Cheap flights to Pisa
Pisa combines all the best elements of Italy; medieval architecture, beautiful river views and some unspoilt countryside just waiting to be explored. Pisa is home to the iconic Leaning Tower, one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. But this is a medieval town that offers so much more.
Come here for an exciting history-filled city break, stay a little longer and explore the beautiful rolling countryside of Tuscany, and finish off by exploring the priceless art gallery that is Florence, just 40 kilometres to the east. Stylish, culture-packed holidays don’t come any better than this
Each June the city celebrates with a whole month's worth of events for Giugno Pisano. Highlights include the night-time Luminara on 16 June, when candles light up the river, the following day's San Ranieri rowing regatta and the Battle on the Bridge (27 June). giugnopisano.com
Take the free shuttle bus (every 20 mins) from Piazza Garibaldi for a fun evening at Planet Bowl, where there's bowling, pool, table tennis and a play area for kids (7 Via di Campaldo, planetbowlpisa.it).
Opera fans will convene at the annual Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, a 20-minute drive from Pisa, for performances of Tosca, Turandot and Madame Butterfly throughout August. This year's extra events include a concert by Spandau Ballet on 9 August. puccinifestival.it
Don't miss the Keith Haring mural on the wall of the Sant'Antonio Abate church. The American artist took just four days to complete the colourful work, which represents world peace and harmony. Note the human version of the traditional Pisan cross at the centre. pisaunicaterra.it
Among the commemorative events for the WWI centenary, Pisa's Palazzo Blu is hosting "I Segni della Guerra", an exhibition of memorabilia including postcards from the front, photographs and letters. Until 5 July (Palazzo Blu, 9 Lungarno Gambacorti, palazzoblu.it).
On 15-17 May Viale delle Piagge becomes pedestrianised in order to host a colourful plant and flower market for the annual Settimana alle Piagge festival. There are also speciality foods, craft stalls and a religious ceremony dedicated to Sant'Ubaldo on the Sunday. alteregofiere.com
On 25 March Pisa celebrates new year nine months early. This annual custom coincides with a ray of light falling on a block of marble in the cathedral at midday. The town marks the event with costume parades, regattas and a spectacular firework display over the river the night before.
American choreographer David Parsons brings his dance troupe to Pisa on 26 February as part of his Italian tour, while earlier in the month (12 February) you can see a tango version of Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Verdi, 40 Via Palestro, teatrodipisa.pi.it).
Pisa is just a 20-minute bus ride from the coast, so jump on a No.10 and join the locals as they bask in the sun, swim in the sea and relax at cool beach bars at Marina di Pisa or the adjacent resort of Tirrena.
Take the train to Lucca (a 30-minute journey) and explore the charming historic centre. It's enclosed by wide city walls which, amazingly, have survived the centuries. Walk or hire a bike and cycle the 4km path along the top.
Take the train (15 mins) to the coastal city of Livorno, Pisa's neighbour and long-term rival. See the attractive Fortezza Vecchia on the sea, where exhibitions, concerts and other events are held, and stroll around the Piccola Venezia canal district. While in town try Livorno's speciality fish stew, cacciucco.
The artistic treasures of Florence (under an hour away by train) need no introduction but while you're there, check out the quality buys at the leather school in the Santa Croce complex (5 Via San Giuseppe), catch the Picasso exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi (until 25 January, palazzostrozzi.org) and try a traditional Florentine tripe sandwich from Mercato Nuovo, the traditional covered market (Piazza della Signoria).
Music by Beethoven, Brahms and Dvo?ák played by the Orchestra della Toscana and conducted by Daniele Rustioni features in this year's Christmas concert at Pisa's Teatro Verde. teatrodipisa.pi.it
Just outside the city, the San Rossore Park covers a wide swathe of land along the coast. Hire a bicycle at the visitor centre or join one of the regular walking tours or wagon rides. There's a good restaurant, Poldino (poldino.com), a snack bar and horse-riding stables. parcosanrossore.org
The medieval hilltown of Volterra, an hour from Pisa by car, returns to the Middle Ages for the Volterra AD1398 festival with crafts, tournaments and street performers. Buy some reproduction medieval coins to spend at the market stalls (16 and 23 August). volterra.net
Collodi (a 45-minute car journey from Pisa) makes a great day out. Parco di Pinocchio is dedicated to the famous local character and there's an exotic butterfly house and lovely historical garden, too. pinocchio.it
Visit the lovely medieval village of Vicopisano in the Pisan hills (40 minutes by bus) to see its historic towers, castle and stunning panoramas. Come on 12 April to browse the monthly antiques and craft market for some unusual souvenirs. viconet.it/turismo
The charming medieval hill town of San Miniato (a 40-minute drive from Pisa) is famed for its fragrant white truffle, which is celebrated with a festival during the last three weekends of November. Thousands of truffle fans come to try and buy the delectable, but costly, substance. san-miniato.com
This month is one of the best for the beach now the midsummer rush is over. Take the train to Forte dei Marmi (30 minutes), one of Italy's most exclusive resorts, and explore the beach bars and irresistible designer shops in the quaint town centre.