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
Hire a bicycle or scooter and tour the city in style or venture further afield to explore the surrounding countryside and coast (Toscana in Tour, 41 Via della Faggiola, toscanaintour.it).
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).
Behind the striking blue facade of the riverside art gallery Palazzo Blu, visit an exhibition of new illustrations for Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. It's open daily until 15 February, alongside another exhibition dedicated to Modigliani and some of his contemporaries (9 Lungarno Gambacorti, palazzoblu.it).
The Stazione Leopolda hosts the Pisa Wine & Food Festival on 12-14 December. Come along to try, buy and learn more about the highly delicious local wines and food produce. There'll be show-cooking, themed tasting sessions and even guided art and food walks from the centre. pisafoodwinefestival.it
Palazzo Blu hosts an exhibition of works by Amedeo Modigliani until 15 February 2015. Sculptures as well as paintings by the distinctive artist are on show and there are also works by his contemporaries including Picasso and Chagall (9 Lungarno Gambacorti, palazzoblu.it).
Pisa jumps into cyberspace on 9-12 October, when the Internet Festival comes to town. Events are all free and include art installations, conferences and workshops to be held in 20 locations around the centre. internetfestival.it
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 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.
It's well worth making the 50-minute drive to the Tenuta Ghizzano wine estate to visit their gorgeous Italian garden (Sundays, free entry, 5-9pm). There are art displays and concerts including jazz on 16 August and baroque on 28 August (1 Via della Chiesa, Ghizzano di Peccioli, tenutadighizzano.com).
Take the No.10 bus for a day on the beach at Marina di Pisa (20 mins), or check out the beautiful nine-hole golf course in neighbouring Tirrenia. Designed by British architect Ken Cotton, it has been voted one of Italy's best. golftirrenia.it
Visit the Santa Luce Nature Reserve, about 40km south of Pisa. It's famous for its fantastic birdlife, so don't forget the binoculars. There's a good network of footpaths, including a nature trail for children, and you can join a guided tour or take part in one of the events such as owl-watching on 22 June. Open weekends only. oasisantaluce.it
Visit the home of the Vespa, Italy's iconic scooter, at Pontedera, a 15-minute train journey from Pisa. See the museum and stock up on Vespa-themed souvenirs and even original parts of vintage scooters at the shop (7 Viale Rinaldo Piaggio, Pontedera, museopiaggio.it).