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3 Days in Pisa: Everything You Should Know

Published by: Bounce28 May, 2022

Make plans to visit Pisa and you're bound to already have the city's main attractions written on your list of things to do. Going to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Pisa Cathedral aren't enough activities to fill your time when you have three days in Pisa though. It probably won't take you more than a couple of hours to get a selfie next to the leaning tower and have an exploratory wander around the Piazza dei Miracoli and the Piazza del Duomo. Then what do you do?

Unless you're going to get out an easel, canvas and paintbrushes and take up residence in the Piazza del Duomo until you've painted a masterpiece of the famous leaning tower, you could find yourself twiddling your thumbs and without a clue as to where to go and what to do next.

While Pisa may not be the flashiest of European cities, it does have its good bits. When you're only there for three days you need to make sure you're not going to end up wandering around a back street where there's nothing more than a neighborhood grocery store with a bunch of salamis strung up in the window. Check out this three-day itinerary for Pisa and not only will you discover some great things to do you might otherwise not have known about, but you'll get some travel tips too.

The first, and quite possibly the best, travel tip in this article is when you need somewhere to store your bags, use a Bounce luggage locker. Bounce luggage storage in Pisa is cheap to hire, conveniently located, and totally safe as all the lockers are individually security tagged and insured. Travel tips don't get better than that, but read on to discover what you can do on day one, two and three when you visit Pisa.

How To Spend Three Days In Pisa 

Pisa Itinerary – Day 1

Morning

While it may be tempting to run straight out of Pisa train station and head directly for the Piazza dei Miracoli and leaning tower, don't. If you want to make it the first thing on your agenda, fine, but there's a much nicer way of starting your first day in Pisa and a much nicer way of seeing the leaning tower too. What makes it even better is you won't have crowds of tourists getting in the way and spoiling your view.

Make the first port of call on your stay in Pisa the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, but not to browse the artifacts, but to have breakfast. On the second floor of the museum you'll find the Pisa Tower Panoramic Cafe and it is exactly as its name describes it. Grab a coffee, hot chocolate and a filled panini then sit by the panoramic window.

You are more than entitled to feel a little bit superior as you stare at the leaning tower over the heads of the crowds below while you enjoy a relaxed breakfast away from the melee. After you've finished breakfast, you'll be able to take a look around one of the best museums in Pisa without even having to go outside.

Afternoon

Once you've seen enough of the religious paraphernalia in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, it'll be time to head for one of the city's other main attractions which is within walking distance. Pisa, the same as every Italian town and city, is full of plazas and squares. The Piazza dei Cavalieri, also known as the Knights Square, is the second largest square in Pisa. You may have seen the Piazza dei Cavalieri mentioned numerous times if you've been reading up about Pisa on the internet and wondered what all the hype was about. You'll probably still be wondering after you've seen it too.

If you're into photography you might be thrilled to get a couple of shots of the stone stairs and the archway of the Palazzo dell'Orologio or even Cosimo I on his pedestal, but that's about it. If you're not into photography, after five minutes you'll be ready to move on. Just be glad you didn't make a special day trip to see it.

Evening

All squares may be squares, but not all squares in Pisa are the same. Leave the Piazza dei Cavalieri behind and take a wander down the Via Ulisse Dini in the direction of the River Arno. Before you reach the river you'll come across a delightful square called the Piazza delle Vettovaglie where there are several bars, restaurants, and cafes. It's a square favored by locals for its atmosphere so time it right and you could arrive at the perfect moment for an Aperol spritz or a Campari and soda on ice.

When you're in the Piazza delle Vettovaglie you won't need to go far to find somewhere good for dinner. Just stroll around the square until you come to the Ristorante Vineria de Piazza, take a table outside under the arches and get ready to tuck into a plate of freshly made pasta. Because the square is popular with the locals, prices for food and drink are very reasonable so you won't be paying through the nose for it. 

Pisa Itinerary – Day 2

Morning

When you're visiting Pisa you might want to start day two on your Pisa itinerary somewhere completely new. That's not the best thing to do. Instead, retrace your steps to the Piazza delle Vettovaglie. When you get there you'll find the square has undergone an overnight metamorphosis and become a bustling marketplace. Have a stroll around the stalls stacked high with local produce, buy some fruit for later in the day, then retire to one of the cafes for a typical Italian breakfast.

For great coffee with a super large donut or a plate of mini bagels try the Bistrot Vettovaglie, or for something a little meatier you can carry out for a picnic later go to Porchetta Sandwich where they stuff paninis with warm roast pork. It's the sort of breakfast visiting Pisa is all about.

Forget leaning towers for a few hours, leave the Piazza delle Vettovaglie behind and follow the Via Notari to the Arno River. Cross over the Mezzo Bridge and take a stroll along the riverside. It won't be a solitary walk as this is quite a built-up urban area with a constant traffic flow. The murky muddy waterway isn't much to look at so a walk along it isn't one of the most romantic things you can do, but the architecture on either side is quite interesting. Walk far enough and you'll eventually arrive at the Palazzo Blu.

The Palazzo Blu is one of the city's art galleries and as well as a permanent collection of works by Italian grandmasters, it hosts more modern temporary exhibitions. The temporary exhibitions vary thematically but could be photographic studies of the ocean or exhibits on a specific theme such as hope represented in various presentations like oils, watercolors, or by digital design. It's well worth checking out what temporary exhibition is on while you're in Pisa as you might discover it's something that interests you and it does, in all honesty, make a change from looking at historic buildings.

Afternoon

After you've left the art gallery, continue walking along the Lungarno Sidney Sonnino until you reach the Solferino Bridge. Just before you get to the bridge you'll be blessed with the sight of the Santa Maria della Spina church which looks as if it's just been dropped into its surroundings out of a fairytale. While the ornate white marble Santa Maria della Spina church can't be compared to the Pisa Duomo and it does look out of place, it makes for a great photo as, if you get the angle right, you can catch the mountains and the Arno River in the background too.

Forget crossing back over the River Arno but instead make the ten minute walk in the opposite direction to the Corsa Italia. If you want to go shopping in Pisa the Corsa Italia is where you need to be. On the Corsa Italia you'll come across lots of big brand name stores like Intimissima, H&M, Victoria's Secret and many, many more. There are great shops tucked away on the many side streets off the Corsa Italia so don't miss out on those. The entire area is definitely worth exploring.

Tip: Look hard enough and you'll find the legacy left by street artist, Keith Haring. It's a huge mural called Tuttomondo on the back wall of a church near the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II which is less than five minutes walk from the Corsa Italia down a side street.

Evening

After exploring Pisa for most of the day, you'll be more than ready for a well-earned siesta followed by a decent dinner to help you recover your energy levels. There are lots of amazing restaurants in Pisa centrale or central Pisa so you won't have to go scouting far to find your dinner. But in case you can't decide, here's a couple of recommendations.

There's nothing better when you're in the Mediterranean than eating outdoors. The Offish – Oficina del Mare on the Via Mercantile has a beautiful rustic patio terrace and serves amazing seafood dishes like gnocchi with lobster or caesar salad with huge shrimps. For a great pizza you can tuck into in a lovely garden setting, it doesn't get any better than II Pizzomane on the Via Provinciale Calcesana. At II Pizzomane they're pizza specialists so be prepared for a mega treat.

Pisa Itinerary – Day 3

Morning

Wake up on day three of your stay in Pisa and knowing that you've pretty much exhausted all the main sites, you start to consider going on a day trip to see Cinque Terre or the surrounding region. If you flew into Galileo Galilei International Airport you might not realize that Pisa has a train station, but it does. 

From Pisa Centrale train station you can catch a train, not to Cinque Terre, but to any of the villages that this famous Italian landmark consists of. The best village to aim for out of the five is Monterosso as the service from Pisa train station is direct — the rest are not and you'll need to change.

While the train journey from Pisa to Monterosso may only take one to two hours, you may decide to leave day trips for when you have more time. Your other option for your third morning in pizza is to take a half-day guided tour to explore Pisa more in-depth.

You may have seen most of this beautiful city, but a guide on a walking tour will impart much more information and you'll get a better insight into the city's history and culture. If you join the right tour, you'll get to try some delicious food and may even do some wine tasting.

Evening

Your last day in Pisa will have slipped away faster than you thought, but after you've done packing ready to leave in the morning, get dressed up for a special night out. The best way to end your three day stay in Pisa is with a visit to the opera whether you're an opera fan or not. It'll be an unforgettable experience that you may well want to repeat the next time you're in Italy.

The Teatro Verdi on the Via Palestro is just about as impressive a venue as you could hope to lose your opera virginity in. If you can afford it, treat yourself to a box and you'll feel like absolute royalty, plus no-one will notice if you fall asleep during the first act. 

Conclusion

Pisa is one of those major cities in Italy that you either love or hate. Would it be world-famous and so touristically popular without its beautiful buildings like the Leaning Tower, the Pisa Duomo, or its ancient walls? Probably not. Is it worth going to see once? The answer to that is definitely yes, but three days for visiting Pisa is quite honestly more than enough.

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