Attractions in Pisa
Yes, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is by far the city’s best known and loved landmark, but if you thought this was all that Pisa had to offer, think again!
There are museums too, and not to mention the many restaurants where you can sample some of Tuscany’s excellent cuisine.
The city does actually have a number of other historical landmarks including more than 20 historic churches, palaces and bridges, and if you’re inclined to enjoy medieval Italian architecture then you’re going to find several days are filled wandering around the city’s streets.
The Leaning Tower
Let’s start with the Leaning Tower. It’s the landmark that everybody heads to first, wondering if it really does lean as much as it appears to all the photos.
And the answer is ‘yes’! Right now the tower is leaning by about 3.99 degrees.
This in itself is quite a lot for a building of this size and height, but it’s actually less than it has been in the past because of efforts made to strengthen and straighten it.
Previous to recent restoration work the angle was 5.5 degrees.
So, why the lean anyway? Well this campanile – the bell tower of the cathedral – wasn’t supposed to lean.
The lean has always been there though, appearing early on in the construction of the tower because the foundations were too soft to support its weight.
As the tower grew taller the tilt got worse but without the technology hundreds of years ago (it was built between 1173 and 1372) they could not perform the ground work necessary to stop it from tilting.
Now work has been completed the tower should be stabilised to stop it from leaning any further.
There are nearly 300 steps to the top of the tower, and yes, you can climb them.
The novelty of climbing is quite an attraction, but the views from the top are well worth the climb too.
Tickets need to be reserved in advance. See the Website for all details.
Piazza del Duomo
The Leaning Tower is one of the four buildings on Pisa’s main square, named Piazza del Duomo, or Piazza dei Miracoli.
The whole square has been designated a World Heritage Site as it is recognised as one of the main centres of medieval art in the world, and the buildings, in addition to the Leaning Tower, include the Duomo (cathedral), the Baptistery, and the Camposanto.
The cathedral is at the heart of the square and was built from 1063. It’s a vast creation with beautiful floors and ceilings, artworks, and mosaics.
The Baptistery is the round building on the opposite side of the cathedral to the leaning tower and is the largest of its kind in Italy, and then there is the Camposanto, the ‘monumental cemetery’, claimed by many to be the most beautiful cemetery in the world.
Churches and Palaces
Elsewhere in Pisa sights include the Medici Palace and the Royal Palace.
There’s the 14th century town hall, and on Knights’ Square several of Pisa’s attractive churches are located.
Be sure to visit some of the city’s museums too, some of which are set within the old palaces.