(Photo by Shikilla)
Caption: Yeah, you have to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Perfect Day in Pisa
I think just about everyone in the world recognizes the Leaning Tower of Pisa; it is an Italian icon! And of course, your perfect day in Pisa must include viewing the city’s tilting bell tower. Pisa has quite a history on display other than just the leaning tower, however. The city of Pisa sits on the River Arno, so its history is steeped in maritime riches centuries old. When Pisa was in its heyday, it built more than 20 churches and other feats of historic architecture that remain a huge part of the city today. So guess what? Your perfect day in Pisa is going to include the leaning tower and much, much more!
Your Perfect Things-to-Do List
Although the leaning tower is most associated with Pisa, there is much to see in this beautiful Italian city. Some of the highlights that will make your day in Pisa perfect are:
- The Leaning Tower of Pisa – Follow the crowds and head over to the Piazza del Duomo, also known as the Piazza dei Miracoli, and take in the tower. The tower sits in Cathedral Square, which is also home to the Duomo and the Campo Santo, the cathedral and monumental cemetery, respectively.
- Borgo Stretto – One of the oldest churches in Pisa is the San Michele in Borgo, built in 990. You will also enjoy strolling through this borgo’s (or neighborhood’s) strolling arcades and avenues that take you along the River Arno.
- Medici Palace – If you know your Italian history, you’ve heard of the Medicis, the wealthy Italian family that began gaining political ground in the 13th century. The glorious Medici Palace formerly belonged to the Appiano family, the leaders of Pisa from 1392-98.
- Mural Tuttomondo – Let’s step out of ancient times for just a moment to include some modern art in our perfect day in Pisa. Artist Keith Haring painted his last mural in June 1989, and it’s on the back of the Church of Sant’Antonio convent. You must see it: It’s beautiful.
- Church of San Nicola – Heading back into the past, the Church of San Nicola was built around 1097 and renovated sometime between 1297 and 1313. The Augustinians were the renovators, and the church houses Traini’s Madonna with Child and other period artwork.
- Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri – Designed by famous Italian architect Vasari, you’ll find this architectural masterpiece on the Piazza dei Cavalieri. Inside is a bust sculptured by Donatello and paintings by Vasari, Jacopo Chimenti da Empoli, Allissandro Fei, and Jacopo Ligozzi.
Your Perfect Things-to-Eat List
Let’s eat! That’s all I’m going to say to introduce this section because really, nothing else needs to be said!
- A Casa Mia – Considered one of the best restaurants in Pisa, A Casa Mia offers diners glorious food and beautiful gardens on its property. Begin your meal with seasonal seafood, meat, and vegetable appetizers; enjoy a homemade pasta dish for your entrée; and top it off with a refreshing lemon sorbet.
- Bagus Wine and Food – This charming Pisa eatery offers local Tuscan wines, some of the best in the world, alongside delightful dishes. Bagus is known for its braised duck ravioli, mushroom gnocchi, octopus, and tender and juicy steaks! Ask your server for wine pairing suggestions.
- Gusto al 129 – Obviously, while in Italy, you must eat authentic Italian pizza, and Gusto al 129 is rumored to have the best pizza not just in Pisa but in all Italy! That’s a pretty bold statement, so I strongly suggest you check the pizzeria out and decide for yourself if its pizzas really are the best!
- Il Campano – You no doubt figured out that there is a ton of ancient architecture in Pisa when reading your things-to-do list. Il Campano is located in one of these ancient towers and also serves plenty of wonderful Italian and other varietal wines. In fact, the cellar holds more than 400 different types!
- Namaste India Ristorante – It might seem odd to toss an Indian restaurant in, but Namaste has been in Pisa for more than 30 years and serves up some of the best Indian food around. If you’d like a refreshing change from Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, Namaste is just what the foodie ordered!
How do you end your perfect day in Pisa? Spend another day! If you don’t have the time, however, I hope that you enjoy the artistry, charm, and history that this lovely Italian city has to offer as much as I do. Sure, the leaning tower might be a little “touristy” for some folks, but it’s still an amazing structure, as are many of Pisa’s other treasures. So pack up and enjoy your perfect day in Pisa!