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Pisa is strategically located in the central part of Italy. It is only 12 km from the Ligurian Sea, 20 km from the harbour of Livorno and the ferries heading to the Elba Island, Sardinia and Corsica and 80 km from Florence. This city is closely associated with the Leaning Tower. But Pisa also preserves, with the whole complex of Piazza dei Miracoli - cultural patrimony of all humanity - and its medieval centre, numerous masterpieces of architecture and medieval history. The area around Pisa is also excellent for farm-holidays, trekking, beaches and water sports on the Versilian coast.
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Do and see
The boat service in Pisa (operating from April to October) will let you enjoy the architectural scenery of the embankments or the natural beauty of the nearby San Rossore Regional Park. In the Natural Park lies the racecourse—the gallop season goes from October to March. Pisa celebrates traditional events such as the fascinating “Luminara,” the historical Regatta on the Arno and the contest “Gioco del Ponte” in June. An alternative is the Festival of International Sacred Music, “Anima Mundi,” taking place in September - October in the Cathedral and Monumental Cemetery.
Torre Pendente (The Leaning Tower)
One of the most outstanding architectural structures from medieval Europe and due to the human mistakes, the leaning Tower is today the famous landmark of Pisa. It is the bell tower of the Cathedral and its construction began in 1173 and continued for over two centuries. This miscalculated eight story building has a lean of 5,4 meters. Without a doubt this popular tourist attraction is a "must" when visiting the city. Don’t forget the camera since this is the perfect place to take some amazing and hilarious photos.
Pisa Battistero
Pisa Battistero is located in conjunction with Pisa Doumo (where the Leaning Tower is located) and it took more than two centuries to complete. This amazing Baptistery with a marble construction is the largest one in the whole of Italy and is dated to 12th century. Make your visit in the early morning to experience the amazing acoustics and echoes.
Camposanto (Holy Yard)
The Italian word "camposanto" (holy yard) - which is synonym of ’cemetery’ - was first used with reference to this Pisan building. According to the legend, it contained soil which was seen as miraculous due to its origins in the Holy Land. You will find this peaceful place with amazing frescoes, mosaics and statues on the same site as the Leaning Tower, The UNESCO World Heritage site “Piazza del Duomo di Pisa”.
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum)
This museum opened in 1986 to focus on the art and sculptures of Pisa. Today it contains works which previously adorned the buildings in the Piazza dei Miracoli. After the big three (Tower, Dumo, Battistero), this is the fourth sight that will occupy your time schedule. You will find this interesting museum behind the Leaning Tower.
Museo Nazionale di San Matteo
Housed in the 13th century former Benedictine monastery, the museum keeps works from the main religious buildings of the city. Remarkable are the collections of 14th- and 15th-century: the Pisan sculpture and a collection of paintings consisting of nearly 200 works from the Tuscan school. The picture gallery keeps paintings by Italian and foreign artists dating until 18th century, ecclesiastical vestments and liturgical gold-works.
Piazza dei Cavalieri
The beautiful Piazza dei Cavalieri was the political centre of the Pisan Republic. During the 16th century, it was radically transformed by Giorgio Vasari and became the seat of the new military order of the Knights of St. Stephen. The square is dominated by the Palazzo della Carovana, whose façade is completely covered in graffiti, and today hosts the Scuola Normale Superiore, founded by Napoleon in 1810.
Orto Botanico
The Botanical Garden was established in 1544 as the first university botanical garden in Europe, and entrusted to the famous botanist Luca Ghini. The garden is divided into sections containing the botanical school, gardens, ponds, greenhouses and various buildings. Major collections include herb gardens and arboreta, as well as the old botany institute of late 16th century, with a façade ornamented with sea-shells.
Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale
The National Museum was prepared in 1989 to host numerous works of art belonging to the courts of the city government, such as the Medici, Lorena and Savoia, as well as some private collections. The building still keeps the appearance of an aristocratic residence, with fittings and furniture from the 17th to 19th centuries.
Galileo Galilei International Airport
Pisa International Airport “Galilei” is located only 1 km from Pisa Centrale Railway Station and the town centre. The airport has a railway terminal outside the departure hall. Passengers can buy railway tickets at the information office (check-in hall). Direct railway lines connect the airport to Florence and Pisa Centrale Station. It takes only 5 minutes to reach Pisa city centre by train and the ticket costs €1.40 for a one-way journey. CPT (Compagnia Pisana Trasporti) connects the Airport to Pisa town centre every 10 minutes by LAM bus marked in red colour. The bus terminus lies outside the Departure area. The LAM bus crosses the Arno river over Ponte Solferino, drives to the Miracles’ Square and the Leaning Tower with stops at Pisa Centrale Railway Station, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, Riversides and hospital. A one way ticket costs €1 and is valid for one hour. Remember that you have to buy the ticket before boarding and then validate it on the vehicle. There are also several taxis outside the terminal and from the airport to the city centre the fare starts at €6.
Public Transport
Pisa is a small city, hence the best way to see it is on foot. The company which operates Pisa’s local transport system is CPT (Compagnia Pisana Trasporti) and its information office is in Piazza S. Antonio, 1. A bus ticket is valid for one hour and you can buy it either before boarding the bus or from the driver. It is cheapest to buy it in advance though. You always have to validate the ticket on board the vehicle. Tickets can be purchased at the airport, tobacconist’s, newsagent’s, at the bus terminal in Piazza S. Antonio (near Pisa Centrale Railway Station), where bus connections leave to the seaside (Marina di Pisa and Tirrenia), to the surroundings and to Pontedera. Local, interregional, Intercity and Eurostar trains stop at Pisa Centrale Railway Station, connecting Pisa to the main Tuscan and Italian destinations. Train tickets are sold at the ticket office, for short tracks up to 20 km also at the newsagent’s. Self-service ticket machines can also be found in the station.
Pisa’s main taxi company is Radio Taxi Pisa. You can also find cabs near to the most important tourist sites.
Stamps can be bought at tobacconists that either carry the blue and white ”Tabacchi” sign or are simply marked ”T”. If you need to visit a post office you find the main post office at:
Pisa’s chemists are usually open from Monday to Friday from 08.30 to 12.30 and from 15.30 to 19.30. They have different open hours during nights and weekends. Addresses are posted on the pharmacies. One of the pharmacy chains is Farmacia Comunale and you find one of their outlets at:
Country code: +39 Area code: 05 (also dialled in Pisa) If you call Italy from abroad, you must always dial zero in the area code (do not omit it as is the general practice when making international telephone calls), e.g. +39 05 + the number.
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