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—  Comune  —
Comune di Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Coat of arms
Pisa is located in Italy
Location of Pisa in Italy
Coordinates: 43°43′N 10°24′E / 43.717°N 10.4°E / 43.717; 10.4Coordinates: 43°43′N 10°24′E / 43.717°N 10.4°E / 43.717; 10.4
Country Italy
Region Tuscany
Province Pisa (PI)
Frazioni Marina di Pisa, Tirrenia, Calambrone, Barbaricina, Riglione, Oratoio, Putignano, San Piero a Grado, Coltano, Sant'Ermete, Ospedaletto
 - Mayor Marco Filippeschi
(Democratic Party)
 - Total 185 km2 (71.4 sq mi)
Elevation 4 m (13 ft)
Population (31 August 2007)
 - Total 87,506
 Density 473/km2 (1,225.1/sq mi)
 - Demonym Pisan (Italian: Pisani)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 56100
Patron saint San Ranieri
Saint day 17 June
Website Official website

Pisa About this sound listen (English pronunciation: /ˈpiːzə/; Italian pronunciation: [ˈpisa]) is a city in Tuscany, central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the Arno River on the Ligurian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its Leaning Tower (the bell tower of the city's cathedral), the city of over 87,500 residents contains more than 20 other historic churches, several palaces, and various bridges across the Arno River.




Ancient times

Pisa's origins remained unknown for centuries. The city lies at the junction of two rivers, Arno and Serchio in the Ligurian Sea forming a laguna area. The Pelasgi, the Greeks, the Etruscans and the Ligurians have variously been proposed as founders of the city. Archeological remains from the 5th century BC confirmed the existence of a city at the sea, trading with Greeks and Gauls. The presence of an Etruscan necropolis, discovered during excavations in the Arena Garibaldi in 1991, allowed to clarify its Etruscan origins.

Ancient Roman authors referred to Pisa as an old city. Servius wrote that the Teuti, or Pelopes, the king of the Pisei, founded the town thirteen centuries before the start of the common era. Strabo referred Pisa's origins to the mythical Nestor, king of Pylos, after the fall of Troy. Virgil in his Aeneid states that Pisa was already a great and developed centre by the times described; the foundation of the city in the 'Etruscan lands' has been credited to settlers from the Alpheus coast.

Old half of Pisa (view from Leaning Tower)

The maritime role of Pisa should have been already prominent if the ancient authorities ascribed to it the invention of the rostrum: it took advantage of being the only port along the western coast from Genoa (then a small village) to Ostia. Pisa served as a base for Roman naval expeditions against Ligurians, Gauls and Carthaginians. In 180 BC, it became a Roman colony under Roman law, as Portus Pisanus. In 89 BC, Portus Pisanus became a municipium. Emperor Augustus fortified the colony into an important port and changed the name in Colonia Iulia obsequens. From 313 it became the seat of a bishopric.

Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages

During the later years of the Roman Empire, Pisa did not decline as much as the other cities of Italy, probably thanks to the complexity of its river system and its consequent ease of defence. In the 7th century Pisa helped Pope Gregory I by supplying numerous ships in his military expedition against the Byzantines of Ravenna: Pisa was the sole Byzantine centre of Tuscia to fall peacefully in Lombard hands, through assimilation with the neighbouring region where their trading interests were prevailing. Pisa began in this way its rise to the role of main port of the Upper Tyrrhenian Sea and became the main trading centre between Tuscany and Corsica, Sardinia and the southern coasts of France and Spain.

Piazza del Duomo, Pisa*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Piazza del Duomo. The Baptistery is in the foreground, the Duomo is in the center, and the belltower in the background on the right.
State Party  Italy
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv, vi
Reference 395
Region** Europe
Inscription history
Inscription 1987  (11th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

After Charlemagne had defeated the Lombards under the command of Desiderius in 774, Pisa went through a crisis but soon recovered. Politically it became part of the duchy of Lucca. In 930 Pisa became the county centre (status it maintained until the arrival of Otto I) within the mark of Tuscia. Lucca was the capital but Pisa was the most important city, as in the middle of 10th century Liutprand of Cremona, bishop of Cremona, called Pisa Tusciae provinciae caput ("capital of the province of Tuscia"), and one century later the marquis of Tuscia was commonly referred to as "marquis of Pisa". In 1003 Pisa was the protagonist of the first communal war in Italy, against Lucca of course. From the naval point of view, since the 9th century the emergence of the Saracen pirates urged the city to expand its fleet: in the following years this fleet gave the town an opportunity for more expansion. In 828 Pisan ships assaulted the coast of North Africa. In 871 they took part in the defence of Salerno from the Saracens. In 970 they gave also strong support to the Otto I's expedition, defeating a Byzantine fleet in front of Calabrese coasts.

11th century

The power of Pisa as a mighty maritime nation began to grow and reached its apex in the 11th century when it acquired traditional fame as one of the four main historical Maritime Republics of Italy (Repubbliche Marinare).

At that time, the city was a very important commercial centre and controlled a significant Mediterranean merchant fleet and navy. It expanded its powers by the sack in 1005 of Reggio Calabria in the south of Italy. Pisa was in continuous conflict with the Saracens, who had their bases in Sardinia and Corsica, for control of the Mediterranean. In 1017 Sardinia was captured, in alliance with Genoa, by the defeat of the Saracen king Mugahid. This victory gave Pisa the supremacy in the Tyrrhenian Sea. When the Pisans subsequently ousted the Genoese from Sardinia, a new conflict and rivalry was born between these mighty marine republics. Between 1030 and 1035, Pisa went on to successfully defeat several rival towns in Sicily and conquer Carthage in North Africa. In 1051–1052 the admiral Jacopo Ciurini conquered Corsica, provoking more resentment from the Genoese. In 1063 admiral Giovanni Orlando, coming to the aid of the Norman Roger I, took Palermo from the Saracen pirates. The gold treasure taken from the Saracens in Palermo allowed the Pisans to start the building of their cathedral and the other monuments which constitute the famous Piazza del Duomo.

In 1060 Pisa had to engage in their first battle with Genoa. The Pisan victory helped to consolidate its position in the Mediterranean. Pope Gregory VII recognized in 1077 the new "Laws and customs of the sea" instituted by the Pisans, and emperor Henry IV granted them the right to name their own consuls, advised by a Council of Elders. This was simply a confirmation of the present situation, because in those years the marquis had already been excluded from power. In 1092 Pope Urban II awarded Pisa the supremacy over Corsica and Sardinia, and at the same time raising the town to the rank of archbishopric.

Pisa sacked the Tunisian city of Mahdia in 1088. Four years later Pisan and Genoese ships helped Alfonso VI of Castilla to push El Cid out of Valencia. A Pisan fleet of 120 ships also took part in the First Crusade and the Pisans were instrumental in the taking of Jerusalem in 1099. On their way to the Holy Land the ships did not miss the occasion to sack some Byzantine islands: the Pisan crusaders were led by their archbishop Daibert, the future patriarch of Jerusalem. Pisa and the other Repubbliche Marinare took advantage of the crusade to establish trading posts and colonies in the Eastern coastal cities of the Levant. In particular the Pisans founded colonies in Antiochia, Acre, Jaffa, Tripoli, Tyre, Joppa, Latakia and Accone. They also had other possessions in Jerusalem and Caesarea, plus smaller colonies (with lesser autonomy) in Cairo, Alexandria and of course Constantinople, where the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus granted them special mooring and trading rights. In all these cities the Pisans were granted privileges and immunity from taxation, but had to contribute to the defence in case of attack. In the 12th century the Pisan quarter in the Eastern part of Constantinople had grown to 1,000 people. For some years of that century Pisa was the most prominent merchant and military ally of the Byzantine Empire, overcoming Venice itself.

12th century

In 1113 Pisa and the Pope Paschal II set up, together with the count of Barcelona and other contingents from Provence and Italy (Genoese excluded), a war to free the Balearic Islands from the Moors: the queen and the king of Majorca were brought in chains to Tuscany. Even though the Almoravides soon reconquered the island, the booty taken helped the Pisans in their magnificent program of buildings, especially the cathedral, and Pisa gained a role of pre-eminence in the Western Mediterranean.

In the following years the mighty Pisan fleet, led by archbishop Pietro Moriconi, drove away the Saracens after ferocious combats. Though short-lived, this success of Pisa in Spain increased the rivalry with Genoa. Pisa's trade with the Languedoc and Provence (Noli, Savona, Fréjus and Montpellier) were an obstacle to the Genoese interests in cities like Hyères, Fos, Antibes and Marseille.

The war began in 1119 when the Genoese attacked several galleys on their way to the motherland, and lasted until 1133. The two cities fought each other on land and at sea, but hostilities were limited to raids and pirate-like assaults.

In June 1135, Bernard of Clairvaux took a leading part in the Council of Pisa, asserting the claims of pope Innocent II against those of pope Anacletus II, who had been elected pope in 1130 with Norman support but was not recognized outside Rome. Innocent II resolved the conflict with Genoa, establishing the sphere of influence of Pisa and Genoa. Pisa could then, unhindered by Genoa, participate in the conflict of Innocent II against king Roger II of Sicily. Amalfi, one of the Maritime Republics (though already declining under Norman rule), was conquered on 6 August 1136: the Pisans destroyed the ships in the port, assaulted the castles in the surrounding areas and drove back an army sent by Roger from Aversa. This victory brought Pisa to the peak of its power and to a standing equal to Venice. Two years later its soldiers sacked Salerno.

In the following years Pisa was one of the staunchest supporters of the Ghibelline party. This was much appreciated by Frederick I. He issued in 1162 and 1165 two important documents, with the following grants: apart from the jurisdiction over the Pisan countryside, the Pisans were granted freedom of trade in the whole Empire, the coast from Civitavecchia to Portovenere, a half of Palermo, Messina, Salerno and Naples, the whole of Gaeta, Mazara and Trapani, and a street with houses for its merchants in every city of the Kingdom of Sicily. Some of these grants were later confirmed by Henry VI, Otto IV and Frederick II. They marked the apex of Pisa's power, but also spurred the resentment of cities like Lucca, Massa, Volterra and Florence, who saw their aim to expand towards the sea thwarted. The clash with Lucca also concerned the possession of the castle of Montignoso and mainly the control of the Via Francigena, the main trade route between Rome and France. Last but not least, such a sudden and large increase of power by Pisa could only lead to another war with Genoa.

Genoa had acquired a largely dominant position in the markets of Southern France. The war began presumably in 1165 on the Rhône, when an attack on a convoy, directed to some Pisan trade centres on the river, by the Genoese and their ally, the count of Toulouse failed. Pisa on the other hand was allied to Provence. The war continued until 1175 without significant victories. Another point of attrition was Sicily, where both the cities had privileges granted by Henry VI. In 1192, Pisa managed to conquer Messina. This episode was followed by a series of battles culminating in the Genoese conquest of Syracuse in 1204. Later, the trading posts in Sicily were lost when the new Pope Innocent III, though removing the excommunication cast over Pisa by his predecessor Celestine III, allied himself with the Guelph League of Tuscany, led by Florence. Soon he stipulated a pact with Genoa too, further weakening the Pisan presence in Southern Italy.

To counter the Genoese predominance in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, Pisa strengthened its relationship with their Spanish and French traditional bases (Marseille, Narbonne, Barcelona, etc.) and tried to defy the Venetian rule of the Adriatic Sea. In 1180 the two cities agreed to a non-aggression treaty in the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic, but the death of Emperor Manuel Comnenus in Constantinople changed the situation. Soon there were attacks on Venetian convoys. Pisa signed trade and political pacts with Ancona, Pula, Zara, Split and Brindisi: in 1195 a Pisan fleet reached Pola to defend its independence from Venice, but the Serenissima managed soon to reconquer the rebel sea town.

One year later the two cities signed a peace treaty which resulted in favourable conditions for Pisa. But in 1199 the Pisans violated it by blockading the port of Brindisi in Puglia. In the following naval battle they were defeated by the Venetians. The war that followed ended in 1206 with a treaty in which Pisa gave up all its hopes to expand in the Adriatic, though it maintained the trading posts it had established in the area. From that point on the two cities were united against the rising power of Genoa and sometimes collaborated to increase the trading benefits in Constantinople.

13th century

In 1209 there were in Lerici two councils for a final resolution of the rivalry with Genoa. A twenty-year peace treaty was signed. But when in 1220 the emperor Frederick II confirmed his supremacy over the Tyrrhenian coast from Civitavecchia to Portovenere, the Genoese and Tuscan resentment against Pisa grew again. In the following years Pisa clashed with Lucca in Garfagnana and was defeated by the Florentines at Castel del Bosco. The strong Ghibelline position of Pisa brought this town diametrically against the Pope, who was in a strong dispute with the Empire. And indeed the pope tried to deprive the town of its dominions in Northern Sardinia.

In 1238 Pope Gregory IX formed an alliance between Genoa and Venice against the Empire, and consequently against Pisa too. One year later he excommunicated Frederick II and called for an anti-Empire council to be held in Rome in 1241. On 3 May 1241, a combined fleet of Pisan and Sicilian ships, led by the Emperor's son Enzo, attacked a Genoese convoy carrying prelates from Northern Italy and France, next to the Isola del Giglio, in front of Tuscany: the Genoese lost 25 ships, while about thousand sailors, two cardinals and one bishop were taken prisoner. After this outstanding victory the council in Rome failed, but Pisa was excommunicated. This extreme measure was only removed in 1257. Anyway, the Tuscan city tried to take advantage of the favourable situation to conquer the Corsican city of Aleria and even lay siege to Genoa itself in 1243.

The Ligurian republic of Genoa, however, recovered fast from this blow and won back Lerici, conquered by the Pisans some years earlier, in 1256.

The great expansion in the Mediterranean and the prominence of the merchant class urged a modification in the city's institutes. The system with consuls was abandoned and in 1230 the new city rulers named a Capitano del Popolo ("People's Chieftain") as civil and military leader. In spite of these reforms, the conquered lands and the city itself were harassed by the rivalry between the two families of Della Gherardesca and Visconti. In 1237 the archbishop and the Emperor Frederick II intervened to reconcile the two rivals, but the strains did not cease. In 1254 the people rebelled and imposed twelve Anziani del Popolo ("People's Elders") as their political representatives in the Commune. They also supplemented the legislative councils, formed of noblemen, with new People's Councils, composed by the main guilds and by the chiefs of the People's Companies. These had the power to ratify the laws of the Major General Council and the Senate.


The decline began on 6 August 1284, when the numerically superior fleet of Pisa, under the command of Albertino Morosini, was defeated by the brilliant tactics of the Genoese fleet, under the command of Benedetto Zaccaria and Oberto Doria, in the dramatic naval Battle of Meloria. This defeat ended the maritime power of Pisa and the town never fully recovered: in 1290 the Genoese destroyed forever the Porto Pisano (Pisa's Port), and covered with salt. The region around Pisa did not permit the city to recover from the loss of thousands of sailors from the Meloria, while Liguria guaranteed enough sailors to Genoa. Goods continued to be traded, albeit in reduced quantity, but the end came when the Arno started to change course, preventing the galleys from reaching the city's port up the river. It seems also that nearby area became infested with malaria. Within 1324 also Sardinia was entirely lost in favour of the Aragonese.

Always Ghibelline, Pisa tried to build up its power in the course of the 14th century and even managed to defeat Florence in the Battle of Montecatini (1315), under the command of Uguccione della Faggiuola. Eventually, however, divided by internal struggles and weakened by the loss of its mercantile strength, Pisa was conquered by Florence in 1406. In 1409 Pisa was the seat of a council trying to set the question of the Great Schism. Furthermore in the 15th century, access to the sea became more and more difficult, as the port was silting up and was cut off from the sea. When in 1494 Charles VIII of France invaded the Italian states to claim the Kingdom of Naples, Pisa grabbed the opportunity to reclaim its independence as the Second Pisan Republic.

But the new freedom did not last long. After fifteen years of battles and sieges, Pisa was reconquered in 1509 by the Florentine troops led by Antonio da Filicaja, Averardo Salviati and Niccolò Capponi. Its role of major port of Tuscany went to Livorno. Pisa acquired a mainly, though secondary, cultural role spurred by the presence of the University of Pisa, created in 1343. Its decline is clearly shown by its population, which has remained almost constant since the Middle Ages.

Pisa was the birthplace of the important early physicist, Galileo Galilei. It's still the seat of an archbishopric; it has become a light industrial centre and a railway hub. It suffered repeated destruction during World War II.

View of the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square).



Pisa experiences a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa) characteristic of Central and Southern Italy.

Climate data for Pisa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 10.9
Average low °C (°F) 2
Precipitation mm (inches) 73.7
Source: Intellicast[1] 26 September 2009

Main sights

St' Francis' church
Palazzo della Carovana or dei Cavalieri

While the Leaning Tower is the most famous image of the city, it is one of many works of art and architecture in the city's Piazza del Duomo, also known, since XX century, as Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), to the north of the old town center. The Piazza del Duomo also houses the Duomo (the Cathedral), the Baptistry and the Camposanto Monumentale (the monumental cemetery).

Other interesting sights include:

  • Knights' Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri), where the Palazzo della Carovana, with its impressive façade designed by Giorgio Vasari may be seen.
  • In the same place is the church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, also by Vasari. It had originally a single nave; two more were added in the 17th century. It houses a bust by Donatello, and paintings by Vasari, Jacopo Ligozzi, Alessandro Fei, and Jacopo Chimenti da Empoli. It also contains spoils from the many naval battles between the Cavalieri (Knights of St. Stephan) and the Turks between the 16–18th century, including the Turkish battle pennant hoisted from Ali Pacha's flagship at the 1571 Battle of Lepanto.
  • Also close to the square is the small church of St. Sixtus. It was formally consecrated in 1133, but previously used as a seat of the most important notarial deeds of the town , also hosting the Council of Elders. It is today one of the best preserved early Romanesque buildings in town.
  • The church of St. Francis, designed by Giovanni di Simone, built after 1276. In 1343 new chapels were added and the church was elevated. It has a single nave and a notable belfry, as well as a 15th‑century cloister. It houses works by Jacopo da Empoli, Taddeo Gaddi and Santi di Tito. In the Gherardesca Chapel are buried Ugolino della Gherardesca and his sons.
  • Church of San Frediano, built by 1061, has a basilica interior with three aisles, with a crucifix from the 12th century. Sixteenth century paintings were added during a restoration, including works by Ventura Salimbeni, Domenico Passignano, Aurelio Lomi, and Rutilio Manetti.
  • Church of San Nicola, built by 1097, was enlarged between 1297 and 1313 by the Augustinians, perhaps by the design of Giovanni Pisano. The octagonal belfry is from the second half of the 13th century. The paintings include the Madonna with Child by Francesco Traini (14th century) and St. Nicholas Saving Pisa from the Plague (15th century). Noteworthy are also the wood sculptures by Giovanni and Nino Pisano, and the Annunciation by Francesco di Valdambrino.
  • The small church of Santa Maria della Spina, attributed to Lupo di Francesco (1230), is another excellent Gothic building.
  • The church of San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, founded around 952 and enlarged in the mid-12th century along lines similar to those of the Cathedral. It is annexed to the Romanesque Chapel of St. Agatha, with an unusual pyramidal cusp or peak.
  • The Borgo Stretto, a neighborhood where one can stroll beneath medieval arcades and the Lungarno, the avenues along the river Arno. It includes the Gothic-Romanesque church of San Michele in Borgo (990). Remarkably, there are at least 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 Medici Palace, once a possession of the Appiano family, who ruled Pisa in 1392–1398. In 1400 the Medici acquired it, and Lorenzo de' Medici sojourned here.
  • The Orto botanico di Pisa is Europe's oldest university botanical garden.
  • The Palazzo Reale ("Royal Palace"), once of the Caetani patrician family. Here Galileo Galilei showed to Grand Duke of Tuscany the planets he had discovered with his telescope. The edifice was erected in 1559 by Baccio Bandinelli for Cosimo I de Medici, and was later enlarged including other palaces.
  • Palazzo Gambacorti, a Gothic building of the 14th century, is now the town hall. The interior shows frescoes boasting Pisa's sea victories.
  • Palazzo Agostini, a Gothic building also known as Palazzo dell'Ussero, with its 15th century façade and remains of the ancient city walls dating back to before 1155. The name of the building comes from the coffee rooms of Caffè dell’Ussero, historic meeting place founded on 1 September 1775.
  • The mural Tuttomondo, the last public work of Keith Haring, on the rear wall of the convent of the Church of Sant'Antonio, painted in June 1989.

Pisa boasts several museums:

  • Museo dell'Opera del Duomo: exhibiting among others the original sculptures of Nicola Pisano and Giovanni Pisano and the treasures of the cathedral.
  • Museo delle Sinopie: showing the sinopias from the camposanto, the monumental cemetery. These are red ocher underdrawings for frescoes, made with reddish, greenish or brownish earth colour with water.
  • Museo Nazionale di S. Matteo: exhibiting sculptures and painting from 12th century–15th century, among them the masterworks of Giovanni and Andrea Pisano, the Master of San Martino, Simone Martini, Nino Pisano and Masaccio.
  • Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale: exhibiting the belongings of the families that lived in the palace: paintings, statues, armors, etc.
  • Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti per il Calcolo: exhibiting a collection of instruments used in science, between whose a pneumatic machine of Van Musschenbroek and a compass probably belonged to Galileo Galilei.
  • Museo di storia naturale e del territorio dell'Università di Pisa, located in the Certosa di Calci, outside the city. It houses one of the largest cetacean skeletons collection in Europe.

Pisa hosts the University of Pisa, especially renowned in the fields of Physics, Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science, the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna and the Scuola Normale Superiore, the Italian academic élite institutions, mostly for research and the education of graduate students.

Construction of a new leaning tower of glass and steel 57 meters tall, containing offices and apartments was scheduled to start in summer 2004 and take 4 years. It was designed by Dante Oscar Benini and raised criticism.


Palaces, towers and villas

Notable people associated with Pisa

For people born in Pisa, see People from the Province of Pisa; among notable non-natives long resident in the city:



Pisa is home to the Galileo Galilei Airport. The centre can be reached in 10 minutes by city bus — the bus line L.A.M. Rossa (Linea ad Alta Mobilità) connects the airport, the central railway station and Piazza dei Miracoli. Otherwise the centre can be reached in 5 minutes by train.


Local bus service in Pisa is managed by Compagnia Pisana Trasporti (CPT). Intercity buses depart from the main bus station in Piazza Sant'Antonio. There are also several privately run bus services going from the airport to Florence, Siena and other cities in Tuscany.


The city is served by three railway stations: Pisa Centrale, Pisa Aeroporto and Pisa San Rossore.

Pisa Centrale is the main railway station and is located along the Tyrrhenic railway line. It connects Pisa directly with several other important Italian cities such as Rome, Genoa, Turin, Naples, Livorno, Grosseto and Florence.

Pisa San Rossore links the city with Lucca (25 minutes from Pisa) and Pistoia and is also reachable from Pisa Centrale. It is a minor railway station located near the Leaning Tower zone.

Pisa Aeroporto connects the airport to the central railway station, as well as the city of Florence. It is located next to the Galileo Galilei International Airport.


Pisa has two exits on the A11 Genova to Livorno road, Pisa Nord and Pisa Centro-aeroporto.

Pisa Centro leads visitors to the city centre.


Football is the main sport in Pisa; the local team, Pisa Calcio, currently plays in the Italian Serie B (second-highest division), and has had a top flight history throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, featuring several world class players such as Diego Simeone, Christian Vieri and Dunga during this time.

Cultural events

  • Gioco del Ponte (folklore)
  • Luminara di San Ranieri
  • Regate delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare
  • Premio Nazionale Letterario Pisa
  • Pisa Book Festival
  • Metarock

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Pisa is twinned with:[2]



  • Renouard, Yves (1969). Les Villes d'Italie de la fin du Xe siècle au début du XIVe siècle. 


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The Campo dei Miracoli from above. The leaning tower is on the left, the Duomo is in the center and the Baptistery is on the right.
The Campo dei Miracoli from above. The leaning tower is on the left, the Duomo is in the center and the Baptistery is on the right.

Pisa [1] is a city in Tuscany, Italy with a population of some 90,000 people.


Pisa is best known for the world famous Leaning Tower, but those who come here with their mind already made up that the Tower is the only thing to see may miss the rest of the architectural and artistic marvels of this beautiful city.

The half hour walk from the Campo dei Miracoli to the train station runs through a pedestrian street with many interesting sights, shops, and restaurants. The best way to visit Pisa is walking the streets, as the city center is very small, and enjoy the sight and the atmosphere.

Pisa would not be Pisa without the University. The city is animated by the students, who organize parties, shows, and cultural events, and fill the central street of the city at night. The University of Pisa has 60,000 students in a city of about 100,000 inhabitants. You'll notice the student flair in the the city once you leave the touristy campo dei miracoli.

Pisa is a safe city, you do not need to worry about your safety (except for some zone at night, such as the area surrounding the station). However you should take the obvious precautions (like, if you stay in a very cheap hotel, take your valuables with you) and watch out for pickpockets in the touristy areas.

Pisa Centrale train station
Pisa Centrale train station

Pisa has regular trains to and from Florence (usually three per hour), to and from Lucca (usually every hour) and is also accessible by bus, and has an international airport.

Pisa Airport "Galileo Galilei" [2] is the main airport of Tuscany and is served by several airlines operating hundreds of weekly flights to national and international destinations. Numerous companies offer charter flights to and from a number of European and non-European destinations. Flying to Pisa is really cheap and easy: the most recognized low-cost airlines serve Pisa. The airport is close to the city center - it takes only a few minutes to reach the center by bus, train or taxi. It is even possible to walk to the center, which takes around 20 minutes.

Do not expect the airport to be open 24/7, though. Many smaller European airports do have opening hours, so don't expect to stay overnight or hang out until late.

You can purchase bus and train tickets from the information desk in the arrivals hall. The trains are the fastest way to get to the city, but run only twice per hour. The tickets cost €1.10 and the ride takes only about five minutes. The bus has a regular service every 15 minutes and it takes about 15 minutes to get to the city. The bus runs to Piazza dei Miracoli and the central station. Since the ticket machine at the bus stop only "speaks" Italian, it's better to get the tickets from the information desk if you don't speak the language. Single fare is €0.95, but if you buy them from the driver on the bus, you pay double. The bus terminal is directly in front of the airport, on the right side when coming out of the terminal building. Once in the city, its main sights are easy to locate and are all within walking distance.

If you prefer a more convenient method of travel, a Taxi to the city center will cost around 6-8 Euro.

Get around

There are regular buses around town, including from the train station to the Field of Miracles. Attractions are within a half hour walk of each other. Local bus tickets are available at Tobacco shops; there are also vending machines both at the station and the airport.

There's a vast collection of car rental agencies at the airport. While you won't need a car in the city itself, it can be a good choice if you want to go around Tuscany from Pisa. To get to the car rental offices take the shuttle bus in front of the airport's arrival hall. It's to the right, close to the city bus stop.


Pisa is divided into 4 historical quarters. There is much more than the Leaning Tower in the city and several different walking itineraries are available.

The leaning tower.
The leaning tower.
  • The Piazza dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles is to the north of central Pisa. It's an UNESCO World Heritage site and contains the city's most famous sights:
    • Torre Pendente (Leaning Tower) [3] The structure was originally conceived as the cathedral's bell tower. Construction began in 1173 and the tower started leaning soon afterwards due to subsidence of the ground underneath its base. A project to keep the tower from leaning more and tipping over finally reached a successful conclusion in 2001, and the tower is again open to those wishing to climb it. Climbing the tower requires a reservation-based ticket for 15 Euro. Expect 45 minutes to 2 hours wait, but there is a lot to see while you wait. It is better if you buy tickets online for €17 well in advance at [4]. Warning, the tickets are non-exchangeable, effectively non-refundable, and only good for the Torre, so they're a bit of a risk to purchase in advance. Make the effort to climb, though, and you'll be rewarded by the view.
    • Duomo di Pisa, (Cathedral of Pisa) the splendid cathedral, contains artwork by Giambologna, Della Robbia, and other major artists. Fine Romanesque style with double aisles and a cupola, a huge apse mosaic partly by Cimabue, and a fine pulpit by Giovanni Pisano in late Gothic / early Renaissance style.
    • Battistero (Baptistry) large round Romanesque dome with many sculptured decorations and a fine view up top; climb this if you want a great view with the Leaning Tower visible in your photos. Arabic-style pavement, pulpit by Nicola Pisano (father of Giovanni), and fine octagonal font. At regular intervals, the ticket-checker-guard at the entrance comes into the baptistery and gives an audio-treat of echo-effect. The guard shouts out few sounds which when echoed sound like pure beautiful music. Do not miss it. You can also cast your inhibitions to the wind, stand by the wall, and sing long notes that turn into chords by yourself, as the echoes go round and round the dome of the building.
    • Campo Santo Monumentale (Cemetery) a huge cemetery building with lots of interesting art, including a collection of ancient Roman sarcophagi and splendid medieval frescoes by the "Master of the Triumph of Death".
    • Museo del Opera del Duomo has sculptures and paintings formerly preserved in the Cathedral and the cemetery. Some of the more unusual are bronze griffins from Syria captured by the Crusaders.
    • Museo delle Sinopie Skipped over by many visitors, this museum is a treat for art lovers. After WWII many of the surviving murals and pieces of murals from Pisa's Campo Santo were detached from the walls to try to preserve them. It was unexpectedly discovered that the artist sketches underneath survived. These were moved to this museum.
  • Piazza dei Cavalieri a small town square with many historical buildings that hosted the political powers of the city in the middle ages and Renaissance, but most of them are not accessible to tourists, as they are now property of the University of Pisa or Scuola Normale Superiore (a prestigious elitary school).
    • Palazzo della Carovana, the main Scuola Normale Superiore building, with an elaborate façade, by the important Italian Renaissance artist and architect Giorgio Vasari - who is also said to be the first historian of art.
    • Palazzo dell'Orologio (Clock Palace), a XIV century building that has replaced the Torre della Fame (tower of hunger), where the Conte Ugolino della Gherardesca was imprisoned and left to die of hunger with his sons, as cited in the Dante's Divina Commedia
    • Chiesa di Santo Stefano, designed by Giorgio Vasari in the XVI century for the Ordine dei Cavalieri di Santo Stefano (Order of Chivalry of Saint Stephan), a chivalry order founded to fight piracy in 1561.
    • other historical buildings include the Church of San Rocco, the Rectory, Palazzo Carovana and Palazzo dei Dodici.
The Museo di San Matteo (St Matthew Musem)
The Museo di San Matteo (St Matthew Musem)
  • Lungarno Mediceo and Lungarno Pacinotti on the north side of Arno river, Lungarno Galilei and Lungarno Gambacorti on the south side: these riverside streets give a distinctive character to Pisa, especially at night when the lamplight reflects on the Arno river. Along the Lungarni stands intresting places like:
    • Piazza Garibaldi and Piazza XX Settembre, two opposing town square, one at each end of Ponte di Mezzo (middle bridge), and are considered the center of the city. From Piazza Garibaldi starts Borgo Stretto, an old street with lots of shops that, together with Corso Italia starting in the opposite direction from Piazza XX Settembre, create a pedestrian area (interrupted only by the bridge) that is considered the center of the city. In Piazza XX Settembre you can find the Logge dei Banchi, a building created to host textile market in 1600, and the town hall, in the Palazzo del Comune.
    • Museo di San Matteo, on Lungarno Mediceo, a small history and art museum, but one of the biggest for Tuscan Renaissance art, hosted in the rooms of the San Matteo monastery. Address: Piazza San Matteo, 1, lungarno Mediceo Tel. +39 050 541865
    • Santo Sepolcro, on Lungarno Galilei, a Romanesque octagonal church with conical spire by Diotisalvi, who also built the baptistry - a Templar church, striking and forceful. Usually is not open to the public.
    • Ussero Café founded on 1775, lungarno Pacinotti 27, [5]. A monument to Italian culture in the 1400's Palazzo Agostini, on Lungarno. In 1839, it was seat of the meetings of the first Italian Congress of Scientists.
    • Santa Maria della Spina, on Lungarno Gambacorti, a very small Gothic church built in 1230 to house a thorn from Jesus's crown, it's considered one of the best expressions of Italian gothic. It is so small it moved from the river of the Arno, in 1800, to a place some meters above, one stone at time, to protect it from flooding. Usually it's not open to the public.
    • Giardino Scotto, on Lungarno Fibonacci at the end of Lungarno Galilei, is a fortress converted to a public park which opens in summer for open air cinema, music shows and other events.
    • La Cittadella, at the end of Lungarno Simonelli, is a fortress built to guard the access by the river Arno and the shipyard in the middle age, when the sea was closer to the city.
  • University botanical garden, via Luca Ghini 5, is the first university botanical garden of Europe, created by the will of Cosimo de Medici in 1544. It is open weekday mornings and is free to the public.
  • Fine Romanesque churches - San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, San Michele in Borgo, San Paolo with a sculpture gallery inside, Sant'Andrea - not all are open every day; double-check the hours if you want to visit.
  • Tuttomondo, Keith Haring mural [6]. Keith Haring visited Pisa and fell in love with the town, so he decided to paint this amazing mural as a gift to Pisa. Though extremely large, it is easy to miss so look out for it; it is located between the train station and Corso Italia.
The Arno river in the daylight
The Arno river in the daylight

On June 16th Pisa holds the Luminara festival, held for the patron saint's day (San Ranieri). At sunset, all the lights along the Arno are dimmed and more than 10000 candles are lit, which makes for some spectacular sights from the Ponte di Mezzo. Various activities are organized in the streets and the night ends with a big fireworks.

Another summer attraction is the Gioco del Ponte (Game of Bridge), a historical manifestation held yearly on the last Sunday of June, in which the two sides of the city (Tramontana and Mezzogiorno, geographically split by the Arno river) participate in a historical procession, with 709 walk-ons, then challenge each other to a physical match in which their teams, each composed of 20 members, try to conquer the "Ponte di Mezzo" (the main bridge in Pisa) by pushing a trolley in order to force the rival team off the bridge.

For nightlife, there aren't many clubs or live music places in Pisa: the usual night in Pisa is having a dinner of pizza or a cheap kebab, having a beer in Borgo Stretto, or Piazza delle Vettovaglie or a pub in the surrounding areas, and having a walk in Piazza Garibaldi and Lungarni, where the "spallette" (the low brick walls around the river) are full of students.

Some alternative clubs (hard rock, alternative, funky) in the center are:

  • Ex-Wide
  • Borderline

Take a photo of yourself holding or leaning against the leaning tower of Pisa.


The central shopping area is centered around the Corso Italia, between the railway station and the Ponte di Mezzo (the central bridge) and also in the Via Borgo Stretto, north of the bridge. However, many specialized shops are sprinkled around the city.

The area around the leaning tower is geared toward tourists: There are lots of small souvenir kiosks, stands and "flying merchants", selling all kinds of souvenirs from small statues to hour-glasses - of course the general motif is the leaning tower!

Beware: it is an offense to buy from one of the "flying merchant" that sell fake replicas. They are very persuasive and if you buy anything you must haggle – they'll drop their prices significantly.

Every two weeks there is a bazaar with quite cheap books, records and old household items.

And don't forget to try some of Pisa's famous Biscotti (cookies). Bakeries all through town will sell multiple varieties, for a low price.


As a general rule, try not to eat near the Leaning Tower where prices are high and quality low. Head instead to the central area (5-10 minutes walking from Piazza dei Miracoli): you can find very good, cheap restaurants there. For example, there are excellent, friendly and reasonably priced cafeterias in the busy small vegetable market, Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Also Via San Martino, close to the south bank of the river, offers some places with good quality and low price. This said, near the Leaning Tower, in via Roma, there's a good Indian Restaurant, with a beautiful atmosphere and really good, though not always cheap, dishes. And in Piazza dei Miracoli, there's a quite good restaurant-pizzeria, cheap enough, the Kinzica. In any case, don't miss Salza, in Borgo Stretto, with high prices but absolutely gorgeous chocolate, sweets and pastries of all kinds. Don't sit down inside, though, because you end up paying €10 for two coffees. Finally, there's a good pizzeria near the Youth Hostel, too, on the road that leads to the Leclerc, on the left then you must go in the tunnel.

Here are some good spots for eating:

  • Osteria di Culegna, Via Mercanti (on the main road). Reasonable price in a friendly environment, good food and research of the tuscan typical recipes, nice and smiley service. Closed on Sunday.
  • Numero 11, 47-49,Via San Martino. Quite cheap prices, good food and generous portions in an informal setting. You can find any kind of food there.
  • Vineria di Piazza, Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Serves great wine and very few dishes (but they are good and cheap). You can find very traditional food here.
  • Il Montino, Via del Monte. Great place to get fine pizza and excellent focaccine at a very cheap price. You can eat there or grab your food to go.
  • La Stanzina, Via Calvalca close to Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Has very good food at reasonable price in a cozy environment. Many of the recipes come from southern Italy.
  • Osteria dei Cavalieri, Via San Frediano very close to Piazza dei Cavalieri. Quite expensive but very good. You can find typical and traditional recipes from Tuscany.
  • La Mescita, Via Cavalca very close to Piazza delle Vettovaglie. An expensive but very good choice. They serve both traditional and more sophisticated food.
  • Funicolì, Via L. Bianchi 33. An excellent pizzeria just outside the walls, not far from the Leanining Tower. It is not a touristy place and the prices are reasonable. Pizza is very good and the appetizers (antipasti) are even better. The place is not very big so it is best to pop in early and reserve a table, especially during week-ends.
  • LA LUPA GHIOTTA, Viale francesco bonaini, 113 ((from the station walk towards piazza vittorio emmanuele, than turn right in Viale Francesco Bonaini)), 050.21018. Has very good food at reasonable price in a cozy environment  edit


During summer nights, everybody stays around the banks of the rivers, sipping drinks bought from the several bars in the area. A few very good wine bars are also available for colder, winter nights.

  • Orzobruno, Via Case Dipinte 6/8, 050/578802, [7]. Sun-Thu 19-01, Fri-Sat 19-02. Artisan organic beer and organic food at a good price. A bit tricky to find but worth it.  edit
  • Pisa Caffè dell'Ussero, Lungarno Pacinotti, 27. It is a monument to Italian culture in the 1400's Palazzo Agostini, on Lungarno. Its walls are covered with glorious mementos from its most famous visitors of the Risorgimento when they were students: Carlo Goldoni, Gacomo Casanova, Vittorio Alfieri, Filippo Mazzei, John Ruskin, Domenico Guerrazzi, Giuseppe Giusti, Renato Fucini, Giosuè Carducci, Cesare Abba, Giuseppe Montanelli. In 1839, it was seat of the meetings of the first Italian Congress of Scientists.  edit
  • Babette (food and art café), Lungarno Mediceo 15, Pisa, +39 050 9913302/3, [8]. This nice café is on Lungarno Mediceo, really close to the center of the city. The place has a strong personality; you can tell it's owned by art and culture lovers. You can pick up a book and read while having a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate, or even have a meal here, at a good price. You'll be warmly welcomed, feeling like at home. Some concerts also take place in this café sometimes, and there are also evening dedicated to special themes.  edit
  • LA LUPA GHIOTTA, Viale francesco bonaini, 113 (from the station walk towards piazza vittorio emmanuele, than turn right in Viale Francesco Bonaini), 050.21018. Has very good food at reasonable price in a cozy environment  edit
  • Pizzeria Tavola Calda La Tana, V. San Frediano, 6, 56126 Pisa, Italy. 12hrs-15 & 19hrs onwards. This is a restaurant which is frequented by locals. The food is good and reasonably priced compared to other restaurants in Pisa. It was nice to see the staff welcoming all the locals and pampering the tourists. less than average.  edit


The Pisa hills were already a popular destination for enlightened travelers in the first half of the 1700s, due mostly to the popularity of the thermal spa of San Giuliano, which quickly became a fashionable spot for the upper classes. The mansions on the road along the hills, already renowned as places of idleness and relaxation in the heart of the countryside, soon assumed the characteristics of true leisure resorts, just like those narrated by Carlo Goldoni. Stay at Bagni di Pisa ('health-giving' waters are still offered to an international clientele) and then visit Pisa during one of the city’s festivals, staying at the Agostini Palace to enjoy the best view of the festivities. The Villa [9] has hosted many illustrious guests such as Gustavus III of Sweden, Christian II of Denmark, the Royal Family of Great Britain, Benedict Stuart Cardinal of York, General Murat, Luigi Buonaparte, Paolina Borghese, Carlo Alberto of Savoy, the poets Byron and Shelley, and various other personages from the history books.

  • San Ranieri Hotel Pisa (Hotel in Pisa), Via Mazzei, 2 - Pisa (Cisanello), +39 050 971951, [10]. Pisa Hotel: The San Ranieri Hotel is a unique 4 star hotel in Pisa designed to offer all kinds of service: restaurant, parking, space for meetings and conferences, rooms with sky, wi-fi internet, and was designed to delight visitors on business or simply vacation in Pisa. The San Ranieri Hotel is located in Cisanello, easily reachable by all means. Equipped with ample parking, you'll find on the site offers and online booking services. Contact us:  edit
  • First Night Apartment, Via Francesco De Pinedo 4/D ('''Airport Galilei'''), +39 347 0880244 (, fax: (+39) 1786063538), [11]. Apartment with 4 beds, kitchen, TV 32 inches, so near to airport Galilei check-in that you can reach it in a 4 minutes walk. The perfect place to start or end your pisa vacation, don't worring about how to reach the check-in at the sunset. You could rent the car the second day saving money. Prices for 2 people €60 per night, €400 per week. Car Parking included  edit
  • Hotel Francesco, Via Santa Maria, 129, Pisa, +39050555453 (, fax: 050/3869998), [12]. Relatively inexpensive hotel with a great location near the tower, offering rooms with private bathrooms; check for special offers on the website. €60+.  edit
  • Airone Pisa Park Hotel, via Sant'elena, 4 , San Giuliano Terme, +39 050822284 (), [13]. Located along the road to San Giuliano Terme (Pisa), about 2 km from the leaning tower. A well-liked hotel with travelers who prefer larger spaces. Outdoor swimming pool, free internet access, restaurant, bar, English cable TV, bicycle, free car parking and family rooms. Check website for special offers. €50+.  edit
  • Pisa Tower Hostel, piazza garibaldi, 9, +39 3317886859 (fax: 050/598969), [14]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 10.30. One of the best place in Pisa for backpackers and budget traveller located in heart of Pisa sourranded by bars and restaurants free internet, kitchen and more. Only has female dormitories. No dorms for male travellers. 20.  edit
  • Eden Park Resort, Via dell'Argine, 6b - 56017 San Giuliano Terme, Pisa, (+39) 050.870252 (, fax: (+39) 050.506652), [15]. Brand new resort nestled in the Tuscan Countryside near the banks of the Arno river, only 4 km from Pisa's leaning tower.  edit
  • Villa Kinzica, P.zza Arcivescovado 2, Pisa, +39 050 560419 (fax: 050/551204). A well-located hotel in the center of town, offering en-suite single, double, and triple rooms. €70+.  edit
  • Athena, Via Risorgimento 42, Pisa, +39 050 550887, [16]. Small hotel with 12 rooms. €55+ (breakfast not included).  edit
  • S. Croce in Fossabanda, P.zza Santa Croce 11, Pisa, (fax: +39 050 971104), [17]. Located in a medieval monastery, recently converted to a hotel with 67 rooms. True to its origin, the rooms are somewhat sober, but this is made up for with a relaxing courtyard and garden. No need to set an alarm, since the next door monks ring the bell at 7:30. €75+.  edit
  • Vittoria, Lungarno Pacinotti 12, Pisa, (fax: +39 050 940180), [18]. A small, charming hotel with a range of rooms available. €100+.  edit
  • Ostello della Gioventù (Il Convento), Via Pietrasantina, 15 56100 - Madonna dell'Acqua, +39 050 890622. A youth hostel with dorm beds and private rooms.  edit
  • Calamidoro Hotel, Via del Tiglio N° 143, [19].  edit
  • Albergo Ariston Hotel, [20]. Located only 45 m from the leaning tower.  edit
  • The Relais dell’ Ussero at the Corliano's Villa, Statale Abetone 50, San Giuliano Terme, +39 050 818193 (), [21]. checkin: 8PM; checkout: 12AM. Located at Villa di Corliano, only 2 Km along the road from the health spa of San Giuliano Terme (Pisa). €50+ (breakfast included).   edit
  • Claudia Ferri Bed & Breakfast, Via II Settembre, 15 / D (Porta a Mare, Marina di Pisa), +39 050 533868, [22]. Nice apartment with 4 B&B rooms, close to Pisa city center. Prices per room range from €45 per night (single room) to €125 (4-bedded room).  edit
  • NH Cavalieri, Piazza della Stazione, 2, +39 050 43290 [23]. The hotel is a modern building with 6 floors, inluding the ground floor. It consists of 100 rooms, 3 meeting rooms with a capacity to seat 80 people.
  • Lucca. You can travel by train to this other beautiful Tuscan city.
  • Florence. Very easily reachable by train from Pisa Centrale.
  • Cinque Terre by train to La Spezia and Genova
  • Volterra by bus
  • Calci monastery and the Natural History Museum of Pisa with the biggest whale bones in Europe. Easily reachable by bus
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PISA, a town, archiepiscopal see and capital of a province of the same name, Tuscany, Italy, on the Arno, 7 m. from the sea l and 49 m. west of Florence by rail. Pop. (1881), 42,779; (1900), 61,279. It still retains its ancient walls, 64 m. in circuit, and is defended by a citadel on the south-west. The principal streets run alongside the river, and are lined with fine buildings. Besides the cathedral, the baptistery and the famous leaning tower, the city possesses several notable churches, as the Renaissance church of the Tuscan order of St Stephen, built in 1562 from plans by Vt,sari; San Niccolo, with a four-storeyed tower (1230), built by Niccola Pisano, and the tomb of John of Swabia, the parricide; Santa Caterina (1262); Santa Maria della Spina, in the Italo-Gothic style, built in 1230 and restored in 1872; San Sepolchro, erected in 1150 by Diotisalvi; San Francesco, with frescoes byTaddeo Gaddi; and the basilica of San Michele (Io18). Amongst the secular buildings may be mentioned the royal palace; the archiepiscopal palace; the palace of the order of St Stephen, built by Niccola Pisano and reconstructed by Vasari; the Upezzinghi (formerly Lanfreducci) palace, built of Carrara marble in 1590; the Lanfranchi, Agostini and other palaces; the university (1472); a large hospital (1258); and fine market halls. There are statues to Cosimo I. (by Francavilla), Archduke Leopold, and Ferdinand I. The city possesses also an academy of the fine arts, with a gallery of paintings; and the university a library of 120,000 volumes, a natural history museum, botanical garden and agricultural schools. The university, founded in 1338, has faculties of law, medicine, mathematics and philosophy and literature, and is to this day one of the most famous in Italy.

The architects of the cathedral were Boschetto and Rinaldo, both Italians, probably Pisans. It is in plan a Latin cross, with an internal length of 3112 ft. and a breadth of 252 ft. The nave, 109 ft. high, has double vaulted aisles and the transepts single aisles; and at the intersection of nave and transepts there is a cupola. The basilica is still the predominent type, but the influence of the domed churches of Constantinople and the mosques of Palermo is also apparent. The pillars which support the nave are of marble from Elba and Giglio; those of the side aisles are the spoils of ancient Greek and Roman buildings brought by the Pisan galleys. Externally the finest part of the building is the west front, in which the note struck by the range of arches running round the base is repeated by four open arcades. Of the four doors three are by John of Bologna, who was greatly helped by Francavilla, Tacca and others; that of the south side, of much older date, is generally supposed to be the work of Bonanno. Of the interior decorations it is enough to mention the altars of the nave, said to be after designs by Michelangelo, and the mosaics in the dome and the apse, which were among the latest designs of Cimabue. The baptistery was completed only in 1278, and marred in the 14th century by the introduction of Gothic details. The building is a circle loo ft. in diameter, and is covered with a cone-surmounted dome 190 ft. high on which stands a statue of St Raniero. The lowest range of semicircular arches consists of twenty columns and the second of sixty; and above this is a row of eighteen windows in the same style separated by as many pilasters. In the interior, which is supported by four pilasters and eight columns, the most striking features are the octagonal font and the hexagonal pulpit, erected in 1260 by Niccola Pisano. The campanile car "leaning tower of Pisa" is a round tower, the noblest, according to Freeman, of the southern Romanesque. Though the walls at the base are 13 ft. thick, and at the top about half as much, they are constructed throughout of marble. The basement is surrounded by a range of semicircular arches supported by fifteen columns, and above this rise six arcades with thirty columns each. The eighth storey, which contains the bells, is of much smaller diameter than the rest of the tower, and has only twelve columns. The height of the tower is 179 ft., but the ascent is easy by a stair in the wall, and the visitor hardly perceives the inclination till he reaches the top and from the lower edge of the gallery looks "down" along the shaft receding to its base. The tower leans or deviates from the perpendicular, to a striking extent, which has gradually increased: it was 152 ft. out of the perpendicular when measured in 1829, and 162 ft. in 1910. There is no reason to suppose that the architects, Bonanno and William of Innsbruck, intended that the campanile should be built in an oblique position; it would appear to have assumed it while the work was still in progress. The foundations are not more than 10 ft. deep, and their circumference only that of the tower. The Campo Santo, lying to the north of the cathedral, owes its origin to Archbishop Ubaldo 1 In Strabo's time it was only 2 m. away, but the increase of the delta at the mouth of the river has since then pushed forward the coast-line.

(1188-1200), who made the spot peculiarly sacred by bringing fifty-three shiploads of earth from Mount Calvary. The building, erected in the Italian Gothic style between 1278 and 1283, by Giovanni Pisano, is of special interest chiefly for its famous frescoes.

There are numerous industries, the most important being the manufacture of cottons. In the vicinity are the royal stud-farm (horses and dromedaries) of Cascine di San Rossore, and the mineral baths of San Giuliano, alkaline-ferruginous, with temperature 91.4° to 105.8° Fahr. At the mouth of the Arno, joined to the city by a steam tramway, is the seaside resort of Marina di Pisa, also known as Bocca d'Arno, a well-known centre for landscape painters.

The old town occupied the site of the ancient Pisae on the right bank of the Arno. The foundation of Pisae is by tradition ascribed to a very remote period, and it was often (possibly only owing to the similarity of name) believed to have been founded from Pisae in Elis. It is first mentioned in history as the place at which a Roman army from Sardinia landed in 225 B.C., its harbour being at the mouth of the south branch of the Arno, north of Livorno. Being situated on the coast road (Via Aemilia) it was important as a frontier fortress against Liguria, to which, and not to Etruria, it really belonged, perhaps, up to the time of Sulla, the actual boundary lying between it and Vada Volaterrana (mod. Vada). It became a colony in 180 B.C., and was important for the fertility of its territory, for its quarries, and for the timber it yielded for ship-building. Augustus gave it the name of Colonia Julia Pisana; his grandsons Gaius and Lucius were patrons of the colony, and after their death monuments were erected in their honour, as is recorded in two long inscriptions still extant. Greek vases have been found within the city itself, seeming to point to the presence of Etruscan tombs (G. Ghirardini in Notizie degli Scavi, 1892, 147); but no remains now exist except of the Roman period - some scanty ruins of baths and of a temple, while the Piazza dei Cavalieri follows the outline of the ancient theatre.

See E. Bormann, Corp. inscr. lat. xi. 272 (1888).

Little is known of the history of Pisa during the barbarian invasions, but it is an ascertained fact that it was one of the first towns to regain its independence. Under the Byzantine dominion Pisa, like many other of the maritime cities of Italy, profited by the weakness of the government at Constantinople to reassert its strength. And even during the first years of the harsh Lombard rule the need recognized by these oppressors of defending the Italian coast from the attacks of the Byzantines was favourable to the development of the Pisan navy. Few particulars are extant concerning the real condition of the town; but we occasionally find Pisa mentioned, almost as though it were an independent city, at moments when Italy was overwhelmed by the greatest calamities. According to Amari's happy expression, "it was already independent by sea, while still enslaved on land." Its prosperity notably declined after the establishment of the Lombard rule and under the Franks. It again began to flourish under the marquises of Tuscany, who governed it in the name of the emperor.

In 1003 we find records of a war between Pisa and Lucca, which, according to Muratori, was the first waged between Italian cities in the middle ages. But the military development and real importance of Pisa in the nth century must be attributed to the continuous and desperate struggle it maintained against the tide of Saracenic invasion from Sicily. And, although the numerous legends and fables of the old chroniclers disguise the true history of this struggle, they serve to attest the importance of Pisa in those days. In 1004 the Saracens forced the gates and sacked a quarter of the town; and in ror I they renewed the attack. But the Pisans repulsed them and assumed the offensive in Calabria, Sicily, and even in Africa. Still more memorable was the expedition afterwards undertaken by the united forces of Pisa and Genoa against Mogahid, better known in the Italian chronicles as Mugeto. This Moslem chief had made himself master of Sardinia, and was driven thence by the allied fleets in rot 5. Again invading the island, he was again attacked and defeated by the same adversaries, leaving a brother and son, or, as some authorities aver, a wife and son, prisoners in their hands. Sardinia continued to be governed by native "judges" who were like petty sovereigns, but were now subject to the sway of Pisa. This was the primary cause of the jealousy of the Genoese, and of the wars afterwards made by them upon Pisa and carried on until its power was crushed. Meanwhile the Pisans flourished more and more, and continued hostilities against the Saracens. In 1062 their ships returned from Palermo laden with spoil. Thus it is not surprising that Pisa should already have had its own code of laws (Consuetudini di mare), which in 1075 were approved by Gregory VII., and in 1081 confirmed by a patent from the emperor Henry IV., a document which mentions for the first time the existence of a magistrate analogous to the consuls of the republic, although the latter, according to some writers, already existed in Pisa as early as the year 1080; the point, however, is doubtful, and other writers place the first authentic mention of the consuls in the year 1094.1 The oldest of Pisan statutes still extant is the Breve dei consoli di mare of 1162.

In 1099 the Pisans joined in the second crusade, proved their valour at the capture of Jerusalem, and derived many commercial advantages from it; for within a short time they had banks, consuls, warehouses and privileges of all kinds in every Eastern port. Thus, while the commune of Pisa was still under the rule of the marquises of Tuscany, all negotiations with it were carried on as with an independent state officially represented by the archbishop and consuls. The aristocrats were the dominant party, and filled the highest offices of the republic, which, in the I 2th century, rose to great power, both on sea and land, by its wars with the Lucchese, Genoese and Moslems. In I I 10 Pisa made peace with Lucca after six years of continuous hostilities. And in the years 1113 and iris it achieved a still greater enterprise. The Pisan fleet of three hundred sail, commanded by the archbishop Pietro Moriconi, attacked the Balearic Isles, where as many as 20,000 Christians were said to be held captive by the Moslems, and returned loaded with spoil and with a multitude of Christian and Moslem prisoners. The former were set at liberty or ransomed, and among the latter was the last descendant of the reigning dynasty. The chief eunuch who had governed Majorca perished in the siege. Immediately afterwards the fourteen years' war with Genoa broke out. The two republics contested the dominion of the sea, and both claimed supreme power over the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. A papal edict awarding the supremacy of Corsica to the Pisan church proved sufficient cause for the war, which went on from 1118 to 1132. Then Innocent II. transferred the supremacy over part of Corsica to the Genoese church, and compensated Pisa by grants in Sardinia and elsewhere. Accordingly, to gratify the pope and the emperor Lothair II., the Pisans entered the Neapolitan territory to combat the Normans. They aided in the vigorous defence of the city of Naples, and twice attacked and pillaged Amalfi, in 1135 and 1137, with such effect that the town never regained its prosperity. It has been said that the copy of the Pandects then taken by the Pisans from Amalfi was the first known to them, but in fact they were already acquainted with those laws. The war with Genoa never came to a real end. Even after the retaking of Jerusalem by the Moslems (1187) the Pisans and Genoese again met in conflict in the East, and performed many deeds of valour. They were always ready to come to blows, and gave still more signal proofs of their enmity during the Sicilian War in behalf of the emperor Henry VI. From that moment it was plain that there could be no lasting peace between these rival powers until the one or the other should be crushed. The greatness and wealth of the Pisans at this period of their history is proved by the erection of the noble buildings by which their city is adorned. The founda 1 It must be remembered that the Pisans and Florentines dated the beginning of the year ab incarnatione, i.e. from the 25th of March. But the Florentines dated it from the 25th following and the Pisans from the 25th of March preceding the commencement of the common year. The new or common style was adopted throughout Tuscany in the year 1750.

tions of the cathedral were laid in 1063, and its consecration took place in 1118; the baptistery was begun in 1152, and the campanile (the famous leaning tower) in 1174. And all three magnificent structures were mainly the work of Pisan artists, who gave new life. toItalian architecture, as they afterwards renewed the art of sculpture.

It is asserted by some writers, especially by Tronci, that in the 12th century Pisa adopted a more democratic form of government. But in fact the chief authority was still vested in the nobles, who, both in Pisa and in Sardinia, exercised almost sovereign power. They formed the real strength of the republic, and kept it faithful to the empire and the Ghibelline party. The Guelph and popular element which constituted the force and prosperity of Florence was hostile to Pisa, and led to its downfall. The' independence of the former city was of much later origin, only dating from the death of Countess Matilda (1115), but it rapidly rose to an ever-increasing power, and to inevitable rivalry with Pisa. Owing to the political and commercial interests binding Florence to the Roman court, the Guelph element naturally prevailed there, while the growth of its trade and commerce necessarily compelled that state to encroach on waters subject to Pisan rule. And, although Pisa had hitherto been able to oppose a glorious resistance to Genoa and Lucca, it was not so easy to continue the struggle when its enemies were backed by the arms and political wisdom of the Florentines, who were skilled in obtaining powerful allies. The chroniclers ascribe the first war with Florence, which broke out in 1222, to a most ridiculous motive. The ambassadors of the rival states in Rome are said to have quarrelled about a lapdog. This merely shows that there were already so many general and permanent reasons for war that no special cause was needed to provoke it. In 1228 the Pisans met and defeated the united forces of Florence and Lucca near Barga in the Garfagnana, and at the same time they despatched fifty-two galleys to assist Frederick II. in his expedition to the East. Shortly after this they renewed hostilities with the Genoese on account of Sardinia. The judges who governed the island were always at strife, and, as some of them applied to Pisa and some to Genoa for assistance against one another, the Italian seas were once more stained with blood, and the war burst out again and again, down to 1259, when it terminated in the decisive victory of the Pisans and the consolidation of their supremacy in Sardinia. But meanwhile Florence had made alliance with Genoa, Lucca and all the Guelph cities of Tuscany against its Ghibelline rival. The pope had excommunicated Frederick II. and all his adherents. And, as a crowning disaster, the death of Frederick in 1250 proved a mortal blow to the Italian Ghibelline cause. Nevertheless, the Pisans were undaunted. Summoning Siena, Pistoia and the Florentine exiles to their aid, they boldly faced their foe, but were defeated in 1254. Soon after this date we find the old aristocratic government of Pisa replaced by a more popular form. Instead of the consuls there were now twelve elders (anziani); besides the podesta, there was a captain of the people; and there was a general council as well as a senate of forty members. The rout of the Tuscan Guelphs on the field of Montaperto (1260) restored the fortunes of Pisa. But the battle of Benevento (1266), where Manfred fell, and the rout of Tagliacozzo (1268), sealing the ruin of the house of Hohenstaufen in Italy and the triumph of that of Anjou, were fatal to Pisa. For the republic had always sided with the empire and favoured Conradin, whose cruel end struck terror into the Ghibelline faction. The pope hurled an edict against the Pisans and tried to deprive them of Sardinia, while their merchants were driven from Sicily by the Angevins. The internal condition of the city was affected by these events. Owing to the increasing influence of the Guelph and popular side, to which the more ambitious nobles began to adhere for the furtherance of personal aims, the aristocratic Ghibelline party was rapidly losing ground. The first man to step to the front at this moment was Count Ugolino della Gherardesca of the powerful house of that name. He had become the virtual head of the republic, and, in order to preserve its independence and his own sway, inclined to the Guelphs and the popular party, in spite of the Ghibelline traditions of his race. He was supported by his kinsman Giovanni Visconti, judge of Gallura; but almost all the other great families vowed eternal hatred against him, and proclaimed him a traitor to his party, his country and his kin. So in 1274 he and Visconti were driven into exile. Both then joined the Florentines, took part in the war against their native city, and laid waste its surrounding territories. In 1276 the Pisans were compelled to agree to very grievous terms - to exempt Florentine merchandise from all harbour dues, to yield certain strongholds to Lucca, and to permit the return of Count Ugolino, whose houses they had burnt, and whose lands they had confiscated. Thus the count again became a powerful leader in Pisa. Visconti, however, was dead.

This was the moment chosen by Genoa for a desperate and decisive struggle with her perpetual rival. For some years the hostile fleets continued to harass each other and engage in petty skirmishes, as if to measure their strength and prepare for a final effort. On the 6th of August 1284 the great battle of Meloria took place. Here seventy-two Pisan galleys engaged eightyeight Genoese, and half the Pisan fleet was destroyed. The chroniclers speak of 5000 killed and 1 i,000 prisoners; and, although these figures must be exaggerated, so great was the number of captives taken by the Genoese as to give rise to the saying - "To see Pisa, you must now go to Genoa." This defeat crushed the power of Pisa. She had lost her dominion over the sea, and the Tuscan Guelphs again joined in attacking her by land. Count Ugolino had taken part in the battle of Meloria and was accused of treachery. At the height of his country's disasters he sought to confirm his own power by making terms with the Florentines, by yielding certain castles to Lucca, and by neglecting to conclude negotiations with the Genoese for the release of the prisoners, lest these should all prove more or less hostile to himself. This excited a storm of opposition against him. The archbishop Ruggieri, having put himself at the head of the nobles, was elected podesta by the Lanfranchi, Sismondi and Gualandi, and a section of the popular party. The city was plunged into civil war. The great bell of the commune called together the adherents of the archbishop; the bell of the people summoned the partisans of the count, After a day's fighting (July 1, 1288) the count, his two sons and his two grandsons were captured in the palazzo del popolo (or town hall), and cast into a tower belonging to the Gualandi and known as the "Tower of the Seven. Streets." Here they were all left to die of hunger. Their tragic end was afterwards immortalized in the Divina commedia. The sympathies of Dante Alighieri, the Florentine patriot and foe of Rome, were naturally in favour of the victims of an aristocratic prelate, opposed to all reconciliation with Florence.

The Florentines were now allied with Lucca and Genoa, and a few of their vessels succeeded in forcing an entry into the Pisan port, blocked it with sunken boats, and seized its towers. Their own internal dissensions of 1293 put a stop to the campaign, but not before they had concluded an advantageous peace. They and all the members of the Guelph league were freed from all imposts in Pisa and its port. In addition to these privileges the Genoese also held Corsica and part of Sardinia; and throughout the island of Elba they were exempted from every tax. They likewise received a ransom of 160,000 lire for their Pisan prisoners. These were no longer numerous, many having succumbed to the hardships and sufferings of all kinds to which they had been exposed.

In 1312 the arrival of the emperor Henry VII. gladdened the hearts of the Pisans, but his sudden death in 1313 again overthrew their hopes. He was interred at Pisa, and Uguccione della Faggiuola remained as imperial lieutenant, was elected podesta and captain of the people, and thus became virtual lord of the city. As a Ghibelline chief of valour and renown he was able to restore the military prestige of the Pisans, who under his command captured Lucca and defeated the Florentines at Montecatini on the 29th of August 1315. So tyrannical, however, was his rule that in 1316 he was expelled by the popular fury. But Pisa's freedom was for ever lost. He was succeeded by other lords or tyrants, of whom the most renowned was Castruccio Castracane, a political and military adventurer of much the same stamp as Uguccione himself. With the help of Louis the Bavarian, Castruccio became lord of Lucca and Pisa, and was victorious over the Florentines; but his premature death in 1328 again left the city a prey to the conflicts of opposing factions. New lords, or petty tyrants, rose to power in turn during this period of civil discord, but the military valour of the Pisans was not yet extinguished By sea they were almost impotent - Corsica and Sardinia were lost to them for ever; but they were still formidable by land. In 1341 they besieged Lucca in order to prevent the entry of the Florentines, to whom the city had been sold for 250,000 florins by the powerful Mastino della Scala. Aided by their Milanese, Mantuan and Paduan allies, they gave battle to their rivals, put them to rout at Altopascio (Oct. 2), and then again excluded them from their port. Thereupon the Florentines obtained Porto Talamone from Siena and established a navy of their own. By this means they were enabled to capture the island of Giglio, and, attacking the Pisan harbour, carried off its chains, bore them in triumph to Florence, and suspended them in front of the baptistery, where they remained until 1848. Then, in pledge of the brotherhood of all Italian cities, they were given back to Pisa, and placed in the Campo Santo.

The war was now carried on by the free companies with varying fortune, but always more or less to the hurt of the Pisans. In 1369 Lucca was taken from them by the emperor Charles IV.; and afterwards Giovan Galeazzo Visconti, known as the count of Virtu, determined to forward his ambitious designs upon the whole of Italy by wresting Pisa from the Gambacorti. For at this time the conflicts of the Raspanti faction, headed by the Gherardesca, with the Bergolini led by the Gambacorti, had left the latter family masters of the city. At Visconti's instigation Piero Gambacorti, the ruler of the moment, was treacherously assassinated by Jacopo d'Appiano, who succeeded him as tyrant of Pisa, and bequeathed the state to his son Gherardo. The latter, a man of inferior ability and daring, sold Pisa to the count of Virtu, receiving in exchange 200,000 florins, Piombino, and the islands of Elba, Pianosa and Monte Cristo. Thus in 1399 Visconti took possession of Pisa, and left it to his natural son Gabriele Maria Visconti, who was afterwards expelled from its gates. But even during this century of disaster the Pisans continued to cherish not only commerce, but also the fine arts. In the year 1278 they had entrusted the erection of their fine Campo Santo to Niccola and Giovanni Pisano, by whom the architectural part of it was completed towards the end of the century. In the following year the first artists of Italy were engaged in its decoration, and the celebrated frescoes attributed to Orcagna were painted on its walls. Others were afterwards supplied by Benozzo Gozzoli and men of lesser note, and the labour of ornamentation was only discontinued in 1464.

Meanwhile, in 1406, the Florentines made another attack upon Pisa, besieging it simultaneously by sea and land. Owing to the starving condition of its defenders, and aided by the treachery of Giovanni Gambacorti, they entered the city in triumph on the 9th of October, and sought to "crush every germ of rebellion and drive out its citizens by measures of the utmost harshn=ss and cruelty." Such were the orders sent by the Ten of War to the representatives of the Florentine government in Pisa, and such was then the established policy of every Italian state. Consequently for a long time there was a continual stream of emigration from Pisa. The Medici pursued a humaner course. In 1472 Lorenzo the Magnificent tried to restore the ancient renown of the Pisan university. To that end he filled it with celebrated scholars, and, leaving only a few chairs of letters and philosophy in Florence, compelled the Florentines to resort to Pisa for the prosecution of their studies. But nothing could now allay the inextinguishable hatred of the conquered people. When Charles VIII. made his descent into Italy in 1494, and came to Sarzana on his way to Tuscany, he was welcomed by the Pisans with the greatest demonstrations of joy. And, although that monarch was ostensibly the friend of Florence, they did not hesitate, even in his presence, to assert their own independence, and, casting the Florentine ensign, the Marzocco, into the Arno, made instant preparations for war. Between 1499 and 1505 they heroically withstood three sieges and repulsed three attacking armies. But their adversaries always returned to the assault, and, what was worse, yearly laid waste their territories and destroyed all their crops. Soderini, who was perpetual gonfalonier of Florence, and Machiavelli, the secretary of the Ten, urged on the war. In 1509 Florence encamped her forces on three sides of the distressed city, which at last, reduced to extremity by famine, was compelled to surrender on the 8th of June 1509. Thenceforth the Florentines remained lords of Pisa. But now, mainly owing to the efforts of Soderini and Machiavelli, the conquerors showed great magnanimity. They brought with them large stores of provisions, which were freely distributed to all; they tried to succour the suffering populace in every way, and gave other assistance to the wealthier classes. Nevertheless, emigration continued even on a larger scale than in 1406, and the real history of Pisa may be said to have ended. In Naples, in Palermo, in all parts of Italy, Switzerland and the south of France, we still find the names of Pisan families who quitted their beloved home at that time. The Florentines immediately built a new citadel, and this was a great bitterness to the Pisans. The Medici, however, remained well disposed towards the city. Leo X. was an active patron of the university, but it again declined after his death. The grand duke Cosmo I., a genuine statesman, not only restored the university, but instituted the "uffizio dei fossi," or drainage office for the reclamation of marsh lands, and founded the knighthood of St Stephen. This order played a noble part in the protection of Tuscan commerce, by fighting the Barbary pirates and establishing the prestige of the grand-ducal navy (see Medici). Under the succeeding Medici, Pisa's fortunes steadily declined. Ferdinand I. initiated a few public works there, and above all restored the cathedral, which had been partly destroyed by fire in 1595. These dreary times, however, are brightened by one glorious name - that of Galileo Galilei.

The population of Pisa within the walls had been reduced in 1551 to 8574 souls, and by 1745 it had only risen to the number of 12,406. Under the house of Lorraine, or more correctly during the reign of that enlightened reformer the grand duke Peter Leopold (1765-1790), Pisa shared in the general prosperity of Tuscany, and its population constantly increased. By 1840 it contained 21,670 souls, exclusive of the suburbs and outlying districts.

Authorities. - Paolo Tronci, Annali di Pisa, edited by E. V. Montazio (2 vols., Lucca, 1842-1843), which comes down to 1840; Ranieri Grassi, Pisa e le sue adiacenze (Pisa, 1851), which is a useful historical guide; Roncioni, "Istorie Pisane," in the Archivio storico italiano, vol. vi., pt. I; "` Cronache Pisane," in the same Archivio, vol. vi., pt. 2; for the early constitution of the city, see G. Volpe's Studii sulle istituzioni, comunali di Pisa (Pisa, 1902), and for the laws, F. Bonaini's Statuti inediti della cilia di Pisa (3 vols., Florence, 1851, &c.). The maritime and commercial history of the republic is dealt with in A. Schaube's Das Konsulat des Meeres in Pisa (Leipzig, 1888) and in Pawinski's Zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Konsulats in den Communen Nordand Mittel-Italiens (Berlin, 1867); for the monuments and inscriptions see A. Da Morrona, Pisa illustrata (Leghorn, 1812) and G. R. de Fleury's Les Monuments de Pise au moyen age (Paris, 1866); also Repetti's Dizionario geografico della Toscana, s.v. " Pisa." For Dante's connexion with Pisa, see Dante e i Pisani, by Giovanni Sforza (Pisa, 1873). Among the more recent historical guides to Pisa of a popular character is The Story of Pisa and Lucca, by Janet Ross and Nellie Erichsen, in Dent's "Medieval Towns" (London, 1907), and T. B. Supino's Pisa, in the "Italia artistica Series." (P. V.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also pisa




Proper noun


  1. Province of Tuscany, Italy.
  2. City and capital of the province of Pisa.

Derived terms


  • French: Pise (1, 2)
  • Greek: Πίζα (Píza)
  • Italian: Pisa (1), Pisa f. (2)
  • Polish: Piza



Proper noun

Pisa f

  1. Pisa (province)
  2. Pisa (city)

Related terms


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|The city of Pisa, seen from the tower]] [[File:|thumb|right|The cathedral with the leaning tower]] Pisa is a city in Italy. About 85.000 people live in the city. The city has a very long and turbulent history. The "Leaning Tower of Pisa" is a famous landmark of Pisa.

Important buildings

[[File:|thumb|250px|The Monumental Camposanto in the Piazza del Duomo]]

File:Santa maria della spina
Façade of Santa Maria della Spina
St' Francis' church
File:Pisa.Palazzo dei
Palazzo della Carovana or dei Cavalieri
  • The Leaning Tower , the most famous image of the city.
  • Campo dei Miracoli (in English: "Square of Miracles") in the north of the old town center.
  • Duomo di Pisa.
  • The Baptistry.
  • The Camposanto (The monumental cemetery of the city).
  • Piazza dei Cavalieri, (the "Knights' Square" in English).
  • Church o Santo Steano dei cavalieri,in the "Knights' Square".
  • St. Sixtus,a small church.
  • The church of St. Francis, designed by Giovanni di Simone, built after 1276. In 1343 new chapels were added and the church was elevated.
  • Church of San Frediano, built by 1061.
  • Church of San Nicola, built by 1097, was enlarged between 1297 and 1313
  • The small church of Santa Maria della Spina,
  • The church of San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno,
  • Lungarno, the avenues along the river Arno.
  • The Medici Palace, a building of the Appiano family, who ruled Pisa in 1392–1398. In 1400 the Medici acquired it, and Lorenzo de' Medici lived here.
  • The Orto botanico di Pisa is Europe's oldest university botanical garden.
  • The Palazzo Reale ("Royal Palace").
  • Palazzo Gambacorti, a Gothic building of the 14th century.
  • Palazzo Agostini, a Gothic building
  • Museo dell'Opera del Duomo: where there are the original sculptures of Nicola Pisano and Giovanni Pisano.
  • Museo delle Sinopie: showing the sinopias from the camposanto, the monumental cemetery.
  • Museo Nazionale di S. Matteo: exhibiting sculptures and painting from 12th century–15th century,of Giovanni and Andrea Pisano, the Master of San Martino, Simone Martini, Nino Pisano and Masaccio.

Famous people born in Pisa

  • Jason Acuña
  • Guglielmo Agnelli
  • Christian Amoroso
  • Anselm of Capraia
  • Gerardo Appiani
  • Giovanni di Balduccio
  • Iacopo Balestri
  • Michele Bartoli
  • Ercole Bazicaluve
  • Alfredo Biondi
  • Alessandro Birindelli
  • Bona of Pisa
  • Guido Buffarini Guidi
  • Philippe Buonarroti
  • Ulisse Dini
  • Pope Eugene III
  • Fibonacci
  • Galileo Galilei
  • Giovanni Galli
  • Orazio Gentileschi
  • Ugolino della Gherardesca
  • Ignazio Hugford
  • Enrico Letta
  • Fabio Lione
  • Dario Marianelli
  • Francesco Marianini
  • Giuseppe Melani
  • Antonio Pacinotti
  • Pandolfo Masca of Pisa
  • Andrea Parola
  • Giovanni Pisano
  • Nino Pisano
  • Bruno Pontecorvo
  • Gillo Pontecorvo
  • Girolamo Riminaldi
  • Orazio Riminaldi
  • Titta Ruffo
  • Rustichello da Pisa
  • Paolo Savi
  • Sidney Sonnino
  • Marco Storari
  • Antonio Tabucchi
  • Terramagnino da Pisa
  • Francesco Traini
  • Soozie Tyrell

Sisters cities


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