Holidays to Pisa
What to see and do in compelling Pisa
Pisa may be best known for its leaning tower, but this shouldn’t be your sole reason for visiting. Home to a highly-regarded university, a thriving café scene and various stunning landmarks, the entire town is a worthwhile visit. June to September are the warmest months to arrive, and if you prefer to avoid rain, plan your Pisa holidays outside of October.
History and architecture
An exploration of Pisa architecture will inevitably lead you to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, famed for its unintentional tilt. The structure is located in the town’s Cathedral Square which also houses the vast Pisa Cathedral itself as well as the Battistero di San Giovanni. This domed structure is crowned by a bronze statue of John the Baptist, and work on the building began in the 12th century. Another cathedral, the Duomo, dates back to the 11th century and was once Europe’s largest. You can book a walking tour from the main train station to take in all the other ornate buildings based in the town centre and on its fringes. Walking along the River Arno allows you to admire even more architecture, and this route is peppered by cafés and restaurants to tempt you inside for a quick refreshment or long lunch.
Eating and drinking
An authentic taste of Italy’s famous cuisine will be easy to find in Pisa. Down-to-earth pizzerias attract tourists and locals alike for a no-nonsense meal accompanied by a glass of wine, beer, or spuma, a traditional, sweet, non-alcoholic Tuscan drink. Intimate bistros let you while away an hour or two with fine dishes in a relaxed setting. There are also numerous cafés serving filling sandwiches made from focaccia, traditional Italian meats and other classic ingredients - perfect to grab and enjoy as you wander the streets. Look for menus including protected produce such as Pecorino cheese, Pisan beef, Monte Pisano olive oil or San Miniato truffles, to sample the region’s most important ingredients.
You can indulge your shopping habits in many parts of Pisa and pick up a memorable item to take home. Corso Italia and Borgo Stretto are the two main shopping streets, where you will find leading fashion brands and more affordable retailers. Shoe stores line up next to boutiques and perfumeries, while souvenir shops are also commonplace. The centre of the town features a variety of book stores to immerse yourself in, alongside fascinating art shops. When the weather is good, be sure to explore the food market just off Borgo Stretto in the morning or lunchtime. Rows of fresh produce join other tempting Italian delights that must be picked up if you are lucky enough to have cooking facilities at your accommodation.