Packed with famous and lesser-known historic sites, one day in Pisa is not enough to thoroughly explore but just as much as you need to start planning your next trip.
Find out here what to see in Pisa in 1 day, how to save time, how to get around and some tips on where to eat and where to stay if you want to spend one night there. Whether you are taking a day trip to Pisa from Florence, even a Rome to Pisa day out or just visiting Pisa for a day and staying also one night, it’s one of the most popular destinations in Tuscany and you won’t regret coming.
Things to do in one day in Pisa
The Leaning Tower is the city’s most famous attractions and the main landmark of the Campo dei Miracoli complex so impossible to miss even in only one day in Pisa. Located right close to the Duomo, it was used as the cathedral’s bell tower.
Its leaning construction is what makes it so popular and a favorite subject for the most different and bizarre pictures. Since you only have 1 day in Pisa you might want to see the tower from outside only and prefer entering the cathedral and the baptistery. However, if you wish to climb it, our suggestion is to book your skip-the-line ticket online to make things much faster.
Il Duomo di Pisa
1-minute walk from the Leaning Tower
A stunning building both outside and inside, the cathedral is one of the best things to see in Pisa in 1 day. An example of Roman-Gothic architectural style, the church was built between the 11th and the 12th centuries.
The admission is free of charge and we haven’t even found a very long queue so you have no excuses. Inside it’s impressive, you won’t regret making time for it. Although you won’t pay for the entrance, you will still need a ticket that you can collect at the ticket office when you purchase the ticket for the other attractions.
Il Battistero di San Giovanni
2-minute walk from the Duomo
Considered the largest historic baptistery in Italy and one of the largest in Europe, St. John Baptistery will amaze you from its outside structure and won’t disappoint you inside either. It doesn’t take long to visit so we totally recommend you include it in your Pisa 1-day itinerary.
1-minute walk from the Battistero
This is also an attraction within Campo dei Miracoli complex, and if you plan your one-day Pisa tour properly, you can totally include it. The large grass-covered land is said have been brought from Palestine during the Second Crusade.
You can add the ticket to Pisa’s monumental cemetery when you buy the entrance to the other landmarks of the piazza.
5-minute walk from the Campo Santo cemetery
This is a bit of a stretch and probably in only one day in Pisa, but if you do have some time and would to spend some time in nature, the local botanic garden is a great stop.
Founded in the 16th century, this is the first university botanic garden in the world. With a size of some 3 hectares, it houses species of plants and trees from the five Continents including plants from the African deserts, herbs from the Mediterranean basin, even century-old trees.
Head to Piazza dei Cavalieri
4-minute walk from Orto Botanico
The rearranging of this piazza was commissioned to Giorgio Vasari by Cosimo I De Medici in the 16th century. The political and administrative hub of the city in medieval times, this is one of the main landmarks to visit in one day in Pisa. Easy to reach with a pleasant stroll from Campo dei Miracoli and close to several other historic sites, Piazza dei Cavalieri is a must.
Today this important square is framed all around by important historical buildings like Palazzo della Canonica, Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici and Palazzo dell’Orologio, and churches like San Rocco and Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri.
Walk along Borgo Stretto
4-minute walk from Piazza dei Cavalieri
Borgo Stretto, the Italian for “narrow quarter”, is a medieval narrow road lined with shops, workshops and arcades that give the area a yesteryear atmosphere.
Starting from Piazza Garibaldi, it ends in Via Oberdan where Borgo Largo (large quarter) starts. Its shops and also the central position make it one of the favorite roads by the locals for shopping or taking a walk.
See Lungarno Mediceo
5-minute walk from Borgo Stretto
Among the places to see in Pisa in 1 day is the Lungarni, meaning the roads along the Arno river. One of the most important historically is the Lungarno Mediceo because of the presence of the palace of the Medici family where even Lorenzo Il Magnifico has lived, and San Matteo church. If you have the time to visit even only one Lungarno, it probably should be this one.
Santa Maria della Spina church
10-minute walk from Lungarno Mediceo
If you still have some time left in your Pisa 1-day itinerary, try to include a quick visit to the Gothic-style church of Santa Maria della Spina, the Italian for Holy Mary of the Thorn, named after the relic preserved inside of a thorn of the crown worn by the Christ when he was crucified.
The church is pretty small so your visit would be very quick. Perfect if you are staying in Pisa also for the night or even if you are going to the station to catch the train and are done with your original plan earlier than expected.
See the other leaning tower in Chiesa di San Nicola
6-minute walk from Santa Maria church
Take the Lungarno Pacinotti and head to San Nicola church where you will see the other leaning tower of Pisa. Even if you have to leave, one of the things to see in one day in Pisa is the bell tower of this church.
How to get around
This itinerary to see Pisa in 1 day can be done fully on foot, each attractions being less than 10 minutes from the next one.
If you are staying in Pisa overnight and your hotel is far from the city center, or if you are taking the train and want to get to the station quickly, I suggest using public transport managed by CPT. It’s pretty efficient and you won’t have to wait for the bus for too long.
Where to eat
Some good restaurants close to Pisa historic center are La PergOletta (Via delle Belle Torri 40) for traditional Tuscan dishes and Ristorante Da Mario (Via Luigi Bianchi 19), close to Campo dei Miracoli.
If you don’t want to spend too much time for lunch and you prefer having your meal on the go more street-food-style, try L’Ostellino (Piazza Felice Cavallotti 1), a favorite sandwich place also near Piazza Duomo.
Where to stay
While Pisa is one of the favorite day trips from Florence, the city has so much to offer both during the day and in the evening after the sun sets, that you might want to stay overnight.
Some of the favorite accommodation in the city center close to the main attractions are B&B di Camilla, Il Giardino dei Semplici and Retrò B&B.
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