Pisa and Florence, Italy: What to Do, See, and Eat
Are you and your family planning to travel to Pisa or Florence? Here are my tips and recommendations for everything to do, see, and eat on your trip!
We just got back from a 2 day trip to Pisa and Florence and I have to say, for such a quick trip, we saw a lot! It was our first trip in awhile, and one that was very last minute, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time.
I decided to throw together a quick guide to what we did in each city as well as tips and tricks to getting around, especially if you’ll be taking the train. Now, lets get right into the fun stuff!
We flew into Pisa Airport and took the Pisa Mover to the part of the city we were staying in. Getting to the Pisa Mover from the airport was fairly easy and took us right into the city center (via Pisa Centrale). Around the train station you’ll find ticket booths for the train. As long as you know the station you’re trying to go to, you can get tickets easily at Pisa Centrale!
To get from Pisa to Florence, you’ll want to start at Pisa Centrale and buy tickets to Firenze S. M. Novella. This will take you directly into Florence’s city center. From there, you can walk to quite a few main attractions or catch a cab if you don’t feel like walking.
Where to Stay
We stayed at a fabulous boutique hotel called The Rif. Being a family of 4, it can be hard to find rooms big enough to fit us, but this hotel was perfect. We stayed in a garden room that was separate from the main hotel and featured a private patio.
The biggest plus for us was convenience location wise. It was a 3 minute walk from the Pisa San Rossore train station (which is just a 5 minute ride from Pisa Centrale) and a 5 minute walk to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The hotel was situated just outside the “walls” of the main city center so it was quiet and away from the crowds.
Hotel Pros and Cons:
- Central location in Pisa
- Close walking distance to train station and main attractions
- Great price for the size of room we got
- On site breakfast and lunch/dinner options
- Gated with a code, so it felt very safe
- Very “Instagram” worthy
- Beds weren’t very comfortable
- Breakfast (if not included in your rate) was $18 per person with no discount for children
- No 24 hr reception, front desk closes during the night
Where to Eat
We didn’t really research places to eat before we got to Pisa and Florence, but thankfully we stumbled upon a few great places!
Hard Rock Café – Via dei Brunelleschi, 1, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Why would you eat at Hard Rock in Italy?” But we only chose to eat there because it was our first meal after we got married in Hawaii so we had to continue the tradition for our anniversary. The food was okay, but not something I’d go back for. I would say if you stop in here, make reservations online ahead of time! Especially if it’s closer to the evening.
Studio Gelato – Via dei Servi, 41R, 50122 Firenze FI
We stumbled upon this gelato shop on our way back from the museum and it was absolutely adorable at first glace. They had so many flavors of gelato, indoor and outdoor seating, and the woman at the counter was super sweet.
Ristoro Pecorino – Via Santa Maria, 157, 56126 Pisa PI
This place was by far my favorite. It’s a quaint little place with indoor and outdoor seating right down the street from the Leaning Tower. I had the Pici con Fonduta di Pecorino e Pepe, which is basically just cheese and pepper pasta, and it was phenomenal! The staff were wonderful ,too.
Filter Coffee Lab – Via Santa Maria, 30, 56126 Pisa PI
This was the one place I put on our list but didn’t get to try out. It’s a cute little breakfast and coffee spot closer to the river in Pisa (but on the same street as Ristoro Pecorino) and it has great reviews. If I ever make it back to Pisa, I’ll definitely be trying it out!
Things to Do
Piazza del Duomo (Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cattedrale di Pisa, Battistero di San Giovanni) – Piazza del Duomo, 56126 Pisa PI
If you’re going to Pisa, odds are you’re there for one reason: the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But there is so much more to see in the piazza! There are several museums, cathedrals, and gardens that you can tour. The cathedral is free to visit, but the tower and museums cost money. I would suggest buying tickets in advance, especially for the tower. Also keep in mind that the tower consists of 257 steps, so if you’re visiting with kids, going up may not be in the cards. We weren’t able to visit any of the museums, but they look very fun and informative!
Palazzo Blu Art Museum – Lungarno Gambacorti, 9, 56125 Pisa PI
This art museum is home to many art exhibits, including the works of Picasso, Warhol, and Salvador Dalí. The entrance fee to this museum is very affordable and would be a great addition to your trip!
Accademia Gallery – Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50129 Firenze FI
Art museum featuring Michelangelo’s David statue. Enough said!
Uffizi Gallery – Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI
Another beautiful art gallery with lots to see.
Florence Cathedral – Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI
Probably one of the biggest monuments of Florence, this cathedral is one you can’t miss! Even if you don’t go inside, it’s amazing to witness.
Leonardo Interactive Museum – Via dei Servi, 66/R, 50122 Firenze FI
This museum was such a hit with our girls. It’s fairly small, but features inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci that are interactive, so it’s lots of fun! Tickets are sold in time slots, so be sure to grab them before you go.