After spending a couple of days in Rome, we took our first day trip to Pisa! If you plan to take a trip to Pisa, I recommend you do not book your return train ticket in advance like we did. You will not need a full day to explore because there is not much to see aside from the Leaning Tower.
When we arrived at Pisa Centrale Station, the leaning tower was a close walking distance, about ten minutes. We came across this picturesque river on the way there so of course we decided to stop and take some pictures.
The Arno river is in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is the second most important river in Italy after the Tiber.
- Arno means Lamb in Italian.
- The Arno rivers measures 241 kilometers (150 miles) and flows from Mount Falterona through major cities Pisa, Florence, Empoli, Santa Croce and Pontedera.
Once we arrived at the leaning tower of Pisa, we took our pictures and walked around near the street vendors where we bought this folded pizza as a snack!
Where the tour met.
We did the 2.5-Hour Skip-the-Line Pisa and Leaning Tower Family Tour. The tour meets at the arch where the street vendors are. The tour guide spoke English and Italian. She spoke about all of the surrounding landmarks; the Cathedral, the Baptistry and the Leaning Tower. We took a tour inside the Cathedral and then dropped off our bags to go climb the Leaning Tower.
Piazza dei Miracoli Fun Facts:
- Piazza dei Miracoli means Square of Miracles and was formally known as Piazza del Duomo
- Piazza dei Miracoli contains four famous architectural masterpieces: the Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistry, the Leaning Tower, and the Camposanto Monumentale.
- Known as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO which means it has been protected by international treaties and part of the world’s educational, historical, and scientific heritage.
- The Catholic Church are the owners of the Piazza dei Miracoli and consider this as a holy place.
- Camp Santo is the cemetery in the Piazza. It was built with a load of sand from Golgotha aka the Calvary, where Jesus was crucified.
Pictures of the Cathedral Door
Pisa Cathedral Fun Facts:
- The Cathedral is not as sacred as the Basilica but is the main church and the Archbishop’s office.
- The origins are medieval and devoted to Santa Maria Assunta.
- Building the Cathedral started in 1063/1064 and was the merger of classical, Byzantine, Lombard-Emilian and Islamic. It was expanded for the years with styles changing.
- The Cathedral suffered a fire in 1595 and much of the Cathedral was rebuilt.
- Inside the Cathedral there are nine scenes of New Testament.
We did not get to tour inside the Pisa Baptistry but we admired the beautiful architecture.
Pisa Baptistry Fun Facts:
- It was built before the Leaning Tower (1153) and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
- The Baptistry tilts like the Leaning Tower because the soil in Pisa is rich in sand and clay.
- The marble pulpit represents late Gothic and Early Renaissance style.
- The Baptistry is famous for it’s acoustics, and every half an hour a guardian comes into intonate a few notes.
Leaning Tower of Pisa Fun Facts:
- The Leaning Bell Tower has had problems for over 1,000 years. The tower continues to lean due to shifting and piloting of the soil.
- There are approximately 296 steps inside the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- Galileo, famous Italian Mathematics Professor, discovered gravity at the leaning tower. He proved that two objects would fall at the same speed when dropped at the same height.
- Originally, the tower leaned North but after further development in 1272 the tower leaned South.
- Each Bell on the tower is about 8,000 pounds and have not been tolled for more than a century because of fear it might make the tower lean further.
Views from the very top of the Leaning Tower
I made it to the top and I was pretty scared! haha
After climbing the Leaning Tower, we decided it was time to grab a lunch and some wine. There are a bunch of restaurants lining the streets when you are heading out of the Piazza but we picked the one with the beautiful flowers.
Riunite Lambrusco was my favorite wine! It was bubble, red and juicy! So delicious and from Tuscany! I highly recommend.
I will leave you with this beautiful view of Arno River (sigh!)