London Stansted to Pisa Airport
When most people think of Pisa there is usually only one thing that springs to mind – the famous leaning tower. But Pisa also has a wealth of other historic buildings, some of them centuries old, and it is also home to one of Italy’s top universities.
Most of Pisa’s great monuments, the Duomu (cathedral), the leaning tower which is actually the cathedral’s bell tower, the Baptistery and the Camposanto cemetery, are located on an enormous green lawn in the north-west of the city.
Flights from London Stansted to Pisa Airport are operated by Ryanair. The airport is just 2km (1.2 miles) from the city centre. There is a railway station outside the departures hall which can be reached via a covered walkway. Trains run regularly to Pisa Centrale from where connections are available to other Italian cities. Train tickets are sold at the information office in arrivals. Bus services run by Compagna Pisana Trasporti (CPT) depart from the airport every 20 minutes to various stops in the city centre. Tickets cost less than a euro (£1 is approximately equal to 1.45 euros). Taxis to Pisa city centre cost around 7 euros, there is an additional charge on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
There is also a bus service run by Terravision from Pisa Airport to Florence, about 80 minutes away.
Places of interest in Pisa include:
- The Leaning Tower. Pisa’s famous leaning tower has a long an eventful history. Its construction was begun in 1173 but when the third level was reached in 1185, builders working on the project noticed a slight lean. The reason for this was that on one side of the tower’s base there was a sand foundation. Work continued in 1275 when a further three storeys were added and it was not finally completed until 1350. Galileo used the tower a couple of centuries later when he dropped balls from the top to test the constancy of gravity. There have been various attempts to correct the lean of the tower over the years, but most have only succeeded in making the problem worse. It was not until the 1990s though that engineers have managed to prevent the tower from leaning further, although the Pisa tourist board insists that it should remain in this position.
- Botanic Gardens. Just a short walk from the leaning tower are Europe’s oldest botanic gardens dating from the 1540s. These beautiful gardens form part of the university and are home to a large collection of mature plants from around the world.
- Baptistery. The construction of this circular building with a circumference of around 100 metres was begun in 1153. More than a century later the Baptistery was improved and a large dome added. The interior is vast and contains a great pulpit made in 1260 by the great sculptor Nicola Pisano. The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo now houses many of the Baptistery’s original statues which have been replaced by casts. The acoustics in this buildingare astonishing and can really be appreciated when the choir sings.