05 Mar 2015

One of the most underrated cities in Tuscany, and yet, gorgeous.

Beautiful Pisa

[Banner photo by GabrieleIradio].

Pisa is one of the most underrated cities in Tuscany. That’s what I believe. I am not from Pisa, although I have lived here for more than 20 years now. I have seen the city change (for better and for worse) and I have learnt to love it.

Pisa is not an “easy” city. It’s not one of those cities that win you over the moment you step out of the train station. You need to walk through the center to truly discover its beauty (possibly towards the Leaning Tower and not the other way around). You need to spend a day or two here at least and experience life in the city. It’s a vibrant university city, with plenty of locales, museums, a great theatre, and fabulous restaurants.

Pisa has many secrets: hidden gardens, small alleys, tucked away squares, pretty churches.

Pisa has many faces: it’s an extremely multiethnic city, and the number of ethnic restaurants and shops prove it.

Pisa has many colors: those that tinge the Leaning Tower on special occasions (St. Patrick’s Day, La Luminara, etc), and those of the many works of arts exhibited every year at Palazzo Blu (Modigliani is the latest, Toulouse Lautrec is next!)

Pisa is a fabulous transportation hub: no need to hire a car if you want to visit the major cities in Tuscany, and Northern Tuscany in general.

I would like to share here the most recent promotional video of the city. It’s really nice and finally does the city some justice.

If you plan on visiting the city, please check our vacation rental apartment, Behind the Tower.


  1. I visited Pisa early January 2010 and was surprised to see so many people at Piazza dei Miracoli while it was a chilly winter day. I imagine it is busy all year round?

    I only was there for an afternoon so much too short. Have to go back and see more of the city.

    • Well, it was quiet… you should see how busy it gets in the summer! LOL

  2. Hi! love the site! Visiting with my wife, 2 young children and parents at end of May. Staying 5 nights using Pisa as a base. Any recommendations for cheap local family restaurants? No need for anything flash, just friendly and tasty will be fine. We’ll love walks off the beaten path in Pisa too. Ciao!

    • Osteria dei Santi, Vineria di Piazza, Di qua d’Arno: all good inexpensive choices.

      • Great thanks a lot we’re really looking forward to it and will make sure we take a walk all over the city

      • Great thanks a lot!

  3. I plan to visit Pisa this year during Luminara and I’m curious: is it very difficult to find some parking place then?

    I think, it’s the first time I’m writing on your blog, so I’d like to thank you wholeheartly for it. It helped me immensely when I was preparing our first visit in Tuscany two years ago. Thank you <3

    • Yes it is if you come later in the afternoon. If you come in the morning not so much. However, there are two large park and ride parking lots in Pisa, and on the day of the Luminara there are usually free shuttle buses taking people back and forth.

  4. Brenda Morgan

    Hello! I will be going to Europe for the first time in May. We will be flying into Pisa from Paris on May 20th which is a Wednesday. From there we had planned on taking a train to Santa Margherita Ligure station to get to Portofino bc we have reservations to stay in Portofino 5/20-5/22. However I decided that instead of going straight to Portofino I would like to hang out in Pisa first and visit the leaning tower and also take a wine tour through Tuscany. Can you recommend any affordable wine tours that depart out of Pisa? I would like to only do a half day tour so I will have enough time to take a train later that evening to Santa Margherita Ligure. I have been looking everywhere online for one and I can’t find one a Wednesday. The only ones I found are on Thursdays! Any help you could give us would be great! I would really love to visit Tuscany because from Portofino we fly to Rome before heading back to the US and so this day will be my only option to be able to take a Tuscan tour! Thanks!!

    • Sorry, I have only just seen this. I don’t think there are tours leaving from the city. Arianna and friends organises custom ones. Pisa is not really famous for wine… 🙂

  5. Sabrina Camilleri

    Hi. I will be going to Pisa in three weeks time. Can you tell me more about the Luminaria. What is there to see. And I need to travel from Pisa to Florence. At what time should I leave Pisa if I want to arrive at around 10am in Florence. . Thanks alot for your blog, it helped me alot.

    • It’s a lovely street festival, with music, crowds, fireworks etc. There is a post on the blog with lots of photos if you search.

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