Piazza dei Miracoli
Of course Pisa’s belltower is spectacular, and not just for its less than perpendicular nature. A fine example of 12th century architecture, with a classic Tuscan backdrop of hills and trees, it is worth a photograph or two in its own right. But it is dwarfed by the buildings around it: the Cathedral, the Baptistry and the Campo Santo.
The Medieval City of Pisa
The centre is compact enough to walk everywhere. There is everything here that you might expect of a medieval Italian city: churches, museums and palazzi, huddled into old streets brimming with bars and restaurants. You will eat better (and cheaper) here than in the restaurants closer to the Leaning Tower.
Visit the university area for the Botanic Garden, a medieval “Garden of Simples”, and cross the river for the picturesque Gothic church of Santa Maria della Spina. Every so often you will encounter fragments of the old city walls, a reminder of more turbulent times.
A Convenient Centre
And Pisa has excellent train and bus connections, making it an ideal base for a Tuscan holiday. We took trains to Lucca and Livorno, but if we’d stayed longer, we could have taken the bus to Siena or San Gimignano. Or hired a car and explored some of those Tuscan hill towns. We’ll have to go again!