Two City Weekend Break in Florence & Pisa: Top Things To Do

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

Florence & Pisa are two of Italy’s much loved tourist hubs – and as they are only separated by a 1 hour train journey, they are easily combined in a two city break. Read on to find out the top things to do in both cities! Weekend Florence Pisa

Β  Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

RELATED: These are the eighth & ninth stops on my ‘Europe By Rail in 25 Days‘ Tour. Click the link to find out all about it!

Two city Weekend break in Florence & Pisa:
Things To Do

Florence – the capital of the Tuscan region of Italy – was once a major trade center in Medieval Europe and is credited with being the birthplace of the Renaissance. With multiple museums and breathtaking architecture, it has been voted as one of the most beautiful cities in the world by both Forbes and Conde Nast Traveler.

Pisa on the other hand is famous for its leaning tower and impressive Piazza Del Duomo. The three main buildings can be explored in a couple of hours, and so make it the perfect city to combine with a visit to Florence.

RELATED: Want to read about other cities you can hit in a weekend – and the other stops on this Eurotrip? Read my posts on Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna & Venice to get you started!

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Florence

Cathedral & Duomo

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

The Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore – translated as: Saint Mary of the Flowers – is the main church in Florence. The cathedral was begun at the end of the 13th century by Arnolfo di Cambio. The dome, which dominates the exterior, was added in the 15th century on a design of Filippo Brunelleschi. It is the 4th Largest Cathedral in the world (after St Peter’s in Rome, St Paul’s in London & the Doumo in Milan).

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Ponte Vecchio

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

The Ponte Vecchio – or Old Bridge – its original construction can be dated back to 995, and was rebuilt in 1345. It was the only bridge that the Nazi’s didn’t destroy in World War II. The bridge is famous for the numerous jewellery shops which are contained inside.

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Santa Croce

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

The Basilica di Santa Croce – or The Basilica of the Holy Cross – is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli. And because of this it is also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories.

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Piazza della Signoria & Loggia dei Lanzi

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

The Piazza is conveniently located next to the Ponte Vecchio and is home to two museums. First, the Piazza Vecchio Museum (with the tower you can climb) and second: the open air sculpture museum know as Loggia dei Lanzi. It is in this areas you can find a copy of Michelangelo’s Statue of David, Cellini’s 1554Β  Perseo holding Medusa’s head and Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus Sculpture (above).

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Galleria dell’Academia

Weekend Florence Pisa Things To Do

No visit to Florence is complete without gazing upon Michelangelo’s magnificent Statue of David. Located in the Galleria dell’Academica, it is important to pre-book your ticket so you don’t waste any of your valuable time waiting in line!

**For those who love Museums, there is also the equally popular Uffizi Gallery located near the Piazza della Signora**

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Piazza Michelangelo

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

Piazza Michelangelo – the perfect place if If you’re wanting a panoramic view of Florence’s iconic skyline (and don’t want to climb any of the towers!). Located approximately 4km away from the main sights I recommend grabbing a cab/uber to get you there. (If time is not an option for you it is around a 1.5-2 hour walk.) Open daily and free – it’s a stop on your Florence tour that you can’t afford to miss!

**TIP** Plan your visit to coincide with sunset and you will not be disappointed!

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Pisa

Pisa is best known for it’s Iconic Leaning Tower and to be honest on our visit we didn’t find much more of interest. (Apart from yummy Italian food, loads of Gelato and lots of churches!) This is why it is the perfect city to tag on to your weekend in Florence. The main sight are located in Piazza Del Duomo – also known as Piazza Dei Miracoli –Β  and comprises The Cathedral, The Baptistry, the Camposanto Monumentale and the Bell Tower.

The Cathedral

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

The Piazza is considered to be central to religious life with the Baptistry representing Birth; The Cathedral (and Leaning Tower) – Life and the Cemetery, death. Surrounded by lush green grass, it is the perfect place to sit and relax as you gaze upon these stunning buildings.

It is also a great place to people watch.. I’m sure you won’t be surprised at the number of people trying to “hold up the tower” in their holiday snaps. It can be really quite entertaining!

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The Baptistry

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

Take a wander inside and look for the small cut out in the wall facing the Cathedral. It’s the perfect spot for photographs and lets you come home with a snap no-one else will have! (unless they have read this article πŸ˜‰ – but shh, its a secret!)

 

The Campanile/Bell Tower – a.k.a The Leaning Tower

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

Made famous for it’s unintended tilt it has now become one of the most visited sites in Europe. Built in the 11th Century and at 55m high it was a miracle of medieval engineering.

If you want to climb to the top it will be via at 297 step spiral staircase! There are limited tickets and time slots available each day and as such, if you want to climb it is better to prebookΒ  your tickets!

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Camposanto Monumentale – The Monumental Cemetery

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

By Kaho Mitsuki – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Often overlooked by visitors, The graveyard is an ancient monumental cemetery set on the north side of the Piazza dei Miracoli.Β  It is a place of quiet tranquility with beautiful fresco’s – a far cry from the people trying to hold up the tower in the main part of the square.

So there you have it – the perfect way to see two Italian cities in one weekend!

Have I inspired you to take a two city weekend break? I hope so!
And if you like it – don’t forget to pin it for later!

Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To DoΒ Β  Weekend Florence Pisa Top Things To Do

Weekend Florence Pisa Things To Do Β Β  Weekend Florence Pisa Things To Do

Weekend Florence Pisa Things To Do Β Β  Weekend Florence Pisa Things To Do

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64 thoughts on “Two City Weekend Break in Florence & Pisa: Top Things To Do

  1. Lori says:

    Two famous cities in just two days? That’s quite something! A dear friend was recently to Pisa – and she had so many nice things to say. As I’m planning a trip to Italy soon, this guide is really useful (as I won’t have too much time to spend in all the cities I want to visit)!

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  2. Anne says:

    If you can time your trip for June you shoul tie it in with a festival that takes place in Pisa, the fireworks are some of the best I’ve ever seen (possibly even better than NYE in Sydney) and all the houses lining the rivers have candles in the windows. I cannot recall what it is called but it is stunnjng

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  3. Christie says:

    Great recs! Definitely agree with all the Florence ones, especially Piazza Michelangelo at sunset. It gets wild up there! Haha. I haven’t made it to Pisa yet… Did you climb up the tower? I’m curious what the view is like from up there! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Paul says:

    I’ve heard a lot of great things recently about Pisa and Florence, which makes me feel like we should have maybe stopped by to check them out ourselves when we travelled through part of Italy earlier this year! Loved reading your post though and it has only spurred us on to make the trip next time!

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  5. Jenna says:

    Great idea! We’ve been to Florence, but didn’t make it over to Pisa–wish we would have combined the two now! We loved Ponte Vecchio and the Basilica di Santa Croce–both are so pretty. Love the suggestion of the Baptistry in Pisa, too. Would be fun to explore more than just the leaning tower!

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  6. christina says:

    Florence and Pisa have such lovely architecture it would be a shame to only spend 48 hours. You photos remind of “A Room With A View”, which I think was filmed in Florence? I haven’t been to either cities and am planning to visit next year. This will come in handy Vicki.

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    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Christina – of course more time anywhere is better, but I like to show you can pack big experiences into short spaces of time for the weekend warriors among us πŸ™‚

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      • Christina says:

        If I only had a short time and wanted to see both, would you recommend spending more time in Florence or Pisa? My initial reaction would be to spend more time in Florence and a shorter visit in Pisa (or even miss Pisa altogether.

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        • Vicki says:

          Definitely spend more time in Florence! Pisa is worth seeing but you don’t need more than a 2-3 hours. I often recommend people tack it on to the end of a Florence trip and fly out of Pisa (or fly into Pisa in the morning and then move on to Florence in the afternoon – which also saves a night of accommodation.)

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  7. Nisha says:

    Great collection of things to do. I remember planning minutely our trip to Italy including Florence and Pisa. In our limited days we had to cross out these two cities. Now that I have read MichelAngelo’s biography I am very keen to visit Florence.

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  8. Julie says:

    Totally agree with your take on this. The very first time I went to Italy, I spent most of my time in Tuscany, but flew out of Pisa, so I had one day there to see the leaning tower and just wander around. If not for that tower, I’m not sure Pisa would have nearly the number of visitors, but I agree that the food there was good (and it’s easy to fly out of).

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    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Julie – Pisa really warrant more than a few hours in my book and you’re right it is just so easy to fly in and out of that you may aw well combine it with another city whilst you’re there!

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  9. Marteen says:

    This post brings back so many fond memories of my trip to Italy. I went on a school tour when I was 17 and it was my first time abroad. We visited Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Verona. They were all so magical but Florence stole my heart. The Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore is just breathtaking. I’ve been dying to return to Italy.

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  10. Jimmy and Tina says:

    Wow The Ponte Vecchio Bridge looks fascinating! Are those shop window over the river on the bridge, how very neat to see, never seen anything like it! What a lovely place to visit for a weekend and would enjoy looking at all the sculptures, they are so beautiful!

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  11. Dave Briggs says:

    I remembering visiting the tower of Pisa as a kid with my parents and going to the top – the price was nowhere near 50 euros though! You certainly packed in a lot to the time you had available – the sign of a well-travelled person! haha

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  12. Natasha says:

    Great info! We were actually in Florence last Christmas and made a day trip to Pisa. I have to say after going to Pisa three times it is not the most exciting anymore for me, but my family sure enjoyed i!

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  13. melody pittman says:

    I visited Pisa over 10 years ago and have been trying to get a post compiled for over a year now. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get with it. Your pictures are lovely, so crisp and clear. I really missed out by not visiting Florience when I was there. I wanted to go to the museums really bad but my children were young so I took them to Via Reggio to the beach clubs.

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  14. Allison says:

    This is so timely for me as I have just decided in Europe for 2018 (I need to save up some leave lol) and while we know we want to do Italy we hadn’t decided which cities. Good to know Pisa can be done as a whistle stop as there is not miuch more than the tower of interest. I’m also half thinking Venice might be on our list. We are going for six weeks but there is so much to see and do I know we will have to make compromises!

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  15. Brenda says:

    What a great weekend idea. Thank you for taking me back to Florence and Pisa. I love Florence but last time I visited Pisa, it was raining so hard and the crowds were unbelievable, that I didn’t really enjoy myself. I definitely have to revisit and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it too.

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  16. Janine Good says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Italy when I was there. Pisa is a fun little place to go to see the iconic Leaning tower and take silly photos! I love Florence and have climbed the Giotto’s Bell Tower. The piazzas are so scenic and so beautiful. I would love to go back.

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