If you want a genuine taste of Pisa, get away from the crowds around the Tower. Head south on Via Santa Maria as far as Piazza Cavalotti, then along Via dei Mille into Piazza dei Cavalieri. Continue through this vast, polygonal square to the center of the “real” city—it is less than 10 minutes’ walk away. At Osteria dei Cavalieri ★, Via San Frediano 16 (tel. 050/580-858), you'll find grilled meats, daily fresh fish, and traditional Pisan dishes like rabbit stewed with oregano. Main courses range from 12€ to 18€. Osteria dei Cavalieri is closed Sundays and most of August; there’s also no lunch service on Saturdays. Just across the River Arno, you’ll find a great-value lunch at La Taverna di Pulcinella ★, Via Garofani 10 (tel. 050/520-2704). Pizzas are around 10€, or you can opt for a 10€ two-course Pisan menu, which may be the likes of spelt with garbanzo beans and porcini mushrooms followed by a rustic pork steak with garlic and rosemary. It’s closed Sunday and Monday.
For pizza or cecina (warm chickpea-flour flatbread) and a cold beer, stop at Il Montino ★, Vicolo del Monte 1 (tel. 050/598-695), a by-the-slice spot often busy with students.
Any visit should include a stop for a coffee and pastry at Caffè dell’Ussero, one of Italy’s oldest literary cafe-bars, doing a brisk business since 1775 from the ground floor of riverside Palazzo Agostini, Lungarno Pacinotti 27 (tel. 050/581100). For pizza or cecina (a flatbread made of garbanzo-bean flour and served warm), stop in at Il Montino, in the historic center a block or so west of Borgo Stretto at Vicolo del Monte (tel. 050/598695). At the end of Borgo Stretto, at number 11 in the riverside Piazza Garibaldi, is Pisa’s best gelato shop, Bottega del Gelato (tel. 050/575467).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.