If you are asking yourself “are there beaches near Pisa?” the answer is YES! Marina di Pisa is 12 kilometers from Pisa and is the perfect choice for a relaxing, no-fuss, Tuscan beach escape.
I was visiting Pisa for a few days with Travelling Jezebel this past June and we decided to check out some Tuscan beaches. Our first day after a very long week attending the Traverse conference and a long drive from Trento to Pisa we declared a lazy beach day. We got our bus tickets and bathing suits and off we were.
Marina di Pisa Beach
Marina di Pisa was once a vibrant town where the rich purchased vacation homes, restaurants and resorts popped up, and even a train ran here from Pisa. Now you will find a very quiet town, without a train, and with just a few restaurants sprinkled throughout. In moments it can feel abandoned. When we were walking along one street taking photos of a now-closed bar and movie theater I began imagining what once was. Marina feels like a town stuck in time but that was the magic of it.
The Arno River runs through Pisa and empties into the Mediterranean at Marina di Pisa. From there you have the view of mountains to the north and Livorno to the south. Marina di Pisa, or Marina for short, is not your typical tourist spot, in fact, it felt like we were the only tourists around.
From Pisa, you can get a return bus ticket for around 8€ (I can’t find my ticket stub to remember the exact number). The bus ride takes about 20-30 minutes depending on how many times it needs to stop.
Once we arrived at the seaside we got off the bus and walked along the coast. At first, there are stone beaches but if you continue south down the coast towards Livorno then you will find sandy beaches. Most of the stone beaches were open to the public and had some people enjoying them.
If you’re like me and go instant lobster on the beach then wander down to where the beach turns to sand and you begin to see what appears to be restaurants or bars that you must walk through to access the beach. These are private bathing facilities that you can pay to use. For a fee, you can have access to these private beaches, chairs, umbrella, shower, toilets, and the bar! We paid 10€ for two chairs and one umbrella and access to the facilities for the day.
Villa Santa in Marina di Pisa
After a day of relaxing on the beach, we wandered the streets taking photos. We walk past these tall open gates as a small elderly woman exits them. We paused to glance in and noticed a beautiful religious garden. The sign said that entrance was free so we proceeded. The garden had pathways that ended at various shrines and ceramic tiles depicting Jesus’s life all around the garden walls.
There is a white igloo-shaped structure that blends into the garden. Once inside you are greeted with what appears to be a small church inside of a cave. There were shrines behind plastic windows, photos and objects tucked in every tiny corner. It was a magical, sacred place. I’m not a religious person but I knew that this place was very special to a lot of people. I respectfully took some photos and left with a desire to learn more.
Once home I decided to do some research about this hidden sanctuary we stumbled upon and was shocked to see that there was nothing written in English so I switched my searches to Italian. From here I learned about the very interesting history of Villa Santa. It is said that Madonna appeared here several times and once, notably, during the 1940s. There are even a few personal accounts of miracles being performed at this location.
Regardless of whether it is true or not, I found this to be a beautiful story and it is indeed a special place that you should visit if you find yourself in Marina di Pisa.
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Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope you liked it and found it useful or inspiring. Let me know in the comments about somewhere special you found by accident! -Helene
Owner of wanderinghelene.com. Anthropologist, content creator, castle explorer, coffee drinker, and lover of markets and very old places!