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a VirtualTourist member from Sandy City

Pisa

Best things to see and do in Pisa for 3 days

Hi everyone, I'm going to Pisa for 3 days with 2 friends in March and I was wondering if you could tell me the "must-see and must-dos" (other than the obvious) of Pisa. Good cafes, good restaurants (not expensive), sights, markets, activities etc. Your responses are much appreciated!



11 Answers


answered by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Pisa has much more to offer than just the Leaning Tower, but the Campo dei Miracoli is a definite 'must'. I found the Baptistry and Camposanto more impressive than either the Tower or the Duomo, but that's a personal preference.

There are also lots of other interesting historical sights/sites to explore, including two more 'leaning towers' and the remains of Roman baths:

[original VT link]

You'll get brilliant gelato (ice-cream) from the La Bottega Del Gelato on Piazza Garibaldi and La Borsa:

[original VT link]

always seemed to be busy with students and young people. in fact, Pisa is full of students so has a very 'buzzy' nightlife. You'll find plenty of bars and cafes and clubs to enjoy (I'm not into that sort of thing, sorry).




answered by
Mary Smith from Leicester

O..and if you haven't been, using one of your days for a trip to Florence would be a good idea. It takes just over an hour by train. Train times, details and fares in English:

trenitalia.com/homepage_en.h...

You'll find the excellent San Lorenzo market there:

[original VT link]

but it's a bit too tourist-aimed for my taste. Better to find the 'ordinary' Sant'Ambrogio market:

[original VT link]

Then there's the Duomo, the Baptistry, the campanile, the Ponte Vecchio,...the Uffizi and Accademia museums (best to buy tickets online in advance if you don't want to waste time queueing)..the Pitti Palace and its gardens..more ancient churches full of artworks than you can shake a stick at....

Or you could make a daytrip to lovely walled Lucca, an even shorter train journey from Pisa. Not sure about markets but plenty of independent shops to explore and a vast amount of history, including the wonderful and (I think) unique anfiteatro....a Roman amphitheatre which has been converted over the centuries into a circular 'square':

[original VT link]

Loads of options.... three days isn't enough! :-)




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Richardson

Nice answer - leics has spent more time than me in Pisa, so I didn't get around much, but I did like going up in the Tower and looking far to the east where you could see scars on the face of the mountains - these are the quarries where the marble for the buildings in the area came from...

Oh, the name of the main location is a bit of confusion. The original name of this open area (with the Tower, the Duomo, the Baptistery, etc.) is "Piazza del Duomo", or Duomo Square (a "duomo" is a step up from a cattedrale, or cathedral). However, the buildings started being referred to as "miracles" (esp by Gabriele d'Annunzio), so in the middle of the 20th century, people started using the phrase "Piazza dei Miracoli" (the Square of the Miracles) to refer to the same piazza.

That was all well and good, until people confused this with the phrase found in the original version of Pinocchio (which was in Italian, you know) where the fox and the cat take Pinocchio to the "Campo dei Miracoli" (Field of Miracles), where they claim that Pinocchio's coins can be grown into a money tree.

Indeed, this confusion is very widespread, and you will see hundreds of references on the Internet to "Campo dei Miracoli" (including some from me before I learned the story) in reference to Pisa. The confusion is so common that if you go to the mapping website www.viamchelin.com and enter "Campo dei Miracoli, Pisa, Italy", you'll be automatically directed to the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, under the Piazza's name. Ditto with Wikipedia (both English and Italian), where searching on "Campo dei Miracoli" will take you to a different article (in English, it'll take you to the Pinocchio article and in Italian, it'll take you to the "Piazza dei Miracoli" article.

All of this is to say that you may be puzzled by how this doesn't seem to be the right name of that Square, yet everyone seems to use it...it's one of those things like "Play it again, Sam" in the movie Casablanca - no one ever actually said that line in the movie, but the line is so widely known that everyone assumes that it was in the script... ;-)

Bill




answered by
Mary Smith from Leicester

And you'll see signs in Pisa for both the Campo dei Miracoli (they're pretty proud of Pinocchio..you'll see a lot of wooden models of him in shops) and for the Piazza del Duomo and the Torre Pendante. So there you go... You won't have any problem finding it, anyway! :-)




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Liverpool

Yes it is busy with Uni students, around some very fine buildings and squares. It's easy to sepend a day just walking around Pisa, and along the riverbank. Lots of nice shops too. The Duomo is an extraordinary building to match it's leaning neighbour, well worth a look inside. There is also a fine historic opera house.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Richardson

"And you'll see signs in Pisa for both the Campo dei Miracoli "...that's pretty funny...a classic case of "if you can't beat, join 'em" ;-)

Bill




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Sacramento

A couple nice museums if you like those. Behind the famous Leaning Tower is the Duomo Museum and not only is it a very nice museum, there are fabulous views of the adjacent Leaning Tower. They also have an amazing collection of illuminated Gregorian chant. Here are some photos: [original VT link]

On the opposite side of the piazza is the Museo delle Sinopie that contains the drawings used for the frescoes in the Campo Santo. We found it fascinating because it showed thought processes, always interesting . . .

If you want to take a day trip, Lucca would probably be more logical since it's smaller and you can see most of it in one day, and it's a shorter trip by train from Pisa. Just a thought.

Type both Lucca and Florence into the VT Search Window above and see what other VT members have on their Travel Pages. There will be photos, reviews, things to do, restaurants and external web links. I much prefer Florence but there is so much to do in Florence that it might be frustrating trying decide what to skip. More fun to save it for a future trip when you can spend more time.

Enjoy Pisa. It's really lovely and much more than the Leaning Tower . . . which is fun. ;^)




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Sydney

Hi- if you enter PISA into destination box (top right of page) and click GO all the top Pisa pages will appear, Read a few, scroll down pages for tips.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Sydney

A day trip to Florence is an excellent idea




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Sandy City

Thank you so much for your detailed response!




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Sandy City

Thanks so much for your answer!





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