Top 5 Landmarks
in Pisa to visit on a cruise
to Livorno in 2023

Basic guide to the top five historical landmaks in Pisa for cruise passengers to the port of Livorno, including reviews of Palazzo dei Cavalieri, Palazzo dell’Orologio, Torre Guelfa, Orto Botanico, and Palazzo Blu.

Updated: May 20, 2023

Very few cruise travelers contemplate exploring Pisa beyond the Leaning Tower and, eventually, the Cathedral and/or the Baptistery. But there is more to see in Pisa.


  1. Palazzo dei Cavalieri (The Knights Palace)
  2. Palazzo dell’Orologio (Clock Palace)
  3. Torre Guelfa
  4. Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden)
  5. Palazzo Blu (Blue Palace)

In fact most cruise lines only offer excursions that visit the sites on the Piazza dei Miracoli and, therefore, the visitor will leave Pisa without realizing that there is more to explore.

Just 5-minutes walk away from the famous Leaning Tower, the Piazza dei Cavalieri boasts the spectacular 'Palazzo dei Cavalieri' (designed by Vasari) and the historical 'Palazzo dell’Orologio'.

The cruise traveler shouldn't ignore these two landmarks. To discover and explore the Top Highlights of Pisa click here.

1. Palazzo dei Cavalieri
(The Knights Palace)

Built between 1562 and 1564 by Giorgio Vasari as the headquarters of the Knights of St. Stephen, this building is also known as 'Palazzo della Carovana' and is now the main building of the 'Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa'.

The Knights of St. Stephen were both a religious and military order for the protection and leadership of Pisa. The palace is decorated with paintings of allegorical figures and zodiac signs.

Photo of Palazzo dei Cavalieri, the Knights Palace, in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Palazzo dei Cavalieri, Pisa

Photo ©

The Scuola Normale Superiore was founded in 1810 by Napoleon and based on its French predecessors. Graduate students pursued doctorates in many prestigious fields including philosophy, mathematics, science and literature.

The entire palace looks out over the other buildings, including the Palazzo dell’Orologio Tower, a prominent part of Dante’s Inferno. The church in the compound features Bronzino’s Nativity of Christ.

2. Palazzo dell’Orologio
(Clock Palace)

This tower is known as the Tower of Famine because Count Ugolino died of starvation in the tower at the end of 1200.

Photo of Palazzo dell’Orologio, Clock Palace in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Palazzo dell’Orologio, Clock Palace, Pisa

Photo ©

He plotted against the town and his party by wanting to establish a Guelph government, which eventually led to his imprisonment and subsequent death by starvation.

This story is retold by Dante in the Hell 33 of his Divine Comedy, otherwise known as “Dante’s Inferno.” It is rumored that Ugolino began losing his mind and ate his grandchild’s dead body. As the towers were joined in 1605 and 1608, they began being used for the sick knights of the St. Stefano Knighthood.

3. Torre Guelfa
(Guelph Tower)

As the Tower of the old Citadel is located in a very scenic area of Pisa, it draws many tourists because of its beauty. The surrounding area is filled with ancient ruins and a busy shipyard. A series of coats of arms are displayed in the tower from the families of Florentine Commissioners and Captains who were in charge of the town.

4. Orto Botanico
(Botanical Garden)

These gardens were first planted in 1543 under the supervision of botanist, Luca Ghini. It is possibly the oldest botanical garden in the world. The gardens were originally to be used to study plant life for the University Centre.

First located near the river, the new location was established in 1592 by Flemish botanist Giuseppe Casabona.

WHEREHistorical City - just off Piazza Duomo
Address:Via L. Ghini, 5
Open:Monday to Friday: 8:00 am to 5:30pm; Saturdays: 8:00 am to 1.00pm  
Closed:Sunday, January 1, December 25

5. Palazzo Blu
(Blue Palace)

The Plazzo Blue is a 14th century building on the West of Corso facing the Arno River. When the building was restored, the interior decoration took on a distinctly 19th century feel. The Palazzo features Pisan works spanning the period from the 14th century to 20th century. You can take a 20-minute guided tour daily at 4:00. 4:30 and 5pm.


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