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Holiday in Pisa

A holiday in Pisa is like stepping into the city's past. Once a powerful maritime republic, it played a very important commercial role in the Middle Ages.

According to legend, Pisa was founded by Greek refugees from Troy, a city which was once located in the Alfeo River valley near Peloponnesia. With its glorious complex past, this Tuscan city offers visitors its brightly lit lungarni (roads on the river bank), noble Renaissance buildings, a web of narrow medieval streets and the green Piazza dei Miracoli, declared a World Heritage site, hosting four of Pisa's Romanesque masterpieces: the cathedral, the baptistry, the Leaning Tower which acts as a bell tower for the church, and the Camposanto Monumentale. It's a city to enjoy during a relaxing cultural weekend, thanks to the numerous holiday promotions for Pisa.

Discovering the city's marvels is easy. Strolling through its streets and squares, you can uncover the secrets and myths that have made it famous. A simple itinerary suitable for everyone would start from the Piazza del Duomo, better known as the Piazza dei Miracoli. The heart of the city, for nearly one thousand years this square has been home to its four architectural miracles, one more beautiful than the next. The Duomo's cornerstone was laid in 1064. Shortly thereafter the Baptistry was erected, followed by the bell tower (the famous Leaning Tower) and finally the Camposanto Monumentale in the late 1200s. Without a doubt, just a glimpse of this square is worth the journey to visit the city. Inside of these architectonic marvels are works of great artistic value. Having passed through the Duomo's bronze doors, you'll be met by the marble pulpit created by Giovanni Pisano and stalls by Andrea del Sarto, Sogliani, Sodoma, Cimabue and Giambologna. Close to the Baptistry you can visit the Sinopie Museum and the Museo dell'Opera, displaying the Duomo's Treasure, precious works of art, sacred furnishings and archaeological findings.

Continuing on from Porta San Zeno, you'll come across the Church of San Zeno with an evocative tufa stone façade and tripartite floor plan. Nearby, on Piazza Santa Caterina stands the Church of Santa Caterina, while heading towards the Arno, you'll find the Church of San Francesco with a Gothic cuspidal bell tower. A stone's throw from here is the San Matteo National Museum, exhibiting sculptures from the Pisa school, local and Islamic medieval ceramics and paintings by the most important Tuscan masters from the 1200s-1500s. Another important destination close to the museum is Taverna di Pillo, where you can try some of Pisa's traditional dishes prepared with organic ingredients. After a delicious healthy meal, you can head to Piazza dei Cavalieri, the city's true historic centre and, until the 1500s, the headquarters of the order of the Knights of Saint Stephen who fought against the Saracens. Also known as the "Square of the Seven Streets", it is home to the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, with a bell tower on its right, the Palazzo dei Cavalieri and the Palazzo dell'Orologio, in whose tower Count Ugolino starved to death.

In the western part of the city lies the Citadel, better known as Fortezza Vecchia (the Old Fortress), which looms over you from the Guelfa Tower. Crossing the Citadel's modern bridge, you'll walk along the left bank of the Arno River and through the lively crowded residential neighbourhoods, all with a heavy 19th-century influence. Keep walking and you'll reach the Church of San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, which was destroyed by the heavy bombings during WWII. Just past Solferino Bridge stands the Church of Santa Maria della Spina, a gem of Romanesque-Gothic architecture. You can continue your walk along Lungarno Gambacorti, with its peculiar tower-homes, arch vaults and homes of ancient nobles, such as Palazzo Gambacorti, built in the 1300s.

Of course a visit to Pisa should also please the palate. One of the city's historic cafés is Caffè dell'Ussero inside the 15th-century Palazzo Agostini. In the 19th century the café was also known as Caffè delle Stanze for its connection to the upper floor's Stanze Civiche, venue of the first Italian Scientists' Congress in 1839. Its walls are covered with memorabilia featuring its illustrious guests. If you're in the historic centre, stop in at Osteria La Grotta, where you can enjoy a fine assortment of traditional and innovative dishes. If this preview of the city has piqued your curiosity, start planning your visit by taking advantage of the many last-minute holiday promotions for Pisa.


Guide to Exploring Pisa


Top Hotel Deals

See all 826 Hotels in Pisa
NH Pisa £68
NH Pisa

NH Pisa

Piazza Stazione 2, Pisa
     
    4.0
    of 5, from 1,000 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Mediterranean Institute of Linguistics Pisa and Pisa Royal Palace. National Museum of San Matteo and Knight's Square are also within 1 mile (2 km).

    Grand Hotel Bonanno £55
    Grand Hotel Bonanno

    Grand Hotel Bonanno

    Via Carlo Francesco Gabba, 17, Pisa
       
      4.0
      of 5, from 1,792 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Museum of Mathematical Instruments, Pisa Royal Palace and Cathedral of Pisa. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and Piazza dei Miracoli are also within 1 mile (2 km).

      Hotel Relais Dell Orologio £79
      Hotel Relais Dell Orologio

      Hotel Relais Dell Orologio

      Via Uguccione della Faggiola 12-14, Pisa
         
        3.8
        of 5, from 570 reviews
        5.0 out of 5.0

        Located in Pisa City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps away from Church of St. Sisto and Knight's Square. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and Piazza dei Miracoli are also within 10 minutes.

        Hotel Bologna £77
        Hotel Bologna

        Hotel Bologna

        Via Mazzini 57, Pisa
           
          4.3
          of 5, from 1,352 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Palazzo Blu and Pisa Royal Palace. Knight's Square and National Museum of San Matteo are also within 15 minutes.

          Relais Dei Fiori £43
          Relais Dei Fiori

          Relais Dei Fiori

          Via Carducci Giosue' 35 37, Pisa
             
            3.8
            of 5, from 514 reviews
            0.0 out of 5.0

            Located in Pisa City Centre, this bed & breakfast is within a 5-minute walk of Church of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria and Knight's Square. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and Piazza dei Miracoli are also within 10 minutes.

            Royal Victoria Hotel £44
            Royal Victoria Hotel

            Royal Victoria Hotel

            Lungarno Pacinotti 12, Pisa
               
              3.8
              of 5, from 1,466 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Palazzo Agostini, Pisa Royal Palace and Knight's Square. National Museum of San Matteo and Museo dell'Opera del Duomo are also within 15 minutes.

              Hotel San Ranieri £61
              Hotel San Ranieri

              Hotel San Ranieri

              Via Filippo Mazzei, 2, Pisa
                 
                4.3
                of 5, from 1,118 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                This family-friendly Pisa hotel is located near the airport, within 3 mi (5 km) of Congress Palace, National Museum of San Matteo and Giardino Scotto. Medici Palace and Museo della Grafica are also within 3 mi (5 km).

                Grand Hotel Duomo £77
                Grand Hotel Duomo

                Grand Hotel Duomo

                Via Santa Maria 94, Pisa
                   
                  3.6
                  of 5, from 1,020 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in Pisa City Centre, this hotel is steps away from University Hospital of Santa Chiara and Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. Piazza dei Miracoli and Knight's Square are also within 5 minutes.

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