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Homepage>Locations>Italy>Milan>Milan Travel Guide>Attractions within 3 hour’s drive

Attractions within 3 hour’s drive

If you hire a car in Milan, you can reach Pisa within three hours.



If you hire a car in Milan, you can reach the city of Pisa in just under three hours.

This wonderful old city’s most famous attraction is the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the cathedral’s free-standing bell tower, which is 60 metres tall and dates back to the 12th century. During the tower’s construction, the builders noticed that it was beginning to lean due to subsidence. The builders tried to correct this, but unfortunately the tower began to lean in the opposite direction instead, leading to its current curved appearance. In recent years, due to concerns that the tower might collapse, substantial work has been carried out to stabilise it, and it has been straightened by 18 inches. You can climb to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but beware – it’s hard going, with very limited room to get through at the top, and may not be suitable for everyone. You’ll also need to book tickets well in advance, as the number of visitors allowed to enter has been restricted in order to help to preserve this landmark.

Opening hours: These vary according to the season, so check before visiting.

Pisa Cathedral itself, known as the Duomo, is also worth visiting. Constructed during the 11th and 12th centuries, this grey and white marble building was the first to use what later became known as the Pisan Romanesque architectural style. In 1595, a fire ripped through the cathedral, destroying some of the original doors and some works of art that were housed inside it. After the fire, the Gothic pulpit designed by Giovanni Pisano was packed away and wasn’t rediscovered until 1926. It’s now the highlight of Pisa Cathedral, as it was the last pulpit to be created by Pisano and is believed by many to be the greatest.

Opening hours: These vary according to the season, so check before visiting.

Pisa Cathedral and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are both situated in the city’s Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), which is also known as the Piazza dei Miracoli or the Piazza Duomo. The piazza is also the location of:

  • Pisa’s circular, Romanesque style Baptistery, which dates back to the 12th century and features a Gothic pulpit crafted by Nicola Pisano.
  • the Caposanto Monumentale, a cemetery, which has amazing wall frescos, Roman tombs, sarcophagi and sculptures in a beautiful setting.
  • the Museo delle Sinopie, where you can see the preliminary sketches for some amazing frescos on the walls.
  • the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, which houses art and sculptures from the Cathedral and Baptistery including works by Michelangelo and Donatello. Other attractions in Pisa include:
  • the Medieval Walls, which offer great views if you walk along them. Santa Maria Della Spina, a gorgeous little Gothic church on the banks of the River Arno, which is well worth a visit.
  • the Orto Botanico dell’Universitia di Pisa (Botanical Gardens of the University of Pisa), which date back to the 16th century and include a hothouse, ponds, herb gardens, greenhouses and a shell decorated building. Entrance is free.
  • the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, which includes works of art dating from the 12th century including works by Giovanni Pisano, Donatello and Masaccio.
  • the Piazza dei Cavalieri, Pisa’s main public square, where you can see the Palazzo dell’Orologio, which incorporates the remains of the “Tower of Hunger”,where Count Ugolino, Pisa’s mayor, and his sons were walled up for treason in 1288, and the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri.
  • the Ponte di Mezzo, a reconstruction of one of the city’s oldest bridges. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Pisa at the end of June, you may be able to see the Game of the Bridge, in which two teams compete to push a cart from one end to the other.

    You can also browse in the shops in the city’s main street, the Corso Italia, and the up-market Borgo Stretto. There are also plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants to choose from – make sure you try the traditional pizzas, pasta dishes, seafood dishes and gelato (ice cream)!

    Directions: To get to Pisa from Milan by car, leave Milan on the A1 partial toll road (signposted for Tangenziale Ovest/E35/Bologna). Follow the A1 for about 103km. Take the E31/La Spezia/Parma Ovest exit to get onto the A15 toll road. Follow the A15 for about 101km and take the exit for Livorno to get onto the A12 toll road. Continue straight on for about 67.5km. Take the exit for Pisa Centro and follow the signs to reach the centre of Pisa.