Pisa in a day at a glance
- Duration: 3 hours
- Type: private tour (just your family/friends and your guide)
- Payment: pay a deposit now, pay the remaining balance the day of the tour
- Other expenses: admission to the Baptistery, Camposanto, and Museo Delle Sinopie € 8.00/person
- Schedule: every day
- Tour overview
- Pick-up and Drop-off info
- Things to bring (and not to)
- What’s included (and what’s not)
- Important information
Pisa in a day is a comprehensive tour that will show you all the main attractions of the city in few hours, giving you all the needed info about the history of Pisa. It’s perfect for newcomers, to optimize your time in the city of the Leaning Tower.
After meeting your expert local guide in Piazza Daniele Manin, you will enter the historical center through the Porta Nuova. The defensive wall was erected in 1155 when Pisa was a rich and flourishing Republic trading with countries all across the Mediterranean Sea.
Right on the other side is the main attraction of the city. Piazza del Duomo, better known as Piazza Dei Miracoli (Miracle square), because one of the monumental buildings still miraculously stands after eight centuries, despite a planning mistake that made it famous worldwide: The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
You will contemplate the beauty of the Tower and the buildings around while your guide explains the history of Pisa and the details of the construction of the Tower and the Duomo complex. The Duomo construction was started in 1063 and the monument is considered a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, is your next target. The visit inside will reveal how the church is five-naved. Among the works inside, the mosaic of the apse, where the face of St John the Baptist is the only documented work by Cimabue (1302), and the finely decorated pulpit by Giovanni Pisano (1302-10).
Next is a visit of the Baptistery, started in 1152 but completed only in 1363, showing the transition from Romanesque to Gothic. Even though, from outside, the monument is covered by a dome, inside you will notice how the roof is pyramidal. This combination creates a perfect acoustic chamber. The interior lacks decoration, apart for the pulpit by Nicola Pisano (1260), father of Giovanni that executed the pulpit of the Duomo. The bas-relief decorations show how Nicola Pisano was a precursor of the Italian Renaissance.
You will now head into the Camposanto Monumentale (monumental cemetery). According to the legend, the Archbishop of Pisa Ubaldo Lanfranchi, back from the Holy Land after the Crusades, carried a shipload of soil from Golgotha. Around this holy soil, the Republic of Pisa started the construction of the monumental cemetery in 1278. The Camposanto preserves many ancient sarcophagi and once was decorated by frescoes by various famous artists. After being severely damaged by fire in consequence of a bomb during World War II, the frescoes were detached and restored. Some of them are back in their original location. The preparatory drawings for the Camposanto frescoes, detached from the walls, are now hosted in the Museo Delle Sinopie. You will visit the museum, and your expert guide will explain you all the details of the fresco technique.
Walking South, you will reach Piazza Dei Cavalieri (Knight’s Square). The ancient political center of Pisa was renovated after the city fell under the influence of Florence. It was Giorgio Vasari, the architect of Cosimo de Medici, to transform the square. He designed the church of Santo Stefano Dei Cavalieri, the only Renaissance church you can see in Pisa, and renovated the Palazzo Della Carovana to become the seat of the Knights of St Stephen. You will admire the graffiti decoration and notice the statue of Cosimo de Medici and the busts of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, learning that today the palace is the seat of one of the most selective and important educational institutions in Italy: the Scuola Normale Superiore, founded in 1810 by Napoleon on the model of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. The tour ends here, in Piazza Dei Cavalieri.
Pisa in a day itinerary
This tour has a duration of three hours. Here is an approximate timetable of the tour:
- START – Piazza Daniele Manin
- 00H:10M – The Leaning Tower
- 00H:40M – Duomo
- 01H:10M – Baptistery
- 01H:30M – Camposanto
- 02H:10M – Museo Delle Sinopie
- 02H:40M – Piazza Dei Cavalieri
- 03H:00M – End of tour
Pick-up and Drop-off
Meeting point: Piazza Daniele Manin 10, in front of the BNL Bank.
Hotel pick-up: available for selected hotels, you must contact the guide after booking the tour
Drop-off: Piazza Dei Cavalieri, Pisa.
Things to bring (and not to)
You will have to pay the price of museum tickets. Your guide will assist you and you will pay at the museum ticket office directly, by cash or credit card. After booking, you can directly contact your guide for more information.
Having a camera with you is your choice. Someone prefers to immerse in beauty not being distracted by taking pictures/making videos, someone else prefers to build printable memories of his trip. It’s really up to you. Inside the museums included in this tour, pictures and videos are allowed, but the use of a flash or selfie-sticks is prohibited.
Entrance to the Duomo and any other religious place is subject to restrictions: your clothing must be appropriate and cover your shoulders and knees.
What’s included in the price (and what is not)
- 3-hour private tour with an expert licensed tour guide of Pisa
- hotel pick-up (on request and free of charge: available only for hotels in central Pisa)
- admission tickets to Baptistery, Camposanto and Museo Delle Sinopie (€ 8/person)
- any other personal expense
Here are some important things to know in order to ensure you have the best possible experience with your “Pisa in a day” tour:
- the itinerary is indicative and can be changed in case some monument is inaccessible for restoration; furthermore, the itinerary can be changed if hotel pick-up is requested, based on the location of your hotel; the order of the attractions can be changed to better suit the different starting point;
- on Sunday morning and during any religious event the Duomo is closed. The church reserves the right to change the opening schedule at any time. If the Duomo is closed, the guide will provide a detailed description from outside.