The great thing about Pisa is you can hit the highlights and check it off the list in about 24 hours, in this post we are going to do just that. Pisa is a wonderful city, with quite a bit to offer, however on our most recent visit it was almost falling short of our itinerary list because we had every day packed with adventures in the Tuscan region of Italy. The compromise was to fly into Pisa and give it a day before we hit the road to Florence – approximately two hours drive. After having stopped through again, I am pleased to arm you with the knowledge to conquer this glorious city in a day and keep running wherever the winds may take you.
Let’s start with the obvious – you need to see the tower! Any trip to Pisa of any duration is going to require a stop through at the iconic leaning tower of Pisa. Tip number one for this visit – reserve ahead! If you would like to climb the tower, and we suggest that you do, tickets typically book out a day in advance, for this reason, beat the crowds and book online when you are en route the day before. You can book those tickets here: www.leaningtowerpisatickets.com.
When you arrive we suggest that you plan to spend the majority of the afternoon enjoying the bell tower and its historical surroundings. Before we visited we had no idea that just along side the tower is an incredible cathedral – Duomo di Pisa. You will have a ticket option to visit the church and the Baptistry of San Giovanni, neither to be missed. And don't forget about Porto Nuova, the old medieval city walls and gate that were built in 1155 surrounding the tower and the Duomo. This is also a wonderful area to kick back and we suggest that you bring wine and cheese and allow for some time in the beautiful lawns surrounding the tower; lunch outside would be the perfect break in the afternoon between the sites. Before you leave be sure to visit the museum, worth a quick stop, then head back to your hotel to enjoy the rest of the day.
Wondering where to stay? We have the perfect place, even for one night's stay. In 1743 the Duke of Tuscany, Francis Stephen of Lorraine, built a delightful summer palace that has since been converted into a resort - Bagni di Pisa.
Bagni di Pisa is the perfect post-tower resort to hang the hat. Located about twenty minutes from Pisa's city center, just enough distance to get a little peace and quiet. Take some time to really explore this perfect place. Visit the spa, relax and walk the grounds, and take note that every room in the hotel is like a new discovery. From the intricately styled dining rooms to the cigar lounge dripping in velvet, there is plenty to see and enjoy during your stay at Bagni di Pisa.
Bagni di Pisa's spa is a major part of the palace as its founders believed in "Salus per Aquam" which means healing through water; the spa was built on the ancient Levante Hot Springs and is dedicated to the healing properties of the thermal waters.
The hotel and spa are full of history, bright colors, and traditional Italian furnishings and we loved strolling the halls of the palace and imagining the centuries of history that surround Bagni di Pisa. We hit the spa to cap things off and set out to explore the surrounding area for dinner.
One of the most memorable experiences of all our travels in Italy is the small wine and cheese bar that we discovered in Pisa. An incredible find and a secret that we want to share with you for your own visit - Al Fosso del Mulino. On a rainy night in the outskirts of Pisa we set out from the palace with umbrellas and a spark for discovery – wow did it pay off.
Al Fosso del Mulino is easy to miss, hidden around one of the corners in this small outlying town. Our Italian was lacking but we were able to communicate with the proprietor enough to get the idea across to bring on the wine and cheese! We asked him to bring on his top offerings. He brought out one bottle after another and offered us a glass of each.
Sipping one local wine after another we watched as the owner began to remove one meat and cheese at a time from his pantry, slicing each by hand and artfully putting together one of the best cheese and charcuterie boards we have ever had. Spectacular experience, and he keeps it going late so you can cure the jet-lag with an extra glass or two of wine. Can’t think of a better way to spend 24 hours before hitting the road to Florence, Cinque Terre, or the like!