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Pisa - Practical Information

Gloria - Casina di Rosa

Pisa has excellent restaurants, theatres, cinemas and much more. It is a lively city and the nearby area is also very interesting.

When To Go

Pisa is a nice and lively city all year round, but in June it is at its best. On the 16th there is the spectacular street festival called Luminara: the city is lit by candlelight and at 11 p.m. there are fireworks. Concerts are organized in every square and the entire city center becomes a crazy street party. On the 17th it is San Ranieri Day, the Patron Saint Day. There is a regatta where the historical quarters challenge each other preceded by a parade in historical costumes. On the last Sunday of June there is the Gioco del Ponte (literally, the game of the bridge). It takes place at Ponte di Mezzo. Several teams of big, big men push a heavy cart with their necks. The team which manages to push it into the other teams space wins.

December is also a very nice month; from the first Sunday of the month there is a Christmas market in the city centre. On the first Sunday of each month, there is the antique market, one of the largest in Italy, which brings a lot of people to the city. May is also a perfect moment especially during the flower festival at Le Piagge.

How to Get There

Airplane: You can reach Pisa by airplane from everywhere in Europe. Pisa Airport is expanding rapidly and will soon start flights to and from New York. Moreover, many low-cost companies such as RyanAir, EasyJet, Transavia, and many more, land in Pisa Airport.

The airport is practically in the city centre. You can reach the central train station in 5 minutes by the LAM Rossa bus (Linea Alta Mobilità - rossa means red - sometimes indicated on the bus as L/R. (A ticket costs 85 cents.) A direct shuttle bus service to Florences Santa Maria Novella train station is available from Pisa airport. Alternatively there are taxis and trains to Florence, which stop at the central train station.

Train: You can reach Pisa by train. Pisa Centrale is a very important train station as it is connected to two principal train lines: the Livorno-Pisa-Florence line, and the Thyrrenic railway line which runs along the coast from Naples, though Rome and all the way to Genoa and Turin. Pisa San Rossore is a smaller station near the Tower that connects the city with Lucca and Pistoia.

Bus: You can reach Pisa by bus. The city is connected to Lucca and the coast as well as to Florence. We recommend the train rather than the bus.

Car: You can reach Pisa by car. Pisa is on the Autostrada A12/E80. It is very well connected to Rome and Genoa via Grosseto and Livorno and to Florence and Lucca. There are many pay parking lots throughout Pisa but there are also two huge Park and Ride parking lots, where you can park your car for free and either walk to the City Center or go by city bus (0,85 but there are different types of tickets and different prices).

Where to Park Your Car

www.pisamo.it/parcheggi.asp: Public parking lots in Pisa is can be seen on the map on this site. Green symbols represent free parking and blue is pay parking. The park and ride parking lots are north and northeast of the Leaning Tower.

Street parking is indicated by stripes painted on the road. In general, blue stripes are pay parking (from 0.50 to 2.00 euros per hour depending on the area). White stripes are free parking but in the city centre they are almost non-existent. Yellow stripes represent reserved parking for the disabled, buses, delivery vehicles, etc. depending on the signs posted by the stripes. It is best not to park in a yellow space.

City Buses

www.cpt.pisa.it: The bus company in Pisa is CPT (Consorzio Pisano Trasporti).

The bus which runs between the airport, central train station and the Field of Miracles is the LAM Rossa bus (Linea Alta Mobilità - rossa means red - sometimes indicated on the bus as L/R.

Navetta (Shuttle bus) C runs between the Park and Ride in Via Pietrasantina and the Piazza del Duomo.

You can buy different types of tickets:

Standard Ticket (60 minutes): 0.85
120 minutes ticket: 1.15
240 minutes ticket: 1.45
Daily Ticket: 2.90
4 standard rides ticket: 3.15
Booklet with 10 standard tickets: 7.50

You must buy your ticket before getting on the bus and you can purchase them at any Tobacconists, in many bars and newsagents. You can also buy your ticket on board the bus but the standard ticket costs 1.50 euros. Once on the bus you must validate your ticket by punching it in one of the yellow machines located within the bus.

Bike Rental

One of the best ways to enjoy Pisa is by bike. Everybody has a bicycle in Pisa, as the city is flat and the city center is closed to traffic. You can rent a bike from EcoVoyager, Via della Faggiola, 41. They also organize bike tours. You can contact them at these numbers: 050 561839 or 339 7607652.

Horse and Carriage

If you want, you can take a tour of the city centre in a horse-drawn carriage. There are many in Piazza dei Miracoli. They take you through the city centre, but be careful, they can be expensive and the "guide" often doesnt speak English.

Day Trips

Besides the famous Tuscan cities of Lucca, Florence and Siena (reachable by train or car), you can do day trips by car to:

  • Basilica di San Pietro a Grado: Amazing abbey of the 12th century. The legend says that once upon a time there was a harbor here, and Saint Peter arrived here from Antiochus to go to Rome.
  • Tenuta di San Rossore: Large natural park, with hippodrome, bike trails, etc.
  • The Nature Park in Vecchiano: The best beach ever.
  • San Giuliano Terme: Spa centre between Pisa and Lucca
  • The Medici Aqueduct

  • Calci and the Carthusian Monastery: Amazing!!! And the little village of Montemagno is definitely a must see. But leave your car at the entrance.
  • Uliveto Terme: Great Thermal Park and in Caprona there is the Upezzinghi Tower from which you can enjoy an amazing view

Resources

www.pisa-airport.com: Airport "Galileo Galilei", official website of Pisa International Airport.

www.cpt.pisa.it: City buses in Pisa.

www.pisaonline.it: Pisa Online, Portal with information about the city of the Leaning Tower.

www.opapisa.it: Official website of the association which manages the Cathedral and the Leaning Tower.

orre.duomo.pisa.it: Official website of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

www.wikipedia.org: An introduction to Pisa from the Wikipedia.

www.behindthetower.com/en/links/: More resources on Gloria's website.


Gloria lives in Pisa and runs two vacation rentals: Casina di Rosa, a house in a village in the Tuscan countryside south of Siena, and Behind the Tower, an apartment in Pisa.

© Behind the Tower, 2005

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