Visit the Leaning Tower but don’t forget the Cathedral, Baptistry and Cemetery
Cruises to Pisa and Florence will normally mean that your cruise ship will dock at Livorno.
Excursions will take you to one or the other city for the day, but check what each trip includes before you book.
If you want to visit Pisa, you will probably not have the opportunity to climb the tower on an excursion. If this is high on your agenda then you should consider making your own plans for the day in Pisa.
This option will also be considerably cheaper and enable you to follow your own schedule for the day.
Both Pisa and Florence can be reached by train from Livorno station, although, as you can imagine from the map below, just getting to the station is a bit of an effort. If your cruise line provides a shuttle bus into Livorno it will drop you in the centre of the town (and pick you up there later, although not necessarily in exactly the same place…ask when you get off in the morning).
You will then need to catch a bus to the railway station. Bus tickets need to be bought beforehand from a Tabbachi shop.
On our last visit, the shop in the picture, near to the shuttle drop off point, had a massive ‘Bus Tickets Here’ sign painted on a sheet outside in the morning (when we forgot to take a picture, sorry). The staff inside were very helpful and spoke good English. Tickets were €1.2 euros each way.
You need to get a No. 1 bus to the station, going in the opposite direction to the port.
The bus stop can be seen in the picture on the other side of the road.
When you get on board you will need to validate your ticket (see picture).
The station is quite obvious when you get there (see picture) and lots of people will get off the bus. Trains to Pisa and Florence (Firenze) run fairly frequently, but you can check times in advance at the Trenitalia website.
In 2015 the ticket price to Pisa was €2.60 euros each way. The train will take about 20 mins.
When you arrive in Pisa it is a walk of about 30 minutes’ walk to the Campo dei Miracoli where you will find the Leaning Tower.
The route we followed is as follows:
After exiting the station, cross over the pedestrian area and head for the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.
Cross over the Piazza and take the Corso Italia which is a shopping street not open to cars.
Follow the Corso Italia until you come to the River Arno.
Cross over the Arno by the Ponte di Mezzo.
Go across the small square and take the Borgo Stretto until you reach the Via Ulisse Dini, turn left and follow this until you reach the Piazza dei Cavalieri.
Go past the small church of San Rocco follow the Via dei Mille and then turn right into the Via Santa Maria.
This will lead you to Campo dei Miracoli.
It’s probably best to have a map of Pisa to hand just to make sure you are heading in the right direction as you won’t want to be wasting time or energy going the wrong way, especially if it is hot. Take note of the route so that you know where to go on your return trip.
If you’ve not been to Pisa before, look out for your first sight of the tower jutting above the surrounding buildings. It’s quite spectacular.
Tempting as it may be to take lots of photos straightaway or find the nearest café and admire the view, if you want tickets to climb the tower itself, our advice is to go straight to the ticket office.
Leaning Tower of Pisa tour tickets are limited, timed and do sell out. Remember you have to get back to the ship, so you will not want to stay too late into the afternoon.
The time of your tower tour will then set the agenda for the rest of your day.
The ticket office is on the far side of the Campo dei Miracoli (see picture), which is where you will also find the well maintained toilets (small charge).
Do some research on the Opera Della Primaziale Pisana website before you arrive.
There are 6 separate attractions to see, but you would be pushed to fit them all into a one day visit and be able to enjoy a stress-free journey back to the ship by public transport.
The tower is a ‘must see’, if you can cope with the climb and the views at the top.
The Baptistry and Cathedral are amazing and a cool retreat on a hot day.
Do not overlook the Cemetery, which is our favourite, full of beautiful statues and frescos.
You can spend as much or as little time as you like in these buildings and the two nearby museums.
There are a variety of ticket combinations so choose the one that suits you. Leave time for souvenir shopping and those all-important photographs.