The beauty of walking down the Arno River was awesome. The river glistens in the sunlight. Buildings with their dark earth town colors stand out in sharp contrast due to the varying blues of the river. Walking in this area it is hard to believe that this area was bombed heavily in August of 1943 during WW 2. Nearly all of the bridges were destroyed as well as some of the surrounding buildings.
We started our walk by crossing the Porti di Mezzo bridge which runs right through the middle of Pisa. The bridge and the others surrounding it are not as elegant as those in Florence. However the Pisa bridges were rebuilt out of concrete.
Nearly all of the buildings on both sides of the river are three and stories tall providing for a great symmetry and contributing to the beauty. There were a few grand churches we passed and many restaurants that are sprinkled along the walk. Our favorite gelato place in all of Italy (see separate review) was also along the river. It was also great in that there were very few tourists walking this area even in the late afternoon.
Favorite thing: We rented a car for part of our trip. Mostly, to tour around Tuscany. Many of the major city centers do not allow you to drive in them. When you go to Pisa, you may park the car along the side of the road but make sure you obtain a parking ticket and place it on your dash board. The ticket machines will say "Biglietto Ticket". It's always a good idea to carry a few €1.00 coins with you.
Pisa is not a tourist town!!
Hard to believe it, if you see the crowded Piazza dei Miracoli. But it is a fact, outside the main attraction of the city, not too many tourist are interested in staying here for a longer period of time. And Pisa itself does absolutely nothing to attract the tourists and invite them to stay.
The Pisani have a bad reputation in Tuscany: “better a corpse in the house than a Pisan at the door” says a famous Tuscan proverb.
Therefore, unlike other Tuscan towns, here you have a higher chance to see the daily life of local people, that is more authentic than that of Florence or Siena.
Though Pisa is a small town, but one with an attitude, having a colourful history of belligerence and conquests. The typical Pisan is generaly unpretentious but - who knows, why - hostile to all those who are pretentious.
Fondest memory: Dante Alighieri called Pisa as cursed people, because of the fate of a Pisan leader who was starved to death for treason, together with his sons and grandsons, whom Dante places in Hell.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory was when I was buying a souvenir and as soon as the vendor knew I was Mexican, he started to sing a Mexican song called 'El Rey' and we sang along! Then he gave me a postcard as a gift and told me he was in love of Mexico. Those are the little moments that make life so enjoyable :)
* Ufficio Informazioni Duomo
Piazza Arcivescovado, 8 (in front of the Cathedral)
- Tel.: (+39) 050 56 04 64
- Fax: (+39) 050 831 06 26
- E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Ufficio Informazioni Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II (close to central station)
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 16
- Tel.: (+39) 050 42 291
- Fax: (+39) 050 50 40 67
- E mail: email@example.com
- Internet: www.pisaturismo.it
* For the whole list of Tourism Offices:
I loved Pisa and intend to go another time but this time I won't go in January due to the fact that restaurants or cafetterias close really early ... like 6pm, so you can't just go to the hotel and rest a bit and go out for a drink for for dinner. That was the only thing that was disappointing but on the whole I really enjoyed my stay.... I suggest a relaxing break in Pisa.
Fondest memory: The best thing is to walk along the Arno River, apart from relaxing and beautiful scenery, it is romantic.
when in tuscany, its better to make florence as your base and book a tour to go to pisa. there`s not much to see in pisa except for the tower.
when we were there we booked a walking tour of pisa. check it out at www.guide.pisa.it
As they say, nothing in this world is free.
Be prepared to pay heavy prices for the tickets to climb the tower and to visit the monuments.
It costs 15 Euros to climb the tower and they only let you in at a fixed time. I couldn't climb because I had to catch a 5 PM train back to Milan and the next available slot was at 6:30 PM. Anyways, if you check the photograph attached, you can get an idea of the prices. I paid 6 Euros to visit the Cathedral and the Baptistery...
Favorite thing: Piazza dei Cavalieri is beautiful square harmoniously enclosed by a architectonic structure of the 16th and 17th centuries. When Pisa fell under the Medici, the whole square was transformed by Vasari, by order of Cosimo I. He made it the seat of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen founded by him in order to defend the Tyrhenian coast from the Muslim raids.
Pisa is located in the beautiful region of Tuscany. This part of Italy combines wonderful hilly landscapes with picturesque historic villages, often located on some idyllic hilltop.Of course some Tuscany also has some delicious food and wine to offer. No wonder that this region is so popular. And that is actually its main disadvantages. The region is not 'unspoiled' anymore and during high season it can be very busy. But having said that, it is and will be a lovely spot to visit.
Here are some places I've visited over the years in Tuscany and might give you some suggestions for yourself when visiting this part of Italy:
Borgo a Mozzano
You can read more about all these places on my Tuscany page
This map gives you a rough idea where Pisa is located. Click on the map, so you can see the red little dot.
Pisa is located in the region of Tuscany. Some nearby cities are:
Florence: 82 kilometres to the east
Siena: 114 kilometers to the south-east
La Spezia: 81 kilometres to the north
Just 'around the corner' from Pisa are Livorno (22 km), Viareggio (24 km), Lucca (21 km)
Rome is about 350 kilometres south of Pisa.
Milan is about 280 kilometres to the north of Pisa.
Favorite thing: The building of the Cathedral began in 1063 by the architect Buscheto, and consecrated in 1118 by pope Jealaus 11 while still incomplete. It was finished in the 18th century by Rainaldo, who paid special attention ot the beautiful dolor combinations of the marbles used for the façade
Pisa's oldest bridge over the Arno river connects Mezzogiorno, south of the river, with Tramontana in the north.
Teams of both sides battle on the last Sunday of June during the Gioco del Ponte, the Game of the Bridge, when a 7-tonne carriage is pushed over this bridge. This event has taken place since Medici times and continues in Renaissance costume.
Piazza dei Cavalieri- Palazzo dell'orologio
Piazza dei Cavalieri was the center of the public life during the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages. When Cosimo I De' Medici created the order of Cavalieri di Santo Stefano he choosed as a seat this square. He ordered the restauration of the entire square to the famous architect Giorgio Vasari. One of the most impressive buildings of Piazza dei Cavalieri is the "Palazzo dell'orologio". In 1607 Vasari connected the Tower of Seven Lives and the Tower of Hunger, both prisons, to make a palace for the Knights of St Stephan.
Favorite thing: This School was the seat of the knights of Santo Stefano founded during the government of Cosimo De' Medici. Only in 1810 the Scuola Normale Superiore is created by a regium decretum of Napoleone, as a branch of the Ecolé Normale of Paris.
This is a gentle warning to anyone using a vehicle on the road at the front of the hotel, who is not...more
This was a very nice and cozy hotel.. the perfect choice when you are looking for a maore relaxing...more
This hotel is beside the train station, and within easy reach of the airport (there is a train link,...more