Are you planning on being one of the almost half a million people who visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa each year?
If so, you’ll want to check out our 13 tips for visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa in 2023.
Our family lives in Tuscany and I recently made another visit to Pisa, this time with my elementary-age son. It was his first time climbing up the tower and we had a blast.
Read on for info that will make your visit to the famous Leaning Tower smooth, fun, and memorable!
The Leaning Tower’s Name in Italian is Torre Pendente
Torre Pendente is pronounced TOR-reh pen-DEN-teh.
Listen to it here:
When you arrive in Pisa and you’re looking for the tower, follow the brown signs for Torre Pendente.
Always Check the Official Leaning Tower Site for Closures
Have you seen National Lampoon’s Vacation, when Clark Griswold and his family drive up to an empty Wally World? . Clark forgot to check to make sure Wally World was open – before driving cross-country with his family. Don’t be like Clark.
The tower may occasionally close for maintenance work or for safety checks. Consult the official website for up-to-date information on opening hours and dates the tower will be closed.
If You’re Driving to Pisa, Park Close to the Tower
Many people mistakenly assume the tower is near the Pisa Centrale train station and park in that area.
The tower is about a 20-minute walk from the station, so if you want a quicker walk, park in a lot or garage closer to the tower.
We park in this free lot (not a recommendation, just an FYI), just northeast of the tower. It’s a quick 10-minute walk to the Piazza dei Miracoli and the Leaning Tower.
Important: Never leave your car in an unattended (free) lot if you have luggage in your car. Pisa is notorious for auto break-ins, especially near the Tower. We park in a free lot near the Tower but never have luggage in our car. If in doubt, park in a parcheggio custodito (attended lot or garage).
Book Your Tickets in Advance
There are a limited number of people allowed to enter each time slot to climb up the tower. Don’t risk arriving and having the Tower climb tickets sold out!
Also, if you make your purchase in advance, you won’t have to wait in line at the ticket office – the line can be very long in the summer.
Have a Plan for Kids Under 8
Currently, children can climb the tower – but only if they’re 8 years or older – or they’ll turn 8 by the end of the year. So, your seven-year-old with a birthday on December 31, 2023 can climb the tower in 2023.
Visiting with younger children? If you have two adults, one can stay with the younger kids and explore the other monuments (we loved checking out the relics in the Camposanto next door) or take more fun photos ‘holding the Tower up.’ More ideas – grab a snack in one of the food stands just off the piazza, or find a gelato and look up to find the rest of your family at the top of the tower!
Helpful Tip: Bring ID for your child (or have a photo of it on your phone) in case you’re asked to show proof of your child’s age.
Visit the Tower Early in the Morning
With almost 500,000(!) annual visitors, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Campo dei Miracoli can get very crowded. If you want to take photos without tons of other people in the frame, try to arrive early in the morning (before the Tower opens for visits).
Winter months are less crowded, but it’s still nice to see the Tower on a quiet morning.
Arrive Before Your Climb to Drop Your Bags
You’re not allowed to climb the tower with ‘large’ purses, backpacks, etc. I even had to check my small Fjällräven backpack.
Go to the bag check office, about 50 meters from the Leaning Tower, at least 30 minutes before you’re scheduled to climb. You must climb up in your time slot, and there may be a line to check your bag, especially in the busy summer months.
Brush Up on Your Leaning Tower Facts Before You Visit
This is important for any major Italian landmark you decide to visit.
A visit to the Leaning Tower will be more meaningful if you have an idea of what you’re climbing (hint: the Duomo’s bell tower), why it’s leaning (hint: sand, clay, and shells under the base), who threw things off of it (hint: Galileo). Kids love simple facts like the height (58.36 meters), incline (currently about 5.5°), and the number of steps (273).
Fun things to do before your trip:
- Put together a 3D puzzle of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Watch “Why Doesn’t the Leaning Tower of Pisa Fall Over?” on YouTube
- Kids can color the Leaning Tower of Pisa in our Italy Coloring Pages
Don’t Try to Have a Picnic on the Lawn
The lush green lawn of the Campo dei Miracoli is off-limits, so keep your piedi (feet) on the paved walkways and marble floors surrounding the piazza’s buildings. Want to have a picnic in Pisa? Head to the Pisa Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico). Worthy of a visit to see its plants, trees, and greenhouses, it’s the perfect place for a quiet picnic in the middle of the city.
Be Comfortable Walking Up the Tower
The walk up (and down) isn’t tough, but if it’s been raining, be careful on the wet marble stairs.
Good To Know: You don’t have to rush on the way up or down. The stairways can fit two people side-by-side, so people can move in both directions. Also, there are a few places on the way up with a small space to let people pass (you can even pretend you’re looking out the window at Pisa while you catch your breath).
You’ll notice the marble steps are worn in different areas, depending on which side of the tower you’re on. Careful with your footing – they’re uneven.
Good To Know: You may feel a little off-balance on the way up (due to the tilt of the tower), and if you suffer from vertigo, be cautious on the upper terrace.
Here you can watch us walking down the Leaning Tower’s steps, from the top to the bottom:
Don’t Stop at the First Terrace
When you get to the ‘top’ of the tower and you’re enjoying the view, know that you can climb a small spiral staircase and arrive at the top tower, with even better views of Pisa, the Campo dei Miracoli, and the gigantic and historic bells!
See the Other Campo dei Miracoli Monuments
I can’t stress this enough – don’t just see the Leaning Tower and leave! The other monuments – Duomo, Baptistery, and Camposanto are all worth a visit. Some highlights for us:
- Baptistery – Listening to the acoustics.
- Duomo – All of the frescos (especially if you know Bible stories), the large mosaic of Christ, Mary, and St. John in the apse
- Camposanto – This was our favorite (besides the Tower) for the marble carvings on the tombs and sarcophagi, the vivid frescoes (especially of Hell – so interesting), and the enormous collection of saints’ relics in the reliquary.
Good To Know: In 2023, the upper section of the Babtistery is closed, so you can’t climb up to look through the window overlooking the Duomo. It will hopefully reopen sometime in 2023.
Fun Fact: Can you find the Lion (symbolizing Florence keeping an eye on the city) overlooking the piazza?
Skip a Meal in Pisa and Eat in San Miniato
Are you a foodie? If so, skip lunch or dinner in Pisa and head to San Miniato. The small village (not the city below, San Miniato Basso) is full of hip, delicious eateries and perfect spots for aperitivo.
You can reach San Miniato by car (40 minutes from Pisa) or you can take a train from Pisa Centrale to the San Miniato train station (in San Miniato Basso) and then take the bus up to San Miniato (alto, the hilltop historic center).
- Ristorante Maggese (vegetarian)
- Piccolo Osteria del Tartufo (try a truffle dish)
- Papaveri e Papere (contemporary Tuscan, just outside San Miniato)
Good To Know: You should book each of these restaurants in advance.
Visit Some of Italy’s Other Leaning Towers
While it’s the most famous by far, Pisa’s Leaning Tower isn’t the only leaning tower in Italy. Check out some of the others during your trip:
- Campanile of San Nicola and Campanile of San Michele degli Scalzi (Pisa)
- Towers of Garisenda and Asinelli (Bologna)
- Bell Tower of Burano (Venice)
- Campanile of San Giorgio dei Greci (Venice)
- Torre delle Milizie (Rome)
- Duomo di Santo Stefano Bell Tower (Caorle)
I hope these tips are helpful for your visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa!