Campervan hire Pisa
From its elegant Renaissance architecture to its compelling political and intellectual heritage, Pisa is not just about the tower, you know.
Set among the vast plains, rolling hills and picturesque vineyards of Tuscany, Pisa is a city best known for the architectural mishap that is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But this slightly comical edifice is only one of many delights the destination claims stake to. Lying on the banks of the Arno river, the city carries its rich history and political significance with pride and makes a fascinating and charming place to visit, where feasts for the eyes — stunning churches, towers, and palaces — are equalled only by the culinary feasts on offer. And, not to forget, rivalled by the pastel sunsets of Tuscany’s countryside –– so rent a campervan in Pisa and get exploring!
Depot + Transfer
Our depot is located right next to the Pisa International Airport (PSA) on Piazzale D’ascanio, a 40-minute drive from the city-centre.
Are you starting a road trip in Pisa? If you plan to fly in, we’ll pick you up from Pisa International Airport (PSA) and take you to the depot where we’ll show you around the campervan. After you return your RV to the Pisa depot, we’ll drop you back off at the airport. Free of charge in regular hours, of course.
Parking in the city
If you’re planning to hire a campervan and drive into Pisa, be aware that you can’t drive inside the part of the city-centre surrounded by medieval walls. Parking can be found at the park-and-ride near the stadium on Via Pietrasantina: there’s a bus that runs between the lot and the city-centre and parking costs €15 euro a day for campervans. There’s also places to park on Via Paparelli and Via Pratale.
Camping grounds nearby
Hiring a campervan and looking for somewhere to stay near Pisa? A great option is Camping Torre Pendente, named after the Leaning Tower and only a 3-minute drive from the city. There’s also Camping St Michael, 15 minutes from the city-centre and near the Tyrrhenian Sea, or Camping Pineta, a 25-minute drive from Pisa.
Once a major maritime power, rather tragically today the first thing people think of when they hear Pisa is a wonky building. The legendary Leaning Tower deserves all the attention it gets but equally intriguing is the city that created it. Pisa rose to prominence during the 11th century after its population boomed and the city became a magnet for investment - allowing the creation of the great monuments we see today.
Most people begin their tour of the city with the Piazza dei Miracoli. Translated as ‘The Square of Miracles’, this extravagant claim is not the overstatement you might think. The Leaning Tower is just as magnificent and surreal as it sounds. Climb to the top — if vertigo doesn’t stop you half-way — and take in the awe-inspiring view. Once you’ve made your slow descent, visit the equally spectacular Duomo, Baptistry and the Camposanto Monumentale. Then swap ancient artistic genius for contemporary talent, visiting the mural by American artist Keith Haring, with its puzzle-like figures and explosions of colour. Equally vibrant is Pisa’s academic heritage. The birthplace of Galileo Galilei and home to the prestigious university Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa is a city where intellect is highly valued. The university, founded during the Napoleonic era, has been a place of study for many notable figures, including two Italian presidents, five Popes, five Italian prime ministers and three Nobel Laureates.
Take a break from these erudite attractions with some Tuscan treats: cecina - essentially a gluten-free bread that is more delicious than it sounds - mollusc soup, and torta coi bischeri, made with pine nuts, chocolate, raisins and candied citron and best enjoyed with a fine Vin Santo del Chianti. The perfect place to rest after a heavy meal is the University’s Botanical Gardens. Created by the famous Medici family in the 16th century, the garden is a secluded refuge of natural beauty. Lose yourself among the flowers - some of which are incredibly rare - and relax beside fountains and hothouses. End your day in Pisa with a walk along the 2km of city walls now open to the public. Then make your way to Piazza delle Vettovaglie, a hub of activity after sunset, full of bustling bars and restaurants. Over a glass of wine and an expertly concocted local dish, enjoy the nighttime ambience of a city that is so much more than a hilarious photo opportunity with a strangely slanted tower.
What to discover
In and around the city
The Leaning Tower and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
Set among stately green lawns, Pisa’s tower is just as bizarre-looking in real life as it is in photos. While a 5.5 degree slant doesn’t sound like much, in reality, it’s a lot. Inside the white marble walls, begin the narrow steep climb to the top where, if your nerves permit, the view from the edge is incredible. Once you’ve made your way back down, visit the equally beautiful structure of the Cathedral de Santa Maria Assunta with its ornate facade, gold decor and striking fresco.
Piazza dei Cavalieri
If you need proof of Pisa’s political heritage, look no further than Piazza dei Cavalieri. This impressive square is now home to the Scuola Normale Superiore, the city’s acclaimed university, but was once the site of the Roman Forum before later becoming the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen — a 16th century Italian dynastic military order. An enduring testament to the city’s commitment to academia and politics, the square is not just a place to learn about Pisa’s history but also a beautiful spot to relax in the Tuscan sun.
The best time to visit Piazza dei Miracoli is, in fact, at night, when the crowds have dissipated, leaving an atmospheric calm in their wake, and the monuments are lit up, accentuating the magnificent architecture. From here, you can walk 10-minutes south and take a stroll along the riverbanks. Twilight flatters the city, bringing out its best sides, and walking along the River Arno, with its five charming bridges, taking in the ambience, is the best way to get a flavour of the city.
Hire a campervan and drive 30 minutes north-east of Pisa and you’ll reach Lucca, a city that some refuse to concede is part of Tuscany, a grudge that owes mostly to the bread, which in Lucca is salted - elsewhere in the region only plain bread will do. Ignore this rather petty gripe and discover a city whose historic beauty rivals Pisa’s. With its centre encircled by a pristinely-preserved Renaissance wall, Lucca offers gorgeous broad boulevards, delightful piazzas, the Guinigi - a tower with a beautiful tree-filled garden at the top - and a Roman amphitheatre, while its nickname of “city of 100 churches” is no joke: there really are too many to keep count.
Livorno is far from being another tranquil and picturesque Italian port-town. It’s one of the most modern cities in Tuscany, a diverse hub where different cultures and influences converge. Interestingly, as well as the majestic Medici-era architecture, unlike many Tuscan towns, it’s home to a beautiful and fascinating synagogue, testament to the influential Jewish community who traded in the city during the 18th century. But truly captivating is La Venezia, a neighbourhood built in the style of Venice, with bridge, boats and canals. Hire a campervan and drive the short 20-minute journey from Pisa to Livorno to experience a Tuscan city with a difference.
Voted Italy’s Capital of Culture in 2017 — and not without reason — Pistoia is worth a stop on any campervan road trip. Quieter than many of the other tourist hot-spots in Tuscany, this is a city where medieval churches meet contemporary art, and where you can experience the authentic Tuscan way of life. And if you’re looking to escape into nature, the region is home to the Pistoia Mountains where skiing in winter gives way to perfect hiking conditions in the summer. This is also a great area for chocolate lovers: known as the "Tuscan chocolate valley", here you can find some of the best artisan chocolatiers in the country.