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If you’re travelling in Italy with your family you’ve maybe wondered – is Pisa worth it? Can it be a fun day out?
We were staying in Italy for a month in our apartment near Genoa and we really wanted to visit Tuscany, so headed there on a day trip one day. We chose two places to visit – Lucca and Pisa, which are quite close together. Pisa is such an iconic place and had been somewhere that we had wanted to visit for quite some time. We thought it would also be quite a fun place for the kids to see too. As always with these bucket list items, it’s not always clear whether it’s worth the time, effort and getting through the crowds. Was visiting Pisa worth it for us?
The leaning tower of Pisa
I’d venture a guess that most people have heard of the leaning tower of Pisa or have seen a picture of it. It’s an iconic structure and we wanted to tick it off our bucket list.
Interesting facts about the leaning tower of Pisa
- The tower of Pisa is a bell tower to the church.
- Construction of the tower began in 1173 and finished in 1399.
- Its original height was 60m. It’s now only 56.67m on the highest side.
- the lean is due to the land that it was built on which was soft. It was only discovered after the 3rd storey was built.
- the architects tried to compensate for the lean, but it didn’t work!
Getting tickets to leaning tower of Pisa
You can visit and walk to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa – you’ll need a ticket though and if you’re travelling in high season then it’s advisable to get tickets in advance. There’s only a set amount of tickets released each day and it’s fairly strict. If you want to go to the top – get them in advance! You can buy online here – tickets are €18 euros each.
Free fun around the leaning tower of Pisa
Pisa is buzzing with tourists, especially around the tower and one of the most fun things that we did was people watch and join in with creating funny photos.
Every where you go you’ll see people in funny poses getting their pictures taken – why? Because the tower just invites you to try and get an awesome photo mucking about with the perspective. We spent absolutely ages doing this and had an absolute blast!
There’s lots of grass areas so perfect to bring a picnic and really take your time in the area.
Visiting the Cathedral next to the tower is also free, but you’ll need to book tickets (at the above link if you want to do it in advance) – if your kids are interested in history and great buildings it’s definitely worth a look.
Walking to the tower and the Square of Miracles (the area that the tower, cathedral and other buildings are in) you’ll also find loads of street performers and stalls with people selling souvenirs. To be honest we found it a little bit tacky and weren’t interested in looking round, but if you like that kind of thing then maybe you won’t mind it so much!
So, was it worth it?
I’d probably not make a fuss to go back to Pisa, it wasn’t what I expected and it wasn’t the nicest Italian town I’d visited. BUT I would say that it was worth visiting to see the tower and the beautiful buildings around. We did have a great time there and made fantastic memories, which let’s face it, is what travel is all about!
Children’s books about Pisa
This book is a great addition to learning about the Leaning tower of Pisa or to prepare for a visit there. Galileo is said to have done experiments from the top of the tower and this picture book talks about them. Click here for more information about this book on Amazon
Click here if you’re interested in more books about Italy for kids!
How to get to Pisa
The location of the leaning tower of Pisa and the Square of Miracles is slightly outside the very centre of the city. Pisa is small and walkable though.
Visiting the leaning tower of Pisa depends really on where you’re coming from. We drove and found a car park on Via Pietrasantina (it’s on Google Maps) that was free and was within walking distance of the sights. We were warned to make sure that no valuables were left in sight though (which is sensible anyway) but maybe suggests to take more care than usual.
If you’re coming by train then it’s about a 1.5km walk to the tower from there, or there’s also some buses that go past if you’re not up for the long walk.
Lots of budget airlines now land in Pisa which is close to the town. You can take a bus from here to the tower for €1.20 – more details here
Where to stay in Pisa
Accommodation in Pisa is varied. If you’re looking for an apartment that will fit and suit your family then I recommend AirBnB which I use often and love! If you use this link you’ll also get £20 off your first booking.
As for hotels, the Bologna Hotel Pisa has rooms suitable for families and comes well reviewed. You can see latest prices here.
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