During our on-the-road trip from Genoa to Umbria to witness the sensational lentil blossoming in Castelluccio di Norcia, we decided to make a few stops in Tuscany in order to break up the long journey.
The first stop was precisely Pisa, whose visit can take from a few hours to an entire weekend, depending on your interest and the time you have available.
What to see in Pisa in a day with children
Pisa is a city of limited size with an almost flat historic center so it is suitable for a family visit with children and strollers in tow.
❖ Piazza dei Miracoli
Our day in Pisa began precisely from the Piazza dei Miracoli or Piazza Duomo. The term Miracles was attributed by D’Annunzio to the monuments within it because of their beauty and originality.
Piazza Duomo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, is entirely pedestrian friendly and encloses the four most important religious monuments of the city of Pisa namely the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery, the Campo Santo and the Campanile (Leaning Tower).
It is thought that the arrangement of the monuments is not random, although the pattern used is, to this day, the subject of study.
❖ Tower of Pisa (Leaning Tower)
The Tower of Pisa, or Leaning Tower, is the symbol of Pisa and is, arguably, the most famous tower in the world because of its well-known inclination.
However, not everyone knows that the Tower of Pisa is actually the bell tower of the Cathedral. It is a free-standing bell tower 57 meters high, the slope of which is due to the subsidence of the ground underneath, which occurred already in the early stages of its construction.
Following restorations that have settled its slope, the Tower of Pisa has been open to the public but with limited access.
Ticket to climb the Tower of Pisa
It may be helpful to know that access to the Leaning Tower of Pisa is prohibited for children under 8 years old and that the visit takes about 30 minutes. There are 251 steps to climb inside.
The ticket costs €24.60 and you can buy it here, skipping the queue at the ticket office.
❖ Duomo di Pisa
The Duomo di Pisa or Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, is located in the center of the Piazza del Duomo and is a testament to the wealth of the Maritime Republic of Pisa.
Ticket to access the Pisa Cathedral
Access to the Duomo is free of charge but you still need to make an entrance ticket:
☛ if you have purchased a ticket for a visit to any of the other monuments in the Piazza dei Miracoli, keep it because you will be able to access the Duomo directly without any other steps and at the time most convenient for you;
☛ if, on the other hand, you do not have tickets, you will have to go to the ticket office – it can be done exclusively on site – and only then, you will be told the time when you can enter.
Admission to the Baptistery also requires a paid ticket. You can find the different packages here👇
What to do in Pisa in a day with children
After finishing the visit to the Piazza dei Miracoli, one can walk towards the Lungarno crossing the Piazza dei Cavalieri. Here are the headquarters of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and the Palazzo dell’Orologio.
Strolling unhurriedly among the small stores and bars of the Borgo Stretto, in a half-hour you will finally reach the Ponte di Mezzo, over the Arno River.
At this point, take Corso Italia and, after about 6/700 meters, you will reach Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and the mural “TuttoMondo” created in 1989 by contemporary artist Keith Haring, during one of his trips to Pisa. You can find it on the outside wall of the rectory of the Church of St. Anthony Abbot.
What to do in Pisa on a weekend with kids
Having a whole weekend to visit Pisa, one can find many other interesting activities to do with children.
For example, you can take a walk along the Lungarno Gambacorti and get to the Arsenali Medicei where there is the Museo delle Navi Antiche, with perfectly preserved ancient boats. It reminded me a little bit of the Galata Museo del Mare in Genoa.
Also worth a visit are the Botanical Gardens, among the oldest in the world, and the Museum of Natural History, which remains about 12 kilometers from the center of Pisa.
Or, you can take the children above the Walls of Pisa, a walkway of just over 3 kilometers at a height of 11 meters.
What to do in Pisa on a weekend with kids: the Walls of Pisa
The Walls of Pisa were the city wall of the city of the same name. The remaining part is perfectly preserved and was opened to the public in 2018.
Of the original 7 meters in length, 3.10 meters remain, and it is certainly a fun way to observe the city with children from a different perspective.
We had already experienced the bike-friendly walkway on the walls of Lucca and enjoyed it very much.
What to do and see around Pisa
Having a whole weekend in Pisa, one can find many attractions within a short distance for the whole family such as Pinocchio Park in Collodi or the Zoological Garden in Pistoia, as well as art cities such as Lucca, 20 km away.
In warm weather on the coast you can find beautiful beaches with clear water, sheltered behind by pine forest, and equipped family resorts with swimming pool, mini club and animation.
On the other hand, if views and blooms are of interest, Orciano is home to the Pisan hills of Orciano, and fantastic sunflower and lavender fields.
▶ See also What to see in Garfagnana.
Where to park in Pisa
☛ Paid parking spaces
The paid public parking lot on Cameo Solomon Street remains a one-minute walk from the historic center. It is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
☛ Free parking spaces
On Via dei Bersaglieri, about one kilometer from Piazza dei Miracoli, there is a large free parking lot.
Where to sleep in Pisa
Casa San Tommaso – Positioned varly within walking distance of Piazza dei Miracoli, the hotel offers family rooms and a rich breakfast buffet. Possibility of parking – for a fee – near the hotel, within the ZTL zone – Book here.