Destination Europe

My Top Tips for visiting Miracle Square and Pisa

Posted on
September 29, 2016

The fourth port we docked in on our Mediterranean cruise aboard Carnival Vista was Livorno which is a short coach ride from Pisa and Florence.
We made the decision to just visit Pisa and take the kids along for the ride as it was a relatively short excursion in comparison to some.
We parked in a car park at the edge of the town and hopped onboard a trolley (land train), which took us on a bumpy ride around the town, showing us the sights before ending up in Miracle Square itself.
I never realised that there was so much to see in Pisa and we barely scratched the surface. The town itself if surrounded by a stunning Roman Wall.
Pisa
Pisa is built along the river Arno, which reaches the sea only few miles from the town and the medieval Tower Houses, noble palaces are spectacular.
Pisa
Our guide was brilliant, pointing out what each building was and had hosted famous artists such as Lord Byron and P.B. Shelley.
Pisa
But it was the Piazzo dei Miracoli that drew gasps of amazement. I had only ever seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in pictures but Miracle Square in its entirety is simply spectacular.
Miracle Square
The immaculate walled lawns provide a gorgeous setting for the Cathedral, Baptistry, Monumental Cemetery and Tower and it was the Baptistry we visited first.
Baptistry
If you look closely at the roof you will notice the different tiles on either side of the Baptistry’s dome. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a mistake, however, the side covered in terracotta tiles faces towards the sea and acted as landmark for ships before modern day navigation technology.
Pisa
Inside the Baptistry has outstanding acoustics, with multiple echo effects, claimed to be the most unique in the world. We were lucky enough to witness one of the acoustic demonstrations which are performed few times a day by the guard personnel.

Opposite the Baptistry is the Duomo di Pisa which is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture and dominates Miracle Square.
Duomo Di Pisa
If you look very closely at the arches outside you can see that this has sunk too and the far end has been built up, leaving a gap between the arches and the ledge.
Pisa
It is worth remembering that it is a religious building and you are required to cover your shoulders and knees. We did see staff handing out cloaks to tourists to wear inside the building.
Pulpit
You even get to see the Mummy of Saint Rainerius at the altar of the Duomo, the patron saint of Pisa and of travellers.
Mummy in a tomb
The “cimitero monumentale”, is the last of the monuments to arise on the Miracle’s Square in Pisa and its long external marble wall, composed of 43 blind arches and two doors, is on the northern boundary defining it thoroughly.
Miracle Square
It is a sight not to be missed.
Pisa
Back outside it was finally time to take in the Bell Tower, or Leaning Tower of Pisa as it is now known.
Leaning Tower Of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a freestanding bell tower that started to lean during construction because the foundation was built on soft ground that had difficulty supporting the weight.
Miracle Square
It is worth having a tour guide as you find out that Pisa used to be a port and that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was built on reclaimed land from the sea, hence it started to lean. It has since been straightened by 50cm after it was feared it would collapse.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
No visit to Pisa would be without trying to get ‘that’ photo!
Leaning Tower of Pisa
I think Hubby did a good one too…..
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Sadly, we didn’t get to make it up into the tower as they won’t let children under the age of 8 inside but I can imagine the views would be amazing.

My top tips for visiting Pisa are:

  • Make a day of it and explore the town as there are so much to see
  • Buy tickets before you get there so you don’t have to queue, especially important if you want to climb to the top of the tower
  • Go inside to witness the acoustics inside the Baptistry
  • Make sure you wear a top that covers your shoulders and a dress / shorts that cover your knees
  • Do not under estimate how busy it will be, if you can go out of season
  • Beware of the “looky looky men” – they do not disturb you by the manicured lawns but they can be a little intimidating by the cafes just beyond Miracle Square.

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18 Comments
  1. Reply

    Michelle Twin Mum

    September 29, 2016

    Oh wow, how special. I love the acoustics in the Baptistry, this is definitely one for us to visit and your staged pics with the leaning tower are superb. Mich x

  2. Reply

    Jen Walshaw

    September 30, 2016

    What a fabulous day out. I never realised that there was so much to see in Pisa. I Love the staged pictures. It seems such a beautiful place

  3. Reply

    Ana SAV

    September 30, 2016

    Wow! The architectural details are so beautiful over there!
    Great blog post as well. Felt like I was there myself for a second or two.
    xx

  4. Reply

    Dean of Little Steps

    September 30, 2016

    We’ve never been and would love to visit too. I think you’re absolutely right about making a day out of it. Love the photos of your daughter and husband too 🙂

  5. Reply

    Charlotte

    September 30, 2016

    I wanna go to Pisa and soooo many other places in Italy! Thanks for the top tips, I will be sure to dig these out if I ever go 🙂

  6. Reply

    Ayesha Farhad

    September 30, 2016

    Oh wow! this looks so beautiful! We are planning for our vacations and Italy is definitely on my list!!

  7. Reply

    Anne

    September 30, 2016

    I never realised there was so much to see in Pisa, what amazing buildings. I think I may be a little worried going to the top of the bell tower though.

  8. Reply

    Natalia

    October 1, 2016

    I’ve been in Pisa and also took those kind of pictures with the tower 🙂 I think it’s a gorgeous place, the architecture really inspired me peace and it’s so marvelous x

  9. Reply

    Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

    October 1, 2016

    What a fab day out. I have never been here before, but it looks absolutely stunning.
    The acoustic demonstration in the Baptistry is awesome.
    You’ve got some lovely captures of your time there too. I love the photos of your husband and little girl propping up the tower 🙂

  10. Reply

    Laura H

    October 1, 2016

    Looks like you nailed the leaning tower of pisa shot!

  11. Reply

    Fashion and Style Police

    October 1, 2016

    Wow this looks amazing. Good to know you had a brilliant guide.

  12. Reply

    five little doves

    October 1, 2016

    I LOVE the last photo, how fab is that! We have never been to Italy but it is at the top of my list for places to visit, and Pisa especially would be lovely. Must get it booked one of these days! xx

  13. Reply

    Alina

    October 2, 2016

    That looks like a lot of fun and what a beautiful place with lots to see. I’d love to visit one day myself!

  14. Reply

    MELANIE EDJOURIAN

    October 2, 2016

    LOve the photos. Great tips, I must try and visit sometime as it looks like a great place to see.

  15. Reply

    clairejustine

    October 5, 2016

    Oh wow, how lovely 🙂 I love the pictures of your husband and daughter holding the tower up :):)

  16. Reply

    Emma | The Mini Mes and Me

    October 6, 2016

    I love the pics of them trying to hold the tower up haha!

  17. Reply

    Louise

    October 6, 2016

    What gorgeous photos – Italy is such a beautiful country and Pisa looks amazing. I have driven through and seen the tower but wish we had stopped for longer now! Love your staged shots – it has got to be done! x

  18. Reply

    Cadu

    September 13, 2017

    It’s really good to know that people can visit more than the leaning tower. I’ve been there once for an afternoon and the square was impressive, with all that constructions. Next time I’ll try to enjoy it more.
    And the little girl is really tall and strong, isn’t she?

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KARA GUPPY
Bournemouth

Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog chelseamamma.co.uk