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One of the most iconic landmarks of the world stands in the Piazza dei Miracoli (or the Field of Miracles) in the heart of Pisa. Leaning at an angle of about four degrees, the Tower of Pisa is undoubtedly one of the main tourist sites in Italy, certainly the main one in Pisa. Those who have ticked off their bucket list this bizarre architectural wonder will notice that Pisa in itself has a lot more to offer, including museums, cathedrals and gardens. As Pisa is located in central Italy, the incredibly beautiful Tuscan countryside and the Italian coastline are just a short scenic drive away.
Who to Book With
Before arriving in Pisa, you should check the prevailing rates for car rentals in the city by comparing prices online. You will have plenty of car hire companies to choose from in Pisa, including international firms like Sixt, Hertz, Alamo, National, Avis, Thrifty and Budget, as well as many other local outfits. By booking online, you can find better prices than when hiring on the spot.
Best Time to Go
The climate here, as with most of Italy, is Mediterranean. Things get pretty warm, not to mention crowded, in summer, however, with temperatures averaging at 29°C and reaching 39°C at times. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are much more preferable in terms of weather and crowds.
Need to Know Essentials
The keys to your rented vehicle will be handed to you upon the presentation of the following:
- A national driving permit (International Driving Permit for non-EU drivers)
- A passport or other photo ID
- A valid credit card
- A print-out of the booking
Those driving into Pisa can take the A11 or the A12, both of which run close to Pisa. The A11 runs west from Florence in the heart of Tuscany, while the A12 meanders along the western Mediterranean coastline of Italy. Driving in Pisa and to its surrounding regions is easy. There are large car parks outside the busy city centre and close to the Piazza dei Miracoli even. Many visitors choose to park their car and begin exploring the main attractions by public transport or on foot.
The main attractions in town can easily be covered on foot. Pisa S Rossore Station is the train station closest to the Piazza dei Miracoli, although Pisa Centrale is the main station in the city. Cabs can be hired over the phone and provide services within and outside Pisa. Plenty of buses also regularly run around town.
Trains are available, but only for getting into Pisa and not around it. You will most likely arrive at Pisa Centrale, the main station of the city. Florence is about one hour and 15 minutes away, with a ticket costing about €6. Trains traveling to Genova from Rome also stop at Pisa. Travellers who just want to see the Leaning Tower can get off at Pisa S Rossore Station, which is closer to this world-famous attraction.
Cab companies are plentiful in this Tuscan city. They can be hired from their ranks at Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport or at the Pisa Centrale train station. Società Cooperativa Tassisti even offers rides to and from other cities such as Florence. A cab ride from Florence to Pisa costs about €200, while a taxi from the airport to the city centre costs around €10.
Regular bus services run to different destinations around town. There are buses that run from Pisa Centrale to Piazza dei Miracoli, and tobacco shops and vending machines dispense the tickets. Services for routes outside Pisa are provided by CPT from its hub at Piazza Sant’Antonio. Buses run to Volterra and Livorno.
Sightseeing in Pisa is an easy feat given the relative close proximity of the main sights in the city. Most of them, such as the Piazza dei Miracoli and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, are located on the northern side of the River Arno. It is worth spending a day or two exploring the Italian coast on four wheels, especially with areas as spectacularly beautiful as Cinque Terre.
Lucca - A pretty Tuscan town located around 11 miles north of Pisa. The architecture is manly what people come here to see, with imposing buildings such as the Duomo di San Martino topping the bill. The duomo is also home to the Holy Face of Lucca, a wooden corpus of a crucifix, and the Ilaria del Carretto's Sarcophagus, a sculpture by Renaissance artist Jacopo della Quercia.
Cinque Terre - This is a designated national park, home to five towns: Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso and Vernazza. This is one of the most stunning places in the entire Mediterranean where houses perched on top of dramatic cliffs that drop into the clear blue waters of the sea below.
La Spezia - This is one of the many beautiful towns you will encounter on your way to the Cinque Terre. The gulf here is often called the Gulf of the Poets because many artists found inspiration in the ruggedly beautiful coastal setting of this town in Italy’s Ligurian region.