket machines or ticket counters. The regular trains usually get you to Pisa from Florence in 1 hour 20 minutes.

An important tip here – if you have booked your tickets in advance and have an e-ticket, just check your ticket for whether it says – “Print at Train Station”. If you find that, you will have to go to the ticketing machine at Florence station and print it out. This validation of the ticket is important else, you will end up paying a fine if your ticket is checked at Pisa Centrale.

Statue of the Fallen angel in the Piazzo dei Miraccoli, Pisa
Statue of the Fallen angel in the Piazzo dei Miraccoli, Pisa

From Pisa Centrale, you need to get to Piazza dei Miracoli to see the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa and the other main sightseeing attractions. This is around 2 km and easily walkable. I found a lot of useful signboards that helped me get to the main square of Pisa. You also, have the option of taking a local bus which you will find after every 15 minutes. I recommend you avoid cabs as they are expensive and tend to get stuck if the streets are crowded.

Florence day trip to Pisa by Bus

The main bus station in Florence is near the Santa Maria Novella train station. Here you will find regular buses departing for Pisa – almost one every hour. The buses cost you the same as a train ticket – roughly USD 10 one way. All of them are comfortable air-conditioned buses that drop you off at the Pisa bus station. From here, you can get into one of the local buses to the Piazza dei Miracoli or just walk it down.

The bus to Pisa from Florence takes a little over 1 hour – again the same as a train. It can be a good option but you do have the risk of traffic.

Options of Pisa tour from Florence

Lucca - one of the medieval Tuscan towns that you can visit with Florence day trip to Pisa
Lucca – one of the medieval Tuscan towns that you can visit with Florence day trip to Pisa PC: Pixabay

There are many companies and websites that offer guided tours from Florence to Pisa. These tours usually include transportation by bus, a guide who will provide information about the city and its landmarks, and some free time to explore the city on your own. This option is ideal for those who want to learn more about the history and culture of Pisa and don’t want to worry about transportation or planning.

There are also, options for a guided tour of Pisa from Florence by private car. This definitely allows you to travel in comfort and style.

As mentioned earlier, Pisa can be covered in half a day. It might be a good idea to pick one of the Pisa tours that include other destinations. Here are some suggestions –

Things to do in Pisa in one day

The gorgeous facade of the Pisa Cathedral
The gorgeous facade of the Pisa Cathedral

The main square of Pisa – Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) is not just home to the highlight of this Pisa day tour. In fact, this is where the sister monuments that form the UNESCO World Heritage Site are also, located. There are in total four of them that you can visit. In addition to that are a few museums in Pisa that you can add to your one day Pisa tour from Florence.

While I will be taking you through all the Pisa sightseeing attractions, I will be detailing the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa – the highlight of your Pisa day trip from Florence

Visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the things to do in Pisa for a day
Visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the things to do in Pisa for a day

It is one thing to know it from pictures and another to see it in real life. When I first saw it, I could not help exclaiming the obvious – “Oh My! It actually leans!” The enigmatic tower of Pisa was meant to be a bell tower for the town. It was never designed to lean but the very fact it does is what makes it one of the most popular landmarks of Pisa, Italy.

History of Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Torre di Pisa (Tower of Pisa) was actually built over 200 odd years. It was the final addition to the already constructed Cathedral, Baptistry and Cemetery of Pisa Italy.

The first construction began in 1172 when a rich widow – Donna Berta donated funds to get the base and the foundation of this tower. With Bonanno Pisano as the first architect, the construction began. By 1178, two floors were built. However, this is when the first sign of tilting began owing to the soft soil. The constructed two-storey tower actually began to sink. The partially constructed third storey was put to hold – partly because of the sinking and partly because of the Tuscan wars that affected Pisa.

In a way leaving the tower of Pisa incomplete helped the construction. The soil around the foundation hardened and stopped further sinking. Later in the 1230s, Giovanni di Simone re-started the work on the tower which had got a slight tilt. To make things even, he built the upper floors in an uneven manner – with one side smaller than the other. This in fact worsened the angle of the tower and work halted.

Close up of the bell tower on top of the Pisa tower
Close up of the bell tower on top of the Pisa tower

It was finally in 1399, almost after 200 years of the first construction that the seventh storey of the bell tower and its bell chamber was finished. Over the next few centuries, bells were installed on each floor – the one in the bell tower is the heaviest of all. A whopping 3600 kgs.

The Leaning tower of Pisa has been the site of Galileo’s experiments where he threw two balls of different masses down the tower and gave us the Law of Freefall motion in the 1590s. Despite its tilting, it has survived four earthquakes. It was in 1987 that this Pisa tower along with its sister monuments got a UNESCO World Heritage Tag.

By 1990, the Leaning tower of Pisa has tilted to an angle of 5.5 degrees. For almost 10 years, it was closed to the public. The engineers managed to stabilize the structure by injecting cement into its base and reducing the leaning to 4 degrees. It was in 2001 that the Pisa tower was opened to the public. I believe that the structure will be stable for the next 200 years – one more reason why you might want to consider a Pisa day trip from Florence.

The architecture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Romanesque architecture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
The Romanesque architecture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a freestanding bell tower built in a classic Romanesque style. The tower is cylindrical in shape and has a height of 55.86 meters on the low side and 56.67 meters on the high side. It has eight stories, including the bell chamber at the top. One of the beliefs that I recall from my Pisa day tour is that the first seven floors of the tower represent the seven musical notes.

Built with granite, limestone and white marble, the Pisa tower has a base diameter of 15.5 and a weight of approximately 14,500 metric tons. The tower’s tilt is caused by the soft ground on which it was built, which caused the foundation to gradually sink and tilt over time.

When you go up close during your Florence day trip to Pisa, you will see that the tower features several decorative elements, including arcades, blind arches, and a series of ornate columns and capitals. Each floor of the tower has an open gallery with arches supported by columns. It has two spiral staircases with 297 steps that take you all the way to the top of the tower. And yes, it is possible to climb all the way up.

Climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa – Is it worth it?

While the Pisa tower was on my list, I was still unsure of whether I could make it there or not. The ifs and buts led to some poor planning at my end – the result of which was that I did not get to climb the leaning tower of Pisa on my day trip from Florence.

The first thing that you should know about climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa is that there is a restriction on the number of visitors that can enter the tower at a time. The 2nd thing is that if you have not booked your Pisa tickets to the leaning tower in advance, you will most likely not get any tickets for the day. There is always a long queue at the ticket counter of Leaning Tower of Pisa. Based on my own experience, here are some handy tips for climbing the Leaning tower of Pisa in Italy.

  • It is best to purchase your tickets for climbing in advance. You can do it online through their official website or through this link. This will ensure that you optimize time properly during your one day in Pisa.           
  • Make sure you are well in time for your slot. There are only 45 people allowed to climb in each slot of 30 minutes.
  • The tower has 296 steps, and the stairway is narrow and winding. Ensure that you are physically fit to manage those in the time given and wear comfortable, sturdy shoes for the day.
  • Visitors with heart conditions, respiratory problems, or mobility issues may not be allowed to climb the tower. Children under the age of eight are also not permitted to climb the tower for safety reasons.
  • No bags are allowed inside the Pisa tower. You will have to deposit them at the entrance counter. This is free of charge and I believe safe.
  • Cameras are allowed into the tower. But do not carry tripods.
We just had to take the mandatory touristy picture of propping the Leaning Tower of Pisa
We just had to take the mandatory touristy picture of propping the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Going inside the Pisa Tower has a separate charge and that leads to the most commonly asked question – is it worth climbing the Leaning tower of Pisa?

To be honest, there is no straight answer to this. For one, it is quite expensive – USD 21 (Euro 20) to climb it. If you just want to see it from the outside, then it is free. I do believe that the climb to the top of the tower offers spectacular views of the city of Pisa and the surrounding countryside. You can stop at various levels to enjoy the vistas around and finally, you are climbing a tilted structure – which for me is a thrill in itself. I think I would have enjoyed it but whether it is worth the price or not – I cannot say. However, despite not doing it, I don’t regret it as there were plenty of more things to do in Pisa for a day.

Explore the Pisa Cathedral

When I entered Piazza dei Miracoli, it was the Pisa Cathedral that first caught my sight. The enormous marble structure is also known as the Il Duomo. This is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral that exhibits Romanesque architecture in Italy.

Visiting the Pisa Cathedral is one of the free things to do during our Pisa day trip from Florence
Visiting the Pisa Cathedral is one of the free things to do during our Pisa day trip from Florence

The cathedral was the first structure to be in Miracle square. It was constructed between 1063 and 1118 and was designed by architect Buscheto. The exterior is characterized by its striped marble façade that is interspersed with magnificent arches, columns, and ornate sculptures. The cathedral has bronze doors, which were designed by Bonanno Pisano (same architect who started the Leaning Tower of Pisa) in the 12th century. The doors feature scenes from the life of Christ and are considered some of the finest examples of medieval bronze work.

The golden ceiling of the Pisa Cathedral
The golden ceiling of the Pisa Cathedral PC: Image by djedj from Pixabay

Once you enter, you will be able to see that the interior is laid out in a Latin cross plan, with a nave and two side aisles. The most jaw-dropping part of the Pisa Cathedral is its coffered ceiling which is decorated with gold leaves, and is flanked by frescoed walls.

One of the highlights of the cathedral is its pulpit, which was designed by Giovanni Pisano in the early 14th century. The pulpit features intricate reliefs depicting scenes from the life of Christ, and is considered one of the masterpieces of Gothic sculpture.

Close up of one of frescoes on the Pisa Cathedral
Close-up of one of frescoes on the Pisa Cathedral PC: Image by GERVASIO RUIZ from Pixabay 

The entry to the Cathedral is free but it is almost always crowded. Again, only 90 people are allowed to enter at a time (every 30 minutes) and for the same, you need to get your free pass at the ticket counter.

Don’t miss the Baptistery in Pisa

The Baptistery in Pisa, Italy
The Baptistery in Pisa, Italy PC : Image by Makalu from Pixabay

Right next to the magnificent Pisa Cathedral is a 2-storeyed building that was the largest Baptistery in Italy between the 12th and 14th centuries. This was the 2nd  building to be constructed after the Cathedral.  Referred to as the Baptistery of St. John (Battistero di San Giovanni) , this is also built with white marble. Quite like its neighboring buildings, this one too has classic Romanesque arches and columns.

The Pulpit inside the Baptistery - One of the Pisa sightseeing places
The Pulpit inside the Baptistery – One of the Pisa sightseeing places PC: Image by KarinKarin from Pixabay

Within the Baptistery, there are a series of domes that create a unique acoustic effect. You will find various guides and people trying out the effect when you enter the Baptistery. The dome above the main area of Baptism is decorated with 13th-century mosaics depicting the Last Judgment.

One of the things that surprised me during my one day in Pisa was that this monument is said to have a slight tilt – which of course, is not that noticeable. I believe that this one as well as the Pisa Cathedral are also, sinking owing to the marshy soil of Pisa.

Hop over to Camposanto Monumentale – a serene attraction in your Pisa sightseeing list

The Campo Santo cemetery of Pisa
The Campo Santo cemetery of Pisa PC: Image by KarinKarin from Pixabay

 This was the last addition to the Square of Miracles and possibly the only place in Pisa that is not so crowded. Campo Santo means “holy field”. It is a walled cemetery complex that houses the tombs and sarcophagi of many illustrious citizens of Pisa.  – including the grand dukes of Tuscany, the princes of the Spanish royal family Bourbon-Parma, and other members of the Medici family. You will find several tombs and sarcophagi made using bronze, and silver. A lot of them have intricate carvings and reliefs

The construction of the Camposanto Monumentale began in 1604 and was completed in 1734. It was designed with marble, stucco, and frescoes by some of the most renowned artists of the time. The most striking feature of this Pisa cemetery is the dome, which is decorated with a series of colorful frescoes based on the life of the Virgin Mary. The dome is supported by four large pillars, each of which is made from a single block of marble.

Pick one of these Pisa Museums to visit on your Pisa day trip from Florence

The famous Cherubs statue in the Piazzo dei Miraccoli - the main square for Pisa Sightseeing
The famous Cherubs statue in the Piazzo dei Miraccoli – the main square for Pisa Sightseeing

Call it bad planning or last-minute planning but I could not manage the museums of Pisa on my day outing here from Florence. However, I had done a fair bit of research and earmarked the following to see  – that is if I could.

  • The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo – This museum is located near the Pisa Cathedral and contains sculptures and other works of art that were originally part of the cathedral.
  • The Sinopie Museum – This is again a part of the Square of miracles and houses a collection of preparatory sketches and drawings. These are known as sinopie, that were used by the artists who created the frescoes that adorn the walls of the Camposanto Monumentale
  • The National Museum of San Matteo – This museum is located in a former convent and houses a collection of art and artifacts from the medieval and Renaissance periods, including sculptures, paintings, and decorative arts.
  • The Museum of Ancient Ships of Pisa – This museum is located near the Arno River and displays the remains of ancient Roman ships that were discovered in the riverbed. I thought that I would be able to get a glimpse of the river that flows through Pisa by visiting this. Alas!
  • The Palazzo Blu – This museum is known for its blue facade, which is made from blue-glazed terracotta tiles that were produced in the 19th century by the renowned Della Robbia family of ceramicists. I believe it is hosted in a 14th-century palace – which itself was a reason to visit. The museum features temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, photography, and other cultural events.

There are plenty of other Pisa attractions that you can consider when you are here like the Santa Maria Della Spina church and the old Pisa walls (3 km away). See if you can squeeze it in during your Pisa day trip from Florence. And yes, don’t miss the bronze statue of the Fallen angel (Angelo Caduto) in the Piazzo dei Miraccoli , which was added on 2012 and made by a Polish artist Igor Mitoraj.

And with that, I conclude this section on the best things to do in Pisa for a day. Now, onto the planning tips and FAQs.

FAQs on Pisa day trip

Do you need tickets for Pisa?

Whether or not you need tickets to visit Pisa depends on what you plan to see and do in the city. Some of the attractions in Pisa require tickets, while others are free to visit.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa: To climb the tower or visit its interior, you need to purchase a ticket in advance. Tickets can be bought online or at the ticket office on-site. It’s highly recommended to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long queues. You can even purchase them through GetYourGuide using this link. The tickets without the museum entrances in the Square of Miracles cost you Euro 20 (USD 21.30)

The Pisa Cathedral: This is free to visit but you will need to get a pass for your timed entry at the ticket counter. Only 90 people are allowed in every 30 minutes.

Baptistery, and Camposanto Monumentale: These attractions are part of a larger museum complex, and visitors can purchase a single ticket that includes admission to all the sites. Tickets can be purchased online or at the ticket office on site. The price for all of the Square of Miracle monuments is Euro 27 (USD 28). You can even buy a combo of 2 for Euro 10 (USD 10.65)

Most of the other Pisa museums have their own fee.

Which is the best time of the day to visit the Leaning tower of Pisa from Florence?

One of the BIG mistakes that I made was to get to Pisa around 11 am. The place was swarming with crowd – and not just the Leaning tower of Pisa but all the other attractions too.

Given my bad planning, I would recommend that you start from Florence in the morning and take the 7 am train to Pisa (or earlier if you can). Most likely, you will be at the Pisa Centrale station by 8:30 am. You will be in time for the opening hours of Leaning tower of Pisa (9 am) and hopefully, will be able to escape the major crowd.

Which is the best month to do a day trip to Pisa from Florence?

In terms of the season, you can visit Pisa any time of the year. It is best to avoid the peak summer months from July to September. April to June is ideal when the crowd is lesser and the temperature a little warmer. It’s best to avoid visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa during the winter months of December to February, as the weather can be cold and rainy, and some attractions may have reduced hours or be closed for the season.

Can you do a day trip from Rome to Pisa?

Yes, it is possible to do a day trip from Rome to Pisa, but it will require a long day of travel. The distance between Rome and Pisa is about 350 and the journey takes around 3 hours each way by train.

One option for a day trip from Rome to Pisa is to take an early morning train from Rome to Pisa, visit the main attractions such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Pisa Cathedral, have lunch in the city, and then take an afternoon train back to Rome. Alternatively, you could spend the morning in Pisa and then take an afternoon train back to Rome, arriving in the evening.

What keeps the Leaning Tower of Pisa from falling?

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is kept from falling due to a combination of factors and engineering interventions that have been implemented over the years. One of the main reasons that the tower has not collapsed is due to its foundation. The tower is built on a foundation of compacted clay and sand, which has been able to support the weight of the tower and prevent it from sinking further into the ground.
Another factor that helped to stabilize the tower is the installation of a system of counterweights and tensioned cables in the 1990s. This system, which involved the removal of thousands of tons of soil from beneath the tower, helped to reduce the tilt of the tower and prevent it from leaning further.
The tower has also undergone several restoration and stabilization projects over the years to reinforce its structure and prevent further movement. For example, in the 1990s, the tower was closed to the public for several years while engineers worked to stabilize its foundation and straighten it slightly.

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2 thoughts on “How to plan a Pisa day trip from Florence – things to do & tips”

    • Pisa yes, but doing Florence in a day is going to be very tough. There is just so much to see in Florence that you might need at least 2 days


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