A gravity-defying Italian tourist mecca, the Leaning Tower of Pisa offers a look at classic medieval Romanesque architecture. A day trip from Florence, the Pisa complex is more than just its leaning bell tower. There is a stunning cathedral, an acoustically intriguing baptistery, and a sculpture-filled cemetery.
Visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa is more than just a propping-up-the-building photo opportunity, it is a peak into the deeply rooted Italian Catholic beliefs. It is an opportunity to enjoy masterful craftsmanship while poking a little fun at the sinking building.
1. Best Time To Visit
As with any sought-after tourist destination, visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa early in the day will help alleviate some of the crowd conditions.
Seasonally, the height of tourist season is July and August. If you visit during the shoulder seasons, you will find fewer crowds. April to early June can be cool and the crowds are minimal. From September–November, the weather is unpredictable but there are fewer visitors than the summer months.
2. Tickets And Hours
Visiting hours vary from season to season and sometimes month to month. It is best to check the Tower of Pisa ticket office for current hours of operation. The fee to climb the tower is about $20. Reservations are advised and you can book your tickets online.
Pro Tip: Children under 8 years old are not allowed to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Children between 8 and 18 years old are required to climb with an adult.
3. Tower Of Pisa Guided Tour
There are lots of wonderful guided tour options that will have you skipping the lines and enjoying your day filled with history and leaning-tower adventures. Try this highly ranked, small group tour with tickets included to make the most of your visit.
Guided tours can be a little pricey, however, they will also save you time navigating the ins and outs of Pisa. A tour should hit all the highlights and guide you around the complex efficiently, offering historical insight you might otherwise miss.
Pro Tip: Choose your guide carefully. Have your travel agent book a tour or select one with an excellent rating.
4. Climbing The Tower Of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 251 steps to reach the top of the bell tower. The original height was planned at 60 meters (196.85 feet), but it is actually much lower now. At last measurement, the highest side was 56.67 meters (185.93 feet) and the lowest side was 55.86 meters (183.27 feet).
The dizzying climb takes about 30 minutes to ascend the tight spiral staircase.
5. The Pisa Duomo
The Piazza del Mircaoli, “the Square of Miracles,” is made up of the Tower of Pisa, Il Duomo (the cathedral), the baptistery, and the cemetery.
The centerpiece of the medieval complex is the cathedral. It was founded in 1064 and consecrated in 1118, an architectural masterpiece for its time. Stunningly decorated and adorned with statues, mosaics, paintings, and other artistic masterpieces, it will take your breath away. There are many beautiful churches in Italy and Pisa’s cathedral ranks high on the list.
Pro Tip: To enter the cathedral, shoulders and knees should be covered. Visitors wearing short skirts, shorts, or bare shoulders may be turned away. Dress appropriately and carry a shawl or scarf to cover your shoulders if you want to enter Il Duomo and the baptistery.
6. Baptistery Of San Giovanni
The Battistero, or Baptistery of San Giovanni, was grandly designed to reflect the size and importance of its cathedral. The baptistery was constructed with a double dome giving it exceptional acoustic tones. If you time it correctly, you will encounter one of the staff members singing and you can enjoy the reverberating music enhanced by this architectural marvel.
7. The Cemetery At Pisa
The Camposanto at Pisa is a stunning monument to life and death. Exquisite statuary depicts tableaus of heavenly scenes rich with detail.
According to towerofpisa.org, “The foundation of the cemetery, Camposanto, is made up of 53 shiploads of earth that were brought back from the Hill of Calvary in Jerusalem.” The amount of manpower and horsepower it took to accomplish this feat is mind-boggling.
8. View From The Top Of The Leaning Tower Of Pisa
The view from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa on a clear day is lovely. It is almost 57 meters or 186 feet tall. That translates to about 15 stories high to give you an idea of the view.
Pro Tip: Climbing to the top of the tower is really more about the climb than the view. It is a bucket-list item for many travelers.
9. Strike A Pose With The Leaning Tower Of Pisa
One of the best IG moments at Pisa is striking a pose holding up the tower. The best way to accomplish a perfect shot is to arrive early; beating the crowds means a better opportunity to get a perfect shot.
Plan your poses ahead of time and choose the best photographer in your group to be in charge of staging the photo. Are you going to hold it up? With your hand? Foot? Back? Other fun shots include a ninja kick knocking the tower down, hugging the tower, and having the tower immerge from your unzipped backpack.
Have fun, be silly, and strike a Pisa pose.
10. How To Get To Pisa
Pisa is about 1.5 hours from Florence which can be a time commitment when you are on a short vacation. There are several good options to get you out to Pisa.
Guided tours that offer hotel pick up and drop off are the simplest ways to travel and also the most expensive.
The train is more budget-friendly, however, the complex is still about 20 minutes away after you disembark. From the Pisa train station, you can take a taxi (no rideshares available), a shuttle, a bus, a local train, or walk.
Pro Tip: The walking path that brings you to the Tower of Pisa is lined with pop-up souvenir vendors. Also, be aware of pick-pockets. Whenever there is a large crowd, you may encounter nimble-fingered wallet lifters.