If you are planning to visit Rome, you should set aside a day or two to visit Pisa as well. Pisa is just a few hours north of Rome, and is easily and affordably accessible by rail. Compared to Rome, Pisa is much smaller, quieter, and more relaxing. You’ll certainly enjoy your time there, and then you can either continue on to Florence or return to Rome, depending on your itinerary and personal preferences. When in Pisa, here are some of the things that you should make sure to do.
The Leaning Tower
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been called the most recognizable building in all the world. The construction of this bell tower began way back in 1173, but it wasn’t completed until 1350 due to various and lengthy interruptions. The Leaning Tower is so famous because of the fact that it inclines at about a 5.5 degree angle. It is also famous because the great scientist Galileo was said to have conducted physics experiments by dropping objects from the top of the tower (although most experts now believe the stories to be merely myths).
Once at the tower, you can climb to the top of it and be rewarded with a relatively nice view of Pisa. It’s also popular to have your picture taken with your arms out and hands spread wide as if you’re supporting the Tower. You’ll see many tourists striking this pose.
Duomo Pisa (Cathedral)
The Duomo is located just a few yards away from the Leaning Tower, so there’s no reason not to stop in and see it. You’ll certainly admire the architecture of the cathedral. The interior boasts 68 Corinthian columns and walls of pink and white marble. It was constructed back in 1063, and would be marvelous for its age alone. The Duomo Pisa is the largest cathedral of its type in Tuscany.
Santa Maria Della Spina Church
Well, if you’re visiting Italy, you expect to see a lot of churches, right? This is an interesting little church that was built in 1230. The “spina” in the name of the church means “thorn”, and comes from the fact that this building was once home to a religious relic of that nature.
This church has undergone numerous restorations over the years and has unfortunately lost much of its original artwork (statues, etc.) and even some of its original architecture during that time. Nevertheless, the church is still worth visiting on your day trip to Pisa.
Walk through town
As mentioned above, Pisa is significantly smaller and more laid back than Rome. In fact, it is a great place to take a relaxing walk while sipping coffee or indulging in a bit of gelato. The river Arno flows through the city and makes for a very beautiful, scenic walking route. You’ll definitely feel like you’re in old Italy as you make your way around Pisa on foot. Just keep the Leaning Tower in sight so you won’t get lost, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.