The Leaning Tower of Pisa – Is It Worth The Visit?

Just an hour from Florence by train is the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

This was our fourth trip to Italy and we had yet to go to Pisa, so we made it our mission to finally see the famous tower of Pisa.

About the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The leaning tower of Pisa is located in the province of Pisa in the Tuscany region.

It is located behind the Pisa Cathedral in the City Square. It is not hard to miss!

We stayed at the NH Hotel right by the train station to make things easier and were walking distance from the tower of Pisa.

It was so nice to walk out of the station and instantly see our hotel to relax after the trip for a few minutes before walking over to see the tower.

The Pisa Tower from the Pisa Train Station

the leaning tower of pisa vertical
The Tower of Pisa really does lean

The train station is about 20 minutes from the leaning tower. It’s an easy walk almost in a straight line across the river.

Before we knew it, we were at the Piazza Arcivescovado where we met our Walks of Italy Guide, Vincenzo.

We caught a quick glimpse of the tower, but that was to be saved for the end.

First, we took a stroll through the Monumental Cemetery (or the Camposanto Monumentale).

Pisa is a picturesque city located on the Arno River and it’s worth spending a couple of days here to take in the architecture.

There’s more to see than just the Leaning Tower of Pisa

tower of pisa river walk
Straight line from Train Station to Tower of Pisa

Pisa may be crowded with tourists, but while walking through this cemetery, you’ll be in peace and quiet taking in the beauty of the frescoes and tombs.

The Camposanto was built in the 12th century, but unfortunately, it was all but destroyed during WWII.

It has been beautifully rebuilt with 84 tombs still intact and they have been working on restoring the frescoes as well.

tower of pisa tour of cathedral
Camposanto Monumentale

One fresco that can still be seen is called the Triumph of Death. Check it out and you be the judge of what it’s all about.

tower of pisa fresco tour
Triumph of Death Frescoe

A Visit to the Pisa Duomo

We then visited the Duomo. This was a little less serene but beautiful to see.

Sifting through the crowds of people, we caught a glimpse of the pulpit, we marveled at the gold ceiling and wove through the marble columns.

At one time, Pisa ruled the Mediterranean and you can definitely see hints of that wealth in this building.

tower of pisa tour of duomo
The Duomo Interior

Pisa Today

Today, Pisa is a university town and has a population of 88,000 residents.

But it is most famously known for its leaning tower, the final stop on our tour.

What’s interesting is the Tower of Pisa was simply the bell tower of the Camposanto.  

It was doomed from the start though and before they even finished construction it began to lean.

For decades, engineers from around the world took a stab at fixing it.

In 1989 the tower of Pisa was finally closed to fix the problem.

The Tower of Pisa is now saved and still leaning for generations to see for years to come.

The Tower of Pisa isn’t leaning quite as much as it used to

tower of pisa view
A view up the tower of Pisa

In 2001 the Pisa tower re-opened and it now has a more manageable lean. The top is 4 meters from vertical.

When taking a tour, you skip the line and head right into the front of the tower. Apparently, you can spend over an hour in line, but we walked right in at our allotted time.

Get your front of the line passes to the leaning tower of Pisa at Get Your Guide. The reserved entrance tickets will save you hours of time.

The Tower of Pisa Tour

When we entered the centre of the tower, our tour guide started talking about the history of the tower, but we noticed that people started walking up the stairs during her speech.

We decided to follow so that we wouldn’t be stuck behind some slow climbers and I’m glad that we did.

Leaning Tower of Pisa vs Bologna Tower

tower of pisa vs bologna leaning tower
View of Bologna from the Bologna from leaning tower

We felt quite satisfied climbing the Tower of Bologna and looking out over the city.

The Two Towers of Bologna are more rustic and authentic than the restored tower of Pisa and they both lean.

The Tower of Asinelli is the tallest in Italy 97 metres and Garisenda Tower has an extreme lean.

The Asinelli Tower is the one that you can climb in Bologna.

We climbed up the narrow stairs that some people find quite frightening. There’s just one little railing separating you from a long tumble down.

But no matter, it’s fun and when you get to the top, the views are incredible. Bologna is one gorgeous city dating back to 1000 BC.

tower of pisa vs bologna tower

Plan Your Pisa Vacation

Trains to Pisa go through Florence from Rome and can be booked at Trenitalia

Our tour of Pisa was with Walks of Italy. For more information on tours around Italy and Pisa, check out Walks of Italy

Timed Entrance Leaning Tower of Pisa – Skip the long lines at the ticket office and go directly to the tower for your reserved time slot.

Pisa Guided Walking Tour – Similar to the tour we took. Walking tour of the Piazza dei Miracoli and its monuments, the Cathedral, the Baptistery and Camposanto, and the Church of San Sisto.

Exclusive Pisa Tour from Florence – This exclusive tour takes you on an air conditioned coach from Florence to Pisa. The tour includes a local guide, tour escort and entrance fees to Pisa Cathedral and the Leaning Tower.

Florence and Pisa PrivateTour – Visiting Pisa and Italy by cruise ship. Get picked up by a Mercedes Benz sedan or minivan from Livorno Port to explore Pisa and Florence on this full day excursion.

Where to Stay in Pisa

NH Hotel Pisa

We enjoyed our stay at the NH Hotel. Modern, clean & good location by train station.  

Check out Availability & Prices

Grand Hotel Duomo

Location, Location, Location. Just a 2 minute walk from the Tower of Pisa and Duomo. 

Check out Availability & Prices

tower of pisa staircase

What it’s like at the top of the Tower of Pisa

The steps were much wider and easier to climb than the Bologna Leaning tower and it wasn’t nearly as high.

It wasn’t quite the same adventure, but it was still a good climb to make us feel that we did a bit of exercise for the day.

Before we knew it we were at the top and I’m glad we made good time. It turns out that you are allotted a very short tour of the top.

We moved quickly and barely had enough time to see everything. The tower of Pisa is in high demand and they move tours through all day long.

So remember, get up quickly and move quickly through the tower too.

top of leaning tower of Pisa
Dave safely behind the fence at the top of the leaning tower of Pisa

There are two levels to discover. The first floor gives you an overview of the city from safely from behind a tall fence.

You can squeeze your camera through just enough to get a photo or two.

Tower of pisa view
View from the Tower of Pisa

Don’t take too long here though, because as you move around the tower to the other side, they open up the next level that where you can walk up and see the bells.

We were the last ones out of the tower and the guard had to come and move us along, but we managed to have it all to ourselves for a couple of seconds before being shooed down.

top of the leaning tower of pisa
Surrounded by Bells at the Leaning Tower of Pisa

I’m really glad we took the trip from Bologna to Pisa. It’s really cool to be able to compare the tallest leaning tower of Italy to the most famous leaning tower in the world.

How can you not visit such a marvel? It’s only an hour from Florence and a must to see. The big difference between  the Tower of Pisa and the Bologna towers is the setting.

With the leaning tower of Pisa, you can look at it from a distance. The Tower of Pisa stands alone in a clearing and is very easy to view from all angles.

In Bologna, the city surrounds the towers and it’s difficult to really take in the lean. They both are very different and they both are equally as cool.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO Italy

Read all of our articles on Italy in our Italy Travel Guide

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

38 thoughts on “The Leaning Tower of Pisa – Is It Worth The Visit?”

  1. I went a few years ago with my parents, which was a blast. We too had no problem getting the timed ticket and grabbing lunch as we waited for our time.

    I don’t remember the high fence, just the railing. I wonder if it is new? I do remember that even on the stairs you could tell from the lean which part of the tower you were on (the high or the low side). I’m sure we had the same amount of time as you guys, but I don’t remember feeling rushed.

    It was a good day with my parents, seeing stuff on our own.

    Reply
    • The fence must be new. You can’t get close to it unless you have tickets to go up. Glad you didn’t feel rushed, maybe they’ve moved people along more over the years, or maybe since you went when you were younger, you didn’t take so many photos.

      Reply
    • It’s definitely worth the stop. I love going off the beaten path, but I do love seeing all the great iconic buildings that I grew up hearing about and Pisa is definitely iconic.

      Reply
  2. Your story reminds me of my family trip to Pisa in the summer of 2008. We were also trying to avoid terribly touristy places in Italy, but decided to see it anyway. I actually enjoyed the Duomo more than the tower itself, the stonework and magnitude of the interior are awe-inspiring.

    Thanks for your story,
    Ian Faulds

    Reply
    • You are right Ian, the Duomo is impressive and the cemetery too. We found that the surrounding area was quite beautiful. I think it’s worth spending more than one day in Pisa

      Reply
  3. Nice pics, I’m looking forward to seeing the leaning tower in Bologna. The Pisa tower was nice but for some reason, I didn’t get enough there, there if you know what I mean, so I’m really looking forward to seeing Bologna.

    Reply
    • I think I know what you mean. It’s a bit strange because it’s all been renovated. I have a feeling the Leaning tower would have been more impressive before the renovation. This didn’t quite feel real. It’s so white and perfect. It’s been propped back up, reinforced and fixed up to look like new. The Bologna Tower feels more authentic.

      Reply
  4. These are spectacular shots of such majestic beauties. I’ll save more to see Italy in the future. Thank you for taking us over there.

    Reply
  5. Andy really likes the city of Pisa, but I’ve only seen the tower itself, and even that was 18 years ago. We didn’t get to climb up because it was a quick stop on a whirlwind tour (I was 15, gotta start somewhere!) but I’d like to go back someday and explore the city.

    Reply
    • Great that you both have had the chance to see it though. I wonder how much it has changed since 18 years ago. Very cool.

      Reply
  6. Gah Italy looks so amazing. Dying to visit, definitely have to stop in bologna and check out the tallest tower in Italy

    Reply
    • You are going to love Italy. I remember the first time we went there, we drove from Spain and the energy changed as soon as we entered the Cinque Terre. Everyone was smiling and laughing and yelling Buongiorno and Ciao! Not that Spain wasn’t amazing too, but the Italians are so passionate and Bologna, well, you see how much we love it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  7. Beautiful shots! I visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa back in 2006 but at the time it was closed to visitors to climb it. Even though we’ve been living just a few hours away for over 4 years now, we never seem to make it back to Pisa.

    Reply
    • Ha, that’s funny eh? It’s always traveling in your own backyard that gets put on the backburner. You’ll have to go to Bologna and then Pisa and do a comparison of your own

      Reply
  8. I was there back in 2009 and have to admit, it was the least spectacular part of my tour of Italy. We actually had more fun staying in a town (forget the name; it was before I started travel blogging and recording all of those details!) about 45 minutes out.

    That being said, it was still pretty groovy! And, as your own shots detail, you get a great view from up at the top!

    Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • I know how you feel. There are places that I have no idea where I stayed, but I remember them being a pleasant experience. Now I have a record of everything. Glad you had the chance to visit, it may be touristy, but something you’ve got to see.

      Reply
  9. We didn’t climb the tower but it was certainly impressive even from below. I actually found the entire historical centre of Pisa to be quite interesting. There is certainly more to Pisa than just the leaning tower.

    Reply
  10. Hi Guys

    Just wandering how you always manage to get that beautiful bright blue sky on your images no matter what time of day. Would love to know your secret.

    Reply
    • Hi Sam, we actually go out when the sky is blue. When we have grey days I shoot in black and white or use HDR to capture dramatic clouds

      Reply
    • That’s wonderful that you had the chance to go to Pisa with your dad, we’d love to travel more with our parents.

      Reply
  11. Wow, great post and incredible photos! The photo of Bologna is great – I wish I’d made that stop when I was in the area.

    Were you planning on visiting Portofino at any point while you wander around there? It’s my favorite of all the smaller towns in Italy and worth going a little out of the way for.

    Reply
    • Thanks Lindsay, all the more reason to go back. We didn’t make it to Portofino, but it gives us a reason to go back too!

      Reply
  12. Shows what I know about Italy, I had no idea there was more than one leaning tower! I think it’s fun that you got to see both, a nice way to compare and contrast. And, as always, great pictures!

    Reply
    • Don’t worry Shawna, we didn’t know before going either. I believe that there are a few leaning towers in Italy, they’re all so old that they’ve all started to lean. But I wouldn’t quote me on that.

      Reply
  13. I went to Pisa for the first time last week. I’m surprised you found the train tickets expensive, I paid a little over 5 Euro to get from Florence to Pisa. The intercity routes will always be much more expensive if you don’t book in advance. As for the tower, it’s easy to miss the line, you just buy a timed ticket, then spend the waiting time looking around the other sights, when it reaches your time you’re straight in. No need to waste money on a guide ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Thanks for the heads up David. We came from Bologna and couldn’t find any tickets for that cheap. Good to know though that the route from Florence to Pisa is affordable. And thanks for the heads up on the lines. Appreciate giving all our readers different perspectives. We obviously mess up on our research but good to know there are people out there who have it all figured out and share their expertise. Cheers!

      Reply