Once a maritime power to rival Genoa and Venice, Pisa now draws its fame from an architectural project gone terribly wrong. But the world-famous Leaning Tower is just one of many noteworthy sights in this compact and compelling city. Education has fuelled the local economy since the 1400s, and students from across Italy still compete for places in its elite university and research schools. This endows the centre of town with a vibrant and affordable cafe and bar scene, and balances what is an enviable portfolio of well-maintained Romanesque buildings, Gothic churches and Renaissance piazzas with a lively street life dominated by locals rather than tourists – a charm you will definitely not discover if you restrict your visit to Piazza dei Miracoli.
Best places to stay in Pisa
Regatta of St Ranieri: tips for watching Pisa's boat race
'Arno / Pisa' by baswallet. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Location: Palazzo Medici, Pisa, Italy Date: 17 June Level of participation: 1 - gasp at the paliotto scramble Venice may be famous for its gondolas, but across the country, Pisa stages this 1500m dash up the River Arno, a tradition dating to the 1290s...
Pisa destination guides
Italy's top attractions: taking the 'trap' out of tourist trap
Across the globe, lucky souls are packing for Italy to explore the famed marvels of ancient Rome, find romance along Venice's teal-blue canals – and well-meaning friends are still trying to talk them out of it. 'You're going where? When? But it's a tourist trap!' they gasp...
Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour
Famous for a wealth of art, history, striking landscapes and outstanding produce, Tuscany really does have the best of all worlds! With only a day to spare, see the best Tuscany has to offer on this full-day guided coach trip from Florence. Meet your local guide before heading for the hills on a scenic drive through the Tuscan countryside.
Best of Italy
La dolce vita - the good life - is exactly what the Best of Italy trip is all about. Starting in the 'Eternal City' of Rome and ending by the canals of Venice, uncover the best of northern Italy.
Should you see or skip Europe's top icons?
Europe is filled with landmarks that need no introduction. Often they’re destination-makers in themselves. At other times, the hassle and cost and crowds leave you wondering if they justify their hype...