Climbing the spiral steps of the Leaning Tower is likely to be high on your to-do list on a Pisa city break, so make a booking in advance. Don’t miss the tower’s neighbours on the geometrically perfect Campo dei Miracoli, including the cupcake-shaped baptistery and striped cathedral. Streets lined with graceful arches lead south to the medieval city centre and the grand Renaissance town planning of Piazza dei Cavalieri in the university precinct. Pisa’s enviable collection of Renaissance art is housed in the San Matteo Museum along the River Arno, with works by Pisano and Masaccio.
Pisa’s elegant cafés, intimate wine bars and trattoria eateries attract locals as well as visitors. A winning mix of fast-paced pizzerias and traditional ristorantes surround Piazza delle Vettovaglie, near the market. Sample rabbit ravioli and other home-style Tuscan dishes or share coffee and cake at a mirror-lined café in nearby Borgo Stretto. Start your evening with an aperitif in the bar of a Pisa hotel by the River Arno.
Set in the heart of the medieval city near the university, Pisa’s botanical gardens are the oldest in Europe and a tranquil oasis of calm. Hire a horse-drawn carriage to tour Pisa at a gentle pace, and go for a leisurely stroll along the wide pavements bordering the River Arno. Take time out to sit on the grass in the Campo dei Miracoli, and browse the souvenir stalls to take home a miniature of the famous tower.