Piazza dei Miracoli
Pisans claim that Campo dei Miracoli is among the most beautiful urban spaces in the world. Certainly, the immaculate walled lawns...
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo
A repository for works of art once displayed in the cathedral and baptistry, highlights include Giovanni Pisano's ivory carving of the...
Pisa's cathedral was paid for with spoils brought home after Pisans attacked an Arab fleet entering Palermo in 1063. Begun a year later,...
Trattoria La Buca
A favourite with both Pisans and visitors alike, this Tuscan trattoria is conveniently positioned near the Piazza dei Miracoli. The...
Lonely Planet review
Yes, it's true: the Leaning Tower leans. Construction started in 1173 but stopped a decade later when the structure's first three tiers started tilting. In 1272 work started again, with artisans and masons attempting to bolster the foundations but failing miserably. Despite this, they kept going, compensating for the lean by gradually building straight up from the lower storeys.
Over the centuries, the tower has tilted an extra 1mm each year. By 1993 it was 4.47m out of plumb, more than five degrees from the vertical. The most recent solution saw steel braces slung around the third storey that were then joined to steel cables attached to neighbouring buildings. This held the tower in place as engineers began gingerly removing soil from below the northern foundations. After some 70 tonnes of earth had been extracted from the northern side, the tower sank to its 18th-century level and, in the process, rectified the lean by 43.8cm. Experts believe that this will guarantee the tower's future for the next three centuries.
Access to the Leaning Tower is limited to 40 people at one time – children under eight are not allowed in/up and those aged eight to 12 years must hold an adult's hand. To avoid disappointment, book in advance online or go straight to a ticket office when you arrive in Pisa to book a slot for later in the day. Visits last 30 minutes and involve a steep climb up 300-odd occasionally slippery steps. All bags, handbags included, must be deposited at the free left-luggage desk next to the central ticket office – cameras are about the only thing you can take up.