The city of Pisa plays host to treasures of priceless value, making it one of Italy's main cities of art. The Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), with its world-famous Leaning Tower, is the hub of Pisa’s artistic and architectural offering.
The marble whiteness of the monuments resting on the grassy carpet of the piazza treats visitors to a unique sight. The harmony of the arcades lends the imposing Leaning Tower a lightness that is mirrored in the Cathedral and the Baptistery, in a rare and striking show of stylistic and visual continuum.
Rounding off the artistic delights of the square are the Museum of Sinopie, housing the preliminary drawings of the frescoes lining the walls of the Camposanto (Monumental Cemetery), and the Museo dell’Opera (Museum of the Cathedral) with its vast collection of sculptures, paintings and ancient relics.
But Pisa has a great deal to offer besides the famous piazza. The city grew alongside the Arno river, with Romanesque and Gothic churches and majestic Renaissance palaces lining the Lungarni (riversides). The riverfront is especially spectacular at night, with the lights from the lamps and buildings reflecting on the Arno. On the evening of June 16th, in celebration of the patron saint, the outlines of the buildings and bridges are decorated with thousands of candles: this is the magical atmosphere of the Luminara of San Ranieri (illuminations).
Standing on the south bank of the Arno is the peculiar little Church of Santa Maria della Spina, a remarkable example of Gothic art in Europe. The church owes its name to the fact that a ‘spina’ (Italian for thorn), traditionally from the crown worn by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion, was once preserved here.
Another major sight is the beautiful Piazza dei Cavalieri, only a few minutes’ walk from the Piazza dei Miracoli. Designed by Giorgio Vasari, it was the centre of political life during the Middle Ages and a symbol of Medici rule over the city from the Renaissance. The square is overlooked by the most important buildings and churches of grand ducal Pisa. Worthy of note among these are the Palazzo dei Cavalieri, with its imposing marble façade, and the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, formerly the seat of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen.
Tours & Activities
Top things to do
Visit Leaning Tower and Piazza dei Miracoli
Pisa's Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) is universally known by the name Piazza dei Miracoli. Here visitors can admire all the monuments that make up the centre of the city's religious life and which the poet Gabriele d’Annunzio once defined as miracles on account of their beauty and originality: the Cathedral (Duomo), the Baptistery, the Monumental Cemetery (Camposanto) and the Leaning Tower.
The most difficult decision to make is which of Pisa's embankments is the most beautiful. Is it the North (Tramontana) bank of the River Arno, which takes you from the Citadel with the Tower of the Guelphs to the Bridge of the Fort (Ponte della Fortezza), past the Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Agostini, Piazza Garibaldi and the National Museum of San Matteo, an extraordinary collection of buildings by the most important maestri of Pisa and Tuscany from the 12th to the 17th century and a rich storehouse of archaeological and ceramic finds.
Keith Harring - Pisa's Mural
The idea of creating a mural in Pisa happened by chance when a young Pisan student met Haring in the street of New York. The theme is that of peace and harmony in the world, which can be read through the links and divisions between the 30 figures which, like a puzzle, occupy 180 square metres of the south wall of the church of St. Anthony.
The Pisan Seaboard
The Pisan Seaboard is composed of four resorts that are very different from each other: Marina di Pisa, Tirrenia and Calambrone south of the River Arno and Marina di Vecchiano to the north.
Walks in Pisa
Don't think that your visit to Pisa is finished! There is, in fact, a "secret" itinerary that few tourists know but that represents the real "soul" of this city. Start from the Piazza dei Miracoli, cross the Piazza Arcivescovado, continue along Via Cardinale Maffi and you will arrive at the so-called "Baths of Nero," which are really what remains of Roman thermal baths, make a detour to San Zeno and return to Piazza Santa Caterina, Piazza San Francesco, Piazza de San Paolo all'Orto, the church of San Pierino in Piazza Cairoli (which everybody in Pisa continues to call Piazza della Berlina), cross the Arno at the Ponte di Mezzo, follow Via San Martino and end up in Piazza Chiara Gambacorti, or Piazza della Pera for Pisani.