This Pisa tour takes you to see one of the most jaw-dropping architectural complexes in the world. With an expert guide, you'll tour the inside of the Pisa Cathedral, soak in the splendor of the Piazza dei Miracoli and Baptistery, and climb to the top of the famous Leaning Tower. Then head out to the hills for a gourmet lunch and wine tasting at a beautiful local vineyard.
Your Pisa tour from Florence starts at 8.45am in central Florence, where you'll meet your expert guide and small group of no more than 14 people. Departing Florence in a private, air-conditioned minibus, you'll arrive in Pisa in about 1.5 hours and step out into the Piazza dei Miracoli – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery, as well as to the architectural phenomenon that is the Leaning Tower – you’ll learn all about this unique architectural complex, take a full tour inside the Cathedral and then get tickets to climb the 273 steps to the top of the Leaning Tower.
Back on level ground, you’ll have some free time to explore Pisa's charming city center before taking a short drive to a working vineyard in the hills beyond the city. Following a full tour of the rustic property and wine tastings, you'll enjoy a gourmet lunch of fresh, locally sourced food prepared on the premises. After lunch, you’ll hop back in your minibus and arrive back in Florence around 3:00pm.
The creative explosion of the Italian Renaissance happened right here, leaving petite Florence more art treasures than most national capitals. View the masterworks of local heroes like Michelangelo and Botticelli, visit countless unforgettable basilicas, then climb up into Brunelleschi's soaring dome to watch the sun set among cypress-clad Tuscan hillsides.
The Leaning Tower is, of course, Pisa's main attraction. Even before three
of its eight stories were constructed (building began in 1173 and continued
until 1350), it had begun to lean. In 1990, the instability of the tower made
it necessary to close it to visitors. Fortunately, an extensive program to rebalance
the tower was successful in slowly righting the structure to its original degree
of "lean." Now, thanks to modern engineering, the tower and its 294 stairs are
once again open for climbing.
The tower is on the Campo dei Miracoli, a large, grassy square that's a pleasant
place to relax. While you're there, visit the Baptistry, which contains a beautiful
baptismal font and pulpit by Nicola Pisano; the Romanesque Cathedral di San
Zeno, with its silver altar and figures by Brunelleschi; and the Camposanto
Cemetery. All in white, the medieval buildings and the wall of the cemetery
form a beautiful thematic whole. Stop at the 16th-century church and Palazzo
dei Cavalieri, the piazza and the National Museum of San Matteo (excellent collection
of 12th- through 15th-century art). And if you have time, visit Pisa's other
leaning tower at the Church of San Michele degli Scalzi: Completed in the 13th
century, this seldom-visited tower is worth a look, too.
It's also fun just to walk around Pisa. The city is very compact, with many
narrow streets and a great ambience. We suggest seeing it on a day trip from
Florence, perhaps in combination with Lucca, just 13 mi/20 km northeast. Another
possible stop is Pistoia, which has a cathedral and baptistery in the Pisan-Romanesque
style and the Ceppo Hospital (L'Ospedale de Ceppo), which has a brightly painted
and enameled terra-cotta frieze by Giovanni della Robbia. If you want to see
Pisa and another town all in one day, get up very early.
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