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31 Amazing Things to Do in Pisa, Italy

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Read on to find out 31 amazing things to do in Pisa, Italy. Nicknamed the “Field of Miracles,” the Tuscan city of Pisa dazzles visitors with an array of historical sites, architectural marvels, cultural attractions, and delicious cuisine. While its iconic Leaning Tower pulls in tourists from across the globe, Pisa has so much more to offer.

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31 Amazing Things to Do in Pisa, Italy

No Time to Read? Here’s a Quick Highlight

  • Admire landmarks like the Leaning Tower, Cathedral, and Baptistery in the Piazza dei Miracoli
  • Stroll along the scenic banks of the Arno River
  • Feast on Tuscan delicacies like focaccia, ribollita soup, and cecina chickpea pancakes
  • Wander through old-world shopping streets like Borgo Stretto
  • Check out modern art at the Palazzo Blu museum
  • Explore ancient sites like the 12th-century Santa Maria della Spina church

Keep reading for even more amazing things to do in pisa Italy at this Italian hotspot!

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Top things to do in pisa & best things to do in pisa 

Marvel at the famous Leaning Tower and More in Piazza dei Miracoli

what to do in pisa? No trip to Pisa is complete without visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Piazza dei Miracoli (“Field of Miracles”). Spanning over 11 acres, this walled grassy area houses the city’s most iconic structures.

Concrete Building Under White Sky

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Let’s start with the most iconic site in Pisa. Construction on the white marble Leaning Tower began in 1173. However, when builders reached the third story, they noticed a lean. Numerous attempts were made over the years to straighten the structure, which now tilts at about four degrees. But the lean remains—and provides the tower’s fascinating appeal.

Pro Tip: Booking skip-the-line tickets in advance is highly recommended during peak season.

Visitors can climb up 297 steps to reach panoramic views from the top eight stories. Just be prepared for crowds and a somewhat steep entrance fee (18 euros).

Insider Tip: To avoid tourist traps, steer clear of any restaurants or cafes directly around the Tower. The best food is inside Pisa’s charming side streets. 

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Things to do in pisa other than the tower

Pisa Cathedral: must see in pisa 

The impressive Pisan Romanesque Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, also referred to as Pisa Cathedral or Duomo di Pisa, stands adjacent to the Leaning Tower. Its intricately carved exteriorfrom the 1100s precedes ornately decorated interiors. Here you’ll find marble flooring, gilded ceilings, stunning paintings, elaborate pulpits, and more. Don’t miss seeing one of Galileo’s early lamps.

Although technically free to enter, you need to show a ticket. So visitors can simply use their Leaning Tower ticket for access. Guided tours that encompass all three structures—the Tower, Cathedral and Baptistery—are also available.

The Baptistery: pisa must see 

Completing the architectural trifecta is Pisa’s round Baptistery building across from the Cathedral. As Italy’s largest baptistery, the structure captivates with its towering domed ceiling and striking classical design. The building also leans ever so slightly due to the region’s sandy soil.

Inside, admirers flock to see the ornately carved pulpit, striking architrave, and spectacular acoustics. Try singing or clapping to hear this structure’s famous echoes! The Baptistery charges around five euros admission and tour groups often include it along with the Leaning Tower and Cathedral.

pisa places to visit and pisa things to do

Camposanto Monumentale

Beside the Baptistery lies the Camposanto, an elegant rectangular cemetery and famous burial site for centuries. According to legend, its Gothic cloisters were built to house holy soil brought back from the Holy Land during the Middle Ages. Destroyed during WWII bombings, much has been restored including gorgeous frescoes like the Triumph of Death.

pisa cathedral things to do in pisa italy

Romantic things to do in pisa

Stroll Along the Banks of the Arno

Pisa rests peacefully along the River Arno as it flows west towards the Ligurian Sea. Riverside hiking paths afford wonderful views of landmarks like the Leaning Tower framed by the Apuan Alps. Once an important port town, remnants of bygone harbors and medieval docks still remain.

The scenic trail also passes by two notable bridges. Ponte Solferino sports lovely arches as seen from up close or downstream perspectives. Nearby, Ponte di Mezzo offers dynamic views of Pisa’s historic buildings coupled with river reflections.

Indulge in Tuscan Cuisine

Tuscany ranks among Italy’s culinary capitals.

So foodies flock to Pisa to indulge in authentic ribollita soup, fresh seafood like octopus salad, and local wines like Sangiovese. Classic Tuscan starters shine at Peperoncino Trattoria. Or try Pollaiolo Restaurant’s seasonal ingredienst perfectly matched with regional wines.

Local bakeries like Dolcepisa whip up artisan sweets and focaccia breads galore. For tasty cecina—a garbanzo bean flour pancake similar to a crepe—head to popular Cecina Pain. Cool off with delectable, adventurous gelato at Gelateria De’ Coltelli, known for candied lemon peel and ginger flavors.

Dine Along Borgo Stretto

Lined with boutique shops and enticing trattorias, Borgo Stretto enchants visitors with old-world charm. Grab an outdoor table at cozy Osteria Orologio for bruschetta and watch people amble down the car-free lane. Nearby, family-run Ristorante Galileo whips up made-to-order pastas and seafood amid rustic decor.

And don’t miss I 4 Leoni, a small tavern along Borgo Stretto praised for platters of cured meats and Pecorino Toscano cheese paired beautifully with full-bodied wines. It gets quite cramped, so reservations are key for dinner seats.

Places to see in pisa Italy: pisa attractions 

Marvel at Modern Art Museums

Beyond ancient structures and scenic landscapes, Pisa offers an array of modern art attractions. The civic museum network encompasses sites devoted to natural history, murals, Sinopias (underdrawings), and more.

things to do in pisa italy

Palazzo Blu

Inside a resplendent 14th-century palace, Palazzo Blu spotlights captivating works spanning the past 200 years. Renaissance masters, the Macchiaioli group and international galleries reside inside the grand Sala delle Vetrate. Don’t miss Novecento works on the second floor and avant-garde installations inside the Blu Box on the lower level.

The museum also hosts world-class temporary exhibits, recently featuring Banksy and Basquiat. Entry costs around 10 euros but Wednesdays offer free admission. Fans can grab lunch or coffee at the upscale museum cafe.

Museum of Graphics

Devoted to the graphic arts realm, the Museum of Graphics contains over 200,000 prints spanning five centuries. Collections highlight artists like Dürer, Rembrandt and Goya plus avant-garde works from the past century. Rotating exhibits, printmaking workshops and monthly concerts keep things lively. General admission is just five euros.

Unusual things to do in pisa 

Wander Historic Lanes and Medieval Towers

Beyond headline attractions, Pisa hides heaps of history within its side streets and piazzas. Meandering unlabeled lanes deliver surprises around every corner, from vintage shops to hole-in-the-wall trattorias. Key areas for exploring include streets around the Leaning Tower complex and the university zone northeast of the Arno.

One quirky find is the red and white marble facade of St. Sepulchre Church, with its blend of Romanesque, Gothic and Oriental influences. The structure purportedly housed a scale model of Jesus’ tomb from the Holy Land.

Tower buffs can spot remnants of Pisa’s days as a maritime power studded across neighborhoods. Historic towers once belonging to noble families still stand throughout the city. Prime examples include the Tower of Belvedere and Campano Tower flanking the city’s northern walls.

Witness the Civic Museum treasures at the Medici Palace complex. This cluster of four stately buildings spanning three centuries secured former holdings of the influential Medici dynasty (today it belongs to Pisa’s City Hall). Inside marvel at the Knights Hall covered in 15th-century frescoes. Museum tickets cost just two euros.

things to do in pisa italy

Pisa Italy things to do 

Behold Santa Maria della Spina

Along Pisa’s southern riverfront rests the exquisite Santa Maria della Spina church, one of Pisa’s most iconic structures. The petite 13th-century church captivates passersby with its elaborate Gothic and Pisan Romanesque facade intricately adorned with arches, columns and spires plus a statue of the Madonna and Child.

Although no longer used, the UNESCO site charges a small admission fee of 1.50 euros to view the interior, filled with artifacts like 14th-century frescoes. Gorgeous lighting displays at night make it a top sunset photography spot.

Insider Tip: Admire postcard views of the church from across the river at Lungarno Gambacorti or the nearby Mezzo Bridge.

Scale the City Walls

Snaking around Pisa’s medieval center, segments of the towering city walls still stand strong in places. Dating back to 1155, these ramparts measure over 10 feet wide in spots. For stunning views over Pisa’s terracotta rooftops, climb the staircase up Torre Santa Maria.

From here intrepid hikers can follow scenic sections atop the northern walls past remnants of lookout towers. The entire perimeter stretched nearly two miles, fortified with 76 defensive towers during the height of Pisa’s maritime prowess.

Go Back in Time at Piazza dei Cavalieri

Travel back to the Middle Ages in Piazza dei Cavalieri, known as Knight’s Square.

Surrounded by a few of Pisa’s most iconic buildings, this piazza has witnessed over 800 years of history. In 1558, Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici transformed the site into a stately piazza lined with elegant palaces.

Regal structures like the Palace of the Elders grace the square today. But its fame also stems from Scuola Normale University, an elite institution established by Napoleon himself in 1810. Prestigious student housing flanks both sides as well.

Soak up the scholastic ambiance at Caffé dell’Ussero, an academic hub since 1775. And peek inside the acclaimed Church of the Knights of the Order of St. Stephen to see relics associated with the original Order. The church is free to enter and open daily.

things to do in pisa italy

Pisa tourist attractions 

Admire Keith Haring’s “Tuttomondo” Mural

Street art usually isn’t what comes to mind when thinking of Pisa’s old-world aesthetic. But the Tuttomondo mural proves that modern and ancient blend beautifully. Splashed across Sant’Antonio Church is this vibrant 330-foot fresco by New York’s Keith Haring, the iconic pop artist.

Created just months before Haring’s death in 1990, the piece represents world peace through 30 dancing cartoon bodies. Vibrant hues of the primary rainbow colors shine brightly—an uplifting contrast beside the church’s weathered exterior.

Obtain Offbeat Museum Tickets

Beyond world-famous landmarks, Pisa overflows with intriguing niche museums awaiting discovery by intrepid travelers. Spanning Egyptian artifacts to macabre oddities, these unique local institutions offer memorable explorations of history, science and culture.

National Museum of San Matteo

Inside a former Benedictine convent resides Pisa’s National Museum of San Matteo, focused on regional medieval treasures. Spanning art to armor, this chronological collection encompasses ornate reliquaries, Limoges enamels, Renaissance paintings and illuminated manuscripts.

Don’t miss early works by Nino Pisano, father of Gothic sculpture. His expressive marble Madonna del Latte (Our Lady Nursing) exudes remarkable emotional depth rare for 14th-century pieces.

Anatomical Museum & Pathological Anatomy Museum

Nearby, Pisa University’s Anatomical Museum provides an eerie glimpse into early medical studies via disturbing wax models, skeletons and jarred specimens in a dusty old lecture hall. Nearby, the macabre Pathological Anatomy Museum houses diseased organs and fetal anomalies collected for research.

Entry is just three euros but beware: these medical oddities museums aren’t for the faint of heart!

Pisa Tower on Summer Day

Things to do in pisa italy

Museum of Calculation Tools

On a lighter note, math and science buffs should check out the Museum of Calculation Tools. Inside this tiny gem, intricate instruments like Napoleon-era calculators and 19th-century telegraphs trace advancements in computing technology. Kids will marvel at early arithmetic aids and analog prototypes of modern gadgets during this brainy excursion.

Cruise Along on Two Wheels

Whizzing through the city on two wheels captures the spirit of la dolce vita (“the sweet life”) in Pisa. Visitors can rent a bike or Vespa scooter for leisurely rides across town to key attractions. Motorino Pisa rents popular models like the classic red Vespa Primavera by the half- or full-day. Helmets are provided; short tutorials get newbies prepped for Pisan roads.

Or use the quick CicloPi bike sharing program, with stations around main sights like the Tower. Handy for short spins between landmarks, 20-minute rides cost just 1 euro with an app. Cruising along the Arno River makes for memorable views of Pisa’s iconic architectural marvels.

Party at Pisa’s Premier Piazzas

When evening dawns in Pisa, lively nightlife blossoms across piazzas citywide.

Just follow the crowds flocking to hotspots for apertivos (pre-dinner drinks) or late-night digestivos (after-dinner drinks). Budget-friendly revelry rules in the student quarter, thanks to cocktail bargains at rowdy pubs around Borgo Stretto.

meanwhile transforms into a spirited open-air club throughout summer. Street performers captivate crowds while bars like Dejasà Cafe dole out spritzes and international tunes.

And at laidback Piazza Sant’Omobono, friends gather for glasses of Morellino di Scansano while kids chase pigeons.

In autumn, events like the Pisa Beer Festival bring regional brews and bands to streets like Via San Francesco and Corso Italia. Year-round, most bars stay open until at least 2 am so the nocturnal fun need never stop in Pisa!

things to do in pisa italy Architectural Photography of Piazza Dei Miracoli
Piazza Dei Miracoli

Step Back in Time at Piazza Dante Alighieri

On Pisa’s northeastern fringes lies this overlooked yet utterly charming square with free nightly events.

Dating back centuries, Piazza Dante Alighieri offers loads of old-world ambiance without touristy prices. Visitors can expect to rub shoulders with locals plus Pisa University students at its slate of cafes, bookstores, galleries and theatre venues.

By day it’s rather quiet, save for the odd passing Vespa. But each summer evening the piazza comes alive with free concerts, film screenings and dance performances ranging from swing to tango.

Pull up a seat at Caffe dell’Ussero, grab some vino, and watch world-class acts hit the stage without spending a cent.

See an Opera at Teatro Verdi

Teatro Verdi dazzles both inside and out. The sumptuous 19th-century opera house wows onlookers with its regal neoclassical columns, tympanum friezes and grand interiors bedecked in red and gold.

Since its debut in 1867, Teatro Verdi has hosted acclaimed productions like Rigoletto alongside ballet and philharmonic performances.

Visitors can tour ornate halls for just five euros during late mornings. But the real magic happens at night, when soaring arias pour from its grand stage. Score tickets to catch classics like La Traviata or experience experimental scores by modern composers.

Shows often run weekends, although peak season brings more variety. Seats fill up quickly so booking ahead online is essential.

Prices range widely but visitors can find deals around 15-30 euros for partial view seats. For a true taste of Italian culture, catching a Pisan opera should top travel bucket lists!

Shop Local Markets

for Treasures Like much of Italy, Pisians still embrace traditional markets overflowing with fresh produce, artisanal wares, vintage goods and regional treats. Although the city hosts some larger flea markets periodically, tiny daily operations offer more local immersion.

Pine for pesto to bring home

You’ll find jars at the tiny yet lively Mercato del Carmine, open mornings through noon beside Orto Botanico di Pisa’s iron gates. Across the Arno River near Porta Nuova, breezy open-air Mercato Maffei dishes up cheap batteries and housewares to thrifty travelers six mornings a week.

Serious antique hunters should save their haggling skills for Pisa’s Second Sunday Markets. On the second Sunday monthly, Piazza dei Cavalieri transforms into an antiques fair packing century-old relics from near and far.

Stalls burst with vintage oddities like telephones, globes, furniture and more waiting to be snapped up for around 10 euros apiece. Just remember to bring cash and keep small change on hand for transactions.

Explore Mind-Bending Science Museums

Pisa celebrates forward thinking innovation as home base to Galileo Galilei, the physicist who championed heliocentrism. Today visitors can dive into the city’s world-changing scientific legacy across unusual niche museums and labs suitable for all ages.

Galileo Galilei’s Museum – The Tuscan genius behind modern astronomy and physics takes the spotlight here through fascinating recreations of his experiments proving Earth orbits the sun.

Interactive exhibits demonstrate key concepts behind pendulum clocks, telescopes, and other ahead-of-their-time contraptions devised by Galileo in the 1600s.

Museum of Human Anatomy – Nearby, Pisa University’s anatomical museum offers a rare look within the human body via disturbing wax models and skeletons used for

Peruse Quirky Bookstores

Bibliophiles rejoice! Alongside historic haunts, Pisa hides darling bookshops packed floor to ceiling with novels, travel guides and stationery.

Seek hidden gems inside Il Papiro’s three locations, which specialize in artisan paper crafted onsite into journals or elegant marbled paper.

The Franchi Family shop also makes fancy agendas along with leather-bound classics at their tiny Via San Francesco outpost.

For literary events try La Biblioteca Delle Ragazze E Dei Ragazzi or charming Libreria Ghibellina. Italy’s first-ever children’s bookshop, the former hosts story hours plus visiting authors.

While the latter seduces wanderers with its fairy tale facade and over 35,000 books spanning two floors. Caveat: only serious book lovers should enter here lest they emerge hours later with sore feet and depleted wallet!

Peek at Palazzo Reale’s Peculiar Exhibits

Within the historic Palace of Justice complex, this oft-overlooked civic museum presents peculiar rotating attractions like Body Worlds exhibits or acrobatic Chinese circus troupes alongside classical sculptures.

Past headliners included “Mummies of the World” showcasing preserved ancients from South America to ancient Egypt.

Upcoming standouts for 2023 encompass mindfulness seminars and explorations of futuristic technologies impacting everyday life. General admission runs around 11 euros. But family discounts make it an affordable indoor option for rainy days or summer heatwaves.

Submerge into Surreal botanical Gardens in pisa

Finally exhaust Pisa’s countless museums and historic plazas?

Don’t overlook the city’s serene green spaces, perfect for shaking museum fatigue after long days on your feet. T

he Botanical Garden of Pisa charms visitors with lush trails wending past tropical species and aquatic gardens ideal for summer lounging. Entry costs just four euros.

Nearby Giardino Scotto, the city’s oldest public park, offers grassy lawns dotted with hundred-year-old trees. Kids especially love exploring partially unearthed Roman baths along with adjacent playground facilities.

Pack some panini then sprawl out under the pines for an affordable afternoon escape.

An aerial view of the leaning tower of pisa things to do in pisa italy

Places to visit near pisa: attractions near pisa 

Day Trip to Lucca

For a change of scenery from Pisa proper, consider a quick day trip to postcard-perfect Lucca. Set among olive and cypress groves in northern Tuscany, this charming walled city transports visitors back to the Middle Ages within its remarkably preserved historic heart.

Getting there takes just half an hour via train or bike path. Upon arrival, meander down Via Fillungo’s boutique-lined lanes and get lost amid countless atmospheric alleyways.

Make sure to traverse the leafy Passeggiata delle Mura circling the city, or climb narrow lanes to panoramic piazzas like Sala Grande boasting drinks with views.

Alongside boutique window shopping and lazy cappuccinos, don’t miss Lucca’s slew of churches bearing works by hometown composer Giacomo Puccini. His flavorsome opera Tosca even kicks off summer nights here during the Lucca Summer Festival.

things to do in pisa italy

Day Trip to Cinque Terre from Pisa

Nature lovers shouldn’t miss an excursion west to the UNESCO-listed Cinque Terre coastal villages, considered the Italian Riviera’s crown jewels. Five cliffside settlements spill down wooded hillsides to meet crystalline waters, each cascading pastel property more beautiful than the next.

Reaching the string of seaside pearls takes just over an hour via train from Pisa Centrale Station. Strategize your home base then purchase a Cinque Terre Trekking Card granting access to the famed coastal trail.

Join sweating day-trippers as you hike ancient donkey tracks spanning dizzying vistas between hamlets. Ramble through vineyards curling over centuries-old dry stone terraces, past buried medieval chapels and sea grottoes.

Catch your breath seaside while sampling local vino alongside briny sea urchins or anchovy focaccia, regional specialties celebrated in humble trattorias all along this Italian Riviera wonderland.

That covers 31 amazing things to do in Pisa! With iconic landmarks, great cuisine, lively neighborhoods and day trips galore, this Tuscan gem makes the perfect Italian getaway.

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