Pisa might be a city which boasts relics and architecture that are hundreds of years old, but this city is still the perfect holiday destination in 2019 / 2020 and 2019 / 2020. The excellent food, world-renowned attractions and nearby coastal beaches all combine to make for the ideal holiday destination this year. Situated in the sought-after region of Tuscany, this surprisingly compact city has a long and varied history, and has been greatly influenced by its marine locality. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is, without question, the most famous attraction in the city but there's much more to discover besides. The nearby beaches are stunning and can easily be visited for a day trip, and there are many child-friendly attractions which makes travelling with the little ones a breeze. Finish off your day with some excellent food and a cocktail by the river and you're in for a simply amazing city break in Pisa.
Central Pisa is divided into four main quarters which several attractions located in each. The most famous of which is the Leaning Tower. This accidentally leaning tower is the most iconic attraction in this delightful Tuscan town. The structure was initially the bell tower for the adjoining cathedral but has since become synonymous with the city in its own right. Recent conservation has ensured that the tower is not stable – since the reason for its tilted appearance was due to dangerous subsidence. The tower is located next to Duomo di Pisa which is home to famous creations by artists such as Giambologna and Della Robbia. Entry to the cathedral is free and tickets are available from the front office. One one Pisa's principle squares is Piazza dei Cavalieri. This stunning plaza is home to many famous buildings such as Palazzo dell'Orologio and Chiesa di Santo Stefano. There is much more on offer in Pisa than architectural wonders. The university’s botanical gardens, the first in the world, can be visited for a few euros and were created from money left by Cosimo de Medici in his will.
Italy is known for its incredible array of delicious dishes and Pisa is no exception to this. As with many large cities, it is advised not to eat near the major attractions. If you walk away from the Leaning Tower for about five to ten minutes in the direction of Piazza dei Miracoli you'll stumble across an array of superb and reasonably prices restaurants. You'll find all the staple Italian foods while you're on holiday in Pisa as well as some unexpected delights. As well as pizza and pasta, the region is famed for its selection of succulent meats. Wild boar with olives is a popular choice and lamb fricassee will feature on many menus in Pisa. Many people overlook the excellent range of desserts served here but you should sample some chocolate cake or tiramisu. Fish is another popular choice, and we suggest sampling the dried cod. As you might expect, the choice of restaurants in Pisa is simply overwhelming but here are a few favourites that are worth checking out on your trip to Pisa: Osteria dei Cavalieri, Osteria di Culegna and La Reginella.
While you might not consider a holiday in Pisa a particularly child-friendly destination, there is, in fact, a range of things to do to keep the little ones entertained. Exploring the Old Town walls in an excellent activity if you're children aren't too young. They'll get a sense of history as they clamber over the structures – they can even scale the medieval tower. It's free and smaller than the Leaning Tower, making it a worthy alternative and the views from the top are just as satisfactory. If you don't want to walk too much with the little ones then a boat trip along the Arno River is a great alternative way to see the city and keeping all the family in one place. Heading to the beach is also a must when travelling with children. The location of Pisa means that you can combine a wonderful holiday to this historic city with a day or two at the beach with no problems.
Action & Adventure
If you want to escape the sedate charms of Pisa then head out of town and explore the wider Tuscan vicinity. The National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines is the perfect destination for those who enjoy hiking. The countryside here is stunning and can be explored for hours at your leisure. Other notable national parks in the area are The National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the National Park of the Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna. If you want to get a little hands-on with this country's obsession with wine, then there are plenty of wine tours where you can see how it is produced and also participate in making some yourself.
While people tend to think of a holiday in Pisa as being a city-based attraction. However, Tuscany is home to some of the best beaches you'll find in Italy. To the north of the region is the Riviera Apuana and Lunigiana. The coast here is lined with ancient castles and fortifications, and there's plenty of walking opportunities in the lush vegetation which surrounds the golden sands and blue waters. If you're seeking out that classic long stretch of stunning Mediterranean coastline then head to Versilia. With almost 300 sunny days a year, and moderate temperatures all year round, it's no surprise that this part of Tuscany if popular with the region's elite. If you want to stay a little closer to the city then you can reach the beaches and coves just west of Pisa in well under an hour. The beaches here have a rustic charm and are surrounded by pine forests. Despite the strong underwater currents, there are many beaches which have been equipped with rocky barriers to make the waters safe for swimming.
In the warmer months, which are plentiful in Italy, people flock to the many riverside cafes and bars. There's a huge choice, and the views at sunset are not to be missed. In cooler times, people retreat to the quaint pub-style venues in the town centre to relax with an inky red wine over a cheeseboard and fresh bread. Despite wine being the drink of choice for many, cocktails have taken off in recent years. Bazeel Pisa and Tre Forchette are two excellent venues, both serving delicious cocktails at reasonable prices. If you like organic beer then head over to Orzobruno. This place is well-known for its artisan brews and home-grown food and is great for a group gathering. If you're after something a little more traditional while on holiday in Pisa, then Pisa Caffè dell'Ussero is perfect. The opulent architecture and mementoes of the past provide the perfect setting to relax with a glass of Italian's finest. If you like a traditional pub with an Italian twist check out Millibar Pub Pisa. It's a popular place to meet students and tourists, and they also show sports on the big screen.
Pisa is truly an excellent destination for couples. Its eternally romantic feel, world-class restaurants and sophisticated bar culture make it a top destination to spend some time with that special someone. Many of the attractions in Pisa date back to the Renaissance and therefore have an inherently romantic feel about them. If you want a little pampering then there are several spas which offer a range of treatments from the traditional massage to East and West baths set at different temperatures. Casciana Terme and San Giuliano Terme are two centrally locates spas where you'll receive excellent treatment in sumptuous surroundings. Food is a pillar of Italian dating and many of the restaurants offer a vibe which is well suited to a couple away on holiday in Pisa. Il Bistrot, Osteria del Violino and Hostaria Le Repubbliche Marinare are just three dining establishments which have the ideal ambience for those seeking a romantic meal. After dinner take a walk along the banks of the river and you can stop for a post-meal glass of wine at one of the many waterside bars.
This city is full of artistic masterpieces and is a culture lover's paradise. In many ways, the best of a holiday in Pisa can be experienced simply by wandering the city's streets and taking in the opulent architecture. All the major attractions, including the Leaning Tower and Piazza dei Cavalieri, are of great cultural significance. But if you want to experience a little of the local flavour, then festivals such as Luminara and Gioco del Ponte simply cannot be missed.