Pisa, Italy – The Top 6 Things to Do

Pisa was a major Roman port, but the Arno River has since silted up, leaving it 10 kilometers inland. In 1063, Pisa’s navy was instrumental in defeating the Saracens at Messina and Palermo, beginning Pisa’s rise to control Mediterranean shipping. The cathedral was built in thanks for these victories and enriched by booty brought back by its fleet in the First Crusade. Commerce and industry flourished, and its architects, sculptors, and painters became famous throughout Europe. In 1284, rival Genoa defeated Pisa’s navy, and in 1406, Pisa fell to Florence. But the ruling Médici took a keen interest here, constructing bridges and canals, so the city continued to thrive. Pisa is the birthplace of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), and legend holds that the cathedral’s swaying chandelier inspired him to design the clock pendulum. Pisa’s main tourist attractions — the Leaning Tower, Cathedral, Baptistery, and Campo Santo — are close together in the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), and comprise a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here are the top 6 things to do in Pisa, Italy.

  1. The leaning tower of Pisa – Symbol of the city, thanks to its characteristic slope, this tower is the most famous monument of Piazza del Duomo and it was built between the XII and the XIV century. This tower leans because the ground gave during its early stage of construction, and since then it has remained in this way. Even if it could looks scaring, you don’t have to worry about it: the vertical axis, passing through its centre of gravity, falls into the support base, so the tower will never fall down, unless the laws of physics should be subverted.CcpYbhrUYAAf8Sp.jpg
  2. Pisa Baptistery  – The Pisa Baptistery too forms the monumental complex of Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral square or Miracle’s square). Its construction began in 1153 thanks to the architect Diotisalvi, as an  inscription inside an interior pillar testifies, but a lot of the sculptures on the façade have been made by Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni.Pisa-Baptistry.jpg

  3. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Pisa – The Cathedral of Pisa, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, is the most significant example of the Pisa Romanesque art. The architect Buscheto joined the classical tradition with elements from the Norman, Byzantine, Pre-Christian and Arabic arts, creating a new style which anticipated the Florentine Renaissance.santa_maria_assunta

  4. Banks of the Arno – Pisa is famous for Piazza dei Miracoli ( Miracles square), but it is also known for its banks of the Arno: all the streets that go along the Arno are an important point of meeting for young people and reference’s point for the tourists. There are important buildings, dated back to the Middle age, that during the centuries have been transformed. Towers, bridges and buildings, in spite of their actual Renaissance appearance, have a medieval soul, which can’t be ignored by the eye of an attentive tourist.ponte.jpg

  5. The monumental graveyard of Pisa – The last wonder of Campo dei Miracoli ( Miracles square) is the monumental graveyard of Pisa, a sacred place. The crusaders brought there the saint-ground taken on the Golgotha mountain, just outside Jerusalem. There are buried the most important people of Pisa, and there can be found art works from the Etruscan time passing through the Roman and Medieval era until the last century. Simple white marble walls guards the graves; the most important persons were buried into the garden or in the Roman sarcophagi, while the other were buried under the arcades.monumental-cemetery-pisa.jpg

  6. Piazza dei Cavalieri – Knights Square in Pisa – The hurried tourist, who leaves Pisa after the classic visit around the Campo dei Miracoli (Miracles Square) ,misses this wonderful town square. Piazza dei Cavalieri owes its name to the presence of the headquarter of the Order of Knights of St. Stephen.  For centuries it has been the site of a national civil power, even though today it’s above all a cultural and study place thanks to the presence of the Scuola Normale of Pisa, housed in the Palace of the Caravan.palazzo-della-carovana.jpg

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