Welcome to Pisa
The Tuscan city of Pisa is synonymous with its most famous attraction—the leaning tower—but there's so much more to this historic city than a teetering building. While Pisa is one of Italy's most popular destinations for day tours from nearby Italian destinations—especially if you have your eye on posing on the Piazza dei Miracoli pretending to hold up the iconic leaning tower—few realize the tower is actually the bell tower for the adjacent 11th-century cathedral, and that the piazza's enormous baptistery is the largest in Italy. And while Florence might be the bigger draw today, visitors who explore beyond the tower of Pisa are rewarded with history and art. Giorgio Vasari designed the lovely Piazza dei Cavalieri and a church on the square, inside of which there's a piece by Donatello. The tiny 13th-century church of Santa Maria della Spina sits right on the Arno River in the city center. Keith Haring's last public work is a huge mural on the wall of the Church of Sant'Antonio. You can discover these and more lesser-known sights on a walking tour, or easily reach other Italian cities with an organized day trip that handles the logistics. Heading out into the countryside from Pisa, visitors can wander the medieval streets of historic Siena, circle the town of Lucca walking atop its city walls, go wine tasting in the Chianti hills, or hike the trails linking the five towns of the Cinque Terre.