Leaning Tower of Pisa

by Jessica on August 18, 2010

by | August 18th, 2010  

I’ve written before about my experience visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and even about how to avoid the lines by buying tickets to climb the tower in advance. But what I haven’t done is posted the most useful visitor’s information. So, without further ado…

Pisa‘s famous Leaning Tower is simply the bell tower for the adjacent cathedral – cathedrals all over Italy have bell towers, and many of them are also leaning for one reason or another. This is one little fact the folks in Pisa would rather you don’t know, but it’s true. Of course, if you try to convince your friends that you’ve seen plenty of leaning towers in Italy, if you haven’t seen the one in Pisa they’re not going to be all that impressed. Besides, you’ve seen everyone else’s pictures of themselves “propping up” the Leaning Tower, why not have one of your own?

Construction on the Tower of Pisa, called “La Torre di Pisa” in Italian, began in 1173 and went on more or less for about two hundred years. The ground beneath the tower was soft, and so even before the building was near completion it had already started to tilt. It was noticeable enough that the builders even tried to compensate for it by angling the new construction differently than the old construction – if you look at the tower from the appropriate direction you’ll see it’s not perfectly straight on one angle. The Leaning Tower has been closed to visitors at various times as engineers worked to shore up the base, fearful it would eventually topple completely. If a visit to Pisa won’t be complete for you without climbing the tower, check in advance to make sure it’ll be open when you go.

>> Book a tour of Pisa before you go so you don’t miss anything

>> Spending more than a couple hours in the city? Browse and book these Pisa hotels and cheap hostels in Pisa.

Leaning Tower Opening Hours

The opening hours for the Leaning Tower of Pisa are:

  • From November to February: 10:00-17:00 (09:00-18:00 from Dec 25-Jan 1)
  • March: 09:00-18:00 (until the 3rd), 09:00-19:00 (until the 20th), 08:30-20:30 (starting the 21st)
  • From April to September: 08:30-20:30 (until Jun 13 and from Sep 5-30), 08:30-23:00 (from Jun 17)
  • October: 09:00-19:00

The last entry to the Tower of Pisa is a half-hour before closing time.

>> It’s been pointed out to me that there are a few days in June not accounted for according to the above list of opening hours. I’ve taken them directly from the website of the governing body which organizes tourism in the Piazza dei Miracoli, and I’ve checked several times – they have, indeed, left a few June days out of their schedule. Another website indicates that the later opening hours, from 08:30-23:00, are from June 14 through September 15, so it’s probably safe to assume that the later opening hours begin on June 14 rather than June 17 – but it doesn’t hurt to double-check with the ticket office in Pisa.

Getting to the Leaning Tower of Pisa


It’s easy to reach the Leaning Tower from the Pisa train station, either by walking or by taking the bus or a taxi. Bus lines 3 and 4 run from Pisa Centrale, the main station, as does Shuttle Bus A – all of these will drop you near the Tower. Taxis are plentiful as well, and the ride isn’t very long. The buses and taxis are all available across from the train station’s main entrance.

If you’re in the mood for a walk, leave Pisa Centrale’s main entrance and go toward Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Turn onto Via Crispi and go as far as Ponte Solferino. Cross the bridge and continue until you read Via Roma. Turn onto Via Roma and continue until you reach Piazza dei Miracoli – the home of the Leaning Tower. The walk will take you just under a half-hour.

If you’ve come into Pisa’s San Rossore train station, however, it’s only a five minute walk from where the subway stops. Take the subway from the train station and get out through Piazza Fancelli. Walk to Via Andrea Pisano, turn left and continue until you reach the Piazza dei Miracoli.

Tickets to the Leaning Tower

Tickets to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa cost €15 (€17 if you book online in advance), and the proceeds go to the preservation of the monuments themselves.

Nearby Attractions: Cathedral & Baptistery


With any extra time, a visit to Pisa’s Cathedral and Baptistery are highly recommended as well. Neither is as famous as the Tower, so the lines are shorter, and both are lovely. The Baptistery is also the largest in Christendom.

The opening hours for Pisa’s Cathedral and Baptistery are:

  • From November to February:
    Cathedral – 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00 (09:00-18:00 from Dec 25-Jan 1)
    Baptistery – 10:00-17:00 (09:00-18:00 from Dec 25-Jan 1)
  • March:
    Cathedral 10:00-18:00 (until the 3rd), 10:00-19:00 (until the 20th), 10:00-20:00 (starting the 21st)
    Baptistery – 09:00-18:00 (until the 3rd), 09:00-19:00 (until the 20th), 08:00-20:00 (starting the 21st)
  • From April to September:
    Cathedral – 10:00-20:00
    Baptistery – 08:00-20:00
  • October:
    Cathedral – 10:00-19:00
    Baptistery – 09:00-19:00

Prices for the Cathedral and Baptistery are markedly lower than the Leaning Tower, which makes them even more enticing. It’s only €2 to get into the Cathedral, and the Bapistery will cost you €5. Or, you can get a combo ticket which includes both the Cathedral and Baptistery for €6. But if you happen to be visiting during the low season, take advantage of the fact that from November 1 through March 1 it doesn’t cost a thing to get into the Cathedral.

>> The official website for the leaning tower as well as the other sights of the Piazza dei Miracoli is here.

photos, top to bottom, by: McPig, Paul Mannix, tiseb, JackVersloot


{ 2 trackbacks }

Italian News Snippets: 10.07.07 | Italy Travel Guide
October 7, 2007 at 12:39 pm
Buying Advance Tickets to Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa | Italy Travel Guide
November 14, 2007 at 7:50 am

{ 34 comments }

Andrew August 18, 2010 at 11:19 am
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There is also the graveyard and several museums. When we went there we saw your list as well, just the Cathedral, Baptistery and Tower. I really liked the Baptistery, but could have been ok skipping the Cathedral.
Have you been to the museums or graveyard? Are they worth it?

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Jessica August 19, 2010 at 11:42 am
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I quite liked the cathedral, actually – the mosaic floor and carvings on the altar were lovely, if I remember right (it’s been awhile!). And no, I didn’t get to the graveyard or museums. I did simply the 2-hour stop on my first trip and have yet to get back to Pisa.

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Adriana August 18, 2010 at 12:47 pm
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Hi, Jessica! Have you got my e-mail with the guest post about Lucca? I hope so, I’m waiting for a reply… byeee, Adriana.

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Jessica August 19, 2010 at 11:43 am
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Adriana, I’m so sorry I haven’t gotten back to you! I’ve been swamped lately… Yes, I did get your email, and hope to have time to reply next week. Sorry!

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Dave August 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm
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Very informative article. It gives you a real idea of what to expect and some ideas on more to do than I knew about at the site. Thanks.

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Susan Van Allen August 21, 2010 at 10:19 am
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I spent a few days in Pisa recently and found the old city outside of the touristy tower section to be absolutely dreamy. It’s a university town, pleasant to bike or stroll around past Gothic and Romanesque architecture–the walk along the Arno is so peaceful compared to Florence. There’s a daily market, bakeries that sell those delizioso pignole cookies, elegant caffes, and fab inexpensive restaurants (Vineria alla Piazza, casual, right off the market square) and fancy Osteria dei Cavalieri were stand-outs. I stayed at The Royal Victoria–a rambling palazzo on the Arno–also wonderful! AND there’s an airport there–it was the perfect no-stress Tuscany gateway that immersed me into authentic Italy upon arrival.

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Jessica August 23, 2010 at 7:42 am
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Thanks for the comment, Susan! I agree, I think Pisa has quite a bit going for it – and although it can’t really be considered “off the beaten path” for Italy, visiting any part of the city that is NOT the leaning tower probably can! I’d really like to go back and explore further.

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Susan Holt October 9, 2010 at 2:54 pm
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We found your site by accident and it has been wonderful! So full of information. We will be staying in Florence for 3 nights in March and would like to travel to Pisa. Do you have any suggestions on how to get there. We will not be driving so it needs to be public transportation. Keep up the great work. Susan Holt

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Jessica November 1, 2010 at 10:05 am
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Hi, Susan:

I’m glad you’re enjoying the site! Pisa is an easy day-trip from Florence, and taking the train is probably the easiest/fastest way to go. I wrote a little bit about getting between Pisa & Florence in this article about doing a stopover in Pisa en route from the Cinque Terre to Florence – http://www.italylogue.com/featured-articles/getting-from-the-cinque-terre-to-florence.html – and since there are regular trains between the two cities you shouldn’t have any trouble finding travel times that suit your needs.

Ciao,
Jessica

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Sreekumar November 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm
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Thank you for all the detailed information,……… i found your site really helpful.
Ciao,
Sreekumar

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arlene mendoza February 14, 2011 at 11:35 am
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is it open on a sunday?

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Jessica February 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm
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All the open hours are listed above – it’s open 7 days a week, except for specific holidays. Check the official website for more details if you need to.

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Zerin Basto February 27, 2011 at 9:55 am
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What would be the best route/travel to get from Pisa to Tuscany, and what key (not to tourist areas) would you recommend.

We are going to Pisa in June.

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Jessica March 3, 2011 at 9:43 am
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Well, Pisa is *in* Tuscany – so I’m not sure what you’re asking?

Here are some links to peruse:
http://www.italylogue.com/tuscany
http://www.italylogue.com/pisa/

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Shanthi March 21, 2011 at 2:37 am
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Thanks for all the information about Italy. It is very helpful.. Do you know how much is the fare for the bus services 3 & 4 from Pisa centrale to the tower and also for shuttle bus A.

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Jessica March 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm
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I’m sorry, I don’t know the exact bus/shuttle fares – but they’re usually quite inexpensive.

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Patate Pilee March 27, 2011 at 6:53 am
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Hello,
I want to have the angle of the Pisa tower…. What is it?

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Jessica March 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm
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I’m afraid I’m not the authority on those details – perhaps the Wikipedia page on the tower will have what you’re looking for? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa

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ANNIE TAN April 5, 2011 at 7:36 am
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Hi Jessica,

Will it be convenient to visit Pisa from Rome or Venice ?

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Jessica April 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm
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Do you mean visiting Pisa for a day trip? If that’s what you mean, that’s a very long day trip! It’s a good day trip from Florence or the Cinque Terre – it’s a relatively short train ride from both places – but from Rome or Venice it’s a longer train ride.

Here’s information about getting from Florence to Pisa:
http://www.italylogue.com/featured-articles/getting-from-the-cinque-terre-to-florence.html

From Rome-Pisa is 2.5-3 hours one-way (on the fast & expensive trains), with at least one stop along the way (and in some cases 2-3 stops). Venice-Pisa is about 3.5-4 hours one-way, again with between 1-3 stops.

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Upasana April 23, 2011 at 6:35 am
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Dear Jessica,

I am visiting Pisa for a day trip and later take a night train to Florence. I will be coming from Amsterdam… Is it possible to carry my rucksack or back pack inside the Tower, Cathedral and Baptistery? If not then what do you suggest? I am not keen on getting a hostel as I will go to Florence the same night.

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Jessica May 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm
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There’s a luggage storage option at the Pisa station. You can learn more about it here:

http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/luggage-storage-in-italy-train-stations.html

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Steve April 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm
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We are making a stop over in Pisa from Cinque Terre to Rome. We will have a few hours to spend. Is there a luggage check at Pisa Centrale or at the Piazza itself? We will have only a roll aboard and backpack each. What would be your recommendations for lunch while there?

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Jessica May 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm
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Here’s how to find out about luggage storage in Italian train stations:
http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/luggage-storage-in-italy-train-stations.html

For lunch, I’d just recommend getting away from the main touristy areas in Pisa – the food isn’t very good & it’s usually quite overpriced.

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Khalid May 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm
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Hi Jessica,
We, me and my wife, will be visiting Italy in this coming June to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We will spend two days in Pisa, the 16th and 17th of June (for the Luminara and the annual Regata di S. Ranieri). The problem is that we do not know where is the best place to stay in Pisa to witness these events. Could you please suggest a good place to stay?
Thanks in advance and best regards,
– Khalid

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Jessica May 20, 2011 at 10:11 am
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I’ve not been to the Regatta in Pisa, but since the course is the river itself, you can try to find a hotel that overlooks the river where the race will be held. But really, it may be easier (and cheaper) to find a hotel that’s within walking distance of the river and just walk there before the race starts. I found this about the race route (at least from last year, but I suspect it’s the same each year): “The start of the race is near the bridge used by trains to cross the river and the finish is in front of the Palazzo Medici near the Ponte della Fortezza.” (from this site: http://www.discovertuscany.com/pisa/regata-san-ranieri.html)

You can find hotels in Pisa on this map, so you’ll know where they are in relation to the race route:
http://www.italylogue.com/hotels/cheap-hotels-in-pisa.html

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Khalid May 24, 2011 at 12:27 am
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Dear Jessica,
Thanks alot for your reply. The information you brought about the starting and finishing of the race really helped me to decide. I made a reservation at Hotel Bologna which is in a walking distance to the places mentioned.
Thanks again and best regards,
Khalid

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Jessica May 26, 2011 at 11:27 am
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You’re welcome – have a great trip!

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Tania September 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm
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Hello Jessica,
I had a quick question which I hope you might be able to answer. There’s a transportation site that refers to “Pisa F.D.” and “Pisa H.D.”. Do you have any idea what the F.D. and H.D. stand for? What is the difference.
I love your blog and it’s been a lifesaver for planning our upcoming honeymoon to Italy.
Thanks in advance and best regards,
Tania

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Jessica September 12, 2011 at 8:50 am
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Hmm, I’m stumped, Tania – I would assume it would be train station names, but the main station in Pisa is Pisa Centrale – not HD or FD. On what site did you see those acronyms?

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Yaniv May 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm
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Hello! Can anyone tell me if you are allowed to carry a camera bag up the leaning tower of Pisa on your tour ?It states on their website where you buy online tickets that “bags/luggage” need to be left behind in storage?

Thanks
Yaniv

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Jessica May 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm
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I suspect it depends on how big the camera bag is, but if there’s a problem you can “check” the bag itself and just carry the camera up.

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Virginia October 1, 2012 at 9:07 am
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Jessica,
Is it possible to travel from Florence to Pisa to Rome? Or do I have to travel back to Florence and then on to Rome?

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miya January 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm
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Hye Jessica,

sorry but one silly question, do I have to buy any tickets to go to pisa leaning tower? I mean, I dont want to climb the tower, just browsing around the tower, take some pictures and go to other place. Thanks :)

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