Pisa is one of the most famous cities in Tuscany. Being less than 1 hour away from Florence, the city is a must-stop on your Italian itinerary. Once a major seaport, nowadays Pisa is known for its Leaning Tower.
However, this lovely city has a lot more to offer. Many tourists are surprised to see that the Leaning Tower is just a part of a huge religious complex. Right next to the Tower, you’ll find an impressive cathedral and baptistery.
Pisa, together with Lucca are great bases to explore northern Tuscany. Haven’t heard of Lucca? Well, it’s one of the most charming towns in the region. Little cobbled streets, lovely piazzas and medieval towers, all this surrounded by intact city walls. Take a look at my guide to what to do in Lucca, Italy for more information.
One day in Pisa itinerary
This 1 day in Pisa itinerary can be used both by day-trippers as well as overnight visitors. Here, you’ll find what are the most popular tourist sights, including how to skip the lines at the Leaning Tower.
In fact, this is almost the exact Pisa itinerary I followed, which you can adapt to suit your needs and interests.
At the end of the blog post, you’ll find a map of the itinerary (with all attractions and restaurants’ websites).
Already have a hotel booked? Check if your hotel is in a good area in my guide to where to stay in Pisa.
One day in Pisa (best day trip itinerary)
- Start the day with Italian coffee and pastries
- Climb the Leaning Tower
- Hear the acoustics at Pisa Baptistery
- Visit Pisa Cathedral
- Cemetery Campo Santo
- See the Knights’ Square
- Visit Palazzo Blu
- Stroll along the Corso Italia
- Take a walk along the Arno River at night
To plan my trip to Pisa I used this DK Eyewitness Tuscany Travel Guide. I love their travel guides, as they have practical information, walking tours and a durable map!
Coffee and pastries
08:30 AM – 09:15 AM
Start your Pisa 1 day itinerary with breakfast at Filter Coffee Lab or Pasticceria Cioccorocolato.
Try the cheesecake muffins at Filter Coffee Lab (you’ll love them)!
If you have a sweet tooth, I’d recommend you Pasticceria Cioccorocolato.
Climb the Leaning Tower
09:30 AM – 10:30 AM
The famous Leaning Tower is part of the religious complex on the Square of Miracles (Campo dei Miracoli). A lesser-known fact is that it’s actually a bell tower. Torre di Pisa started to sink during its construction which took about 200 years. Nowadays, due to this flaw, it’s the reason why the city is so famous.
Note that any luggage (even the handbags) must be left at the cloakroom before the visit.
Hear the acoustics at Pisa Baptistery
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
This white marble baptistery was founded in 1152. Due to its construction on the same unstable soil as the tower, the Baptistery is also leaning slightly.
The Baptistery is famous for its remarkable acoustics. To hear them climb to the Upper Gallery and wait for the guard to come out and sing for a minute (every half an hour).
Visit Pisa Cathedral
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Duomo di Pisa is the largest building of the religious complex on this square. Its construction started in 1063 and almost a hundred years later it was consecrated. The cathedral houses the relics of the city’s patron saint, Saint Ranieri.
It’s free to visit the cathedral if you have bought a ticket to any of the other buildings of the complex (Leaning Tower or Baptistery and Camposanto).
If you don’t have such a ticket, you have to get a free ticket for a certain time slot from the ticket office (behind the Pisa tower). Note, that the free tickets are limited in number and available exclusively from the ticket office on-site.
Cemetery Campo Santo
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Camposanto Monumentale is built in 1277 to house all the graves around the cathedral. The cemetery is said to be built on sacred soil from Golgotha. From here comes its name – Campo Santo, that means “holy ground”.
Salami and cheese platter
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
Stop for some salami and cheese at I Porci Comodi or L’Ostellino. I loved the salami and cheese platter at I Porci Comodi.
See the Knights’ Square
02:00 PM – 02:30 PM
Piazza dei Cavalieri once used to be the heart of the city, where everybody was gathering around to discuss political and everyday matters. The square was known as the Square of the seven streets (Piazza delle sette vie).
On the square, you’ll see the beautiful Palazzo della Carovana and the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The Order of the Knights of St. Stephen used the palace as headquarters. Cosimo I de’ Medici, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, founded this order to fight the pirates in the Mediterranean Sea in the 16th century.
02:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Stop for some delicious gelato at Gelateria De’ Coltelli. They offer different flavours every day and their gelato is one of the best in the city.
Visit Palazzo Blu
03:00 PM – 04:00 PM
Palazzo Blu is a small palace from the middle of the 14th century, turned into a museum. The well-preserved apartments are decorated with works of Italian artists.
Stroll along the Corso Italia
Shopping time! Stroll along the main shopping street, Corso Italia, and visit H&M (for the awesome stained glass ceiling).
Eat some Italian pasta
For dinner choose between Ristorante alle Bandierine or La Ghiotteria. The pasta at Ristorante alle Bandierine was fabulous!
Take a walk along the Arno River at night
Finish this one day in Pisa with a stroll along the Arno River.
More ideas for your 1 day in Pisa
Church of Santa Maria della Spina
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina is a small 14th-century church in a Pisan Gothic style.
Cimitero Ebraico is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe. You can visit it only on Sunday from 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM and Wednesday afternoon.
Just outside the cemetery, you can find a market with the cheapest souvenirs.
City Walls of Pisa
Mura di Pisa date back to the 12th century. You can take a walk on them and see the city from a different perspective. They are open only the first weekend of every month.
Leaning Tower of Pisa – the most popular attraction with more than 1600 visitors per day. Tickets are timed entry and you need to book in advance (a minimum of 1 day prior to the date of the visit).
Getting around Pisa
Find a detailed map of the itinerary here.
Pisa is very walkable and you easily tour the city on foot. Most of the attractions are located around the Leaning Tower, on the north bank of the Arno River.
How to get to Pisa
Pisa is easily reachable by train from Florence (30min journey) or any other major Italian city. The Central train station is just a 20min walk from the Leaning Tower.
If you’re planning to travel by train through Italy, book tickets in advance (they are cheaper if you buy earlier). Check timetables and book train tickets online at Trenitalia official website.
The historical centre of Pisa is a ZTL area (limited traffic zone). You should be careful not to drive in, even accidentally, because you’ll be photographed and fined (more information here).
If you’re visiting Pisa on a day trip, the most convenient secure car park is on Via Cammeo, just behind the Leaning Tower. Unless you’re on a tight budget avoid the free car parks around the tower, they are not very safe.
The Pisa International Airport (Galileo Galilei Airport) is the main airport in Tuscany. It’s only 2km away from the historic city centre.
Although the distance is not long, there is no direct transport to the city centre. Depending on where your hotel is located, you have the following options:
- take a taxi (most convenient, especially if your accommodation is near the Leaning Tower)
- take the Pisa Mover to the Central train station. From there you can walk to your hotel or take a bus.
- if your hotel is near the train station (and you don’t have much luggage) you can walk from the airport to the city centre.
How many days in Pisa
Is one day in Pisa enough?
1 day in Pisa is more than enough to climb the Leaning Tower and discover the sights on the Square of Miracles. In fact, Pisa could be seen in only half a day, if you’re short on time. It’s a great destination for a day trip from Florence.
I have only half a day, what to do?
If you have less than a day, follow my Pisa itinerary in the morning and skip the afternoon. All the must-see sites are packed on the Square of Miracles. You can easily tour them in only half a day.
Best time to visit Pisa
The months of April, May, September and October are the perfect time to visit Pisa. The weather is pleasant and the tourists are fewer. The high season is between June and August. The weather is very hot, as almost everywhere in Italy, so if possible avoid the period.
However, if you’re visiting Pisa in June, there are 2 festivals not to be missed – the Luminara Festival and Game of Bridge.
Luminara Festival takes place every year on the 16th of June, the eve of the feast day of Pisa’s patron saint. The buildings along the Arno River are decorated with more than 70,000 wax candles. Some candles are also floated on the waters of the river. The tradition of the festival dates back to 1688, when the remains of Saint Ranieri, the patron saint of the city, are placed in the chapel in the Pisa Cathedral.
The Game of Bridge is held annually on the last Saturday of June. This special event takes place on Ponte di Mezzo, one of the bridges over the Arno River. Two teams, Mezzogiorno and Tramontana, compete against each other to conquer the side of the bridge occupied by the enemy.