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Most people are familiar with at least one of Pisa's many attractions. The Leaning Tower has been an iconic sight in Europe for hundreds of years. Indeed, Pisa city breaks wouldn’t be complete without spending at least a brief time seeing the famous tower. It was constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries and remains standing due to some complex physics.
The Leaning Tower is located in the Piazza dei Miracoli, where visitors can also enjoy seeing the town's Cathedral and Baptistry. Construction work on the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption began in 1604, when the power of the Maritime Republic was at its height. An appealing mix of architectural styles can be seen in its structure.
The Baptistry is an older building, with construction work on it beginning in the mid-12th century. This is the biggest baptistry in Italy, even though it was technically never finished. It’s still a spectacular monument though, and when seen alongside the Tower and the Cathedral it creates a lasting and moving impression.
Anyone who flies into Pisa Airport (PSA) can also look forward to enjoying some great food and drink. Although many restaurants and bars cater for the tourist trade and can be a little commercial, it's still possible to find lovely family trattorias where you can enjoy a great meal.
Another advantage of Pisa is the transport links it enjoys. Beautiful Mediterranean beaches are within easy reach by car and public transport, with the coastline just a few minutes away. The city also functions as a convenient gateway to access the beauties of Tuscany, where you can explore rolling hills covered with vineyards and inviting woodlands. Florence, with its Renaissance art and history, is within reach and Livorno on the coast can also be explored with relative ease.
Getting into Pisa from Pisa International Airport is easy. Trains and buses from Pisa Airport are frequent and inexpensive. Trains shuttle between the airport and the centre every half hour. Buses take about 20 minutes into the centre of the city and depart every 10 minutes or so. Tickets for the colour-coded service (it's called LAM Rossa, or the “red line”, between the airport and the tower) cost around a euro and are available from automatic machines or newsagents and tobacconists, but make sure you purchase your ticket before you board.
Taxis are available outside the airport. However, journey times vary hugely depending upon traffic. The drivers tend not to operate a fixed charge, but they’re obliged to switch the meter on before the start of each journey.
Getting around on Pisa weekend breaks is also straightforward, as the city centre is fairly compact and its main attractions huddle close. Many of the things to see and do in compact Pisa are easily accessible on foot, though buses are efficient if you want to travel further afield. A great option to get around the city is to hire a bike – they’re inexpensive and there's a choice of places to hire from.
If you’re planning a trip to Pisa this year and need some help, read our fact file below and use TravelSupermarket's search tool to find the cheapest deals.
When will you book your Pisa city break? This fascinating destination sizzles in summer but is pleasant at any time...
Pisa has a Mediterranean climate and is therefore warm in the summer time. Average temperatures in July and August hover around the 29C mark. There’s moderate rainfall during spring and autumn, but temperatures remain in the 20C range from April until the beginning of October. Winter in Pisa means mild temperatures and higher rainfall, but the crowds of summer are nowhere to be seen – it could be the perfect time to pick up a bargain break.
There are various events throughout the year in Pisa, adding to the vibrant cultural life of the city. By far the busiest month for city breaks to Pisa is June. The local saint, San Ranieri, is celebrated on the 16th and 17th of June each year.
Find out what’s on when in the shadow of the city’s ancient Leaning Tower...
Festival of Sant'Ubaldo; May: This celebration centres upon the flower market at Viale Le Piagge.
Celebrations of Saint Rainerius; June: La Luminara di San Ranieri takes place on the 16th of the month and involves decorating the streets with thousands of candles. There’s then a street party that lasts all night and a fireworks display helps to add to the excitement. On the June 17, it’s San Ranieri's Day itself. The patron saint of Pisa is celebrated with a march through the streets and a huge open-air market.
Gioco del Ponte; June: An unusual local “sport” can be seen on the last Sunday in June. The Gioco del Ponte is marked by teams from the different quarters of the city competing to see who can push a cart on to their rivals' side of the bridge. The catch is that they’re only allowed to use the strength of their necks. As a result, you can see some pretty impressive physical specimens taking part.
When you’ve gazed upon, climbed and photographed the famous tower, discover some of Pisa’s other pleasures…
Romance: Enjoy a picnic on the grass by the Leaning Tower – choose the right time of day and this historic monument will provide the perfect shade for this romantic meal.
Shopping: The San Martino market quarter is packed with stalls full of delicious local produce such as infused olives, truffle oil and liquors. That's assuming you can see them among the stacks of miniature Leaning Towers!
Families: The restaurants surrounding the vibrant Piazza dei Cavalieri welcome youngsters and will make quite a fuss when it comes to ordering ice cream. But first, don't forget the home-made pasta and pizzas.