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Leaning tower of Pisa with kids

Visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa with Kids

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There is something about the Leaning Tower of Pisa that has fascinated my kids since they were little. Visiting the tower and “eating pizza in Pisa” were at the top of my kids’ bucket list for their first trip to Italy last November. We spent an afternoon here on our way to Florence and enjoyed our brief visit.

Leaning Tower of Pisa Facts

The Leaning Tower is located in Campo dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles in Pisa’s city center. This complex also includes the Pisa Cathedral, Baptistery and monumental cemetery. My kids were so excited to get their first glimpse of the leaning tower. Surprisingly, the lean is so much more prominent in person.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa Complex - Day Trip from Florence

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is located in Pisa’s city center. The complex also includes the Pisa Cathedral.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was originally built as a bell tower and started leaning after completion of the third story due to the soft ground its foundation was built on in 1178. It took over 200 years to complete the tower’s construction due to interruptions from wars, debt and structural issues.

This white marble structure has 207 columns. Its lowest point has sunk by about 10 feet. Many efforts have been taken to stabilize the tower and preserve it. The tower is located in a very well maintained area including the vibrant green grass we couldn’t walk on.

We couldn’t resist doing the fun tourist poses with the tower. But, it was more entertaining to watch the other tourists do some crazy poses. My kids actually “researched” which poses they would do with the tower before our visit. We probably spent more time orchestrating these poses than necessary.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa Complex - Day Trip from Florence

Climbing the Tower

Don’t miss going inside and climbing the tower for a memorable experience. Unfortunately, children under 8 years old aren’t allowed to go up. We highly recommend booking tickets in advance online to skip lines and to get your preferred times. Tickets are sold for 18€ in 30-minute segments throughout the day. The visit must be booked at least a day and a maximum of 20 days before your visit.

Backpacks, bags and purses must be deposited at the free luggage storage, with security guards, before entering the tower. This area is located in a yellow-orange building nearby, by the giant torso sculpture. Cameras, including DSLRs, were okay to bring up.

We felt the tilting as soon as we entered which was a bit unsettling. It was a surprise to see the inside so hollow. The staff gave a brief history talk on the ground floor before letting us go up.

Climbing eight stories up and 297 spiral steps in a single file line took about 10 minutes. It got a bit dizzying after a while and going down was worse. The marble steps weren’t even and the stairwell was narrow so slow and steady worked best here. The climb didn’t feel too claustrophobic because there were windows along the way.

We were rewarded with beautiful views of the city and the rooftops of the nearby structures once reaching the top. There were several bells here but also a high fence around the viewing area. I felt safer standing there with kids. Tower visits were limited to 40 minutes which was enough time to enjoy the whole experience. We loved this part of our visit.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa View, Day trip from Florence

After a dizzying climb, enjoy the beautiful views of Pisa below.

Please take some time to visit the other buildings in this UNESCO World Heritage site. Kids 10 and under have free admission everywhere except the tower. The tower ticket includes admission to the cathedral. The cathedral was stunning inside and out. Give the kids a camera and see what they capture in here. It almost felt like a museum. The domed Baptistery is Italy’s largest and worth visiting to test its acoustics.

I wish we had more time to explore other parts of Pisa beyond the square. It looked like an interesting city. Pisa was an easy day trip from Florence. It was a short visit but worth it for the experience of climbing the leaning tower of Pisa.

Know Before You Go

  • Use the LAM Rosso or Red Line bus to get to the square from the airport or Pisa-Centrale train station. They run every 7-15 minutes. Tickets were 1.10€ one-way and were valid for an hour. Tickets can be purchased at the airport information desk, machine or train newstands. They must be stamped after entering the bus.
  • Buses were located outside the baggage claim area at the airport and across the street from train station by the Pisa Jolly Hotel. The bus stop for the tower is Torre.
  • We came from the airport and stored our luggage at the Pisa-Centrale station. Price was 3€ per piece for 12 hours.
  • Keep a close eye on your belongings when taking pictures and especially when riding the buses.
  • Eating pizza in Pisa? We ate at Pizzeria Toscana located on a nearby side street. It was family-friendly and frequented by both locals and tourists. Various pizzas ranged from 7-8€ and they also had delicious pasta dishes. Don’t forget the gelato afterwards!

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Mary lives in San Diego, California with her husband, 13 year-old daughter and 10 year-old son. She was born in the Philippines, grew up in the U.S. territory…

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