Should you add a stop to Pisa to your Italy Road Trip? It’s a common question many families ask themselves when taking a trip to Italy. In this guide, we’ll help you decide if Pisa is for you with site recommendations, city tips, driving to Pisa, and where to stay while you’re there. If you’re on the fence, let us help you with your decision.
Pisa was our second stop on our 2-week RV trip from Rome to Paris. After flying into Rome and spending a day there, we headed up to the northern part of Italy and stopped at Pisa. Even though we had been to the region before, this was our first time in Pisa. And because we had previously been to Florence, we decided to skip it this time and focus on cities we had never been to – hence Pisa.
Pisa is a relatively small city compared to Rome or Florence and is located near the coast of northern Italy. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Florence and 20 minutes to the Ligurian Sea.
It was about a 4-hour drive from Rome to Pisa in our RV along the E35 highway. You can also opt for the coastal drive along E80, which will be a tad bit longer but has some really nice views along the way. Or you can do a combination of the both. You will encounter tolls, so be prepared to pay around 12€ along the way.
We stopped and ate lunch at a cute little family-owned restaurant in Gavorrano, about an hour and a half outside of Pisa, and it was INCREDIBLE! The pasta was homemade, and the chef and his wife owned the place. Our pasta and fish were delicious!
RESTAURANT TIP: We found this restaurant on the Google Maps app using the Restaurant filter. It’s a great way to find local eateries on a road trip.
Pisa, Italy, is most commonly known for the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. And although this is what most people think of when Pisa comes to mind, the city has many other sites to see, from ancient churches to the cathedral complex along with the many restaurants and shops inside the fortress walls.
Pisa is a very touristy area, and with all touristy cities, you need to always be aware of your surroundings. Pickpockets are more common in places filled with people, so keep your valuables hidden away and safe.
It’s also known to have a high car break-in rate, so never keep anything of value in your vehicle and park in a safe and guarded area if possible.
Pisa is a great stop because it’s a smaller city, so it’s perfect for families with children. Unlike Rome, where a lot of walking is required, you can see everything without exhausting your feet. Here are a few reasons why you should add Pisa to your Italy road trip:
We spent an afternoon and evening in Pisa, and it worked out great for us. After we parked our RV camper (motorhome) at the Pisa Motorhome Camping Area, we walked to the old city, which was about a 15-20 minute walk (depending on who you’re walking with).
We started at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is located inside the fortress walls in the cathedral complex. There were tons of people all around, and it was fun joining them with some fun and silly poses at the tower in the Field of Miracles.
You can also tour all the buildings inside the Square of Miracles, consisting of the Tower, Pisa Cathedral, Duomo di Pisa, and the Pisa Baptistery. Tickets can be purchased directly at the location or online. The day we were there, the lines to climb to the top of the Tower of Pisa were insanely long. And because Mia is under 8 years old, she couldn’t enter anyway, so we opted not to climb it.
After we finished exploring the Square of Miracles, we walked around the inside of the old town where the shops, restaurants, and churches adorn the streets. We bought a tiny Tower of Pisa souvenir and headed back to our camper.
Along the walk home, we stopped at a playground so Mia could have some fun and play for a while before heading back for a late dinner in the RV. Overall, Pisa was a great stop for us.
Pisa Tower Tip: Lines can be quite long, so if you know what day you’ll be visiting, I highly recommend purchasing them online in advance.
Children must be 8 years old in order to climb the Tower of Pisa, and because Mia was only 5, we couldn’t do it. But if you have children over 8 years old, it’s a great way to see the city from the very top of the tower. The cost of a ticket to climb to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is 18€, and children from 8-18 pay the same price as an adult.
The Pisa or Florence debate comes into play for many families taking a road trip through Italy. Both cities are worth the visit, so if you can manage to see both, I highly recommend fitting them in. Pisa is only an hour and a half from Florence, so it’s definitely doable as a day trip. They are both filled with history and sightseeing monuments, and we enjoyed both cities. We had already spent time in Florence on a previous trip, so we added Pisa to this one.
We were there in mid-April, and the weather was great! Unfortunately, we were visiting during Easter weekend, so it was much more crowded than the usual April crowd, but it still wasn’t too bad. Spring and Fall are great times to visit Pisa, with the summer months much busier and hotter and temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s.
There aren’t many options for RVs in Pisa, but we did find a Pisa Motorhome Camping Area, which is a parking lot turned into a camping area specifically for campers. The location is perfect for walking to the old city, and it has 24/7 security – which was the biggest benefit for us. We found it on the park4night app for 12€ a night or 5€ for a day.
Pisa RV Camping Tip: This site fills up FAST, so get there early! They do not take reservations, so it’s a first-come, first-serve situation. We ended up getting lucky and grabbing the last spot for the night we were there. RVs are jammed in pretty tightly, but it’s much better than taking your chances to stay somewhere without any security.
So, is Pisa, Italy worth visiting? For us, it was completely worth it. We spent time walking around the old city’s cobblestone streets and, of course, inside the cathedral complex that houses the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you’ve never been to Pisa or seen the Pisa Tower in person, it’s definitely worth the visit! You don’t need more than a day to spend inside the old city, and you’ll be glad you made the stop.