Welcome to Pisa, Italy!
Set on a backdrop of the gorgeous Italian countryside, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is an iconic monument that draws droves of people. Beyond the crowded complex, of the slanted marble wonder, is much more than just a leaning Pisa tower, but a thriving university city full of life and character waiting to be explored. A modestly sized city, worldwide locals can meander through the city streets on foot and discover its distinct character that appears to be untouched by mass tourism. See past the Leaning Tower and explore the city with this insider’s guide of Pisa.
Start with a Walk along the City Wall
Step back in time and walk alongside the fortification wall that was built to protect the city from invaders. Completed in 1161, the 7km stretch of protection still stands today for people to admire. For a small fee of 3 Euro, you can walk along the top of the wall for panoramic views of the city center. See the city skyline, with views of the Leaning Tower and the gorgeous piazzas, atop the historic medieval landmark.
Worldwide Local Tip: Dine like a local and head to Numero 11 for delicious, authentic and rustic meals. Often filled with local families and students, tucked into a varied selection of authentic fare, the boisterous feel creates a traditional and communal atmosphere that can only be seen in hidden gems like Numero 11.
Visit the Spooky Camposanto Cemetery
Close to the Leaning Tower is the 13th-century monumental cemetery of Camposanto. An eerie, yet fascinating burial ground, thought to have been built on top of the soil, was brought back from the Holy Crusades. Walk through the rectangular building, blessed with elegant architecture, showcases colorful Roman frescoes and sculptures within the cloisters. Legend has it that bodies decompose within 24 hours of burial.
Worldwide Local Tip: Have a night out in the town, mingling with the locals and students at the Piazza Garibaldi, in the Lungarni district. Filled with bars offering cheap drinks, the square creates a vibrant and lively atmosphere as the night sets in. Have a pint and chat with the locals about the chances of the local Pisa soccer team.
For the Nature Lover
Just on the outskirts of the city, is an expansive nature reserve teeming with wildlife and rich with flora. The Parco Regionale di Migliarino stretches from Viareggio all the way to Livorno, and runs alongside Pisa, making it a perfect place for a change of scenery. Take a peaceful stroll through the remnants of Roman spas and villas along the way, and if you walk far enough, you can reach the coast for magnificent views of the sea.
Worldwide Local Tip: Spend an afternoon studying artwork spanning from 14th-century to modern art, at a spot where exhibits are free. The Palazzo Blu keeps over 300 pieces of art, created mainly by local Pisan artists, and you can easily lose a couple of hours in the museum.
Enjoy Your Stay!
While a trip to Pisa is never complete without visiting the Leaning Tower, venture away from the tourist spots to discover a different side of the overlooked nooks of the city. From the warm welcome of the friendly locals to sights of a city full of personality, get lost in Pisa’s streets as a worldwide local to see the hidden gems it has to offer.