Chances are that when you think of Italy, beautiful images of Tuscan villas, rolling vineyards and cobblestone streets flood your mind. The thought of a Tuscan summer is an iconic Italian image – and for good reason. At the heart of this Italian dream are the various villages and towns that make up the best of Tuscany – and Pisa is one of these havens.
Pisa is one of the more affordable options in the region, and boasts a wide variety of beautiful sights and unforgettable experiences to enjoy. We only spent one day in Pisa as part of our Tuscany trip, and while one day is never enough to really experience a city, we found it was enough to see all the key attractions of Pisa. If you find yourself on a Pisa day trip, or wondering what all the best things to do Pisa in one day are, this Pisa 1-day itinerary has you covered.
Before you go, have you got everything for your Italy trip already? If not, check out these 10 Italy essentials before reading on!
How to get around Pisa, Italy
If you are only spending one day in Pisa, you no doubt want to fit in as many Pisa attractions as possible – which means you need to find the easiest way to get around.
Luckily for your itinerary, Pisa is a relatively small city, which means that it is fairly easy to get around and tick off the main points of interest. The majority of travellers visiting the small city choose to walk. Most of the hot spots can be reached by a short 20-minutes walk, which also offers a great way to experience the lively streets.
The train is the best option to get to Pisa from surrounding towns. Pisa Centrale is one of the major railway junctions of Italy, allowing travellers to get to, and from, surrounding destinations in the area. The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is a short walk away from the station, and the route will take you directly through the city centre.
If walking doesn’t tickle your fancy, then there is also the Pisa local bus service, which operates along popular routes. Individual tickets are very affordable and can be bought from newsstands and ticket offices.
Now that you know how to get around Pisa, let’s dive into all the best things to do in Pisa in one day!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is arguably the most iconic site in Pisa, and one of the most famous in Italy. The world-famous tower is a popular attraction among tourists who take photographs of themselves pretending to push the tower straight. Originally built as a freestanding tower bell for the nearby Cathedral 850 years ago, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is now an attraction on its own.
You can also visit the inside of the tower and go all the way to the top to enjoy the view over Pisa. If you want to make the most of the site, and ensure that you manage to reserve a ticket, it’s best to book your Leaning Tower of Pisa ticket in advance.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
Also known as the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, the Cathedral was designed with strong Byzantine influences and boasts fascinating Pisan Romanesque architecture.
The Cathedral encapsulates diverse styles and design, highlighting the international influence on the city. Together with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the cathedral attracts countless travellers every day.
The Baptistery is the third Pisa attraction in the “Piazza dei Miracoli” trio – with the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Leaning Tower of Pisa being the other two. The impressive size of the Baptistery stamps its dominance in the square, boasting a touch of Oriental influence and a slight tilt to match the adjacent tower.
The Baptistery was opened in 1063, before the tower, in honour of Saint John the Baptist. Today, the Pisa Baptistery is world-renowned for its incredible acoustics. If you want to make sure you visit all three attractions in depth, I would recommend doing a combo guided tour of all three.
Campo Santo Monumentale
One of the most iconic things to see in Pisa is the Campo Santo Monumentale. The monumental cemetery is also located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli. The sacred space is filled with many captivating frescoes as well as magnificent medieval and Renaissance artwork.
Known as the ‘Holy Field’ in English, Campo Santo features a large collection of Roman sarcophagi, sculptures and urns to marvel at. A visit to Campo Santo is a must for any history-lover.
Keith Haring Mural
While Pisa is home to magnificent ancient architecture and art, it also features some rather impressive modern-day works. The Keith Haring mural was created by late famous American artist, Keith Haring.
The mesmerising mural is themed to communicate the message of peace and harmony. It is revered as an iconic tribute to the artist, who passed away shortly after creating the artwork.
Taste Italian cuisine
When deciding what to do in Pisa for a day, don’t forget to schedule some time in to eat! Italy is home to some of the most irresistible flavours in the world, and the food in Pisa upholds this reputation.
While there is a wide variety of mouth-watering restaurants, cafes and bars to explore, a food tour in Pisa is a great option to discover the best cuisine that the city has to offer. Taste a variety of traditional foods, without stumbling into tourist traps, and go to bed with a happy, and full, belly.
Wander along the River Arno
After visiting all the main monuments you can make your way to River Arno for a beautiful and tranquil experience. River Arno, which also flows through the nearby city of Florence, cuts through Pisa and offers an incredibly stunning view.
A stroll along the Arno River will bring you past some iconic sights in Pisa, set against an unforgettable backdrop. Take your time to pop into some of the charming cafes, or cool bars, that flank the stream of water.
Final thoughts on spending one day in Pisa
Although not as famous as it’s neighbor, Florence, the city of Pisa boasts unparalleled beauty and fascinating points of interest. If you love history, art and architecture, then spending one day in Pisa is a necessity when planning your Italy itinerary. I hope you find this Pisa 1-day itinerary useful in planning your trip to Italy and Pisa!
Looking for more Italy travel tips? Check out these Italy travel guides! (Written by an Italian!)
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