Pisa, Italy | The leaning tower and the best porchetta sandwich

Pisa Italy is a place on many a travellers to-do list and its somewhere I think you have to see at least once in your life. I think a lot of other people have the same ambition as this place was mobbed with tourists all trying to get the same, holding up the tower shot with their selfie sticks. This is definitely a place you need to visit off season if possible.

The leaning tower of Pisa
The leaning tower of Pisa

How did we get to Pisa

Having our hotel right next to the train station meant we had, on the door step, access to a wide area of Italy’s Ligurian coast and into Tuscany. Pisa was only approx 40 mins away and with multiple trains an hour, for only approx €8 each way it was well worth the trip. So off we went.  I love travelling by train as you get to see so much of the countryside and this journey was no exception.  The train wound down the coast before heading over the Tuscan countryside with the mountain in the background. It was spectacular. 
The train to Pisa
The train to Pisa

All about the sandwich.

Before I get into the “what not to miss about Pisa” I want to tell you that you must, and yes I mean MUST visit the fruit and food market (Mercato Delle Vattovaglie). The market is open from Monday to Friday in Piazza delle Vettovaglie.  

Its where most of the locals do their shopping but the reason I want you to visit is that, in the market, there’s a man who sells porchetta sandwiches and I will be honest with you this is the best sandwich you’ll get anywhere in Italy. Porchetta is pork stuffed with the most delicious herbs including fennel pollen or otherwise known as the spice of angels.  The pork is roasted then carved and stuffed into a tasty bun.  Its delicious.  Go to the market, buy a sandwich and I promise you, you’ll thank me later. 

Porchetta Sandwich Pisa
Porchetta Sandwich Pisa

The traditional sights of Pisa you don’t want to miss.

Pisa was very much picture postcard with all the sites located in one area and looking exactly like you’ve seen on televisions, on postcards or in books. It was absolutely swarming with people and I’ve never seen so many selfie sticks in my life and people trying to take the quirky picture of holding up the tower. It was fun to watch. 

The Leaning Tower of Pisa 

Originally built as a freestanding tower bell for the nearby Cathedral 850 years ago, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is now an attraction on own. You can also visit the inside of the tower and go all the way to the top to enjoy the view over Pisa. 

Top of the tower Pisa
Top of the tower Pisa

Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta 

This cathedral is also known as the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, the Cathedral was designed with strong Byzantine influences and boasts fascinating Pisan Romanesque architecture.

The Baptistery 

This is the third Pisa attraction in the “Piazza dei Miracoli” trio – with the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Leaning Tower of Pisa being the other two. The impressive size of the Baptistery stamps its dominance in the square, boasting a touch of Oriental influence and a slight tilt to match the adjacent tower. This was by far my favorite attraction when we visited.

The Baptistry Pisa
The Baptistry Pisa

Take a walk along the river 

After visiting all the main monuments you can make your way to River Arno for a beautiful and tranquil experience. The river Arno, which also flows through the nearby city of Florence, cuts through Pisa and offers an incredibly stunning view.

River Arno Pisa
River Arno Pisa

Our view

Pisa is a great day trip. We did it from our base in La Spezia on the train and combined it with a few hours on the beach on the way back. You could use Pisa as a base to explore the surrounding area as you can get cheap flight  from the Uk. I would try and visit out of season if possible as its very busy and everybody is here to see the same thing and take the same picture. It can get a little claustrophobic.

Booking resources for your trip

Flights

You can compare cheap flights on the Expedia platform or here on the Aviasales website.  Both will give you a good idea of how much its going to cost you to get to your chosen destination.

Accommodation

We have always tended to use Booking.com having said that if your on a tight budget another good site to try as a comparison is Hostelworld, If your looking to compare different sites you can do that on Hotellook, we tend to look on here first to make sure we are getting the best deal.

Tours & Tickets

You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site.  Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.

For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.

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