I'm sure the folks who live in Pisa would say it is more than "just a place to get a picture and that's it". With only one day, by the time you reach Florence, you will need all the time you have just to wander the city center.. Florence is a powerhouse and a significant destination. There will be massive crowds during high season.
I have a suggestion that I think your whole family would like. Instead of Florence, head to intimate and charming Lucca. Lucca is in between Pisa and Florence. You will find a gorgeous ramparts that encircles the entire historic city center where folks stroll and/or ride bicycles (you can rent) amongst the tress and grass...there's good food, small winding streets, a sweet botantical garden, famous towers to climb, pretty plazas and cathedrals, wonderful architecture & history.....I would head there early, stay for lunch and if desired, take the train to Pisa, walk up to the Field of Miracles (20 minute walk), visit this stunning complex, and head back to the train station for Livorno. Make sure you understand the train schedules; you may not have time for Pisa. I think your boys would really enjoy Lucca and having some expansive time...
I recommend you get Rick Steve's book on all of the Ports of Call for cruises. It gives you all of the alternative based on the port of call. It recommends private tours and self managed tours. It's well worth the money as you can use it for all of the other ports of call.
I am mystified. Having successfully booked all kinds of train journeys in Italy for a trip in June, I am now trying to get from Vernazza (in the Cinque Terre) to Florence (via La Spezia and Pisa) on Monday 11th June. Although various websites (including trenitalia and trainline.eu ) are showing availability for the La Spezia to Pisa leg, there appears to be no availability for the Pisa to Florence part of the journey on that particular day. Am I missing something? Holiday? Particularly busy day? Strike?
Any help would be hugely appreciated.
Apologies. The question above was incorrectly posted.