Pisa  is a city in Tuscany, Italy with a population of some 90,000 people.
Pisa is best known for the world famous Leaning Tower, but those who come here with their mind already made up that the Tower is the only thing to see may miss the rest of the architectural and artistic marvels of this beautiful city.
The half hour walk from the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) to the train station runs through a pedestrian street with many interesting sights, shops, and restaurants. The best way to visit Pisa is walking the streets, as the city center is very small, and enjoy the sight and the atmosphere.
Pisa would not be Pisa without the University. The city is animated by the students, who organize parties, shows, and cultural events, and fill the central street of the city at night. The University of Pisa has 60,000 students in a city of about 100,000 inhabitants. You'll notice the student flair in the the city once you leave the touristy campo dei miracoli.
The Campo dei Miracoli from above. The leaning tower is on the left, the Duomo is in the center and the Baptistery is on the right.
Pisa is a safe city, you do not need to worry about your safety (except for some zone at night, such as the area surrounding the station). However you should take the obvious precautions (like, if you stay in a very cheap hotel, take your valuables with you) and watch out for pickpockets in the touristy areas.
Pisa Centrale train station
Pisa has regular trains to and from Florence (usually three per hour), to and from Lucca (usually every hour) and is also accessible by bus, and has an international airport.
Pisa Centrale is the main train station of Pisa. Rome to Genova trains stop at Pisa Centrale. If you are planning an in-route visit to Pisa, it is also convenient since Pisa Centrale has Left Luggage service open from 6AM-9PM. Each baggage deposited costs €3 for 12 hr. Else, if you are in the city just to see the Leaning Tower, you could also get down at the Pisa S. Rossore train station which is much closer to the Tower. Do check the train schedule as not all trains would stop there.
From Florence (Firenze), catch your train from Firenze S.M. Novella station. Depending on time, there are about 4 trains per hour. Check the schedules on the now very user friendly trenitalia site. It is much improved. When possible, catch the faster and more modern "Regionale Veloce" train (same price, €8.10, July 2015) - you can see this from the trenitalia schedule online. Remember the train number, as you need to match this on the departure boards at the station. The boards will not always say "Pisa" since it is not the last destination. Train tickets in Florence can be purchased from the many machines at the platform, which accept credit cards (Visa/Master/AMEX) - but they need to be chip/pin based. Even though the machine presents you a selection of train times, in which you need to select in order to purchase, you must still validate the tickets at the many green machines on the platform - not doing so will risk fines. Do not attempt to board without a ticket, they will check.
Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport (IATA: PSA)  is the main airport of Tuscany and is served by several airlines operating hundreds of weekly flights to national and international destinations. Numerous companies offer charter flights to and from a number of European and non-European destinations. Flying to Pisa is really cheap and easy: the most recognized low-cost airlines serve Pisa. The airport is close to the city center - it takes only a few minutes to reach the center by bus, train or taxi. The airport is also within easy walking distance of the center, which takes around 20 min.
Do not expect the airport to be open 24/7, though. Many smaller European airports do have opening hours, so don't expect to stay overnight or hang out until late.
You can purchase bus tickets from the information desk in the arrivals hall. The bus (The Red Line or LAM Rosso towards Jacobo) has a regular service every 10-15 min and it takes about 15 min to get to the city. The bus runs to Piazza dei Miracoli and the central station. Since the ticket machine at the bus stop "speaks" only Italian, it's better to get the tickets from the information desk if you don't speak the language. Single fare is €1.20, but if you buy them from the driver on the bus, you pay €2.00. All convenience and book shops also sell the ticket. An automated people mover is under construction between Pisa Airport and Pisa Station which will open in 2015, in the mean time a temporary replacement bus ("PisaMover") is in operation, which costs €1.30.
The bus terminal is directly in front of the airport, on the right side when coming out of the terminal building. Once you are in the city, its main sights are easy to locate and are all within walking distance. If you are boarding the bus from the Train station, cross the road in front of the station and walk a few feet to the right.
If you prefer a more convenient method of travel, a taxi to the city centre will cost around €6-8. Otherwise, as an alternative, you can book an airport transfer in advance. This service is especially convenient for large groups.
- Easy Private Taxi has Pisa Airport to the city at €36 for a Mercedes E class, €43 for a minivan
- 123 Transfers has Pisa Airport to the city at €37.50 for a sedan (3 people), €50 for a minivan (8 people)
One of the most convenient ways to arrive in Pisa is by carpooling: you can split the costs and make the journey cheaper. You can find a lift to get to Pisa on the website Passaggio.it.
There are regular buses around town, including from the train station to the Field of Miracles. Attractions are within a half hour walk of each other. Local bus tickets are available at tobacco shops; there are also vending machines both at the station and the airport.
Many car rental agencies are at the airport. While you will not need a car in the city itself, it can be a good choice if you want to go around Tuscany from Pisa. To get to the car rental offices take the shuttle bus in front of the airport's arrival hall to the right, close to the city bus stop.
Only residents with permits are allowed to drive in historical center. Enforcement of the "Limited Traffic Zone" or "ZTL" is by camera. Its best to avoid be preparing your navigation according to ZTL map. Violators will be tracked down and fined, but the fine may not arrive for a year or more after the infraction. The fines start at about €90. Once you enter the forbidden zone, it is virtually impossible to pass only one camera, and each time you do, it is a separate fine.
Monuments and museums
Pisa is divided into 4 historical quarters. There is much more than the Leaning Tower in the city and several different walking itineraries are available.
- The Piazza dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles is to the north of central Pisa. It's an UNESCO World Heritage site and contains the city's most famous sights:
- Torre Pendente (Leaning Tower), . The structure was originally conceived as the cathedral's bell tower. Construction began in 1173 and the tower started leaning soon afterwards due to subsidence of the ground underneath its base. A project to keep the tower from leaning more and tipping over finally reached a successful conclusion in 2001, and the tower is again open to those wishing to climb it. Climbing the tower requires a reservation-based ticket for €18. Tickets can be bought for the tower on the day, for a specific entry time. This could be 45 minutes to 3 hours after the purchase time, but there is a lot to see while you wait. It is better if you buy tickets online for €17 well in advance at . Warning, the tickets are non-exchangeable, effectively non-refundable, and only good for the tower, so they're a bit of a risk to purchase in advance. Make the effort to climb, though, and you'll be rewarded by the view. Curiosity: the famous Pisa leaning tower is not the only one, due of the marshy land that they are built on, there are other 2 towers in Pisa: the Bell Tower of San Nicola Church, near the banks of Arno and the Bell Tower of San Michele of Scalzi Church.
- Duomo di Pisa (Cathedral of Pisa). The splendid cathedral, contains artwork by Giambologna, Della Robbia, and other major artists. Fine Romanesque style with double aisles and a cupola, a huge apse mosaic partly by Cimabue, and a fine pulpit by Giovanni Pisano in late Gothic / early Renaissance style. Free timed ticket available from the ticket office
- Battistero (Baptistry). Large round Romanesque dome with many sculptured decorations and a fine view up top; climb this if you want a great view with the Leaning Tower visible in your photos. Arabic-style pavement, pulpit by Nicola Pisano (father of Giovanni), and fine octagonal font. At regular intervals, the ticket-checker-guard at the entrance comes into the baptistery and gives an audio-treat of echo-effect. The guard shouts out few sounds which when echoed sound like pure beautiful music. Do not miss it. You can also cast your inhibitions to the wind, stand by the wall, and sing long notes that turn into chords by yourself, as the echoes go round and round the dome of the building.
- Campo Santo Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery). a huge cemetery building with lots of interesting art, including a collection of ancient Roman sarcophagi and splendid medieval frescoes by the "Master of the Triumph of Death".
- Museo del Opera del Duomo has sculptures and paintings formerly preserved in the Cathedral and the cemetery. Some of the more unusual are bronze griffins from Syria captured by the Crusaders. You can also capture nice photos from the Tower and the Duomo from its balcony.
- Museo delle Sinopie Skipped over by many visitors, this museum is a treat for art lovers. After WWII many of the surviving murals and pieces of murals from Pisa's Campo Santo were detached from the walls to try to preserve them. It was unexpectedly discovered that the artist sketches underneath survived. These were moved to this museum.
- Piazza dei Cavalieri a small town square with many historical buildings that hosted the political powers of the city in the middle ages and Renaissance, but most of them are not accessible to tourists, as they are now property of the University of Pisa or Scuola Normale Superiore (a prestigious elitary school).
- Palazzo della Carovana. The main Scuola Normale Superiore building, with an elaborate façade, by the important Italian Renaissance artist and architect Giorgio Vasari - who is also said to be the first historian of art.
- Palazzo dell'Orologio (Clock Palace). A XIV century building that has replaced the Torre della Fame (tower of hunger), where the Conte Ugolino della Gherardesca was imprisoned and left to die of hunger with his sons, as cited in the Dante's Divina Commedia.
- Chiesa di Santo Stefano (St. Stephan Church). A church designed by Giorgio Vasari in the XVI century for the Ordine dei Cavalieri di Santo Stefano (Order of Chivalry of Saint Stephan), a chivalry order founded to fight piracy in 1561.
- Other historical buildings include the Church of San Rocco, the Rectory, Palazzo Carovana and Palazzo dei Dodici.
The Museo di San Matteo (St Matthew Musem)
- Museo di San Matteo, Piazza San Matteo, 1, lungarno Mediceo, ☎ +39 50 541865. This is a fantastic history and art museum, which houses almost all of the original artwork from all the churches in and around Pisa. Although fairly small, it is one of the biggest for Tuscan Renaissance art, hosted in the rooms of the San Matteo monastery. A gem overlooked by most tourists.
- Lungarno Mediceo and Lungarno Pacinotti on the north side of Arno river, Lungarno Galilei and Lungarno Gambacorti on the south side: these riverside streets give a distinctive character to Pisa, especially at night when the lamplight reflects on the Arno river. Along the Lungarni stands intresting places like:
- Piazza Garibaldi and Piazza XX Settembre, two opposing town square, one at each end of Ponte di Mezzo (middle bridge), and are considered the center of the city. From Piazza Garibaldi starts Borgo Stretto, an old street with lots of shops that, together with Corso Italia starting in the opposite direction from Piazza XX Settembre, create a pedestrian area (interrupted only by the bridge) that is considered the center of the city. In Piazza XX Settembre you can find the Logge dei Banchi, a building created to host textile market in 1600, and the town hall, in the Palazzo del Comune.
- Santo Sepolcro, on Lungarno Galilei, a Romanesque octagonal church with conical spire by Diotisalvi, who also built the baptistry - a Templar church, striking and forceful. Usually is not open to the public.
- Ussero Café founded on 1775, lungarno Pacinotti 27, . A monument to Italian culture in the 1400's Palazzo Agostini, on Lungarno. In 1839, it was seat of the meetings of the first Italian Congress of Scientists.
- Santa Maria della Spina. A very small Gothic church on Lungarno Gambacorti built in 1230 to house a thorn from Jesus's crown, it's considered one of the best expressions of Italian gothic. It is so small it moved from the river of the Arno, in 1800, to a place some meters above, one stone at time, to protect it from flooding. Usually it's not open to the public.
- Giardino Scotto, on Lungarno Fibonacci at the end of Lungarno Galilei, is a fortress converted to a public park which opens in summer for open air cinema, music shows and other events.
- La Cittadella (The Citadel). A fortress at the end of Lungarno Simonelli, built to guard the access by the river Arno and the shipyard in the middle age, when the sea was closer to the city.
- University botanical garden, via Luca Ghini 5, is the first university botanical garden of Europe, created by the will of Cosimo de Medici in 1544. It is open weekdays, and is EUR2.50 per adult (free for under 6 year olds, student discount available).
- Fine Romanesque churches - San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, San Michele in Borgo, San Paolo with a sculpture gallery inside, Sant'Andrea - not all are open every day; double-check the hours if you want to visit.
- Tuttomondo, Keith Haring mural . Keith Haring visited Pisa and fell in love with the town, so he decided to paint this amazing mural as a gift to Pisa. Though extremely large, it is easy to miss so look out for it; it is located between via Giuseppe Mazzini and via Massimo D'Azeglio just off Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II.
The Arno river in the daylight
On June 16th Pisa holds the Luminara festival, held for the patron saint's day (San Ranieri). At sunset, all the lights along the Arno are dimmed and more than 10,000 candles are lit, which makes for some spectacular sights from the Ponte di Mezzo. Various activities are organized in the streets and the night ends with a big fireworks.
Another summer attraction is the Gioco del Ponte (Game of Bridge), a historical manifestation held yearly on the last Sunday of June, in which the two sides of the city (Tramontana and Mezzogiorno, geographically split by the Arno river) participate in a historical procession, with 709 walk-ons, then challenge each other to a physical match in which their teams, each composed of 20 members, try to conquer the "Ponte di Mezzo" (the main bridge in Pisa) by pushing a trolley in order to force the rival team off the bridge.
For nightlife, there aren't many clubs or live music places in Pisa: the usual night in Pisa is having a dinner of pizza or a cheap kebab, having a beer in Borgo Stretto, or Piazza delle Vettovaglie or a pub in the surrounding areas, and having a walk in Piazza Garibaldi and Lungarni, where the "spallette" (the low brick walls around the river) are full of students.
Some alternative clubs (hard rock, alternative, funky) in the center are:
Italians really loves to sing. You can find many talented local singers at the Millie Bar. The fun energetic lounge is located in city center not far from Piazza Garibaldi. Every Tuesday night is Karaoke Night. Who knew the Italians have a deep passion for singing.
- Millibar - via palestro, 39
Less alternative clubs are found at the seaside, about 8 km from Pisa, in Marina di Pisa and Tirrenia. For instance
- Pappafico (a disco with house music and the like)
- PIA (a disco/bar on the sea)
- Sunset (mainly a aperitiv/happy hour/chill-out location on the sea)
Take a photo of yourself holding, leaning against, or "anthropologically appropriating" the leaning tower of Pisa.
- Casciana Terme : the thermal water used at Casciana Terme since ancient times, has in recent years seen its applications extended to modern rehabilitation therapies, cardiovascular and respiratory treatment, in the improvement of the digestive functions and their treatment, because its natural, relaxing action enables patients to regain their functional equilibrium and the enjoyment of pleasures they had lost.
- San Giuliano Terme : Water with beneficial effects and calciferous magnesic sulfate water, naturally rich in vital curative elements, gush forth at the foot of Mount San Giuliano at the Spa out of different springs and are gathered in two groups called the "East Baths" (40° C temperature) and the "West Baths" (38° C temperature).
- The Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa or Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna is a special-statute public university located in Pisa, Italy, emerging from Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and operating in the field of applied sciences, (Superior Graduate Schools in Italy i.e. Scuola Superiore Universitaria)
Located at: Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, P.zza Martiri della Libertà, 33 - 56127 - Pisa (Italia)
- The Scuola Normale or Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, was founded in 1810, by Napoleonic decree, as a branch of the École Normale Supérieure of Paris. Recognized as a "national university" in 1862, one year after Italian unification, and named during that period as "Normal School of the Kingdom of Italy". (Superior Graduate Schools in Italy i.e. Scuola Superiore Universitaria)
Located at: Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa - Piazza dei Cavalieri, 7 - 56126 Pisa (Italia)
- The University of Pisa or Università di Pisa, is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was formally founded on September 3, 1343 by an edict of Pope Clement VI, although there had been lectures on law in Pisa since the 11th century. The University has Europe's oldest academic botanical garden i.e. Orto botanico di Pisa, founded 1544.
Located at: Università di Pisa - Lungarno Pacinotti, 43 - 56126 Pisa (Italia)
The central shopping area is centered around the Corso Italia, between the railway station and the Ponte di Mezzo (the central bridge) and also in the Via Borgo Stretto, north of the bridge. However, many specialized shops are sprinkled around the city.
The area around the leaning tower is geared toward tourists: There are lots of small souvenir kiosks, stands and "flying merchants", selling all kinds of souvenirs from small statues to hour-glasses - of course the general motif is the leaning tower.
Beware: it is an offense to buy from one of the "flying merchant" that sell fake replicas. They are very persuasive and if you buy anything you must haggle – they'll drop their prices significantly. They may lie and refuse to drop prices but if they see you are interested to buy it from another merchant with a better price, they will definitely drop the prices. If they convince you that is the best price, just look around before buying anything, you will find that many sell the same items at different prices. Pick the best price and persuade them to drop the prices. Merchants there will be trying to sell even if at a lower price then listed.
Every two weeks there is a bazaar with quite cheap books, records and old household items.
And don't forget to try some of Pisa's famous biscotti (biscuits or cookies). Bakeries all through town will sell multiple varieties, for a low price.
For the budget option, if coming from the Airport, there is a Coop supermarket on the left, on Via Pasquale Pardi.
As a general rule, try not to eat near the Leaning Tower where prices are high and quality low. Head instead to the central area (5-10 minutes walking from Piazza dei Miracoli): you can find very good, cheap restaurants there. For example, there are excellent, friendly and reasonably priced cafeterias in the busy small vegetable market, Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Also Via San Martino, close to the south bank of the river, offers some places with good quality and low price.
This said, near the Leaning Tower, in via Roma, there's a good Indian Restaurant, with a beautiful atmosphere and really good, though not always cheap, dishes. In Piazza dei Miracoli, there's a quite good restaurant-pizzeria, cheap enough, the Kinzica.
UPDATE: the quality of restaurants near the Leaning Tower have largely improved. While some are still tourist traps others offer good food at reasonable prices. Do not pick a random restaurant there but do not be afraid to try one if someone have reccomended it.
In any case, don't miss Salza, in Borgo Stretto, with high prices but absolutely gorgeous chocolate, sweets and pastries of all kinds. Don't sit down inside, though, because you end up paying €10 for two coffees.
Finally, there's a good pizzeria near the Youth Hostel, too, on the road that leads to the Leclerc, on the left then you must go in the tunnel.
Here are some good spots for eating:
- Oro (Gelato), Via San Bernardo 35 (Piazza Chiara Gambacorti), . 12:00-24:00 Everydays closed on Dec-Jan-Feb. High quality ice-cream laboratory. All the products are made with organic, fair-trade or local ingredients.It is available a wide range of taste and a dedicated line suitable for the vegan customers. 2/4 €.
- Osteria di Culegna, Via Mercanti (on the main road). Reasonable price in a friendly environment, good food and research of the tuscan typical recipes, nice and smiley service. Closed on Sunday.
- Numero 11, 47-49,Via San Martino. Quite cheap prices, good food and generous portions in an informal setting. You can find any kind of food there.
- Vineria di Piazza, Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Serves great wine and very few dishes, but they are good and cheap. You can find very traditional food here.
- Il Montino, Via del Monte. Great place to get fine pizza and excellent focaccine at a very cheap price. You can eat there or grab your food to go.
- La Stanzina, Via Curtatone e Montanara, not far from Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Has very good food at reasonable price in a cozy environment. Many of the recipes come from southern Italy.
- Osteria dei Cavalieri, Via San Frediano. Very close to Piazza dei Cavalieri. Quite expensive but very good. You can find typical and traditional recipes from Tuscany.
- La Mescita, Via Cavalca very close to Piazza delle Vettovaglie. An expensive but very good choice. They serve both traditional and more sophisticated food.
- Il Campano, Via Cavalca very close to Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Very typical Tuscan food is served. The recipes are hearty and very good. Prices are not cheap but certainly reasonable.
- La Reginella, Via di Gello at via Filzi. 15 min walk from the tower or take bus number 2. Great pizza, and the guy who cooks it is originally from Neaples: ask for Vincenzino: it's awesome to see him at work!
- Osteria in Domo, Via Santa Maria, very close to the Leaning Tower yet it offers very good food at reasonable prices. Food is on the traditional side but sometimes they add a twist. If you try the "tagliata" (a beef steak served in thick strips) you cannot go wrong.
- Pizzeria Tavola Calda La Tana, V. San Frediano. 12 noon-3PM and 7PM onwards. This is a restaurant is frequented by locals. The food is good and reasonably priced compared to other restaurants in Pisa. Staff welcome all the locals and pamper the tourists.
- La Lupa Ghiotta, Viale francesco bonaini, 113 ((from the station walk towards Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele, than turn right in Viale Francesco Bonaini)), ☎ +39 50 21018. Has very good food at reasonable price in a cozy environment.
- Gelateria Naturale Artigianale De' Coltelli, Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, 23, ☎ +39 34 54811903, . Closed in the winter. Ice cream made using quality ingredients, many of which are locally sourced. €2 for two scoops.
- NamasteIndia Ristorante (NamasteIndia Ristorante Indiano), Via S.Bernardo, 34 (Crossing Street to Corso Italia), ☎ 039-333-7546356, . 11.00AM-01.00AM. We provide authentic typical Indian food in the heart of Pisa. We are around 5 minutes walk from the Pisa Railway station and exactly in the middle of the way to the leaning tower from the Railway station. (43.71420867733266,10.40080189704895)
- Trattoria da Cucciolo, Vicolo Rosselmini 9. The food is very good, reasonably priced (dishes 8 - 15 EUR), and served in a tasteful quasi-homely ambiance. The staff is friendly and helpful.
- Osteria Bernardo, Piazza San Paolo all'Orto 1, ☎ 0039 050 575216, . 19 - 24. This fine restaurant overlooks the Piazza San Paolo Orto and has a sober and comfortable ambiance. Research of tradition and innovation of tuscan and mediterrenean recipes characterise the passion of its Oste and Chef €25-30.
During summer nights, everybody stays around the banks of the rivers, sipping drinks bought from the several bars in the area. A few very good wine bars are also available for colder, winter nights.
- Orzobruno, Via Case Dipinte 6/8 (A bit tricky to find but worth it), ☎ +39 50 578802, . Sun-Thu 7PM-1AM, Fri-Sat 7PM-2AM. Artisan organic beer and organic food at a good price.
- Pisa Caffè dell'Ussero, Lungarno Pacinotti, 27. It is a monument to Italian culture in the 1400s Palazzo Agostini, on Lungarno. Its walls are covered with glorious mementos from its most famous visitors of the Risorgimento when they were students: Carlo Goldoni, Gacomo Casanova, Vittorio Alfieri, Filippo Mazzei, John Ruskin, Domenico Guerrazzi, Giuseppe Giusti, Renato Fucini, Giosuè Carducci, Cesare Abba, Giuseppe Montanelli. In 1839, it was seat of the meetings of the first Italian Congress of Scientists.
- Babette (food and art café), Lungarno Mediceo 15, Pisa, ☎ +39 50 9913302/3, . This nice café is on Lungarno Mediceo, really close to the center of the city. The place has a strong personality; you can tell it's owned by art and culture lovers. You can pick up a book and read while having a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate, or even have a meal. You'll be warmly welcomed. Sometimes concerts take place in this café, and there are also evenings dedicated to special themes.
- La Lupa Chiotta, Viale francesco bonaini, 113 (From the station walk towards Piazza Vittorio emmanuele, than turn right in Viale Francesco Bonaini), ☎ +39 50 21018. Has very good food at reasonable price in a cozy environment
- Sottobosco, Piazza San Paolo all'Orto (Starting in Borgo Stretto, the main shopping street North of the river, walk North and turn right down via Sant'Orsola then left at via degli Orafi. Take the next right and walk straight). Closed Mondays. Bar which also sells books. Has an upright piano and Jazz nights.
- Millibar Pub Pisa, Via Palestro 39 (Near Teatro Verdi), ☎ +39 335 14 85 555, . 6 pm - 2 am. Millibar Pub Pisa has long been a popular meeting point for students and tourists. Good drinks, good music, good food and a friendly atmosphere. For sports fans there is a giant screen and projector, three 46" plasma TVs, a private room to enjoy the game in full comfort a stadium-like sound system. MC Alessio for a night of Karaoke on Tuesdays (43.716409,10.404055)
- NamasteIndia Restaurant (NamasteIndia), Via Bernardo 34 (Crossstreet CorsoItalia), ☎ +39 333-7546356, . 11.30-01:00. From North Indian dishes to South Indian dishes with Eastern & Western Indian flavors. (43.71448009323288,10.400919914245605)
- Ritz, Borgo Stretto. Good coffee, fine service and the best dressed baristas. They also sell French wine and Champagne.
The Pisa hills were already a popular destination for enlightened travellers in the first half of the 1700s, due mostly to the popularity of the thermal spa of San Giuliano, which quickly became a fashionable spot for the upper classes. The mansions on the road along the hills, already renowned as places of idleness and relaxation in the heart of the countryside, soon assumed the characteristics of true leisure resorts, just like those narrated by Carlo Goldoni. Stay at Bagni di Pisa ('health-giving' waters are still offered to an international clientele) and then visit Pisa during one of the city’s festivals, staying at the Agostini Palace to enjoy the best view of the festivities. The Villa  has hosted many illustrious guests such as Gustavus III of Sweden, Christian II of Denmark, the Royal Family of Great Britain, Benedict Stuart Cardinal of York, General Murat, Luigi Buonaparte, Paolina Borghese, Carlo Alberto of Savoy, the poets Byron and Shelley, and various other personages from the history books.
- Hostel Pisa, via Corridoni, 29 (Pisa airport), ☎ +39 50 520 1841 ('"[email protected]"), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11PM. FA youth hostel with dorm beds and private rooms. Walking distance from Pisa train central station and Pisa international Airport, 24 hr reception. Free WIFI. Laundry, kitchen, street parking (free from eight 8PM-8AM), dining room in-door & out-door, guest lounge, theatre, TV room. From €17. (",")
- Casa San Tommaso Pisa – Via San Tommaso, 11, 56100, Pisa, Italy . Telephone +39 05416 41533. All rooms are equipped with private bathroom, air conditioning, heating, wi-fi, TV and fridge. Book your room with private bathroom, air conditioning, wi-fi and fridge near Piazza dei Miracoli and the Tower of Pisa, directly on the website of the guest house. Single €33; Double €40.
- Pisa Tower Hostel, Piazza Garibaldi, 9, ☎ +39 33 1788 6859, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10:30AM. Free internet, kitchen and more. Only has female dormitories. No dorms for male travellers. From €15.
- Walking Street Hostel, Corso Italia, 58 (5 min walk from the station, 25 min walk from the airport), ☎ +39 39 3064 8737, . Friendly, helpful staff. Great atmosphere. Nice beds and dorm set up. Free WiFi. From €14.
- Airone Pisa Park Hotel, via Sant'elena, 4 , San Giuliano Terme (Located along the road to San Giuliano Terme (Pisa)), ☎ +39 50 822 284 ([email protected]), . Outdoor swimming pool, free internet access, restaurant, bar, English cable TV, bicycle, free car parking and family rooms. €50+.
- Athena, Via Risorgimento 42, Pisa, ☎ +39 50 550 887, . Small hotel with 12 rooms. €55+ (breakfast not included).
- B&B Antica Piazza dei Miracoli, Via F.Capponi 1, Pisa, ☎ +39 50 3196186, . b&b with 6 rooms - Historical palace - near the tower with garden and private parking. €45 (breakfast included).
- Claudia Ferri B&B, Via II Settembre, 15 / D (Porta a Mare, Marina di Pisa), ☎ +39 50 533 868, . Apartment with 4 B&B rooms, close to Pisa city center. Prices per room from €45 per night (single room) to €125 (4-bedded room).
- Michele Guest House B&B, Via Amerigo Vespucci 103, ☎ +39 33 3601 1287 ([email protected]), . B&B near the heart of Pisa. Rooms with private bathroom and shower, fully furnished, A/C, LCD TV, free internet access, coffee machine, guided tours are available. €45-100.
- Eden Park Resort Pisa, Via dell'Argine, 6b, 56017 Colignola, Italy, ☎ +39 50 870 252 ([email protected]), . A resort in the Tuscan countryside near the banks of the Arno river, only 4 km from Pisa's leaning tower. 30 comfortable cottages surrounded by miles of mountains, valleys and picturesque historical villages. €50+.
- Hotel Francesco, Via Santa Maria, 129, ☎ +39 50 555 453 ([email protected], fax: +39 50 386 9998), . Near the tower, rooms with private bathrooms. Check for special offers on the website. €60+.
- Royal Victoria, 12 lungarno Pacinotti, ☎ +39 50 940 111, . Understated (though slightly tatty around the edges) old world elegance on the banks of the Arno. Doubles from €60, river view rooms from €80.
- San Ranieri Hotel Pisa (Hotel in Pisa), Via Mazzei, 2 (Cisanello), ☎ +39 50 971 951 ([email protected]), . 4 star hotel in Cisanello, some rooms have sky view, all rooms have WiFi. There are also a restaurant, ample parking space and conference facilities
- Grand Hotel Continental (Hotel Sea in Pisa), Largo Belvedere, 26, ☎ +39 050 37031 ([email protected]), . 4 star hotel in Tirrenia, seafront, with 4 restaurants, 2 pools and charming accommodations for couples and families
- NH Cavalieri, Piazza della Stazione, 2. 56125 Pisa, ☎ +39 50 43 290 (fax: +39 50 502 242), . Rooms are modern with good views. Rooms from €97 (VAT inc).
- S. Croce in Fossabanda, P.zza Santa Croce 11, Pisa, (fax: +39 50 971 104), . Located in a medieval monastery, recently converted to a hotel with 67 rooms. True to its origin, the rooms are somewhat sober, but this is made up for with a relaxing courtyard and garden. No need to set an alarm, since the next door monks ring the bell at 7:30AM. Seems closed at the moment. €75+.
- Villa Kinzica, Piazza Arcivescovado 2 (In the center of town), ☎ +39 50 560419 (fax: +39 50 551 204), . En-suite single, double, and triple rooms. €70+.
- Casale La Sterpaia, Via della Cascine, 56016 Pisa, ☎ +39 050/ 532995 (fax: +39 050/532995), . Twenty-two rooms with flat-screen TV, a private bathroom with free toiletries and hairdryer and free Wi-Fi is free. Located within the San Rossore National Park: 3.7 miles away from Pisa and 20 minutes’ drive from San Giuliano Terme’s hot springs. The breakfast is included and served in your room.
As stated in the Buy section, avoid purchasing sunglasses, umbrellas, and other trinkets from illegal sellers. Definitely steer clear of counterfeit luxury goods. Upon arriving to Pisa, it is not uncommon for tourists to be swarmed by vendors. Some vendors can be pushy or even downright aggressive. Even saying "no thank you" can bring unwanted attention. It's much better to ignore them entirely. Don't worry about being rude.
Even though cheap prices are tempting, especially when traveling on a budget, please remember that recently the Italian police have fined tourists for buying from illegal sellers. These fines can be very steep (up to €1000). In front of the Tower, there are several legal vendors who have permits to sell items to tourists or anyone else. Be responsible and buy from them. Legal vendors have stalls lined along the main road whereas illegal vendors keep merchandise in a sack, cardboard boxes, or (in the case of fake purses) on their arms.
- Lucca. You can travel by train to this other beautiful Tuscan city.
- Florence. Very easily reachable by train from Pisa Centrale.
- Calci is very easily reacheable by bus. A charming medieval village nestled in the Pisan Mountains. The Charterhouse of Calci and the Museum of Natural History (home to the largest collection of whale bones in Europe) are among its attractions.