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Pisa Cathedral

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Not only the leaning tower impresses in Pisa. The Cathedral of Pisa (also known as the Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale di Santa Maria Assunta or simply the Cathedral of Pisa) is the monumental church for which the tower was originally built.

Admission to the Pisa Cathedral is free. However, free tickets for time slots must be collected, and tickets for another part of the cathedral complex must be booked to obtain a flexible ticket for the church.
Jessica DonevBy Jessica Donev
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Tickets

Book tickets for the various attractions at Piazza dei Miracoli.
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Reserved Entrance to Leaning Tower of Pisa & Cathedral
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Baptistry, Graveyard & Cathedral: Reserved Entrance
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Leaning Tower, Cathedral, Cemetery, Baptistery and Sinopie Museum entrance tickets
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musement.com
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Leaning Tower, Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery: Guided Tour
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Guided Tours

Book a tour and learn more about Pisa's most important buildings.
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Pisa: All-Inclusive Guided Tour with Optional Leaning Tower
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Pisa Cathedral Guided Tour and Optional Leaning Tower Ticket
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Pisa: 2.5 Hour Guided Tour w/ Leaning Tower & Cathedral
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getyourguide.com
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Leaning Tower, Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery: Guided Tour
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8 tips for visiting the Pisa Cathedral

Duomo di Pisa | Flickr: Raphael Labaca Castro CC BY-SA 2.0
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Book tickets earlyBook tickets in advance. The free tickets can only be reserved on the same day, and the desired time slot may already be taken. To avoid the large crowds, you can visit the cathedral early in the morning or later in the evening. Caution: Tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa and other sections of the complex are subject to a charge.
Duomo di Pisa | Flickr: Olivia Notter CC BY 2.0
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Join a guided tourThere is no official tour of the cathedral complex. Private operators offer tours of the Piazza dei Miracoli and the surrounding buildings as well as other parts of the city of Pisa. Tours usually last two hours. Make sure that you book a reliable guide and that the entrance tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa or other tickets are included in the price of the tour.
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Visit multiple attractionsAt the Piazza dei Miracoli, there are several architectural attractions for which you need a ticket to enter. The Baptistery (baptismal chapel) is particularly worth seeing, as it is the largest of its kind at 55m (180,4ft) tall. The Camposanto – a monumental Gothic cemetery – offers beautifully designed arcades and chapels, as well as Roman sarcophagi. For lovers of frescoes and related art, a visit to the Museo delle Sinopie is a must.
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Plan enough timeDepending on how interested you are in sacred architecture, visits inside the cathedral can take between 20 minutes to an hour. You will need about 30 minutes for a visit to the Leaning Tower. Plan about 4 hours for all the attractions at Piazza dei Miracoli. This includes waiting and travel times.
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Take a city tour in PisaApart from the church and its tower, Pisa is a rather small town. Nevertheless, you can easily spend a whole day here. On a walk through the old town, you can admire the many palazzi. The Arno River is a recreation area where you can enjoy a gelato. Other churches in Pisa are also worth seeing. The Santa Maria della Spina may be smaller than the cathedral but is no less spectacular. There are also many small museums, such as the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo or the Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale. You can find out more below.
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Follow the rules in the churchVisitors are requested to enter the building only with their shoulders covered and wearing at least knee-length shorts or skirts. Head coverings must also be removed in the cathedral. Nevertheless, visitors no longer have to be baptized these days.
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Take note of celebrations and eventsMasses and prayers are held in the cathedral on Sundays and Christian holidays. Since 2005, the Opera della Primaziale Pisana has also been organizing free Christmas concerts. On All Saints' Day, November 1, and November 2, admission to the Camposanto is free.
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Inform yourself in advanceIt is best to read our page carefully so that you already have a lot of knowledge about the cathedral before your visit. The cathedral has a rich history and is home to many works of art. Impress your fellow travelers with your knowledge about the Pisa Cathedral!

Our ticket offer in detail

Our ticket offer is very extensive. Here you will get an explanation of the various options that we offer.

Combination tickets with fast access (Skip-the-Line Tickets)

The best way to see the many sights at the Piazza dei Miracoli is with combination tickets. Admission to the Pisa Cathedral is free, but you still have to reserve an online ticket for a time slot on the same day or queue for a long time on site. Often, the desired time slots or all admissions are already fully booked because visitors have bought up the quota with combination tickets beforehand.

Play it safe and buy a combination ticket to the Leaning Tower, the Baptistery, the cemetery, the cathedral and the museums. Here you will find different combinations depending on which building complexes are included in the specific ticket - this could be admission to the Leaning Tower, the Baptistery, the cemetery as well as the museums.

In any case, with an online-booked combination ticket on TicketLens, you can avoid waiting at the ticket counter (Skip the Line Tickets) and can explore all or individual sights at the Piazza dei Miracoli at your leisure.

Guided Tours

There are generally no official tours for the Cathedral of Pisa. You can compare and book reputable offers for guided tours from external providers here at TicketLens. Admission to the Leaning Tower is often included. Take a close look at the offers and find out which tour suits you best!

Do you like drinking wine? Then a guided tour of the cathedral followed by a wine tasting could be just the thing for you.

Would you like to discover more than just the Piazza dei Miracoli? Then book a guided tour that takes you all over Pisa! We certainly have the right ticket for you!
Cathedral of Pisa | Unsplash: Alexey Turenkov

The History of the Cathedral of Pisa

The Leaning Tower in Pisa is world-famous. The adjacent cathedral is just as impressive, rich in history, and worth every visit.
Cathedral of Pisa Details | Unsplash:Albert Canite

Monumental Architecture

The Cathedral of Pisa (also in Italian Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale di Santa Maria Assunta) was long considered one of the greatest monuments of European history and became the model for many other churches in Italy. The building was constructed between the 11th and 12th centuries outside the city walls. The ancient origins of the building materials are still recognizable on the exterior facade. A fire destroyed parts of the cathedral at the end of the 16th century, but some great artworks survived, including a fresco of the Madonna and Child and the geometric marble floor.
Cathedral of Pisa | Unsplash: Andrae Ricketts

Problematic Foundation

Originally, the soft ground of the surrounding area caused the cathedral's tower to lean as we know it today. The cathedral itself also struggles with the same problem. The initial construction has also sunk into the ground and is therefore lower than the components and sections added later - so beware of steps!

Connection to the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The tower and cathedral are located on the same grounds in Pisa and are considered a total work of art. The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre di Pisa or Torre pendente) is actually the free-standing bell tower (campanile) of the cathedral. In Italy, this arrangement is quite common for churches of this era: for instance, the St. Mark's Basilica in Venice also has a free-standing bell tower.

Great works of art in the Cathedral

The most important works of art inside the cathedral include Riminaldi's dome fresco 'Mary in Glory' and the mosaic of Jesus Christ in the apse. The pulpit features elaborate sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Jesus. On the outer walls, in turn, there is a wide variety of illustrations. However, these had no artistic significance, but were created using building materials, some of which were recycled and others obtained from conquered cities.

Art from many eras

After the fire of 1595, extensive restoration work was carries out in the Cathedral of Pisa. This is when the golden coffered ceiling was created, which can still be admired today. The ornate bronze gates also date back to this period. The impressive organ is surprisingly modern: it was built in the 1980s.
Piazza dei Miracoli from a bird's eye view | Unsplash: Michael Wise

A Day in Pisa

You should plan half a day to a full day to see all the sights in Pisa. Come along with us on a journey through Pisa!
Train to Pisa | Unsplash: Frank Andiver

Getting to Pisa

If you drive to Pisa by car, it is best to park in one of the car parks outside the city. A free parking lot is just a 15-minute walk from the Piazza dei Miracoli. If you arrive by train, you can walk 20 minutes to reach the Piazza dei Miracoli. There are also buses that run from the station to the Leaning Tower. You can take the LAM Rossa or Navetta Centro Città bus, both of which stop close to the station and drop you off near to the Leaning Tower.
Pisa town sign | Unsplash: Edu Gonzalez

The City of ‘Pisa’ - Short Facts and Figures

Today, Pisa has about 90,500 inhabitants and is one of the most popular cities in Tuscany. The University of Pisa makes it a lively student city, which is best discovered on a stroll.

It is believed that Pisa was founded by the Greeks in the 7th or 6th century BC and later settled by the Etruscans. Due to its favorable location on the Tuscan coast, the city became a maritime power in the 10th century CE and developed a thriving trade fleet. Pisa established trade routes to North Africa, the Byzantine Empire, and the Middle East, making it an important trading center. Its ships transported not only goods, but also culture and ideas, leading to cultural exchange and a flourishing economy. However, in the 12th century CE, Pisa began to decline losing to the Genoese fleet in the Battle of Meloria. The Medici rebuilt Pisa, including the university under the rule of Florence, from 1406 CE. Even Galileo Galilei once taught at the renowned university.
Piazza dei Miracoli | Unsplash: Riccardo Cervia

Piazza dei Miracoli

The Piazza dei Miracoli, also known as the Square of Miracles, is a remarkable architectural ensemble in the heart of Pisa. The square is famous for its extraordinary religious buildings, including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale di Santa Maria Assunta), the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Camposanto Monumentale (the monumental cemetery of Pisa). The Piazza dei Miracoli is not only an important religious center, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts visitors from all over the world. The preserved architectural heritage and its cultural significance make the square an unmissable destination for tourists wanting to experience the beauty and history of Pisa.
The entrance to Pisa Cathedral with the three bronze doors | Unsplash: Federico Di Dio Photography

Duomo Santa Maria Assunta

Its richly decorated four-story marble facade attracts attention and impresses with intricate details, reliefs, marble columns, and sculptures. The three mighty bronze portals lead to the interior of the cathedral, which is just as magnificent with high arches, elegant columns, and elaborate frescoes depicting biblical scenes. Visitors can admire the impressive pulpit, created by Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni. There is also a magnificent baptismal font designed by various artists.

Fun Fact: The three bronze portals are the destination for Pisan students every year. By laying their hands on them, they hope for good luck in exams, as the polished figures show.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa | Unsplash: Andrea Cevenini

Torre pendente di Pisa (Leaning Tower of Pisa)

Almost every visitor in Pisa tries to take a funny photo with the Leaning Tower. Supporting, leaning on, pushing over, or even hugging it are popular photo motifs.
Check out our page: Leaning Tower of Pisa. There you'll find out more about the tower!

The foundation stone of the tower was laid in 1173 CE, and the tower began to lean as soon as the first three floors were completed. 100 years later, the architect Giovanni di Simone used heavy building materials on the north side and built up to the seventh floor. 200 years after construction began, the architect Tommaso Pisano completed the 55m (180,4ft) high monument. Today, you can climb the bell tower via winding steps. You have to climb a total of 294 steps before you can enjoy the view over the Piazza del Duomo and Pisa's city center.
Baptistery | Unsplash: Dmitry Bukhants

Baptistery of San Giovanni

The Baptistery of San Giovanni in Pisa is another impressive Romanesque building on the Piazza dei Miracoli. Construction of the baptistery next to the cathedral began in 1152 CE and was completed in the 14th century CE. With its impressive dome and richly decorated facade, it attracts the attention of visitors. Inside, the largest baptismal font in Italy impresses, topped by an artistically designed dome.
Cemetery | Unsplash: Yeswanth Mohana Velu

Cemetery ‘Camposanto Monumentale’

Surrounded by an impressive row of arcades, the cemetery built in 1277 CE houses a significant collection of frescoes, sculptures and tombs from various periods. Designed in the Romanesque style, the cemetery exudes a calm and reverent atmosphere that invites visitors to linger and reflect. The frescoes on the walls tell stories from the Bible and the history of Pisa, while the graves of the city's nobles and scholars offer fascinating insights into the past.
It is said that soil from Jerusalem was used for the cemetery so that the nobles could be buried on holy ground.
Fresco in the Cathedral of Pisa | Flickr: Layy Koester CC-BY 2.0

The Cathedral Museum and the Sinopias Museum

Both museums are usually included in various combination tickets. The Cathedral Museum houses sculptures and paintings from the 12th to the 15th century. The Sinopias Museum displays drawings that were used to prepare the frescoes.
Old Town of Pisa | Unsplash: Elena Devola

The Old Town of Pisa

The old town is only a short walk from the Piazza dei Miracoli. The buildings stand close together and the crowds are fewer than at the Cathedral Square, where it can often be loud and hectic. The small streets with many restaurants and shops soon open up to the Piazza dei Cavalieri. Here stands the Palazzo Carovana with its black and white facade. It was redesigned in 1558 AD by Giorgio Vasari and was the seat of Grand Duke Cosimo I. de’Medici. An elite university has been housed here since 1810. On the square, there is also the Palazzo del Collegio Puteano, the churches San Rocco and Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, the Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici, and the Palazzo dell’Orologio (Clock Palace), which was created from two dilapidated towers.
Bar in Pisa | Unsplash: David Straight

The University District

In a few more steps, you will reach the University of Pisa. Of course, you will find numerous bars here that support the lively student life in Pisa with plenty of drinks. Not far from here is the city market on the Piazza delle Vettovaglie. The shopping street Borgo Stretto, simply called 'Borgo' by Pisans, is the most popular shopping street in the city. In the narrow streets, commonly called 'Stretto' by Italians, you will find numerous shops, cafés, and restaurants. A tip for lovers of antique stores and bookshops is the area around Piazza Dante.
Riverside street along the Arno in Pisa | Unsplash: Giulia Hetherington

The riverside street

The 241km (150 miles) long river Arno, which flows through Italy, also meanders through Pisa, past colorful palaces and city villas. On the southern bank lies the church of Santa Maria della Spina, which was built for travelers. The Ponte di Mezzo, one of the bridges over the river, is a popular viewpoint. The picturesque promenade along the riverbank is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike and invites you to linger with its green spaces, cozy cafés, restaurants, and bars.
New Year's Eve in Pisa | Unsplash: Andrea Marcheschi

Other highlights

If you still have some time, you can visit the historical maritime museum, which commemorates the time when Pisa was a naval power. The botanical gardens and museums were founded in 1543 and include plants from all over the world on about 3ha (7,4 acres). One of the most beautiful art collections in Tuscany can be found in the former Benedictine monastery San Matteo, which today houses the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo. Here you will find sculptures, ceramics, manuscripts, textiles, and Tuscan paintings.
Spaghetti alle Vongole | Unsplash: Mohd Lazim Ath Thany Bin Mohd Lazim

Typical dishes in Pisa

The cuisine of Pisa is characterized by Tuscan tradition and benefits from its proximity to the sea. Fresh fish and seafood are therefore a delicacy that can often appear on the menus. Popular dishes include 'Cacciucco alla Livornese', a fish stew, 'Spaghetti alle Vongole' (spaghetti with clams), or 'Baccalà alla pisana' (a cod dish from Pisa). Tripe ('Trippa'), risotto with regional white truffles, or 'Mucco Pisano' (beef steak) are also typical of Pisa.

The use of local ingredients such as olive oil, fresh vegetables and pecorino cheese (cheese made from sheep's milk) gives the dishes a distinctive flavor, while excellent Tuscan wines round off the meals. In the numerous restaurants, osterias and trattorias in Pisa, visitors can discover and enjoy the diverse and delicious cuisine of the region.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an audio guide?

An audio guide can be borrowed when redeeming the tickets. At the ticket counter, you will receive your audio guide. Available languages are: German, English, French, Dutch, and Italian. Read more.

What tickets are available?

The best way to visit the cathedral is with a combined ticket, which also includes access to the leaning tower, the baptistery and the cemetery. Although entry to the cathedral is free, you must reserve a ticket on the same day. Read more.

Do I have to hand in my bags?

Only small bags are allowed in the cathedral. Larger luggage must be checked in. Read more.

Is the cathedral barrier-free?

In the church, ramps for wheelchairs have been installed to a large extent. Disabled visitors can visit the entire cathedral complex free of charge. However, the Leaning Tower of Pisa itself does not have an elevator and is therefore not accessible. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The Pisa Cathedral is generally open from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Sundays and Christian holidays, operating hours may vary. Information about changes in opening hours is promptly updated on the official website. The cemetery (Camposanto), the Baptistery, and the Museo delle Sinopie are usually open from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

address

Pisa Cathedral
Piazza del Duomo
56126 Pisa PI
Italy

tickets

Tickets for the cathedral alone can be booked online or on site free of charge. For the Leaning Tower of Pisa in combination with other parts of the cathedral complex, however, tickets must be purchased for your admission. A combination ticket for the cathedral and the tower costs around €20, while a ticket for all attractions on the premises costs €27. For €7, you can enter the church and one additional attraction apart from the tower; for €10, you can enter the entire site apart from the tower.

how to get there

The Leaning Tower of Pisa and the cathedral are a 20-minute walk from Pisa's main train station. The complex can also be reached by bus lines 110, 120, 140, 190, 21, 70, 71, 80, 81, 840, 875, or LAM red via the Torre 1 stop.
Jessica Donev
Written byJessica DonevJessica is the definition of Jack of all trades. When she wants to do something, she just does it. That's why Jessica is an event manager, professional dancer, trainer, content creator, speaker / presenter in training and much more. Having traveled the world a lot, she knows what's important when traveling and shares it with you here on TicketLens.
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