If truth to tell there is very little to see in Pisa (although I'm sure other will disagree) apart from the famous tower, together with the Cathedral and baptristry. If you want to make a 'flying visit' and are travelling by train then using the secondary station 'Santa Rossore' means you can avoid the main tower and take a five minute walk from train station to leaning tower. Sorted.
Pisa has 2 train stations, you will proberly arrive at Pisa Centrale.
If you are just stopping off for a few hours whilst you are travelling through Pisa there is a baggage store facility at Pisa Centrale Station.
Understanding the Billboard Train Times in the station.
The photo shows the train number, the time it leaves and where it makes stops. They are all listed by the 24 hour clock time.
Listed in the photo is the medium priced with some stops, the cheaper one that takes longer and then the fast train that costs more. Notice they are in different colors.
The track is called binario and is listed on the right side in a blue circle. Be sure and check the televsion monitors overhead in the station to see if your train might be changed to another binario.
Also, at the bottom of the listing you might find dates that the train does not run, or changes to another binario.
You can also see the time that the train is supposed to arrive at each new station, right after the name of the stop.
Wherever we travel to we always try to use public transport while we're there. In Italy it's very straightforward, buy a ticket; this can be either from a machine or from a ticket office. In Pisa there are plenty of machines and the queues for the office are long, no brainer for us, machines all the way.
Once you've bought your ticket look on the departures board for the platform (binario, sometimes shortened to bin.) and time of your train. In the UK the timetables boards are ordered alphabetically by destination, however in Italy they're ordered chronologically so you can quickly see when the next train leaves.
Before you board the train you must validate your ticket, there are usually machines on each platform, if you don't validate your ticket you can be fined.
Trains are very rarely delayed and are a quick and efficient way of getting around, we were in Pisa for 4 full days and travelled to Lucca, Viareggio and Florence in that time.
You have three choices if you land at Pisa and want to get to Florence. Either you can take the Terravision bus:
which costs more than the train, may get stuck in traffic but does leave from directly outside Arrivals and from Florence Santa Maria Novella station. I'd definitely advise you to book online in advance for this service: buses can and often do get full up.
Or you can either take the train direct from Florence to Pisa Aeroporto (or vice versa) or change at Pisa Centrale. Most trains do involve a change. Direct trains take around an hour, those with a change from around 1h 15m. One-way fare is 5.80 euro, which is very good value. Trains are safe and comfortable enough, with plenty of room for your bags.
Train times, details and fares in English here:
Search for 'Pisa aeroporto'.
If there is no convenient direct train you can either wait for the next airport>Pisa Centrale train or take the LAM Rossa bus which goes from directly outside Arrivals to Pisa Centrale station. Bus takes aout 10 minutes and you can buy tickets either from the ticket machine (if it's working) or the driver (which costs more).
Ticket machines at railway stations are easy to use and have English language options. You will have to use the ticket office at Pisa Airport, on the right as you leave baggage reclaim.
Either way getting to/from Pisa airport to Florence is pretty easy and pretty cheap although if, like me, your flight is delayed and then your train is delayed it may take a bit longer than you had anticipated!
While in Italy I travelled from city to city on the trains - Trenitalia. I used both the Inter City trains and the Eurostar. The Eurostar trains get between destinations faster (as they have fewer stops) and in general are kept in better condition than the Inter City ones. The trains I went on had either restaurant cars or snack bars on board.
To get to Pisa I came on an Inter City train from Florence.
I had a railpass when I was in Italy, which was very handy. Although on some trips when I wanted to book a seat I had to pay a few euro extra - but it was either that or run the risk of standing up for a few hours. If you plan on doing a bit of train traveling while in Italy, I recommend getting a rail pass as this can save you money.
The website below is very helpful, you can look up timetables of the trains, prices and even book your tickets online.
Pisa is easily reached by train from Florence.
It takes just over an hour, costs €4,90, and leaves every twenty minutes or less.
From the Pisa central station you can walk to the Campo dei Miracoli, it is about 2 kilometers.
Whether you are arriving by train from Florence or Lucca, the station best situated to provide access to the Field of Miracles (Leaning Tower, Cathedral, Baptistry and Camposanto Monumentale) is NOT Pisa Centrale but Pisa San Rossore Station. Directly west of Campo dei Miracoli, it is only a short walk of about 600m from the station to reach your destination.
Like many people, we decided to visit Pisa as a daytrip from Florence. Trains to Pisa leave from the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence every 30 minutes, tickets cost 5.80 Euros, and the trip lasts just over an hour. Return trains run on the same schedule (leaving every 30 minutes) and the price is the same. There's no need to book in advance since there are no seats assigned on regional trains (if the train is full you can always stand in the aisle). Both in Florence and Pisa you can buy your ticket at the ticket office or from the ticket machines (look for the regional ones, cash only). Just don't forget to validate your ticket before you get onboard - we almost did, and as luck would have it, a controller came by to check it. Note that the Pisa Centrale train station is located a good 20 minute walk from the Piazza dei Miracoli. The quickest way to get there is to follow Via Francesco Crispi (on your left when you exit the station), cross the Arno River on the Ponte Solferino, and keep going on Via Roma until you reach the piazza.
Just a small rant here!
Pisa airport is often the gateway to this part of Tuscany. Arrivals first, for an onwards train ticket turn right as you leave arrivals, the ticket office for train travel is at the opposite end of the terminal to the rail station, why? this confused many passengers while we visited.
Once you have a ticket the journey into Pisa Centrale takes around 10 minutes, no problem there.
But my major gripe with Pisa airport is departures, probably the least effective baggage scanning I've been through recently and once through a joke. Plenty of flight announcements but music is played in the background to them, almost impossible to understand.
Several "low cost airlines" departing from a garden shed with little idea which queue was for which flight, the first time my boarding pass was checked was as I got on the plane, not sure this is a good idea?
Anyway, imo Pisa is an airport to be avoided if possible.
The train from Rome's Termini to Pisa Centrale takes about 2 hours and is pretty efficient in terms of timings. It costs about Euro 28 for a one way ticket in a second class coach where you might be sharign compartment with about 5-6 passengers. Theres a luggage hold for small-mid sized bags overhead. Seats are comfortable and outside scenery amazing.. passing through seaside Tuscany!!
Visiting Pisa is a perfect day trip from Florence or if your on your way to Cinque Terre. All one really needs is about three hours to be able to see the Leaning Tower and the Catherdral. Don't give into the temptation to take a taxi from the train station to the Leaning Tower, its only a 15 minutes walk. You don't even need to buy a map of Pisa, right outside the train station is a giant map of Pisa that will give easy to follow directions to walk instead of paying through the roof to take a taxi. From the train station go down the street that leads to a plaza and then you go left and follow that main street across a bridge and from there its 3 blocks up the street. Its a very pleasant walk that takes you through the city and gives you a great view of the Arno River.