An old maritime republic, a Florence to Pisa day trip is one of the favorite Tuscany adventures. There are many day trips from Florence you can make, and to Pisa is one of the easiest ones to organize.
Even though it’s pretty hard to explore Pisa in one day, with proper planning, you can see much of what this beautiful Tuscan city has to offer. Let’s be clear, a day trip from Florence to Pisa is hardly not be enough to appreciate its art and history. But if that’s all you can afford, we will make it work!
How to plan a perfect day trip from Florence to Pisa
A day trip to rich-culture cities such as Pisa or Siena might be too short but obviously, if we want to see more of a region, this remains the best option. After spending several days in Florence and taking a lovely day trip from Florence to Siena, we decided to make another short excursion, this time a day tour from Florence to Pisa. We weren’t sure whether a day trip to Pisa would be enough or not, but after staying there all morning and afternoon, we were happy we did it.
The most popular things to see in the Pisa are all located in Piazza del Duomo or Campo dei Miracoli, one of the most iconic squares in Italy. So for a quick jaunt without delving too deep into the local attractions, a day trip to Pisa can be enough.
How to get to Pisa from Florence
Florence to Pisa trains leave from Santa Maria Novella Train Station roughly every hour and the train ride takes from an to an hour and a half.
Florence to Pisa train ticket price: One-way ticket from Florence to Pisa is € 8.40 if booked through Trenitalia. If the Trenitalia website is not straightforward enough for English speakers, check out Omio (former GoEuro) for prices, routes, and timetables.
If you prefer to travel independently, you can rent your own car and drive to Pisa from Florence. It approximately takes an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half. The fastest route is probably via the A11 highway, where you will need to drive for about 70 km.
Driving a car in Florence is not really recommended since the historic center is a ZTL (Limited Traffic Zone). If you are staying in the city center, probably your best bet is to travel by train, while if you are staying outside of the city center, it will be easier to go to Pisa by car.
Check Discover Cars for car rental models and prices.
How to get from Pisa Centrale to the Leaning Tower
If you are arriving by train, walking from Pisa Centrale to Campo dei Miracoli, where are the Duomo and the Leaning Tower, takes some 25 minutes.
The main gate of Pisa train station, called Pisa Centrale, opens on a fairly wide street called Viale Antonio Gramsci, right in front of it. Walk Viale Antonio Gramsci to Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, walk to the left side of the piazza to the short road called Largo Padri Della Costituzione then turn right to Via Francesco Crispi and from there it is a long straight road where you will cross the Solferino bridge “Ponte Solferino” along the Arno river. Then walk on Via Roma that finally connects to Piazza del Duomo.
Note: The walk from the station and can be pleasant if it’s not too hot. Otherwise, I recommend you go by taxi or bus. You can take the bus from Pisa Centrale station and get off at Piazza Manin stop.
Things to do in Pisa on a day trip from Florence
Leaning Tower, “Torre Pendente”
Located next to Pisa Cathedral (Duomo di Pisa) within Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), the famous Torre di Pisa was used as the cathedral’s bell tower. Some consider its leaning structure an architectural miscalculation while others believe the soft soil is the cause.
Whatever the reason, the tower made the city famous all over the world and you can’t miss it on your day trip from Florence to Pisa. If you want to go up the tower, booking the ticket online will make you skip the queue.
Il Duomo di Pisa
Built between the 11th and 12th centuries, Pisa Cathedral is located in Campo dei Miracoli and is one of the main landmarks of the city. A gorgeous Romanique-Gothic architecture, the Duomo is one of the first things to visit on your day trip to Pisa.
Battistero di San Giovanni
The Baptistery of Saint John is a gorgeous building in the same Campo dei Miracoli, so you can hardly miss it. Depending on how much time you have, I suggest you enter because it’s an impressive building thought to be Italy’s biggest baptistery.
The 13th-century monumental cemetery is also a part of Campo dei Miracoli complex. was the last monument to be added to the complex. A masterpiece of Giovanni di Simone, it’s a large grass-covered reliquary.
Museo delle Sinopie
Museo delle Sinopie is also part of the Campo dei Miracoli complex and is included in the ticket system for all the landmarks located here. The museum displays how the artists worked, and jotted down the first sketches of their future frescoes masterpieces. Even if you are only on a day trip from Florence to Pisa, try not to miss this museum.
Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights Square)
Not in the immediate surroundings of the more famous Campo dei Miracoli, often hasty tourists overlook this beautiful square. However, it’s not too far from the main complex of tourist landmarks, so if you have some time left on your Pisa day trip from Florence, don’t miss it.
The square is surrounded by historical palaces including the “Hunger Tower” where count Ugolino della Gherardesca was sentenced to die from hunger and thirst. If you have more time and are still wondering what to do in Pisa, this is definitely a fascinating attraction shrouded in mystery.
Where to eat on a day trip to Pisa
La Sosta dei Cavalieri. Small and cozy, the wood interior design is the perfect surrounding for a traditional Tuscan meal. They serve both seafood/fish and meat-based washed with a glass of good local wine. The restaurant is in Via San Frediano 3.
Ristorante La Clessidra. Serving both fish and meat dishes, La Clessidra suggests also two sampling menus. One with fish and one with meat, to give guests the chance to try different dishes. La Clessidra restaurant is located in Via del Castelletto 26/30.
Yame Yame Kebab & Pizza. If you are on a budget, stop at Yame Yame Kebab & Pizza. You have a good choice of Turkish-style kebab, deal menus, vegetarian options and some pizza by the slice. The restaurant is 2-5 minutes walk from “Stazione Pisa Centrale” train station in Viale Antonio Gramsci.
Travel independently vs. private tours: which one to choose
Planning a Florence to Pisa day trip on your own is actually pretty easy. If you want to travel independently, you can choose to reach Pisa by bus or train, even though I suggest the latter.
The train from Florence to Pisa Centrale takes an hour/an hour and a half. It’s very handy especially if your Florence accommodation is close to Santa Maria Novella train station, but even if you are not, there are plenty of buses that take you there. Once in Pisa, you either take a local bus to the pulsing heart of the tourist attractions or you take a walk through the city.
Private tours to Pisa from Florence usually have the vehicle included, so you won’t have to organize the transfer. Just relax and enjoy the view.
So, when it comes to the actual transfer, both options are not complicated. The main differences between an independent day trip from Florence to Pisa and a private tour are the price, the information you get during the trip, and obviously the fact that you are not as autonomous as you might want to be.
If you take a Pisa tour from Florence, be ready to pay more than just the train ticket and the entrance fee to the landmarks. Something to consider, when booking a day tour to Pisa is whether it includes lunch, admission fees, an expert guide and also other towns such as Lucca, Siena or San Gimignano.
There are many tours, some day trips only to Pisa and some that include more areas in Tuscany. Obviously, these are more expensive, but they will add much to your experience.
Take Walks organizes a day tour to Pisa that includes also Lucca, the Chianti region and lunch at a local winery. Get Your Guide offers another trip where you will visit also the beautiful Siena and San Gimignano.
If you decide to travel independently from Florence, you can still choose a 2-hour guided tour with a local expert to show you around the most important places such as the Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the Leaning Tower. This way, you will have both local knowledge and your independence in case you want to see more places usually not included in the classic tours.
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