Pisa is located about 83kms (51 miles) west of Florence . The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous structures in the world and is what every first time visitor to Pisa is looking to see, but it is a part of a complex of separate attractions around the Piazza dei Miracoli where it is located.
What to see
The leaning tower of Pisa
Emblem of the city thanks to its characteristic leaning this tower
is the most known monument of the Cathedral square. Built between the XII and the XIV century this tower leans because the ground gave way during its construction. Even if it could looks scaring
don’t worry, this tower will never fall down, because the axis that passes through the barycentre falls into the base of the tower, so to make the tower fall the laws of physics should be
subverted. We don’t have certain informations about who built this tower, maybe it was the architect Diotisalvi, who in that period was working at the Baptistery. But even if there are several
analogies between the two monuments the diatribe on the planner of the tower is still open. The tower is proposed to be one of the seven wonders of the contemporary world.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption
The Cathdreal of Our lady of the Assumption is the most significant example of the Pisa Romanesque art. The architect Buscheto joined the classical tradition with elements coming from the Norman, Byzantine, Pre-Christian and Arabic arts, so creating a new style which anticipates the Florentine Renaissance. The Cathedral of Pisa testify the prestige that the Maritime Republic reached in its moment of maximum power. Its construction began in 1604, in the same date of the beginning of the works to the Basilica of San Marco in Venice. It probably was risen a sort of silent competition between the two Republics for who was able to build the most beautiful and sumptuous place of worship. The present aspect of the Cathedral its the result of continues restauration intervention that follow one another in different epochs. During the IX century some of the statues has been substituted with copies, the originals are in the Museum of Opera del Duomo.
The Pisa Baptistery is an other one of the monuments that forms the monumental complex of Cathedral square (or Miracle’s square). Its construction began in 1153 and its a work by the architect Diotisalvi, an inscription on an interior pillar testify the name of the architect, but a lot of the sculptures on the façade are made by Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni. Nicola Pisano made the pulpit that presents scenes from the Christ’s life and subject that represents the virtues: all masterpieces that testify how their creator was one of the principals precursors of the Renaissance art. The external dome only covers the first part of pillars and probably the lack of money its the cause, indeed the dome is made of different materials (red tiles and lead plate) compared to the rest of the building. For the same reason there are no frescoes on the ceiling, even if they was calculated on the original plan. In spite of this the Baptistery is an incredible monument and it’s the biggest Baptistery in Italy.
The monumental graveyard of Pisa
The legend tells that the monumental graveyard of Pisa is a sacred place because the crusader brings here the saint-ground took on the Golgotha mountain. There are buried the most important people of Pisa, and there can be found art works from the Etruscan time passing through the Latin and Medieval to the XIX century. Simple white marble walls keep the graves, the most important persons were buried into the garden or in the Latin sarcophagi, while the other were buried under the arcades.
In the XIX century the Graveyard was restructured, the sarcophagi was moved under the arcades to protect them from the elements, so currently everything is indoor. The mix between celebration of the history and thinking of the death made this Graveyard become one of the most visited place during 1800. Unfortunately during the second world war bombardments caused serious damages to the frescoes of this beautiful, huge monument, and from 1945 the renovation works are still in progress.
The Museum of the ancient boats in Pisa
The Museum of the ancients Boats of Pisa it’s an archaeological museum in progress of preparation. In December 1998 during some works to build a new railway articulation, some ancient boats was found, remains of city harbour in a perfect state of preservation. The absence of oxygen and the absence of water-bearing stratum prevent the deterioration of this archaeological finds. The resounding provoked by this exceptional finds it was the reason why the township of Pisa decided to exhibit them to the public Therefore the site became a real open museum with the purpose to move closer to the activity of digging and restauration even the “unauthorized personnel”: the area can be visited even during the work activities. The path that visitors should take make them see the places where the ships are restaurated and prepared for the future exhibition, meanwhile in the display cabinet there are the finds of the latest researchs.
The Arno promenade
As we told before Pisa is very known for the Miracle’s square, but it is known for its Arno river promenade too: all the streets that go along the Arno are an important point of reference for the young of Pisa and interesting point of reference for the tourists. There are important building, dated back to the Middle age, that during the centuries has been transformed. Towers, bridges and buildings, in spite of their actual Renaissance appearance, has a medieval soul, which can’t be ignored by the eye of an attentive tourist. Among the great number of streets, the more known is the Medicean one which hosts a great number of historical buildings, such as: The de’ Medici Palace, Toscanelli Palace and the church of San Matteo in Soarta. But it’s not everything: here you can find numerous pubs, restaurants and bars where spend lovely nights. Every 16th June, in occasion of the celebrations in honour of the Saint Patron, the streets are illuminated by candlelights that give to the buildings a strange and beautiful look and it create suggestive light and colour play.