Pisa

Everyone knows the Tower of Pisa, the city of Pisa is not just the Tower, nor the marvellous Piazza dei Miracoli where it stands, with its Cathedral, Baptistery and Monumental Cemetery.


Pisa Miracle squareHistory
Pisa, in the past an Etruscan settlement and subsequently a Roman Colony, and later sill, the ancient a proud Maritime Republic, rises close to the Tirrenian Sea on the banks of the river Arno, that flows through in the Middle Ages gave it its period of maximum splendour: the numerous civilian and religious edifices, the squares, the typical narrows alleys running perpendicular to the Arno, testify, in the historic centre’s forma urbis, to a remarkable economic and political stability.
Traces of the Roman and medieval settlements were completely lost, partly because of bombing during the Second Word War, but there are still ample stretches of the town walls, built between 1154 –1155 and the Mid – Fourteenth Century.
In the XI Century Pisa intensified trade in the Mediterranean Sea, conquered Sardinia and the towns of Reggio Calabria, Palermo, Bona and Al Mahdiya in Africa, and furthermore could boast of many victories against the Muslim ships.
Oriented towards Ghibelline politics, Pisa was the only free Commune in all of Tuscany to openly support the Swabian sovereigns (Frederick I Barbarossa, Henry VI, Frederick II, Manfredi and Corradino) and were thus in contrast with the Papacy, and excommunicated in 1241 for having captured and consigned to the Emperor Frederick II a few high – ranking priests on their way to Rome to take part in a council.
The gradual decline of the city was decreed by its rival Genoa with the defeat of Meloria in 1284 and subsequently also by Florence. The loss of Sardinia and predominance over the sea placed Pisa in a kind of isolation from which it only emerged around 1500.

Pisa : LungarniDiscover Pisa
Everyone knows the Tower of Pisa, the city of Pisa is not just the Tower, nor the marvellous Piazza dei Miracoli where it stands, with its Cathedral, Baptistery and Monumental Cemetery. Pisa is many other things as well. It is the city of the ancient Etruscan and Roman Port at San Rossore, one of the most recent and important archaeological discoveries made yet.
It is the city where the art of modern sculpture was born, and these valuable works can be admired in the National Museum of San Matteo. Il is the city of the Maritime Republic, thanks to the trading activities of which Leonardo Fibonacci brought the Arabic number system to Italy and Europe, and it is the city of medieval walls surrounding a historic centre rich in monuments and works of art of extraordinary value, starting from Piazza dei Cavalieri. Pisa is one of most famous university cities in the world, whit its ancient University, the Normal High School , the School of Sant’Anna, the CNR laboratories.
It is the city of the lungarni (the banks of the river Arno), much loved by romantics poets for its climate and traditions of tolerance: from Byron to Shelley, from Giacomo Leopardi to Alessandro Manzoni.
Pisa is also a city strongly characterised by environmental treasures, fist of all its Marina, a tourist place established during the years of Belle époque and Liberty, and the Environmental Park of San Rossore, with its homonymous estate, also know as a equestrian competition ground and breeding centre among the most important in Europe. All this, and much else besides, mates Pisa a unique city in the vast panorama of the so-called art cities, and it offers tourists and visitors an infinite selection of attractions, from historic-artistic ones to holidays.

The Tower in Pisa is the bell tower of the Cathedral.
Leaning tower of Pisa Its construction began in the august of 1173 and continued (with two long interruptions) for about two hundred years, in full fidelity to the original project, whose architect is still uncertain.
In the past it was widely believed that the inclination of the Tower was part of the project ever since its beginning, but now we know that it is not so. The Tower was designed to be "vertical" (and even if it did not lean it would still be one of the most remarkable bell towers in Europe), and started to incline during its construction.
Both because of its inclination, and its beauty, from 1173 up to the present the Tower has been the object of very special attention. During its construction efforts were made to halt the incipient inclination through the use of special construction devices; later colums and other damaged parts were substituted in more than one occasion; today, interventions are being carried out within the sub-soil in order to significantly reduce the inclination and to make sure that Tower will have a long life.
In all this story it is possible to find a meaningful constant, the "genetic code" of the Tower: its continual interaction with the soil on which it was built. Today's (1999) works for the safeguard and the conservation of the Tower with very advanced methodologies are designed to fully respect this constant.
Tower official web site


Pisa The CathedralThe Cathedral
History Embedded in a Marble Inscription

The history of the Cathedral of Pisa is reported by a series of epigraphs embedded on its façade, enabling one to determine the events related to this monument: the period, the founder, the circumstances and the means of construction. The inscriptions testify that the Cathedral had been erected with the citiziens’ will since 1064, when Pisa, at the climax of its political, economic and military development, was the strongest marine power in the Western Mediterranean area. Among the victories over the Saracens, the sacking of Palermo provided an extraordinary booty permitting the beginning of the new Cathedral construction, which was the tangible proof of the city’s power.This type of ’panelled caption’ includes the tomb of Buscheto, the architect of the extraordinary engeneering and aesthetic features of this "snow-white marble" building, which, according to the inscription, "had no precedents".Further building, consisting of enlargement to the aisles and the façade construction, is ascribed to Rainaldo, who in another epigraph, was described as "careful member and Master builder of the Opera del Duomo".
Pisa The CathedralThe Plan
The Cathedral is cruciform in plan and has a very elongated main body, divided into five aisles by two double rows of columns with a semicircular apse at its end. Its transept intersects the main body and is divided by two colonnades into three aisles, which apses as well. In the middle of this cross there are those two distinct structures with two and four colonnades respectively on different module. The singular structure produces an effect of multiple visual directions, and echoes the layout of contemporary mosques. The intersection is surmounted by another dome, elliptical in plan and with Islamic influence.

Pisa BaptisteryBaptistery
In 1152 began the construction of a new Baptistery, which was comparable to the Cathedral as regards location, size, materials and style. At that time the Cathedral had already been consecrated and liturgical services were officially held inside it. Although under ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the Baptistery, as well as the Cathedral, was built with the cooperation of all the citizens, which proved evident when, after 15 days of drudgery, the internal monolithic columns were erected.
Like the Cathedral, the round-shaped Baptistery is surrounded by columned arcades, and is made of white marble inlaid with grey bands. The carvings on the main portal, framed by columns with floral patterns, and the arcaded gallery echo the Cathedral. Later it was completed by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano with arcades and pinnacles.Inside, eight monolithic columns, competing in height with those in the Cathedral, are alternated with four pillars and form a central area in which is placed an octagonal baptismal font by Guido da Como, flanked by Nicola Pisano’s Pulpit (1260).A spiral staircase, which became a reoccurring element in the Tower, leads up to the women’s gallery which is roofed with a barrel vault and looks into the central area through a series of round- headed arches. Pisa Baptistery
The roof consists of a double dome: the internal dome is a dodecagonal truncated pyramid, whereas the external one is barrel vaulted and surmounted by a cupola. The space and shape layout are very original. They contribute to the harmonious aspect of the monumental complex and reflect the Byzantine and Islamic influences of the Cathedral dome and the Gothic style of the works by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano.

Camposanto
As reported by the Statutes of the Commune of Pisa, in 1275 the Podestà and the Elders - city government institutions - committed themselves to take all necessary steps in order that the Archbishop cede the land contiguous to the church and to the Square, with the aim of building a cemetery.However, the Archbishop Federico Visconti did not cede the needed land or gardens. Moreover, he claimed to be the designer of the plan: with an official document he ordered to move the Roman sarcophagi, which had been re-used as graves by illustrious Pisan citizens and which were scattered around the Cathedral, to a sequestered and enclosed place. In this way the area occupied by graves, could be set apart for ’public use’.In 1278 the construction of a proper public square begun under the supervision of the ’Operai’ appointed by the Commune governors: the Camposanto was built next to the Cathedral and the Baptistery, and its long marble wall enclosed to the north and definitively shaped the monumental area.
More info:
Museo dell'Opera di Pisa

Pisa Piazza dei Cavalieri Piazza dei Cavalieri
This square, known in the time of the Pisan Republic as the Square of the Seven Roads, is thought to be the site of the Forum of Roman Pisa. It was the centre of politics of the Pisan Republic when it was transformed by Cosimo I de Medici into the seat of the new military order of «The Knights of Saint Stephan with the aim of eradicating any trace of the city's past independence. Its present appearance is therefore the fruit of radical renovations of the surrounding palaces, for the most part designed by the Florentine architect Giorgio Vasari in 1562. In the square's centre can be seen a fountain beneath the statue of Cosimo I in the robes of Grand Master of the Order of Knights, both the work of Pietro Francavilla in 1596. Behind the statue rises the Palazzo della Carovana dei Cavalieri. This, the old republic's Hall of City Elders was entirely transformed by Giorgio Vasari with its present facade which recall, both in style and subject, various buildings along Via dei Mille and Via Ulisse Dini. The building now houses the Scuola Normale Superiore, the elite University founded by Napoleon Bonaparte who modelled it after the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. Within its walls have studied many of Italy's most famous personages, such as the poet, Giosuè Carducci and the physicist Enrico Fermi. Opposite and to the left of the Scuola Normale stands the Palazzo dell'Orologio which was transformed into its present structure for the infirmary of the Knights by uniting by bridge the two crumbling towers of the Count della Gherardeschi. In Canto XXXIII of his Inferno, Dante Aleghieri recounts the story of the fate of the suspected traitor, Count Ugolini. Tradition holds that it was in one of these towers that, in 1288, he was left to die of starvation, along with the other males of his family whose corpses he fed upon.
Beyond Via Corsica, after the Oratorio di San Rocco, you will find the former Collegio Puteaneo, founded in 1605 by the Archbishop, Antonio Dal Pozzo to lodge the students of the city of Biella attending the University. Its facade is adorned by the original frescoes of Stefano Marucelli, as is the Palazzo dell'Orologio. On the southern side of the square stand the monumental Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici (Palace of the Council of Twelve), the ancient site of the city magistrature which was completely refurbished in 1596 according to a project by Pietro Francovilla. Later the building became the Court of the Knights of Saint Stephan. In its interior can be seen a hall with walls frescoed in architectural motifs and ceiling engraved and painted by Ventura Salimbeni of Siena. To the right of the Scuola Normale, the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri (10) completes the tour of the square. Its construction, begun in 1565 following the plan of Giorgio Vasari, was completed in 1593 with the addition of the facade designed in rich architectural motifs by Don Giovanni de Medici. Its hall-like interior is closed overhead by a richly engraved and gilded wooden ceiling including paintings of the greatests artists of the de Medici era. Particularly interesting are the banner-trophies and various parts of ships seized from the Turks by the Knights during their policing operations in the Tirreno Sea in order to guarantee safe passage there. Beside the sacristy is a collection of costumes and memorabilia commemorating the activities of the Knights.

The Church of Santa Maria della Spina
The small Church of Santa Maria della Spina is a remarkable example of Pisan Gothic. It was built in 1230 on the banks of the river Arno next to an important bridge, called Ponte Novo, that used to join the streets Santa Maria and Sant’Antonio. The bridge was destroyed during the 15th century and was never rebuilt. Being the church close to the bridge, it was given the name of Santa Maria de Pontenovo, changed in 1333 to Santa Maria della Spina, when it preserved the reliquary of a thorn of the Saviour’s crown (spina = thorn). Today the reliquary is in the church of Santa Chiara.

Originally the building was a small oratory constituted by a loggia. In 1322, due to the interest of the Commune of Pisa, the works to enlarge it began; they were finished about fifty years later, under the supervision of the Pisan architect and sculptor Lupo di Francesco.
The Guelph Tower of the old CitadelThe vicinity to the river has always determined a constant threat to the stability of the church. In fact, as attested by numerous documents, from the 15th century the church underwent many restorations aimed at repairing the damages from the subsiding of the ground and at consolidating the architectural structures. However, the most radical intervention was carried out in 1871, when the whole building was completely dismantled and rebuilt on a level about one meter higher. On this occasion, many statues were removed and replaced by copies, while the sacristy was lost. The result was that the church was altered in its proportions and shape.

The Guelph Tower of the old Citadel
The tall Guelph tower rises in one of the most scenic areas of Pisa, the Cittadella Vecchia (Old Citadel). Its unique profile has attracted for centuries people visiting the town or simply walking along the Arno.
This part of Pisa, characterised by ancient remains usually ignored, is actually the witness of centuries of history. In fact, at the beginning of the 13th century, after the many and important victories of its fleet over all the Mediterranean Sea, the Republic of Pisa reunited in this place all its busy shipyard activities. The choice fell on the western-most part of the city, near the monastery of San Vito (an important religious institution now completely lost apart from the church of San Vito remodelled many times over the centuries), where harbour structures already existed from the previous century.


Pisa: discover the surroundings

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  • San Rossore park San Rossore park
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  • Travel Pisa Travel Pisa
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  • San Giuliano Terme San Giuliano Terme (6 km)
    The Municipality of San Giuliano Terme is an important health resort in the province of Pisa with a population of about 30000 inhabitants.
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  • Pisa castles Pisa castles (6 km)
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  • Pisan mountains Pisan mountains (6 km)
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  • Vicopisano Vicopisano (14 km)
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  • Buti Buti (15 km)
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  • Lucca Lucca (16 km)
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  • Travel Lucca Travel Lucca (16 km)
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  • Massarosa Massarosa (18 km)
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  • Fauglia Fauglia (19 km)
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  • Giovanni Fattori museum in Livorno Giovanni Fattori museum in Livorno (20 km)
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  • Gorgona island Gorgona island (20 km)
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Accommodations in the area


    • Massarosa (Lucca)
    • 17 km from Pisa

    Stone Farmhouse Massarosa 8 beds pool

    Stone farmhouse in typical Tuscan style skilfully and elegantly renovated in a dominant position on the hills of Massarosa with spectacular views that reach the sea of Tuscany. The farmhouse has a swimming pool with whirlpool.
    Perfect solution for those that search the real authentic Tuscany staying in the hills but not far from the Versilia sea.

    Availability request


    • Massarosa (Lucca)
    • 20 km from Pisa

    Farmhouse Massarosa 14 beds pool

    Beautiful ancient Tuscan farmhouse completely renovated located on Tuscan hills 10 km from the golf course of Versilia. The villa can accommodate up to 14 people.
    An oasis of peace for those looking for a stay in the Tuscan hills while staying close to the sea. Perfect for a relaxing holiday in close contact with nature.

    Availability request


    • Massarosa (Lucca)
    • 23 km from Pisa

    Villa Massarosa 10 beds pool

    Beautiful and spacious villa in the countryside located in the hills of Versilia, 3 km from the golden beaches of the Tuscan coast with private pool and park.
    Perfect solution to stay in the green hills of Tuscany, 3 km from the golden beaches of Versilia

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 24 km from Pisa

    Residenza d'Epoca I Pini

    Historical house HOTEL I PINI : In Lido di Camaiore in Tuscany 100 meters from the sea only, a place of serenity and charm in Versilia!
    The Residenza d'Epoca HOTEL I PINI is an ancient villa in 1900 in Liberty style, completely renovated which still has all the charm of the residence of the painter / Ceramist Galileo Chini.

    Booking ONLINE


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 24 km from Pisa

    Villa Pieve di Camaiore 8 beds pool

    Luxury and charming villa with swimming pool for rent surrounded by the green hills of Camaiore not far from the sea of the Tuscan coast.
    The villa is ideal for those looking for an oasis of absolute peace and relaxation guaranteed by the elevated position and the external fence in style.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 24 km from Pisa

    Restored Farmhouse Camaiore 9 beds pool

    Beautiful fully restored farmhouse located on the hills of Camaiore. The villa is surrounded by a park of 2500 square meters in which is inserted the beautiful pool.
    Thanks to the dominant position on the valley from the farmhouse you can enjoy a beautiful 360 ° panoramic view.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 25 km from Pisa

    Villa Prato di Sopra Camaiore 10 beds pool

    This villa is really some thing special, perched on the top of a hill the views are endlessly breath taking.
    This villa is really some thing special, perched on the top of a hill the views are endlessly breath taking.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 25 km from Pisa

    Villa Camaiore Hills 7 beds pool

    Wonderful villa with swimming pool surrounded by greenery, tranquility and privacy of the Pieve di Camaiore about 10 km from the sea of the Tuscan coast.
    The villa has all the comforts necessary to ensure an unforgettable stay in Tuscany and is the ideal solution for small groups up to 7 people who want to stay in the countryside but not far from the sea of Versilia.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 25 km from Pisa

    Villa Camaiore Hills 10 beds pool

    Villa located 3 km from the center of Camaiore in a quiet and sunny position 10 km from Tuscan sea.
    Ideal for those looking for a villa accommodation on the hills of Versilia a few miles from Tuscan sea.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 25 km from Pisa

    Villa Lido di Camaiore 9 beds pool

    Detached villa with pool and annex in Lido di Camaiore in the heart of Versilia. The beaches of Lido di Camaiore are just 1.5 km away.
    Ideal solution to stay in a villa in Lido di Camaiore.

    Availability request


    • Lucca (Lucca)
    • 25 km from Pisa

    Historic Villa Lucca 12 beds pool

    Historic villa 14 km from the center of Lucca immersed in the green of the Tuscan vineyards and olive groves, it has a private swimming pool and a large park.
    Set on 350 square meters in a dominant position offers a unique view of the hills of Tuscany.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 26 km from Pisa

    Villa Camaiore Hills 10 beds pool

    Amazing villa in rustic Tuscan style located on the hills of Versilia with a large park with swimming pool.
    Thanks to its elevated position you can enjoy a fantastic view that sweeps up to the sea of Versilia.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 27 km from Pisa

    Farmhouse Camaiore 10 beds pool

    Beautiful farmhouse in typical Tuscan style, carefully restored, set in the green hills of Tuscany, surrounded by olive trees and a large garden where the beautiful swimming pool is located.
    The ideal solution to spend your holidays in the green Tuscan hills in a location of absolute privacy and relaxation. The sea of the Tuscan coast is about 10 km away. Inside the villa there is a small spa.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 28 km from Pisa

    Countryhouse Camaiore 16 beds pool

    Ancient and charming country house located in Camaiore on the Tuscan hills and just 10 km from the sea of Versilia.
    The villa is the ideal solution for those looking for a solution of typical Tuscan charm and in a position of absolute tranquility and relaxation.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 28 km from Pisa

    Villa Camaiore Hills 10 beds pool

    Prestigious villa for rent on the Hills of Camaiore with a unique position and a panoramic view that extends from the surrounding hills to the sea of Versilia.
    The large park in which the beautiful panoramic pool is expertly set gives this exclusive residence a characteristic of absolute privacy and relaxation.

    Availability request



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