Piazza dei Miracoli complex with the leaning tower of Pisa

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Pisa is perhaps best known for its famous Leaning Tower, but beyond this lop-sided wonder, the city offers plenty to see. On arrival in Pisa, you will find that it is an ideal base from which to explore Italy's eastern coast and to utilise as a base to see the sights of the rest of Tuscany, such as Siena and Florence.

Why go?

With its iconic sights, stunning architecture, and easy access to the rest of beautiful Tuscany, holidays here will have visitors captivated...

You cannot miss the Leaning Tower itself, part of the Piazza dei Miracoli, a place that is likely to become thronged with tourists at any time of year. Famed not only for its tilt but for its Romanesque design, created by Bonanno and finished by Giovanni di Simone. There is a bell-chamber to see, while nearby the Duomo is the biggest church in the Romanesque tradition in the region. The Duomo features a 68-column basilica and noted pulpit, while the baptistery is again a feat, being the largest of its kind in the country.

As you head out of Pisa itself, a whole world opens up around you. The Tuscan hills are ideal places to walk or cycle and you can spend whole days enjoying the views of rolling hills and pine forests or looking over into nearby towns. If you would prefer to drive, you could hire a car and use the accessible road network in this region to get about instead, maybe stopping at charming Tuscan villages en route to larger destinations.

One such destination could be Pistoia, a medieval town that has an ancient importance, being a royal Lombardic city and a free commune over the course of its illustrious history. Today the town is known for its gardens and flower markets.

Florence is typically on the checklist of many visitors to Italy, who venture to this attractive city to see art galleries such as the Uffizi, grand works of architecture such as the city's Duomo or Gitto's Bell Tower, or bustling squares such as the Palazzo Vecchio. Among the highlights of a trip into Florence are the masterpieces of art, with statues and sculptures cropping up everywhere, while others will be impressed by Renaissance frescos and just the mere sight of the views over the Arno River.

Another medieval town, Siena is best known for its yearly horse race, the Palio, which sees a frenetic equine dash across the Piazza del Campo. Jockeys, mounts and spectators all jostle for space and the event means that accommodation in Siena gets extremely packed; best book in advance if you want to see this. Getting a flight to Pisa does mean you can then go on to visit Siena in more peaceful times and explore the town's medieval palaces.

Hop across to Arezzo for wealthy sights and hillside views. This is another Tuscan city that dates back to ancient times and visitors will find evidence of both Palaeolithic and medieval life here. Visit the Church of San Francesco and the Medicean Fortress for the tourist hotspots here, while you will find historic architecture and stunning frescos too.

Meanwhile in Fiesole, you will find evidence of the Etruscan civilisation alongside some dramatic ruins, such as parts of the city walls and abandoned temples. Those interested in the life and times of the Ancient Romans will find plenty to amaze them here, as visitors can explore remnants of the Roman city such as theatres and baths. Another Etruscan settlement that still attracts tourists today is San Gimignano, which, like many other places in the region, shows its medieval influences today through the towers around the town, which once numbered 72 but are now reduced to 15.

Still on the coast, try Livorno for a port that is full of tasty dishes to sample, impressive buildings to see and promenades to stroll along.

How to get there

Your Italian adventure will begin as soon as you board the plane, and flights to Pisa are quick and straight forward...

If you are looking to head to Pisa, flights will take you to the Pisa Galileo Galilei International Airport (PSA).

You can reach Pisa on services from all over the UK and low cost services are used by thousands each year. For example, easyJet flies in from Bristol, Gatwick and Luton, with Ryanair having services from Bournemouth, Stansted, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Jet2 has flights from Manchester, Belfast, Leeds and Newcastle, and British Airways maintains services from both Heathrow and Gatwick in London.

Additionally, you can fly via several European gateways, including Amsterdam and Frankfurt, to reach Pisa on connecting flights.

Getting to and from the airport

Pisa airport is a gateway to a number of areas across Tuscany, and once you land you'll want to get your Italian adventure underway as soon as possible. Here are some transport options...

Pisa airport is located just one kilometre from Pisa centre and just 80km from Florence.

Fortunately, this means you are also just 1km away from Pisa Central Railway Station where you can reach any destination on the Italian network. There is a shuttle bus available from the airport which leaves every 10 minutes and takes just eight minutes to get to the train station.

There is also a good bus network running from the airport to main towns such as Florence, Siena, Lucca, Viareggio and Pisa centre.

Travelling by taxi is another option, and the average fare to get into Pisa is between 6.30 and 10.00 euro (although this increases at night). The rank is located in front of arrivals in the airport.

Where to stay

Whether you want to stay in a glitzy city centre hotel or a rambling farmhouse set amid vineyards, you'll find it here. But what area should you stay in to get the most from your holiday?...

Whether you've flown into Pisa to visit its iconic Leaning Tower or are travelling further out into Tuscany, you'll find accommodation to suit your budget.

Choosing to base yourself in Pisa will allow you to see the outstanding buildings from Pisa's Golden Age such as the Duomo, Baptistery and Camposanto, and of course, the tower.

However, if you're looking to experience the rolling fields and vivid colours depicted in postcards of Tuscany, then you could look to base yourself in the small medieval town of San Gimignano. This ancient walled city, rich in history, has beautiful architecture and numerous bars and restaurants serving up fresh Tuscan cuisine. Walking tours into the vineyards and surrounding fields can be easily booked.

Another option would be the larger town of Siena. This is the home of the annual Palio event when horses are raced bareback around the Il Campo piazza. A number of museums can be explored here, as well as galleries.

Or how about basing yourself in beautiful Florence, known as the cradle of the renaissance? Here, you can absorb the breath-taking outdoor statues from the period as well as the awe-inspiring duomo which dwarfs the square in which it sits. Culture vultures and art enthusiasts will be in their element in this city where you can visit famous galleries such as the Uffizi.