You can’t say ‘Pisa’ without everyone immediately thinking about the famous Leaning Tower. While we definitely recommend you go to see that – and take the obligatory photo of you pretending to straighten it – Pisa has much else to recommend. This Tuscan city is a place of charm, packed with palaces and picturesque bridges that span the River Arno which cuts the city in two. It’s also a place of learning and culture, with a university that dates from the 12th century.
We have pick-up branches located all across the city, including one ideally placed at the airport. Car hire in Pisa will help you get around this city and to the nearby coast, but you can also to head out into Tuscany - a gorgeous drive through the Tuscan hills is a thing of wonder, while Florence, Garfagnana and Chienti are on your doorstep.
Opening hours: Mo-Fr 0830-1230 1500-1830, Sa 0830-1230, Su closed.
Address: Via Cisanello 168, Entrance through Via Puglia 14
Opening hours: Mo-Su 0800-2400
Address: Galileo Galilei Airport.
Many people use Pisa as a base from which to explore Tuscany by car, as the airport is close to the city and perhaps easier to navigate than Florence’s. Heading east on the SCG Firenze will take you to that amazing Renaissance city in just over an hour, which makes a day trip possible.
A short drive to the north-east is Lucca, reached via the SS12. The home of Puccini, it’s a pretty city with ancient remains and well-preserved churches. Take the SS1 from Pisa north-west to the coastal town of Viareggio, famed for its annual carnival. Held every year since 1873 it’s even broadcast on national television. The A12 threads its way south-west to Livorno. It may not be the most picturesque place in Tuscany, but it’s a buzzing city with a great reputation for seafood. It’s a fine place to highlight the contrasts available in this always surprising region.
Driving in Pisa itself is a pleasant experience, but do be aware that the centre, within the medieval walls, is a Zona a Traffico Limitato – a Limited Traffic Zone. Watch out for the signs because, if you do drive into the ZTL, you will be fined. Instead, simply park up your hire car at one of the many car parks – both free and paid, along with meter parking on the road – and it’s a short walk into the historic heart of the city.
Speed limits are strictly enforced and, as in most countries, vary by type of road. The AA has a user friendly guide to driving in Italy which you can download here. Be aware that Autostrada – denoted by an A in the road name – are toll roads and that outside of city centres headlights need to be used at all times.
With a wide range of travellers passing through our locations every day, we've got a wide range of vehicles on offer to suit your needs - from smart executive saloons to compact family hatchbacks. ***
***Specific cars may not be available when booking
A famous piece of architecture may dominate the skyline, but the excellent university here ensures that there’s a lively buzz to the city that manifests in cool restaurants and cafes. Pisa is a city of history that constantly renews.
The lean must be seen
It’s very much the big ticket item in Pisa, but the renowned Leaning Tower still has ability to surprise – just how does it stay up? Construction on the Torre Pendente began in 1173, but its troubled history meant it wasn’t unveiled until 1372, long after its original architect had passed. It had been leaning from almost day one, but the tilt got more pronounced over time until it reached over 5 degrees in the 20th century. Work in the 1990s prevented it slipping further, and in fact moved it back to 3.9 degrees, which is sustainable. It’s open to visitors but is limited to just 40 people at once. It’s best to book in advance, and be aware that children under 8 years old are not allowed into the tower, and that access to the top is by stairs only – all 251 of them. The tower is situated on the Piazza del Maricoli, also home to Cathedral and Baptistry.
A craving for the coast
If you feel like a break from city life, Pisa is only a very short distance from the coast. The small village of Tirrenia has become a tourist hotspot with its sandy beaches surrounded by fragrant pine forests. It’s not just sun-seekers who flock here, but also walkers, cyclists and water-sport enthusiasts. The WWF looks after the nature preserve and children will love the theme parks on offer - with a choice of Luna Park, Sunlight Park and Fantasilandia. There’s more surfing and sun if you head south to the beaches at Calambrone, while the huge beach at Marina di Vecchiano is popular with both tourists and locals, who can take a shaded walk in the pine woods when the heat becomes too much.
The Tuscan larder
Tuscany is famed for its olive oil and truffles, tastes that have travelled the world, but Pisa has its own specialities, often influenced by its proximity to the sea and fishing ports. Other dishes tend to make the most of pork, beans, peas and game - think bean-based soups enriched with parmesan, simply dressed mushrooms, chickpeas cooked with vegetables, tomatoes and served with bread. The streets of Pisa are packed with cheap eats (this is very much a student town), but also caters to tourists wanting both traditional food and more ambitious high-end cuisine. For a taste of pure Pisa, with atmosphere to spare, try Osteria la Grotta.
Whether you’re visiting the tried and tested tourist areas, heading to the coast or exploring the rest of this incredible region, car hire in Pisa will put it all at your fingertips.
Please note that from 15 Nov to 15 Apr many cities are required by law to restrict the circulation to only vehicles equipped with snow chains or winter tyres. For a summary of the orders, please visit www.poliziadistato.it. To comply with the regulations, in specific locations subject to this requirement, vehicles are equipped with snow chains - the price is included in the rental charges through the cost of "Winterization Fee". At pick-up if you decide to bring your own snow chains or do not intend on driving on the roads subject to this requirement, you may decline the equipment by signing the appropriate release form. This change will be reflected in the rental charges. For more information on the fees, please click here. In all other regions, we recommend that you check before renting if your journey includes one of the roads subject to this requirement and therefore request the snow chains, if necessary.