Pisa - useful information on what to see and where to stay in the city of Pisa in Tuscany




What to see and where to stay in the city of Pisa in Tuscany

The city of Pisa in Tuscany

Tuscan city of Pisa is a city of unique and to some extent under-rated beauty. Pisa is, of course, one of the most famous towns in the Region of Tuscany. Many tourists arrive at Pisa airport en route for Florence and neglect to visit anything except the Leaning Tower. In fact, Pisa is well worth a stay of a few days and even makes a good base for a vacation in NW Tuscany. Pisa is only 20 minutes from the coast and has excellent transport links to Florence, Lucca, Livorno and La Spezia. Due to the complex and changing limited traffic zones, we don’t recommend driving into the historical centre.

Pisa has much to offer in addition to its amazing leaning tower. There are numerous museums and beautiful churches throughout the town for those whose passion is art. But Pisa is in addition a lively university town with many excellent restaurants and markets. Among the main sights of Pisa are the following:

  • The Piazza dei Miracoli is the famous flat area of Pisa to which tourist come in droves to view the Leaning Tower, Duomo, Baptistry and Campo Santo.
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the leaning campanile located adjacent to the Duomo. Contruction of the tower began in 1173, when Pisa was Italy’s most powerful maritime republic. The bell-chamber was added finally in 1350-72, by Tommaso Pisano.
  • The Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, a five-aisled Romanesque basilica of white marble designed by Pisan architect Buscheto. The Duomo wegun in 1063, after Pisa’s naval victory over the Saracens, and was consecrated in 1118, although still unfinished.
  • The Baptistry is located to the west of the cathedral and was begun in 1153, almost a hundred years after the cathedral. As work continued over the next two centuries, the deign of the baptistry began to show the transition from Romanesque to Gothic style.
  • The Campo Santo (Sacred Field) of Pisa is a large rectangular cloister whose gallery of arches decorated with Gothic tracery open into the courtyard. Construction of the Camposanto began in 1278. The most important art works are the damaged 14 C and 15 C frescoes and the original artists’ sketches.
  • The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum) of Pisa houses the contents of the Cathedral’s considerable treasury, including exquisite masterworks by silversmiths, embroideries, tomb furnishings, sculpture and paintings.
  • The Museo Nazionale (National Museum) of Pisa is located in the former Benedictine Convent of San Matteo and displays sculpture and pictures of the Tuscan schools from the 12 C to the 15 C.
  • The Church of Santa Maria della Spina, on the left bank of the Arno, probably the best known of Pisa’s smaller churches, was originally a small oratory and is now a church in richly ornate Gothic style.
  • The Palazzo dei Cavalieri, rebuilt by Vasari in 1562, is the most imposing and ornate building outside of the Piazza dei Miracoli. Its facade is decorated with sgraffito ornament, coats of arms and busts of six Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany, from Cosimo I to Cosimo III.

Worth a visit. More about Pisa.