You've seen it in movies, cartoons and countless (arguably) cheesy pictures. But once you come out of Pisa's bustling streets and finally have a clear view of the Leaning Tower, you'll understand why it's such an icon. This famous building is actually the bell tower for the nearby cathedral. To get the most out of your visit to the Piazza dei Miracoli, make sure to visit both.
When you enter Pisa's Piazza dei Miracoli, your eyes are drawn to the unmistakable tower - but that's just the beginning. It's no surprise that this place is called Square of Miracles. It's filled with enough architectural wonder that UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1987. Plus, so much went wrong during the history of the Leaning Tower, from a famously poor foundation to the Nazis using it as a lookout, that its continued existence is nothing short of miraculous.
Once you finish gaping at the stunning marble exterior of the Torre di Pisa (and taking a few “Look at me, I'm holding a tower” pictures), use our fast-track tickets to climb inside the insanely tilted campanile. From its top you'll get fabulous views and maybe even hear its bells ringing. There are seven of them in all, one for each musical note.
Right after that you can pop into the equally gorgeous (but only-slightly-tilted) Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption and take your sweet time enjoying treasures like the mosaic of Christ in Majesty, the frescoed dome, and the impressive white marble panels which narrate stories from the New Testament. All of those historical features survived a 1595 fire powerful enough to melt the original bronze doors.
If you were already leaning towards visiting those two miracles, remember that the tower has closed to the public many times in the past so its structure could be strengthened. Right now you can see it and climb it in all its glory. Seize the day.