There is much more to Pisa than its Leaning Tower, but this wonky building is what draws the majority of visitors. They mainly come to the Field of Miracles (Campo dei Miracoli) the UNESCO listed world heritage site where Pisa’s most treasured monuments are found.
Although about 91,000 people live in this city in Tuscany, Northern Italy, that number swells considerably over the summer. Tourists who keep an open mind will find that there are many incredible buildings and artworks to see in Pisa. That is not to stop you from taking the obligatory photograph where it looks like you are holding up the tower with your hands.
So start at the aptly named Campo dei Miracoli which is the hub of the tourist trade and move out to less crowded, but equally beautiful areas. Like any place that is jammed with tourists there are quite a few pickpockets to watch out for but other than that you will find Pisa to be a safe city. The only area that can be dodgy is the train station where some undesirables congregate at night. This is a good reason to have a rental vehicle which is more reasonably priced than having to use multiple taxis.
Cars can be collected from Galileo Galilei, the main flight terminal which serves Pisa. It operates lots of low cost flights and so is good for people who want to have a budget holiday in Pisa. Check your flight times though as this airport does not stay open all night.
The road you will use to complete your journey is the Firenze Pisa Livorno dual carriageway. You then take the Pisa Centro exit of the A12 motorway. This leads to the A11 motorway – Firenze Pisa Nord. Then just follow the signs for getting to Pisa.
Although if you book taxi from Pisa international airport for your luggage, once you have arrived you will find that Pisa is small enough to walk around. This is a bustling university town which is full of students and plenty of bars and cafes to keep them occupied. The best reason to hire a car is to be able to see other parts of Tuscany which are also stunning. The city of Florence is only eighty kilometers away and so a short drive by car.
Within Pisa the Cathedral of Pisa is a magnificent building with a gorgeous dome. The Battistero is also a fine dome in the Romanesque style. From the top you can get the best view of the Leaning Tower or Torre Pendente. Have a listen to the audio effects in the Cathedral by singing a few notes, they are quite special. To preserve some of the cathedral artifacts they were moved to the nearby Museo del Opera del Duomo which is full of interesting paintings and sculptures.
A good time to go to Pisa is during June when various festivals are held. During the third week of June the Luminara festival in honor of the patron saint takes place. One week later there is a historical procession along both sides of the bridge which remembers how the city used to be split. The festival is known as the game of bridge. June is one of the busiest times for booking a car in Pisa so make sure you give lots of advance notice.