Pisa

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Many people choose to extend their walking tour in Italy by visiting Pisa. This could be easily done if you have booked Hedonistic Hiking's A Tuscan HarvestLucca, Volterra and ElbaThe Palio of Siena or Parma, Tuscany & the Ligurian Sea.

Once a forceful maritime power with its position on the Mediterranean, Pisa is known around the world for its famous Leaning Tower or "Torre Pendente".  The city has an excellent university, and therefore a busy young population, and a great selection of affordable shops and restaurants.

Highlights

Piazza dei Miracoli

This is the name of the large Piazza on the north side of the Arno river which is the site of the Leaning Tower, the Duomo and the Baptistry.    The Leaning Tower can once again be visited - although it is limited to small groups at any one time - and therefore booking in advance is advised.  Tel +39 055 387 2210 or www.opapisa.it/boxoffice. Separate tickets are required for entrance to the Leaning Tower and the Duomo, available from the ticket office on the Piazza.

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

Situated close to the cathedral, this museum houses many of the fine works of art which were once displayed in the Duomo and the Baptistry.   Open 8.00-20.00 April to September, or 9.00-18.00 March and October.

Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina

Cross the river and head in a westerly direction to see this beautifully ornate church, built in the 13th century, on the banks of the Arno.

If you have a few days in Pisa and the area around then we can recommend a local guide, Alessandra Antonelli, who can tailor an artistic and cultural tour to suit your interests.  You can find out more about her via her own website.

Where to stay

Some of the hotels listed below are known to Hedonistic Hiking, and others are recommendations from people who have extended their walking tour in Italy in Pisa.

Royal Victoria Hotel
Located in the heart of Pisa with views over the Arno river, this historical hotel has been run by the same family for over 160 years.

Hotel Bologna
A very comfortable four star just 5 minutes walk from Pisa Centrale station.   Excellent breakfast and pretty terrace.  We have always had very positive feedback from guests staying at this hotel.

Hotel Galilei
This hotel is conveniently located 1 km from the airport and has a useful shuttle service to and from the terminal and ample parking.    It is large and modern but ideal if you have an early departure or late arrival.

Albergo Villa Marta
This delightful former hunting lodge is now an elegant 4 star country resort with its own restaurant.    It is ideal if you are hiring a car but equally the hotel can arrange a driver for airport transfers or day trips.    By road it is 10 minutes to Lucca,  20 minutes to Pisa or 60 minutes to Florence.

Where to eat

€€€ Al Ristoro dei Vecchi Macelli 
This restaurant's understated atmosphere is a perfect companion for its fresh Tuscan food - the selections change seasonally. 
Via Volturno 49   Tel +39 050 20424

€€ Ristorante Galileo 
Recently moved to a new site in Pisa, Ristorante Galileo offers a good selection including pizza, fish and steak. There are over 200 wines on the menu, most from the Tuscan region.   Via S. Martino 6/8  Tel. +39 050 28287

€€ Osteria dei Cavalieri
With an extensive wine list, this "knights tavern" serves good Tuscan classics and is centrally located near the Piazza of the same name.    Via San Frediano 16   Tel +39 050 580858

€€ Ristorante Lo Schiaccianoci 
Ideally located in the centre of Pisa, this informal dining establishment prides itself on its tasty seafood dishes and vintage wine selection.   Booking recommended.  Viale Vespucci, 104/A    Tel +39 050 21024

€ Trattoria della Faggiola
Good value and reliable cooking.  Via Uguccione della Faggiola 1  Tel +39 050 556179

€ Il Montino
Great for a snack or quick bite, this pizzeria is famous for a Pisan speciality - the cecina - which is a pizza made with chickpea flour.   Vicolo del Monte 1

For an interesting dining experience in Pisa take a look at this site and think about trying a home restaurant. Those with the Verified Host badge have been visited personally by the BonAppetour team and been given their seal of approval.

What to order

So close to the sea, the Pisan cuisine includes as much fish and seafood as meat and game dishes.   A favourite fish soup is known as cacciucco.   Young eels known as cieche fried in garlic and sage are also a local delicacy.

For red wines, look out for Chianti Colline Pisane or white, the Montecarlo from the hills towards Lucca. The Bolgheri wine region on the coastal area south of Pisa is responsible for some of the most famous "super-tuscan" wines available. Try a Vermentino white with fish. If you are interested in the wines of Bolgheri we visit the area on our Lucca, Volterra and Elba tour.

Transport

Pisa airport is Tuscany's main international airport, and the city has good rail links to Florence, Rome and La Spezia.  As from  2017 the new Pisa Mover monorail link is open between the airport and Pisa Centrale train station. It runs continually back and forth and tickets can be purchased from the self-service machines by the barrier.  They cost €2.70 each way.  There is a regular Terravision bus service between Pisa airport and Florence.

For all train information visit www.trenitalia.com which has an English version.
Train travel in Italy is inexpensive and comfortable. Major cities are served by non-stop fast trains known as the Eurostar.

If you are making plans for wider Europe then www.raileurope-world.com is a useful site. Another highly recommended train travel website is Seat 61.

Italo
NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori) is a new private company which started operating it's Italo high-speed trains on the Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples route in April 2012, in competition with State-owned operator Trenitalia.  NTV have added new routes subsequently and are Europe's first private high-speed train operator, with a real emphasis on customer service. Travellers should be aware that the city stations used are not always the same as those used by Trenitalia.

From Pisa you can easily take a day trip to Lucca or Florence using buses and trains.  If you would like a guide in Lucca we can recommend Elena Benvenuti for her entertaining tours, local knowledge and perfect English.  For a guided tour of Florence contact Freya Middleton for a personalised and highly memorable tour.

For help with car hire, or a chauffeur driven car or minibus in the Tuscany area, or airport transfers and taxi services contact Marco at ABC Rental  Tel +39 0577 924542 or emailinfo@abc-rent.com.

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