How to Plan a Half-Day Trip to Pisa from Florence, Italy

How to Plan a Half-Day Trip to Pisa from Florence, Italy

When I learned that Pisa, Italy was just a short commute away Florence, I knew I had to squeeze it into my 3-day itinerary, no matter how tight. After all, it’s not everyday that you see a piece of architecture that defies gravity. I wanted to get my token tourist picture holding that sucker up.

If you’ve visited my site before, you know I’m attempting 12 trips in 12 months as part of my year of adventure. In keeping with my mission, I make it a point to see everything unique and wonderful within driving distance of my destination, and if there’s a UNESCO World Heritage site or World Wonder within reach, I do my best to get there.

I had planned to set aside a full day and was pleasantly surprised to find I could manage a trip to Pisa and back in just a few hours, making it back to Florence by lunchtime to gorge on some of their delicious food.

If you’re in Florence and thinking of making a half-day trip out to Pisa, it is absolutely worth your time! The complex consists of more than just the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so you have plenty of photo opportunities, and there’s not much else in the city to attract visitors so this is the perfect way to knock the site off your list.

How to Get To Pisa From Florence, Italy

Pisa Day Trip

It is easy to get to Pisa from many cities in Italy thanks to Italy’s advanced rail system, but it’s only an hour away from Florence by train and makes the perfect half-day trip while visiting Firenze. Take the train from the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence to the Pisa Centrale station. The ride is nonstop and tickets start at 8.50€.

When you arrive in Pisa, you can hail a taxi at the Centrale station and have them take you directly to the Pisa complex. The drive takes approximately 10 minutes so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend walking on a hot day or if pressed for time. Expect to pay about 10€ each way for the ride.

Climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

How do you enter and climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa? You need to buy a ticket, which you can do online or at the complex when you arrive. It costs 18€ to enter and it helps to book ahead so you can schedule a time to climb and avoid a wait. You cannot bring any bags with you and must check them before entering, but you are allowed to bring your camera.

There are 300 marble steps to climb, well worn from visitors over the year and a little slippery so watch your step. There’s one area where you can get out and walk around the perimeter before reaching the summit. At the very top, there are bells and you can walk (with a bit of a vertigo sensation) around the tower for views of the city.

Pisa Baptistery

Pisa Day Trip

The Leaning Tower isn’t the only site at the Pisa Complex.You can add on entrance to one, two or three monuments for an additional fee. This dome-topped building was the second building constructed and is designed to be acoustically perfect. Acoustic resonance demonstrations are sometimes put on for visitors as well as singing performances.

The decorations are minimal, but guests can climb to second level and walk around for a 360 degree view of the structure.

Pisa Museum

Pisa Day Trip

Officially referred to as The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, meaning the Museum of Cathedral Works, this venue is a former seminary located adjacent to the tower, next to where you check your bags. It displays art and medieval sculptures from Pisa but, I have to confess, I skipped this attraction as I was a little museumed-out at this point having spent a few days in Florence.

I was captivated, however, by the fallen angel statue on display in the grass out front. It was a jarring image almost reminiscent of the ruins of Pompeii.

Pisa Cathedral

Pisa Day Trip

The facade of the cathedral on the outside is impressive, and in contrast to the Baptistery it’s quite ornate on the inside as well. The cathedral prominently features an elaborately carved pulpit (pictured above) at its center. Carved by Giovanni Pisano, the pulpit survived a fire in 1595 and is a considered a gothic masterpiece.

This is the only monument that is free to enter in the Pisa Complex.

Pisa Camposanto Monumentale

Pisa

Camposanto means holy land. This is a cemetery that has restored frescoes, funerary monuments, and ancient Roman sarcophagi along seemingly endless marble corridors. The site is a peaceful and contemplative place that few tourists frequent if you need a mid-day retreat from the crowds.

Know Before You Go

That’s the Pisa complex in a nutshell. Obviously, the Leaning Tower is the main draw. There are vendors immediately outside the complex selling souvenirs and that’s where you’ll catch a taxi back to the bus station as well.

If you go early, like before 10am, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get a picture holding up the tower with little to no people in your shot.

Food-wise, there’s not much in the area so if you’re making this a quick trip you’re better off waiting to get back to Florence and then stopping for lunch at Trattoria Vecchio Mercato, within walking distance of the train station.

This is definitely a half-day trip worth making if you’re in Florence. If you catch a 7am or 8am train into Pisa, you should be back by noon and ready to continue with sightseeing in Florence.

Till next time, safe travels!

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How to take a day trip from Florence, Italy to Pisa, Italy to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Take a train in the morning and be back in time for lunch!How to take a day trip to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Take a train from Florence to Pisa, Italy and you can explore the whole complex in 3 hours flat!

15 Comments

  1. Chikumo
    June 26, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    I was here earlier this year and you’re making me want to go back! Lovely post

  2. June 26, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    I have always dreamt of going here!! It seems you had a fabulous time there. I need to a holiday ??

  3. July 11, 2017 / 3:15 am

    Such nice architecture!

  4. July 19, 2017 / 11:56 pm

    So many Pisa things! I actually didn’t realize there was anything to see here besides the leaning tower. Good info!

  5. July 19, 2017 / 11:58 pm

    A day trip to Pisa sounds like the best plan! I often hear people say it’s not worth spending several days in the area, but I had no idea it was this accessible from Florence. I honestly had no idea you can enter the tower!

  6. Rosi C.
    July 20, 2017 / 12:10 am

    I did not know it was on a complex. Good to know. Great pics.

  7. July 20, 2017 / 2:08 am

    love your pics! plus I didn´t know there was another thing to do, after you visit the tower!

  8. July 20, 2017 / 2:38 am

    I never realized how close Pisa was to Florence! I love the tip on which am train to take to get photos with little to no people in the background.

  9. July 20, 2017 / 4:53 am

    This is perfect! I keep trying to plan my perfect Italy itinerary for within the next few years, and while I’d love to see Pisa, I definitely envisioned myself staying in Florence or Siena. Bookmarking this for later!

  10. July 20, 2017 / 7:08 am

    Haha holding the leaning tower of pisa is a cliche but a must-do 😀 surprised that you caught it at such an empty time, when I went it was packed with tourists posing with the tower 😂 a fun day trip or half day trip indeed

  11. July 20, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    OMG, this is what I need! I am not planning to go there, yet. But someday I want to explore this city, also to see the Pisa! Thank you for guiding me to see it even if only on one page. <3

  12. July 20, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    Didn’t know about the marble steps inside Pisa! That’s amazing. The Italians are known for their architecture so I’m sure it was amazing to see in person.

  13. July 21, 2017 / 2:26 am

    As I read your post, I’m so bummed! I was in Florence a couple of years ago and really wanted to visit Pisa. I didn’t have much time and didn’t think I could pull it off in one day. Looks like i could have. Wish I had your post at the time 🙂 Great pics by the way!

  14. August 14, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    Great pics of this destination:)

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