What to do in Pisa
Visiting Pisa can reserve unimaginable surprises. Ancient Maritime Republic, fervent cultural center, city of impressive and majestic architecture: these are just some of the characteristics that describe this city. Between history and magic, getting lost in the alleys of Pisa will be an experience that will leave you pleasantly surprised. The Leaning Tower is in fact only one of the symbols of this charming Tuscan town, the starting point for your tour to discover Pisan secrets.
Monuments in Pisa
The profile of the city certainly would not be the same without the majestic of Piazza dei Miracoli and the Leaning Tower. Every day hundreds of people from all over the world come to this place to admire this square, UNESCO heritage. Usually it is from the monumental complex of the square that tours to discover the city begin. Even if the real protagonist of these spaces is the Tower, also the entire square is home to monuments and museums that are open to all visitors.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Designed by Diotisalvi in 1173, the tower is the result of an enchanting combination of precision and error. Although today it is known as a stand alone monument, in reality the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta; the main feature of the tower is its slope: it was not designed to be crooked, but from the beginning of construction works the land on which it was being built began to show signs of structural failure due to its clay nature. But don’t worry, the vertical axis of the tower passing through its barycenter falls into the base of support, which in other words means that it will never fall. So, arm yourself with your smartphone and take a selfie-souvenir with the tower!
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The Cathedral of Pisa or Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is the most impressive proof of the prestige of the Maritime Republic. It represents the maximum splendor of the era in which Pisa was at the center of culture and politics in Italy. By observing the Duomo from different angles you can discover details belonging to the Romanesque style and, to be more precise, to the Pisan Romanesque style. The construction works began in 1064 and over the years the Cathedral has undergone various restoration works. Throughout the nineteenth century some of the sculptures that decorate the structure were replaced by copies. The nature of the land, as it was for the tower of Pisa, has made the entire structure sloping, albeit to a lesser extent than the adjacent bell tower.
Baptistery of San Giovanni – Pisa
The beauties of Piazza dei Miracoli do not end with The Tower and the Duomo: on the west facade of the Cathedral, in fact, stands the Baptistery of San Giovanni, a monument that is part of the complex of Piazza del Duomo. With a circumference of 107, 24 meters, the Baptistery of Pisa is considered the largest in Italy. Like many of the buildings in the city, the Baptistery also has a slight slope towards the east, towards the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. The statues that cover the façade were created by Nicola Pisano and his son. The two artists also took care of the realization of the pulpit inside the Baptistery which stands out for its perfect acoustics.
In the shadow of the monumental complex of Piazza dei Miracoli stands the Monumental Cemetery. The structure houses the tombs of the most important and influential people in the history of Pisa. The remains of well-known poets and nobles were placed in the central garden, while in the sarcophagi under the arches they kept ancient Roman tombs. The Cemetery, in addition is also a treasure chest that contains a lot of art. There are many frescoes and works of art belonging to the Etruscan, Roman and medieval age. In the course of medieval history, in fact, the Cemetery had a sacred importance of great value: here the Crusaders brought the land from the Holy Land taken from Mount Golgotha.
Museum in Pisa
To continue the tour in Pisa, you have to add to the list “what to see in Pisa” the multitude of museums of the city. Find out which ones are the most important!
Museum of Graphics
The Museum of Graphics of Pisa is housed in the Lanfranchi Palace and it was created by the Municipality of Pisa and the University of Pisa. The intention is to offer visitors to enjoy exhibitions of the most important collections of contemporary graphics. The museum allows students and enthusiasts to admire the exemplary works made by the best artists of the nineteenth and twentieth century.
Located on Lungarno Gambacorti, Palazzo Blu hosts during the course of the year several temporary exhibitions that bring to the city works and paintings by the great masters of art. Just to mention the most recent Escher, Dalì, Modigliani, Chagall, Mirò, Picasso. Moreover, it is possible to visit inside the structure a permanent exhibition that collects pictorial testimonies of Cecco di Pietro, Taddeo di Bartolo, Benozzo Gozzoli, Vincenzo Foppa and many others.
Pisa Charterhouse, also know as Calci Charterhouse is located just outside the Pisan walls, on the slopes of Mount Pisano. The complex, built by a family of Carthusians, is today the home of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Pisa and the National Museum of the Certosa Monumentale di Calci. Particularly impressive, the monument stands in a breathtaking landscape setting.
Museum of the Sinopias
In the museum of the Sinopias (which are preparatory drafts of frescoes) many of the preparatory frescoes that originally stood in the Monumental Cemetery are kept and exhibited. Following a bombing on the Cemetery, the frescoes were detached to be rescued. From the scraping operation emerged these preparatory drawings that found a home in this interesting museum.
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
The museum, adjacent to the Piazza del Duomo, preserves the treasures of the Cathedral and also architectural fragments of the buildings in Piazza dei Miracoli. Particular interesting are the sculptural groups of Nicola and Giovanni Pisano that adorned the Baptistery and the Cathedral itself, removed from their respective constructions during restoration.
Museum of San Marco
In the National Museum of San Marco there are works that come from different ecclesiastical buildings of the territory. The sculptures kept inside it belong to a period that goes from the early Middle Ages up to the fifteenth century works. Among them you can find Nicola and Giovanni Pisano masterpieces. The museum also includes over two hundred paintings of Tuscan art from the 16th to the 18th centuries.
Urban itineraries in Pisa
After a plunge into the glorious past of the city, between monuments and works of art, a walk is a must to discover the most characteristic places, the locations that are at the center of the daily life of the Pisans.
The extraordinary beauty of Pisa is perhaps due above all to its Lungarni, or the main streets that border and protect the Arno. Here there are the main buildings of the city, which reflected in the waters of the river make the atmosphere a fairytale. To divide the riversides there is Ponte di Mezzo, the main connector of the two parts of the city, a daily crossroads of people and tourists that overlook the river to admire its magnificence and take the most suggestive photos of the trip to Pisa. Don’t miss the view from our b&b.
Going down Ponte di Mezzo towards Piazza Garibaldi you arrive in the most characteristic street of Pisa: Borgo Stretto. Here there are typical medieval buildings where once nobles lived, ancient shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and shops. The main characteristic sof Borgo Stretto are its arcades under which the social life of Pisa takes place. From here you can easily reach Piazza delle Vettovaglie, one of the busiest places in Pisa and through which you can access the real heart of the historic center.
Hidden in the heart of the historic center of Pisa there is Knights’ Square, or Piazza dei Cavalieri. Symbol for many years of city power, today Piazza dei Cavalieri takes on the role of cultural symbol of the city. Here the Scuola Normale di Pisa arises imposingly, as well as being an institution it is also an open-air work of art. The main façade of the building was embellished by Vasari who, with a rigorous style, covered the building with allegorical figures, making it still shine with their beauty.
S. M. della Spina
This small church built in Gothic style is one of the most amazing artistic and architectural expressions of Pisa. Called this way because in this church was preserved a thorn of the crown worn by Jesus that is currently located in the Church of Santa Chiara in Pisa. Originally placed a few meters further to the east, this little Gothic jewel was dismantled and rebuilt on a more stable and secure part of land. Today the interior of the Church is used to host contemporary art exhibitions.
Garibaldi Bed and Breakfast is located in the center of Pisa in an ancient palace in Piazza Garibaldi. Thanks to its strategic position, from b&b Garibaldi you can start exploring the wonders of this city and live your Tuscan vacation in complete relaxation.