Pisa in Pictures: There's More to This Gorgeous City Than the Leaning Tower

When I was 19, my friends and I hopped off a train in Pisa, snapped a photo of the Leaning Tower, and then hopped back on another train out of there. What a wasted opportunity! Pisa has Bologna's activist energy (without all the graffiti and snobbery of the punkabestia and well-to-do); Florence’s beauty (without all the tourists); and Naple’s timeless wildness (but a little less wild and less petty crime).

This town has so much more to offer than just a photo of at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Spend at least a full day here, if not a few days.

Here are some photos of my favorite sites in Pisa. Hear move about Pisa on the Postcard Academy podcast episode: “Lucca, Pisa, and Other Towns in Tuscany You Must Visit” and subscribe for free.


 40% of Pisa’s old town was destroyed during World War II, but there’s plenty of old buildings to fall in love with. When you peek into the open windows, look up at the ornate ceilings.

40% of Pisa’s old town was destroyed during World War II, but there’s plenty of old buildings to fall in love with. When you peek into the open windows, look up at the ornate ceilings.

 Built in the 1100s, Pisa has the   oldest city walls in Italy  , and recently opened up its city walls to pedestrians. For just a few euro, you can access the best views — and photo ops — of the city. On a warm day, it’s one of my favorite activities in Pisa.

Built in the 1100s, Pisa has the oldest city walls in Italy, and recently opened up its city walls to pedestrians. For just a few euro, you can access the best views — and photo ops — of the city. On a warm day, it’s one of my favorite activities in Pisa.

 Hundreds of years ago, Pisa was a Maritime power house and reached its peak between the 12th and 13th centuries. Florence took over in the 1400s and the Medici’s encouraged the Renaissance here and re-established Pisa’s university. So the town became famous for scholarship and tax collecting.  While walking the wall, I stumbled upon this pool and thought it was the remnants of a Roman bath. Then someone told me this is where people parked their boats when they came up the river.

Hundreds of years ago, Pisa was a Maritime power house and reached its peak between the 12th and 13th centuries. Florence took over in the 1400s and the Medici’s encouraged the Renaissance here and re-established Pisa’s university. So the town became famous for scholarship and tax collecting.

While walking the wall, I stumbled upon this pool and thought it was the remnants of a Roman bath. Then someone told me this is where people parked their boats when they came up the river.

 The Italian friend I was walking the city walls with thought it was funny that I’d take a photo of such an average apartment. I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy, but I’m still captivated by the ordinary things that look so different from where I grew up in the States.

The Italian friend I was walking the city walls with thought it was funny that I’d take a photo of such an average apartment. I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy, but I’m still captivated by the ordinary things that look so different from where I grew up in the States.

   Giardino Scotto   (Scotto's Garden), located inside an old fortress. In the summer, you’ll find outdoor films and other activities happening here.

Giardino Scotto (Scotto's Garden), located inside an old fortress. In the summer, you’ll find outdoor films and other activities happening here.

   The Violin  . Come here in the evening for a delicious and cheap aperitivo. For 5 euro, you can get a bottle of wine and plate of food. Located in Piazza delle Vettovaglie.

The Violin. Come here in the evening for a delicious and cheap aperitivo. For 5 euro, you can get a bottle of wine and plate of food. Located in Piazza delle Vettovaglie.

 Piazza San Buonuomo. In the piazza next to The Violin pub, during the day you’ll find a fresh vegetable market.

Piazza San Buonuomo. In the piazza next to The Violin pub, during the day you’ll find a fresh vegetable market.

 Here I am on the city walls. Told you it was a great view, didn’t I? As you can see, I’m pointing to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is part of the Piazza dei Miracoli, a UNESCO site that includes the tower, the cathedral, baptistery and Monumental Cemetery. This area is gorgeous, especially if you can experience it on a beautiful summer day. There’s not much to see in the baptistry, which is the largest in the world and where Galileo was baptized. It’s worth going inside the cathedral, though, which they started building in 1063. Definitely inside the Monumental Cemetery.

Here I am on the city walls. Told you it was a great view, didn’t I? As you can see, I’m pointing to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is part of the Piazza dei Miracoli, a UNESCO site that includes the tower, the cathedral, baptistery and Monumental Cemetery. This area is gorgeous, especially if you can experience it on a beautiful summer day. There’s not much to see in the baptistry, which is the largest in the world and where Galileo was baptized. It’s worth going inside the cathedral, though, which they started building in 1063. Definitely inside the Monumental Cemetery.

 I went up the 294 steps to the top of the tower. You really feel a connection with history walking up the smooth stone steps have been warped by footsteps over the centuries. You have to buy a ticket for a specific time and leave your bags in a locker. I think it’s   worth getting the package ticket  , which includes the baptistery and cemetery. The cathedral is free, but you need a ticket to enter.

I went up the 294 steps to the top of the tower. You really feel a connection with history walking up the smooth stone steps have been warped by footsteps over the centuries. You have to buy a ticket for a specific time and leave your bags in a locker. I think it’s worth getting the package ticket, which includes the baptistery and cemetery. The cathedral is free, but you need a ticket to enter.

 The Cathedral.

The Cathedral.

 Monumental Cemetery. Here, you’ll see frescoes that date back to the 1300s and relics that are supposedly from almost all the apostles. And also a piece of Jesus’ cross.

Monumental Cemetery. Here, you’ll see frescoes that date back to the 1300s and relics that are supposedly from almost all the apostles. And also a piece of Jesus’ cross.

 Welcome to hell, as depicted in of the Monumental Cemetery’s frescos.

Welcome to hell, as depicted in of the Monumental Cemetery’s frescos.

 Typical newsstand, or  edicola , where you can purchase magazines, as well as bus tickets.

Typical newsstand, or edicola, where you can purchase magazines, as well as bus tickets.

 Did you think this was Florence for a sec? Nope! Just tranquil Pisa. Well, usually tranquil. This is a left-leaning university town, and people like a good protest.

Did you think this was Florence for a sec? Nope! Just tranquil Pisa. Well, usually tranquil. This is a left-leaning university town, and people like a good protest.

 

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