The jewel in Pisa’s crown is this iconic cylindrical bell tower, which has become world-famous because of its bizarre angle.
As one of the most recognizable buildings in Europe, the Leaning Tower of Pisa attracts visitors from across the globe. It is actually the freestanding, Romanesque campanile (bell tower) of the majestic Duomo in Piazza dei Miracoli. While its architecture and history are fascinating, most people come here just to observe and photograph the curious tilt of this Italian icon.
If you arrive and find long queues, don’t let this deter you because you’ll be surrounded by some of the most stunning architecture in Italy as you wait. Use the time to learn some interesting facts about the campanile from your guidebook or from the short introduction to the tower’s history and style that you can attend at the entrance.
The Leaning Tower sits at an angle of 3.99 degrees. Despite its soft foundations it won’t fall over, so it’s perfectly safe to climb its spiral staircase and admire the panoramic views from the top.
You’ll be asked to store your larger belongings at the entrance, as the staircase is narrow. Ascend the worn marble steps, all 296 of them, to reach the viewing platform on the top floor. Look across the Duomo, the Pisa Baptistry and the green lawns of the piazza. You will have views of the wider historic city center from here, so be sure to keep your camera with you as you hand in your bags.
The tower’s medieval bells can be viewed on the eighth floor. Descend the stairs on the other side to see bizarre statues of animals that adorn its lower floors.
The Leaning Tower balances on the edge of Pisa’s historic city center. It can be reached on foot or bike from there or by bus or car from farther afield. If you are driving, there is secure parking available for a fee on Via Pietrasantina, just a short walk away. The tower is open daily and tickets can be booked online or upon arrival. Purchase a combined ticket for other historic attractions in Pisa to receive a discount on the admission fee.