Pisa Tourist Attractions

Most people will at one point or another have seen pictures of the famous leaning tower of Pisa, but the city in Italy's wonderful Tuscany region has far more to offer than just this marvel of ancient architecture.

The greater Pisa region boasts treasures like the lovely city of Lucca, just a 20km drive by hire car, where visitors can stop off en route at the magnificent Nozanno Castle. Built in 1126, the castle was originally meant to keep the citizens of Pisa out, as the two cities were locked in battle for a very long time. For the same reason the good burghers at the nearby town of Ripafratta also erected a castle. Today the efforts of Italy's tourism board keeps the peace between the two rivals.

At Lucca visitors can enjoy the Palazzo Ducale, a 16th century ducal palace or see San Giovanni, an ancient church where Roman remains were found or marvel at the Cathedral of San Martino, which dates back to the 6th century, making it one of Italy's oldest churches.

Back in Pisa the Leaning Tower still ranks as tourist attraction number one. It has been standing on the same spot for more than 700 years and forms part of Pisa Cathedral in its role as bell tower. This leaning wonder was built on sand - an architectural mishap to which nobody has ever confessed by name, but which today attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Other much-loved Pisa tourist attractions include the magnificent Piazza dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles, which is located right next to Pisa Cathedral and the Leaning Tower. Much of Pisa's architecture is Romanesque, dating back to the middle of the 11th century, when the city had an important part to play on the world stage.

Also close by is the Piazza Arcevescovado, where the Museo dell'Opera Duomo can be found. The museum boasts many sculptures and archaeological finds as well as treasures from Pisa Cathedral. The Battistero or Baptistery at the Piazza del Duomo is one of the largest circular Baptisteries in Italy, measuring an enormous 104 meters or 348 feet in circumference. Building work for this stunning piece of medieval engineering started in 1153, but more than 100 years later the building was still under construction.

The Piazza dei Cavalieri or Knights Square is home to the Palazzo dei Cavalieri, where the Tuscan Knights of St. Stephen once had their headquarters. Both the 1560s Palazzo and the square itself are among the finest Pisa tourist attractions thanks to their elaborate facades, beautiful proportions and medieval charm.

Away from marble and gold-leaf clad statues there are other Pisa tourist attractions to discover, which allow visitors to soak up the sun and marvel at the art of the landscape gardener instead. The Botanical Gardens in the heart of the city date back to the 1540's, making them the oldest botanical gardens in Europe and a perfect place to sit and contemplate the city's fortunes through the ages. In the summer both grown-ups and children are treated to open-air theater performances.

A visit to Pisa is not just about ancient architecture and history lessons - modern Pisa tourist attractions include the city's wonderful restaurants and bars, where visitors can sample the fine food and wine of the Tuscany region.

The flavours are earthy and home-grown, only the freshest of ingredients are allowed into any local chef's kitchen! While eating out anywhere near the Campo dei Miracoli can be rather costly, away from the main tourist throng there are many cosy bars, cafes and restaurants where local fish dishes or some of Italy's finest pasta can be sampled without breaking the bank.

For more information about Pisa tourist attractions, please visit the official tourism website for the city at www.pisaunicaterra.it. The site has excellent travel tips for the entire Pisa region as well as details on important festivals and events being held throughout the year.

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