Pisa, the city of Galileo Galilei and the “Leaning Tower“, is the ideal destination for a trip to discover the artistic and cultural wonders of Tuscany and Italy
When it comes to Pisa is inevitably refer to his tower; but this is just one of many monuments that you can admire the beautiful Tuscan city: Piazza del Duomo, defined by Gabriele D’Annunzio Field of Miracles for the beauty of its monuments, it collects in a unique architectural complex in the world’s main religious monuments : the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Monumental Cemetery.
Pisa, however, does not end in this square: just move a little to discover the artistic wonders that make it one of the most beautiful cities in Italy although it is small. Buildings, monuments and museums help to keep alive the memory of a past when Pisa was the Maritime Republic and, for a long time, dominated the trade routes in the Mediterranean in competition with Amalfi, Genoa and Venice.
Pisa has a unique charm, the city is pleasant to visit in all seasons of the year, is a town very young and dynamic, qualities that allow it to maintain as the title of Queen of the City Studies, with its World Excellence University.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa one of the most famous sights in Italy and the world. Symbol of the city of Pisa because of its characteristic slope, built between the XII and XIV century, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the bell tower of Santa Maria Assunta; It hangs because the land has already been sold in the early stages of construction, and since then has remained so.
Although it may frighten you, do not let yourself be influenced: the vertical axis passing through its center of gravity falls into the cradle, so it can not fall! It is believed that the tower was designed by Diotisalvi, that in the same period he was building the Baptistery.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been proposed as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the first thing to do in Pisa is almost inevitable: see and take a picture of the famous Leaning Tower.
Square of Miracles
Square of Miracles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, includes, in addition to the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Monumental Cemetery.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Pisa
The Cathedral of Pisa, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, is the most significant example of Romanesque Pisan. The architect Buscheto, fusing the classical tradition with elements of Norman, Byzantine, early Christian and Arab, has created an original style that anticipated the Florentine Renaissance.
The Cathedral of Pisa is a tangible evidence of the prestige that the Maritime Republic reached the moment of its greatest splendor. The current appearance of the Cathedral is the result of continuous restoration work which was done over different periods. During the nineteenth century sculptures they were replaced by copies and are now kept in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
The Baptistery in Pisa
The Baptistery of Pisa is another of the buildings that form the monumental complex of Piazza del Duomo (or Cathedral Square). Its construction, begun in 1153, is Diotisalvi architect, as evidenced by an inscription on a pillar inside, but many sculptures of the facade were made by Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni.
Always the Pulpit by Nicola Pisano presenting scenes from the Life of Christ and subjects depicting The Virtues: all masterpieces that testify to their creator has been one of the main precursors of the Renaissance. The outer dome covers only the inside turn of the pillars and probably the lack of money was the reason for which is made up of different materials (red tiles and sheets of lead) the Baptistery of Pisa is the largest baptistery in Italy.
The Monumental Cemetery of Pisa
The latest wonder of the Field of Miracles is the Monumental Cemetery of Pisa, a sacred place because the Crusaders brought here holy land taken on Mount Golgotha, just outside Jerusalem.
There are buried the most illustrious Pisan characters and there are works of art from the Etruscan, and Roman and medieval up to the last century masterpieces. Simple white marble walls house the tombs of the dead, the most prominent personalities were buried in the central garden or the Roman sarcophagi, while under the arches resting less prestigious personalities. When in the nineteenth century the cemetery was rearranged, even the sarcophagi were moved indoors, so that currently all burials are under the arches. The intersection of a celebration of history and reflection on death made the cemetery one of the most visited monuments in the nineteenth century, until the bombings of the Second World War caused serious damage to the frescoes. In 1945 they began the restoration work that is still ongoing.
Piazza dei Cavalieri
Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knight’s Square) takes its name from the presence, commissioned by the Grand Duke Cosimo I de ‘Medici, the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano. For centuries it has been the site of a national civil power, even though today it is above all a cultural place and study with the presence of the Scuola Normale of Pisa, housed in the Palace of the Caravan. Extraordinary example of Renaissance architecture designed by Giorgio Vasari, who had him decorate with allegorical figures and zodiacal signs. Next door is the equally beautiful Clock Palace, medieval building in which was built the “Tower of Fame”.
Here, in the Tower of Muda (later dubbed the “Tower of Fame”), was imprisoned Count Ugolino della Gherardesca and his captors he was given orders to throw the key into the Arno cell. The legend (also narrated by Dante in Inferno, canto XXXIII) wants the Count, who was sentenced to die of starvation along with children and grandchildren, overcome with hunger Eating flesh of his progeny. The verse of the Divine Comedy, “Rather than ‘the pain could fasting,” referring to the sad end of Ugolino della Gherardesca can, however, be interpreted in two ways: either as an accusation of cannibalism or, conversely, as the ‘assertion that the cause of the Count’s death was prolonged fasting and not the pain for the loss of children.
The Tower of Fame is now incorporated in the Clock Palace and belongs to Normal. Guided tours, admission free, take place by appointment, for a maximum of 20-25 people per group.
On the Piazza dei Cavalieri also overlook the Rectory, the Palace of the Council of the Twelve, the Church of Santo Stefano and San Rocco. The Church of Santo Stefano was built by Giorgio Vasari whose inside there is the painting “Stoning of St. Stephen” to which is added a “Nativity of Christ” by Bronzino. At the center of the square stands the statue of “Cosimo I” as a Grand Master of the Knights.
Besides being famous for Piazza del Duomo, Pisa is also known for its spectacular riversides: the streets bordering the Arno River. The riversides are both important meeting places for young Pisan, is interesting reference point for tourists.
The Lungarni of Pisa are spectacular during the day but especially at sunset. The most beautiful is the Lungarno Mediceo, flanked by elegant residences of the Lords Pisan of the past, like the Medici Palace and Palazzo Toscanelli, but also from other parts of the city’s history, such as the Church of St. Matthew in Soarta, which now houses an interesting museum.
Lungarno Gambacorti there is a small Gothic jewel, the church of Santa Maria della Spina. He took this name in 1333 when she received the relic of a thorn from Christ’s crown (now on display in the church of Santa Chiara). Inside there is a beautiful Madonna della Rosa by Andrea and Nino Pisano.
If you are in Pisa on June 16 do not miss the Luminara di San Ranieri: Pisa is illuminated by hundreds of lights and night lights of warm colors and romantic atmosphere, the riversides are illuminated by numerous candles which enhance the outlines of all buildings by creating a play of lights and colors.
Borgo Stretto and Borgo Largo in Pisa
Borgo Stretto is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods of Pisa. It hides the other two leaning towers of Pisa: the first is part of the Church of St. Nicholas and is tilted about 2 , 5 degrees; the second is that of the Church of San Michele degli Scalzi, inclined by less than 5 degrees.
If you pass through the historic center of Pisa probably you spend from Borgo Stretto (tight street), or “the village”, as they call the people of Pisa. And ‘the most typical streets of the center, with its arcades, the shops, the café tables. Along the way they cross buildings palaces of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that formed the nucleus of the ancient Pisa: here the noble families and merchants competed to build the most beautiful building, tall, colorful. Of all that splendor today can be seen much longer.
By way of columns it is accessed Piazza Vettovaglie, secular place of the food market, originally Piazza de ‘Pigs. Gone are the arcades of Borgo Stretto is Piazza del Pozzetto (Borgo Largo) but first stop to see the tabernacle in wood with inside a copy of Our Lady of the coachmen Nino Pisano.