How to Enjoy 1 Day in Pisa
By Arturo Barranco |
Travel to Pisa from Rome and make a one-day tour in which you can visit the city of the famous inclined Tower and other Medieval and Renaissance wonders.
Andiamoto Rome! We love this travel destination: from its imposing Coliseum to the Roman Pantheon with its impressive solar clock, to the souvenirs we bring back home from each trip. Today we’ll visit another popular destination near Rome and we’ll plan a one-day tour to visit the Tower of Pisa.
Even though all roads lead to Rome, this is not the only city you should visit in Italy. The vast territory of the peninsula harbors many historic, geographical and cultural attractions. All of this is due to the fact that it’s close to the Mediterranean and that it’s located near central Europe. Undoubtedly, when we think about Italy we think about common references such as Rome, with its rich history and architecture, Venice and Pisa. The latter is famous for its tilted tower and cathedral, both listed as World Heritage.
Travel to Pisa from Rome
After you’ve visited the Eternal City, as Rome was known when it was an Empire, it’s a good idea to plan an excursion to the nearby city of Pisa. But, how to get there? There are several options but our favorite is by car. Rent a sports car and drive 3 to 4 hours along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea and you’ll reach your destination. Another route implies driving along the highway across Florence.
If you prefer to travel comfortably, the easiest way to get to Pisa from Rome is by train. The trip is approximately 2.5 hours long and you’ll find tickets from 9 euros.
Location of Pisa
The city of Pisa is located in the Tuscan province, east of Corsica, west of Florence and not far from Rome. Of course, we all know the story of the founding of Rome: the she-wolf that brought up the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, and its connection to Greek culture, which expanded across Greece, Hispania, Gaul, Britain, Egypt, Middle East and North Africa; that is, all along the Mediterranean coast that was known as the Mare Nostrum. Therefore, you’ll find a strong link between the history of Rome and Pisa.
History of Pisa
Pisa was said to be an Etruscan city in the 6thCentury. After the great Roman Empire fell, Christianity became more powerful and the Middle Ages began. During the 9thand 10thcenturies, Pisa began to stand out as a maritime power. Later, during the 11thand 12thcenturies they built the Romanic style cathedral and the famous Tower of Pisa. This was Pisa’s time of splendor as a Maritime Republic. Then, in the early modern ages, important geniuses such as Fibonacci –the mind behind mathematical succession– and Galileo Galilee were born there.
Pisa During the World Wars
Italian Fascism during the 20thcentury with his leader, dictator Benito Mussolini, had a great impact on Pisa. This political movement opposed unions and labor movements. This promoted the rise of socialism in Europe after the Russian Revolution in times of World War I. During World War II, Pisa was terribly affected by the constant bombings of the city.
Main Attractions in Pisa
Despite the disappointing effects of Fascism, Pisa is still rich in history and architecture. That’s why you should visit the Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli) one of Pisa’s key points. There you can visit the city walls, the Baptistery (it dates back to 1152 and it combines Romanic and Gothic architecture), the Cathedral and the Tower (dated 1173). We know this is not the only tilted tower in the world, but it surpasses the others in popularity.
Why is the Tower of Pisa Inclined?
The reason why the Tower of Pisa is leaning is because the ground that holds it is too soft. Recently they’ve said they have tried to “straighten” the tower to prevent it from falling, but these are just conservations works, not corrective measures.
Given that the city is located near the sea and near the estuary of River Arno, wear light clothes and a light sweater, and comfortable shoes.
Museums and Universities in Pisa
Apart from the famous tilting tower, there are several other attractions in the city that you’ll love. Visit, for example, the Museum of Duomo (built in 1063 in Romanic style and influenced by Islamic and Byzantine art) or the Museum of St. Mathew. Also, remember that the city houses three important universities: the Scuola Normale Superiore, the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and the University of Pisa. Without doubt, Galileo Galilee’s place of birth –the city’s international airport was named after him– truly represents what this astronomer said: and yet, it moves. This city is in continuous movement and it impresses and changes travelers who visit it.
What to Eat in Pisa
Although Italy is famous for pasta and pizza, when you visit Pisa you should try the seafood. Order a zuppa di pesce (fish soup) or a minestra di fagioli bianchi (kidney beans soup). As a main dish, order a risotto d’Arselle (risotto with clams) and a pappardelle alla cerceta (pasta with duck meat). Pair your meal with a good wine. Our favorite is the Chianti Colline Pisane, Tuscan Denomination of Origin.
For dessert, order a co’bischeri de pontasserchi, a typical chocolate cake from Pisa, with an authentic gelato.
Back to Rome
One day might not be enough to visit everything Pisa has to offer, so you might want to go back someday. However, if you need to get back to the capital, as they say, all roads lead to Rome, so you’ll find no problem finding transportation back to the city at any time of the day you want to depart. Back in Rome, you’ll have a better understanding of the historic relation between both cities, and the similarities and differences between their way of life, traditions and typical dishes.