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Pisa, Province of Pisa, Tuscany

Pisa is situated a few km from the mouth of the river Arno on the Thyrrhenian Sea, in a plain called Lower Valdarno, with the Monti Pisani to the north. Thanks to the vicinity of the sea, the city enjoys a mild climate. World-famous for its leaning tower, it is a UNESCO Heritage site also for all the other monuments in the Campo dei Miracoli square. The hometown of Galileo Galilei, it hosts today a University (the Scuola Normale Superiore) especially renowed in Physics, Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science.

Info

  • Altitude: 4 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 87,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 56100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 050
  • Patron Saint: St. Ranieri, celebrated on 17 June
  • Frazioni & Localities: Marina di Pisa, Tirrenia, Calambrone, Barbaricina, Riglione, Oratoio, Putignano, San Piero a Grado, Coltano, Sant'Ermete, Ospedaletto
  • GPS Coordinates: 43.43.N -- 10.24.E
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Provinces of Tuscany

History

Already existing during the Etruscan and Roman times, Pisa reached its apex in the Middle Ages when it was one of the 4 Marine Republics of Italy (Repubbliche Marinare), together with Genoa, Amalfi and Venice.

At that time the city was a very important commercial center and controlled a significant Mediterranean fleet. It conquered part of Sardinia and successfully defeated several rival town in Sicily and in the south of Italy; its fleet also took part in the crusades. Pisa used the wealth accumulated in those years to build the monumental complex of Campo dei Miracoli. The town had an independent republican government and was ruled by a city council.

Pisa always sided with the pro-imperial Ghibellines, actively supporting emperors such as Frederick Barbarossa, Frederick II and Henry VII. Those emperors acknowledged Pisa independence and were grateful for its loyalty such that the town was chosen to host the spoils of Henry King of Germans, the son of Frederick II, who still rests in Cathedral of Pisa. The decline began in 1284 when it was defeated by Genoa in the naval Battle of Meloria. The defeat ended the marine power of Pisa and the town never fully recovered. It tried to rebuild its power in the course of the 14th century but was finally conquered by Florence in 1406.

What to see

    Pisa Leaning Tower
  • The Campo dei Miracoli - Field of Miracles - to the north of the old town center, where the leaning tower stands, and also the beautiful Duomo, the Baptistry and the Camposanto or the monumental cemetery.
  • The Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights' Square), where the Palazzo della Carovana, with its awesome facade made by Giorgio Vasari may be seen
  • Borgo Stretto where it is possible to stroll under medieval arcades and Lungarno, the avenues along the river Arno
  • Two other leaning towers in the city, one at the southern end of central Via Santa Maria, the other halfway through the Piagge riverside promenade.
  • The Tuttomondo wall mural made in 1989 by US painter Keith Haring (1958 – 1990) on the rear walls of the Sant'Antonio Monastery, the artist's last work
  • The medieval walls, almost perfectly preserved, with original gates, the Piazza delle Gondoleand the Bagni di Nerone, where once was the ancient ROman aqueduct coming from San Giuliano Terme.
  • A few miles from the Thyrrenian, Pisa includes the seaside resorts of Marina di Pisa and Tirrenia, both surrounded by wonderful stretches of Mediterranean pinewoods and with beutiful, wide sandy beaches.

Where to stay

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