Week-end trip to Italy 3/3 - Taking it slow in Pisa

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Lisa & Pol
by Lisa & Pol
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Pisa : last stop on our weekend getaway in February + budget [2024]

Filmed on : February 13th, 2013

Filmed in : Pisa, Italy

Tower of PisaArno riverPiazza del DuomoThe Baptistery of St. JohnPisa CathedralKeith Haring

Our last stop on our 3 day Italian getaway is Pisa, a beautiful city located in Tuscany. It's known worldwide for its iconic leaning tower, but there's much more to discover in this charming place. Pisa has a rich history, with a well-preserved medieval center, beautiful architecture, and a vibrant student community.

For our last night in Italy, we chose a small Hotel Verdi, 15 minutes walking distance from the historical complex in Pisa. Their biggest asset was their friendly stuff and as they have a small bistro on the ground floor we have enjoyed a great breakfast on their sunny terrace, before our half a day in Pisa.

Pisa window - view from hotel Verdi
Pisa window - view from hotel Verdi

We stored our luggage with them at reception and headed towards the leaning tower! Weather was perfect, hard to believe it was mid February. Walking around the city, we didn't meet many tourists, mostly locals getting ready to work, it was Monday, afterall.

The Piazza dei Miracoli, also known as the Square of Miracles, is a historical complex in Pisa that is home to some of the city's most iconic landmarks. In addition to the Leaning Tower, the complex also includes the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery, and the Camposanto Monumentale.

Pisa leaning tower, classical touristy picture
Pisa leaning tower, classical touristy picture

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, also called the Duomo di Pisa, is a stunning example of Romanesque architecture. It was built in the 11th century and features intricate details, including a beautiful mosaic on the facade. Inside the cathedral, you'll find ornate frescoes, sculptures, and a marble pulpit by Giovanni Pisano. The Baptistery of Pisa, located just in front of the cathedral, is a circular building with a striking domed roof. It was also built in the Romanesque style and dates back to the 12th century. The interior is decorated with intricate artwork, including a pulpit by Nicola Pisano.

And lastly, the Leaning tower of Pisa, it's one of the most recognizable structures in the world due to its unusual tilt, which is caused by the soft ground beneath it. Did you know that the tower gradually began to lean to one side already during the construction process, and this became more pronounced over time? It's pretty crazy to thing that it has been leaning over 800 years! In recent years, extensive restoration work has been done to stabilize the tower and reduce its tilt. As a result, the tower is expected to remain standing for at least another 200 years. Today, visitors can climb the tower's 294 steps to reach the top and enjoy stunning views of the city.

souvenirs stands, Pisa historical complex
souvenirs stands, Pisa historical complex

As we had very limited time in Pisa, we decided to admire the beauty of the historical complex only from outside and saved the visit of its interiors for the next time!

windows of Pisa
windows of Pisa

Truthfully, we very much enjoyed hanging around the Piazza dei Miracoli, and watching tourist pose with the tower. But we started wondering if it would be hard to find a lunch spot considering that it got pretty crowded around the tower, so we decided to head back to the old town for an early lunch. As many tourists were directly dropped of by big busses at the parking of the The Piazza dei Miracoli, the old centrum of Pisa didn't seem touristy at all!

Pisa old town
Pisa old town

We scrolled the streets of Pisa until we found a small square, Piazza delle vettovaglie, with sunny terrace and settled for beer and pizza. It got bit crowded just as we were finishing our beers, so you might want to schedule lunch in Pisa bit earlier in order to easily find a spot.

market in Pisa
market in Pisa

To wrap up our half a day in Pisa, we headed towards the river to walk off the pizza calories! Taking a stroll along the Arno River is a lovely way to experience the beauty and charm of Pisa. The river runs through the heart of the city and offers stunning views of historic buildings, picturesque bridges, and colorful houses along its banks.

The Lungarno, the promenade that runs along the river Arno in Pisa
The Lungarno, the promenade that runs along the river Arno in Pisa

The Lungarno, which is the promenade that runs along the river, is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to take a leisurely walk, go for a jog, or simply sit and enjoy the scenery. As you stroll along the river, you'll see the Ponte di Mezzo, one of the most famous bridges in Pisa, as well as other historic bridges like the Ponte della Fortezza and the Ponte Solferino.

tobacco shop Pisa
tobacco shop Pisa

Along the way, you can also admire the many palaces, museums, and churches that line the river, such as the Palazzo Blu, the Museum of San Matteo, and the Church of Santa Maria della Spina.

As we came prepared with our books we relaxed on the river for quite some time, before picking up our backpacks from the hotel reception and walking to the airport.

Tuttomondo (English: All World) is a mural created by American artist Keith Haring in 1989 in Pisa
Tuttomondo (English: All World) is a mural created by American artist Keith Haring in 1989 in Pisa

That's right, Pisa International Airport, also known as the Galileo Galilei Airport, is located just outside the city of Pisa, about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) south of the city center. Therefore, it's possible to walk from the airport to the city center, which we did, but you can also take a 5 min train to the main train station or be fancy and take a taxi.

Pisa has plenty of Ryanair low cost flights which makes it a great starting point of your Italian trip. There are many interesting and exciting day trips that you can take from Pisa to explore the surrounding area of Tuscany. Here are a few ideas:

Florence: The beautiful city of Florence is located just an hour away from Pisa by train. Known for its Renaissance architecture, art museums, and stunning Duomo, Florence is a must-visit destination for any traveler to Tuscany.

Florence rooftop view
Florence rooftop view

Bologna: is a fantastic day trip destination from Florence. Known for its beautiful medieval architecture, vibrant food scene, and rich cultural heritage, Bologna offers plenty of things to see and do with much more laid back atmosphere compared to the world famous Florence.

wandering around Bologna
wandering around Bologna

Lucca: This charming medieval town is located just 30 minutes away from Pisa by train. With its picturesque streets, historic city walls, and charming piazzas, Lucca is a great place to explore on foot and experience the authentic Tuscan lifestyle and it's on our list for the next time!

And now some numbers

Flights for two Paris to Pisa 34€

Flights for two Pisa to Paris 71€

Train for two Pisa to Florence 18€

Train for two Florence to Bologna 25€

Train for two Bologna to Pisa 46€

Accommodation for two Florence ( Friday night, hostel) 46€

Accommodation for two Bologna ( Saturday night, hotel 4*) 92€

Accommodation for two Pisa ( Sunday night, hotel 3*) 58€

3 days of food and drinks for two : 250€

In total, we spent 690€ for two, for 3 nights in February 2023. We share this information to give you some idea of what your budget of 3 day trip in Italy might look like. We combined cheap hostel accommodation in expensive Florence with a really comfortable 4* hotel in Bologna to balance things out. We can eat in cheap cantinas as well as in fancy restaurants and if there is something we really want to see we are willing to pay for it even though in general we try to avoid doing touristic attractions while travelling.

Hope this blog can help you get a better idea of a weekend trip to Italy might look like, certainly do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions about our trip, we will be happy to help!

Lisa & Pol
Lisa & Pol
We're a Slovak-French couple in our twenties currently backpacking across Africa for a year. One of our goals is to inspire travellers to go explore this often forgotten continent. On this blog we're focusing on providing up to date info about prices and itineraries, especially geared towards backpackers on a budget. We also create content on Youtube and Insta if you prefer a more visual approach 😉
Categories : Italy
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