Planning a Trip
By Train -- There are more than 20 trains daily from Rome (3 hr.). From Florence, 40 daily trains make the trip (80-90 min.). Three to four trains an hour run from nearby Livorno (15 min.); and there are trains running approximately every hour from Siena (100-110 min.). Lucca offers 24 runs here every day (20-30 min.). On the Lucca line, day-trippers (and anyone staying in any of the hotels listed here except the Royal Victoria) should get off at the San Rossore station, just a few blocks west of Piazza del Duomo and its Leaning Tower. All other trains -- and eventually the Lucca one -- pull into Pisa Centrale station (tel. 050-41-385). From here, bus no. 1, 3, or 11 will take you to Piazza del Duomo.
By Car -- There's a Florence-Pisa autostrada along the Arno valley. Take the SS12 or S12r from Lucca; the A12 comes down the coast from the north, and the SS1 runs north and south along the coast. Park just outside Porta Santa Maria, either along Via A. Pisano (metered; 1€/$1.30 per hour 8am-8pm) or in the nearby lot at Via C. S. Cammeo 51 (same rates).
By Bus -- Lazzi (tel. 0583-584-876; www.lazzi.it), Via d'Azeglio, runs hourly buses from Florence (2-2 1/2 hr.), but you have to connect through Lucca (hourly runs; 20-30 min.). CPT, Via Nino Bixio (tel. 050-505-511 or 800-012-773 in Italy; www.cpt.pisa.it), has routes from Volterra (10 daily connect through Pontenedra for a 2-2 1/2-hr. total trip), Livorno (half-hourly; 40-55 min.), and towns along the coast. The bus station is at Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, just north of the main train station.
By Plane -- Tuscany's main international airport, Galileo Galilei (general info tel. 050-500-707; www.pisa-airport.com), is just 3km (2 miles) south of Pisa. Trains zip you downtown to the train station in 5 minutes (1€/$1.30). A taxi ride to town will cost 4€ to 8€ ($5.20-$10).
By Bus -- CPT (tel. 050-505-511 or 800-012-773 in Italy; www.cpt.pisa.it) runs the city's buses. Bus nos. 1, 3, and 11 run most directly to Campo dei Miracoli from the main train station.
By Taxi -- Taxis rank on Piazza Stazione and Piazza del Duomo. Call a radio taxi at tel. 050-541-600.
The main tourist office is just outside Porta Santa Maria on the west end of Campo dei Miracoli at Via C. Cammeo 2 (tel. 050-560-464 or 050-830-253; www.pisa.turismo.toscana.it; daily May-Oct 9am-7:30pm, until 5:30pm Nov-Apr). A small office is to the left as you exit the train station (tel. 050-42-291). Either can hand out maps and pamphlets, but they're oddly uninformed on the city of Pisa. Considerably more knowledgeable "Custodians of the Duomo" usually hang around the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo desk. The administrative APT office is at Via Pietro Nenni 24 (tel. 050-929-777; fax 050-929-764). A helpful private tourism consortium (supported by the state) shares office space with the Via C. Cammelo tourist office (tel. 050-830-253; fax 050-830-243; www.pisae.it); among other services, it will book rooms for free.
To find out what's going on in town, pick up a copy of the free weekly Indizi e Servizi (at some newsstands and hotels).
Festivals & Markets
Since the 1400s, teams from the north and south sides of the Arno have dressed in Renaissance costumes and tried their darnedest to run one another over with a giant 7-ton decorated cart on the Ponte di Mezzo, site of the city's old Roman bridge. This inverse tug-of-war, the Gioco del Ponte, is held on the last Sunday in June. Also in June is the Festa di San Ranieri, when Pisans honor their patron saint by lining the Arno with torches on the 16th, then running a boat race on the 17th. There's an excellent daily food market on Piazza delle Vettovaglie.