One Hour in Pisa
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Everyone’s heard of it: The Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s iconic! It’s so famous it draws millions of tourists every year. Unfortunately, with the number of people that flock to the site on a daily basis, it has become quite the tourist trap! Souvenir kiosks are everywhere surrounding the site and be prepared to turn down half a dozen men trying to sell you selfie sticks.
Before You Go:
Given the amount of people that visit daily, getting a ticket to climb the tower may not be easy. In order to optimize your time, purchase a ticket online ahead of time! It will reserve your spot so you can skip the line and head straight up the tower. You should allow 30-40 minutes to ascend, explore and descend the tower. Kiddos under 8 are not allowed up and those between 8 and 18 must have an adult with them so remember this when planning your time! You can get your tickets HERE!
How to Find it:
Pisa is in a city all its’ own but it is conveniently situated between Cinque Terre, Rome and Florence. This makes it a great place to stop for an hour during a day trip or on your way from one city to the next! You can hop off the train, trek to the site, take your cheesy pictures and move along! There are two stations in Pisa: Pisa Central and Pisa S. Rossore. Pisa S. Rossore is a significantly smaller station that only regional trains will stop at so check your tickets to make sure! The leaning tower is a 10-15 minute walk from S. Rossore and a 15-20 minute walk from Pisa Central.
If you’re traveling between cities and have tons of luggage with you, I recommend stopping at Pisa Central. You can check your luggage into lockers and lighten your load for a little while. If you are traveling light or taking a day trip, try to stop at Pisa S. Rossore. There is nowhere to check luggage at this station, it’s very small!
Directions from Pisa Central:
Head out of the north entrance of the station and turn down Largo Padri della Costituzione. When you reach Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, turn left to keep following Largo Padri della Costituzione. This road will take you all the way down to the water. Cross the bridge and turn right on to Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti. After a few blocks, take a left on to Via Santa Maria. You will follow this road the rest of the way to the leaning tower!
Directions from Pisa S. Rossore:
As you exit the station head left onto Via Andrea Pisano. When you come to a fork, veer right to stay on Via Andrea Pisano. You will follow this road almost the entire way to the leaning tower. Once you spot crowds and kiosks, you can veer as the entrance will take you to the Duomo side.
Pisa is a hot spot for pick pockets so it’s very important to keep a close eye on your belongings! There will be large crowds and people with no sense of personal space. My husband and I travel backpack only and kept our backpacks on our fronts or wedged between us. It looked a little ridiculous, I’m sure, but we didn’t lose anything!
Once You Arrive
If you aim to be there early in the morning (which I highly recommend), get your photos with the tower first before climbing it. The number of people who arrived after us was exponential and by the time we left it would have been hard to get a decent photo without people in it! If you choose to go later in the day, most tours have finished up by 5 but make sure you leave enough time before closing if you want to go in any of the buildings.
If you wish to visit the gorgeous dome cathedral, your ticket to the tower will get you in for free! If you choose not to climb the tower, you can still obtain a free ticket at the ticket office but there is a limited number of tickets given per hour so you may find yourself with a bit of a wait.
There is no doubt that the leaning tower will be busy any time of day or year you go. You will face pushy souvenir sellers and crowds of people speaking every language in the world. But, you’ll also get to see an absolutely iconic piece of history and an architectural wonder!
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