Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), formally known as Piazza del Duomo and sometimes called Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), is the most important square of Pisa. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the square includes the monuments called miracles by Gabriele d’Annunzio for their beauty and originality: the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Campo Santo, and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The square is pedestrianized and is covered by a large lawn. It assumed its definitive appearance only in the 19th century, under the direction of the architect Alessandro Gherardesca, who demolished some pre-existing buildings and restored the famous monuments. SHORT HISTORY The square as we know it began to take shape in 1063, when the new cathedral of the city named after Santa Maria Maggiore was erected. At that time, the area remained outside the walls of the city, and was included only in 1156, when an expansion of the city walls was realized by the consul Cocco Griffi. Three years before the expansion of the walls, the construction of the new Baptistery began, this time placed in front of the church. In 1173, the construction of Read more [...]
The Baptistery of San Giovanni is a religious building in Pisa, located in the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli. The Baptistery stands in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, south of the Camposanto Monumentale (monumental cemetery), and about 170 meters from the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. SHORT HISTORY The construction of the building began in 1152, to replace a smaller baptistery located north-east of the Cathedral, where the Camposanto is now located. It was built in Romanesque style by the architect Diotisalvi, who is also credited with the construction of the Leaning Tower. Later, the works were conducted by Nicola Pisano, Giovanni Pisano and Cellino di Nese. In the 19th century, along with the renovation that affected the entire Piazza del Duomo and its monuments, the Baptistery was the subject of a radical restoration by the architect Alessandro Gherardesca. His interventions led to the reconstruction of some portals and many of the decorations. Despite the denunciations of some intellectuals and prominent personalities of the Pisan culture of the time, the works of the 19th century, directed by the master builder Giovanni Storni, led to the removal of numerous sculptures by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The original sculptures Read more [...]
The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre Pendente) is a tower located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa. The tower is actually the bell-tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, located nearby. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the most recognizable symbols of Italy, is famous around the world due to its unintended tilt. The tilt was caused by an inadequate foundation on a ground too soft to properly support the structure’s weight. TIP: If you want to visit the tower without spending your precious time in the waiting line (which, by the way, is always there), buy your skip-the-line ticket in advance, to ensure you have a fast track access. SHORT HISTORY OF THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA The construction of the Pisa tower began on August 9, 1173. Some recent studies attribute the project to the Pisan architect Diotisalvi, who at the time was also building the Baptistery of San Giovanni. The first phase of the works was interrupted in the middle of the third floor, due to the subsidence of the land on which the bell-tower was built. The softness of the soil, made up of soft clay, is the cause of Read more [...]
Located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), between the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or Duomo di Pisa, is a masterpiece of the Romanesque style, representing the tangible proof of the prestige and wealth achieved by the Maritime Republic of Pisa at its height. SHORT HISTORY The construction of the Pisa Cathedral was started in 1064 by the architect Buscheto, at the same time with the reconstruction of the Basilica of Saint Mark, in Venice, as part of the race between the two maritime republics to create the most beautiful and sumptuous place of worship. The Cathedral was consecrated with great pomp on September 26th, 1118, by Pope Gelasius II. In the first half of the 12th century, the Cathedral was enlarged under the direction of architect Rainaldo. He designed a new facade, built by the sculptors Guglielmo and Biduino. The work was completed in 1180, as documented by the date on the bronze knockers made by Bonanno Pisano for the main door. Following the disastrous fire of 1595, the roof of the church was redone and the three bronze doors on the facade were Read more [...]
B&B Wanderlust is a bed and breakfast in Pisa, located about 1.2 kilometers away from the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. At Wanderlust, each unit has a fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher, oven, microwave, toaster, fridge and a little terrace. The B&B offers a continental or buffet breakfast. There is also an on-site restaurant, which serves a variety of Italian dishes. HOW TO GET THERE B&B Wanderlust is located about 1.8 kilometers away from the Pisa Centrale railway station and about 3 kilometers away from the Galileo Galilei Airport. The closest bus station is Buonarroti 3, located about 140 meters away, on the bus Lines 4, LAM Verde and Navetta E.
Camposanto Monumentale is a monumental cemetery in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Miracoli, near the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, the Archbishop Ubaldo Lanfranchi filled the interior of Campo Santo (Holy Field) with soil from Golgotha, brought by Pisan ships returning from the fourth crusade. In reality, the cemetery was created to collect various burials and sarcophagi spread around the Cathedral. Camposanto Monumentale was built starting with 1277 by Giovanni di Simone. After the death of the architect and the crisis caused by the Pisan defeat in the battle of Meloria of 1284, the works were slowed down. Starting with 1360, the walls were decorated with frescoes with subjects related to the theme of life and death. During this period, Buonamico Buffalmacco painted the Triumph of Death, and Francesco Traini the Crucifixion. Shortly afterwards, Giovanni Scorcialupi painted the frescoes with the Stories of Christ, while Stefano da Firenze painted an Assumption above the eastern door. The cycle was continued a few decades later by Andrea Bonaiuti, Antonio Veneziano and Spinello Aretino. Near the end of the 14th century, Taddeo Gaddi painted Stories of Job, and Piero di Puccio painted Stories of the Old Testament. Read more [...]
The Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno (Saint Paul on the Bank of the Arno), is a Romanesque-style church in Pisa, located on the Lungarno Sidney Sonnino, in the homonymous square. SHORT HISTORY The church was built around the year 925, and is attested in documents dating back to 1032. The associated convent was documented since 1147. The church and the monastery belonged to the Benedictine monks until 1092, when it was given to the Vallumbrosan monks. In the mid-12th century, it was enlarged in similar forms to the contemporary Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Later, the church and the monastery were entrusted to the cardinal Landolfo Marramauro and, in the 16th century, it was assigned to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. After the suppression of the order, the church became a parish. In the 19th century, several restorations were made, but the building suffered some damage during the Second World War and was therefore restored again between 1949 and 1952. Just as a result of the post-war interventions, most of the buildings adjacent to the church were demolished. In 2012, it was closed due to precarious conditions. Restoration started in October 2016, thanks to Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria della Spina is a small Gothic church in Pisa, located on the southern bank of the river Arno. The title della Spina (of the Thorn) comes from a thorn of the crown placed on Christ during his Crucifixion, which was brought to the church in 1333, but is kept in the Church of Santa Chiara since the 19th century. SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1230 by the Gualandi family, and it was originally called Santa Maria di Pontenovo, because of a nearby bridge across the Arno River that connected Via Sant’Antonio to Via Santa Maria, collapsed in the 15th century. Between 1323 and 1376, enlargement works were made, probably under the direction of the architect Lupo di Francesco. Starting with the 5th decade of the 15th century, the works were supervised by the architect Andrea Pisano and his son, Nino. After the unification of Italy, the city council and a commission formed by members of the Academy of Fine Arts decided to dismantle and rebuild the church on a higher ground. The works, led by the architect Vincenzo Micheli, started in 1871 and were completed in 1875. This intervention moved the building Read more [...]
Piazza dei Cavalieri is, after the more famous Piazza dei Miracoli, the second most important square of the city of Pisa. In ancient times, the square represented the center of civil power, while starting from the second half of the 16th century it became the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, commissioned by the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. SHORT HISTORY Starting with 1140, Piazza dei Cavalieri became the heart of Pisa, with buildings and churches used by the different magistrates of the city. After the seizure of power by the Pisan people in 1254, Palazzo degli Anziani (Palace of the Elders), today Palazzo della Carovana, was built by merging pre-existing buildings. The Captain of the People (Capitano del Popolo) resided in the nearby Palazzo dell’Orologio, which belonged to the Gualandi family and incorporated the famous Tower of Muda or Della Fame, where in 1289 the Count Ugolino died. The works for the complete transformation of the square began in 1558, after Cosimo I decided to dedicate it to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, founded with papal approval in 1562. Giorgio Vasari was comissioned to transform the square. The first reconstruction Read more [...]
Palazzo dell’Orologio (Palace of the Clock) is a palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near the more famous Palazzo della Carovana and about 100 meters away from the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavaleri. SHORT HISTORY Palazzo dell’Orologio is an ancient medieval building, where the Captain of the People (Capitano del Popolo) resided from 1357, when the palace already belonged to the Gualandi family. When the palace was built, it incorporated the famous Torre della Muda (or della Fame – Tower of Hunger), where in 1289 the Count Ugolino Della Gherardesca, along with his sons and grandchildren, died of hunger. The profile of the tower is still recognizable to the left of the central arch, where the 20th-century four-light window opens today. Starting with 1566, the palace housed the infirmary of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. The health manager was called Bonomo, and for this reason the palace is also known as Palazzo del Bonomo. The current appearance of the palace dates back to 1605-1608, when two neighboring buildings were joined through an arch with a clock, according to a project of Giorgio Vasari from 1554. Between 1607 and 1609, Giovanni Stefano Marucelli and Read more [...]
The Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri is a church dedicated to Saint Stephen, first martyr of Christianity, located in the historical center of Pisa, in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near the beautiful Palazzo della Carovana. SHORT HISTORY The first stone of the church was laid on April 17, 1565, by Cosimo I de’ Medici. The church was built for the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, founded by the Grand Duke to combat Saracen piracy in the Mediterranean. Designed by Giorgio Vasari, with the works being supervised by David Fortini, the church was built on the site of the old Church of San Sebastiano alle Fabbriche Maggiori, documented since 1074. The construction was completed in August 1567, and the church was consecrated on December 1569. The bell tower, added between 1570 and 1572, was erected by Giovanni Fancelli based on a design by Vasari. In the following century, the church was decorated with most of the paintings that are still on display, painted by the greatest Florentine masters of the 17th century. The altar and the nave were designed by Pier Francesco Silvani. Between 1683 and 1691, the two side bodies were built, used as dressing rooms and Read more [...]
Rosso di Sera Tuscany is a beautiful bed and breakfast set in a 19th-century Art Noveau villa, in Pisa. The B&B has 12 unique rooms, furnished with particular attention to detail, allowing you to live a unique experience, between the historic charm of Pisa and a new concept of hospitality. The rooms have private bathrooms, flat-screen TV and the WiFi is available everywhere. HOW TO GET THERE Rosso di Sera Tuscany is right in front of the Pisa San Rossore train station and about 4.5 kilometers away from the Galileo Galilei Airport. Piazza dei Miracoli is about 650 meters away from the B&B. The closest bus station is Cammeo, about 350 meters away.
B&B Villa Martina is a wonderful bed a breakfast in Pisa, located about 1 kilometer away from the Piazza dei Miracoli and the famous Leaning Tower. Villa Martina offers air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms, flat-screen TV and free WiFi. The B&B features also a garden and a lounge. HOW TO GET THERE B&B Villa Martina is about 1,5 kilometers away from the main train station of the city, Stazione Pisa Centrale, and about 2.9 kilometers from the Galileo Galilei Airport. The closest bus station is Rustichello 3, about 300 meters away from the B&B, on the bus routes 5, 21 and LAM Rossa.
Hotel Terranova is a nice hotel located in a renovated building from the 1950s, offering inexpensive accomodation in Pisa. Each room has its own bathroom and TV. Concierge service is available 24 hours a day. In addition, the hotel provides bar and restaurant service. HOW TO GET THERE Hotel Terranova is about 900 meters away from the Stazione Pisa Centrale, the main railway station of the city, about 1.6 kilometers from the Galileo Galilei Airport and about 2.3 kilometers from the Piazza dei Miracoli and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The closest bus station is Emilia 3, about 100 meters away from the hotel, on the bus routes 8, 12 and 16.
Palazzo della Carovana, also known as Palazzo dei Cavalieri, is a palace with a beautiful facade located in Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights’ Square), in Pisa, between Palazzo dell’Orologio and the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The palace was once the headquarter of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, but since 1846 it houses Scuola Normale Superiore. SHORT HISTORY Palazzo della Carovana was built between 1562 and 1564 by the architect Giorgio Vasari, drastically restructuring the medieval Palace of the Elders (Palazzo degli Anziani). Some remains of the old building are still visible along the sides of the palace. In 1810, Napoleon suppressed the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, and gave the building to Scuola Normale Superiore, the university he founded. The double-flight marble staircase was built in 1821 by Giuseppe Marchelli and the rear part of the building was added between 1928 and 1930, after a design by Giovanni Girometti, on the occasion of the revival of Scuola Normale. ART AND ARCHITECTURE Vasari regularized the uneven medieval facade, fusing three arts he mastered – architecture, sculpture and painting. The sgraffiti with allegorical figures and zodiacal signs, designed by Vasari himself and executed by Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Cristina is a church located on the southern bank of the Arno River, on the Lungarno Gambacorti, in Pisa, a few meters away from Palazzo Blu. SHORT HISTORY The church is documented since the 8th century, but the external apsidal structures are attributed to the 10th century. The church was destroyed by a flood in 1115, and rebuilt in 1118. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, it was the property of the Canonici del Duomo. The Count Luigi Archinto, member of a prominent Milanese family, moved to Pisa in the late 18th century. In 1814, he acquired the Agnello Palace adjacent to the church. The Count Archinto commissioned the reconstruction of the church, which was in a very poor conservation. The church was restored in its current form in 1816 on a project by Francesco Riccetti, when the bell-tower was also built. In 1854, according to the project of Lanfranco Mei regarding the enlargement of the Lungarno Gambacorti, the position of the church was in a strong contrast with the harmony of the nearby buildings. Saved by the proposal of demolition, it was decided to rectify the rectory overlooking the river. The rectification also regularized Read more [...]
Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici is a palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, across the square from Palazzo della Carovana. SHORT HISTORY The name of the palace changed over time, depending on the institution it hosted. At first, it was Palazzo dell’Archivio during the Middle Ages, then Palazzo dei Priori after the Florentine conquest of 1409, and finally Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici, when it passed into the hands of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. The Council of the 12 Knights was, in fact, a decision-making body of the Order. At the end of the 16th century, the palace was renovated by the architect Pietro Francavilla, who also sculpted the statue of Cosimo I located in front of the nearby Palazzo dei Cavalieri. Francavilla brought the palace in line with the surrounding buildings, in terms of height, with a facade decorated in late Renaissance style. The works were completed in 1603, under the Grand Duchy of Ferdinando I de’ Medici, but the transition to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen was made only in 1691, when the priors moved to Palazzo Gambacorti. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace is Read more [...]
Palazzo dell’Opera is a palace located on the northeastern area of Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa, to the east of Campo Santo and to the north of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Until the first years of the 21st century, the palace housed the headquarters of Opera della Primaziale Pisana, which is the entity that manages the Cathedral of Pisa and the monumental complex of Piazza dei Miracoli. Currently, it only holds some offices for the technical staff and, since 2014, it hosts temporary art exhibitions. SHORT HISTORY The main body of the building, which still maintains its original facade, dates back to 1309, while the expansions date back to the 18th century. The building was in fact the residence of various workers of the cathedral complex: the tailor, the gardener, the bell ringers, until the 19th century, when the administration offices of Opera della Primaziale were brought in the palace. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade shows a Medici coat of arms and marble panels with the initials of Opera del Duomo, as well as an 18th-century plaque commemorating the stay of Charles VIII of France in 1494, and one Read more [...]
Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici, formerly Palazzo Appiano, is a palace in Pisa, located on the Lungarno Mediceo, about 120 meters away from Palazzo Toscanelli. Today, Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici is the seat of the Prefecture. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the 13th century, on the site of a previous building dating back to the 11th century. The Appiani family, Lords of Pisa between 1392 and 1398, lived here until 1446, when the palace was bought by the Medici family. Lorenzo de’ Medici often stayed here, as he came to the Tuscan coast to cure his frail health. The King Charles VIII of France, guest of Piero di Lorenzo de’ Medici, also known as Piero the Unfortunate, resided in the palace in 1494, when Florence rebelled against Piero and he was exiled from the city. In 1539, the palace was the residence of Cosimo I de’ Medici. In 1574, Francesco I de’ Medici built a new Medici palace in Pisa, Palazzo Reale, and by 1784, the Medici Palace was sold to Jacopo Finocchietti. In 1871, the architect Ranieri Simonelli was comissioned by Vittoria Spinola, the morganatic daughter of Vittorio Emanuele II, to restore the palace. The architect transformed Read more [...]
The Church of San Vito and San Ranieri, popularly known as the Church of San Vito, is a church located on Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli, in Pisa. According to tradition, Saint Rainerius, the patron saint of the city, died in the church in 1160. SHORT HISTORY Documented since 1051, the church was surrounded by a Benedictine monastery in 1069. At the beginning of the 15th century, the whole complex passed to the nuns of Santa Chiara. A century later, the church was damaged during the Florentine siege of the city. In 1542, Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to realize Giardino dei Semplici, now the Botanical Garden of Pisa, needed the area of the old Republican Arsenal and the adjacent territory. Subsequently, to build the new shipyard, he purchased the entire territory of the Convent of San Vito and had a large part of the building demolished. The ancient church was seriously damaged during the bombings of the Second World War. Therefore, after the war, it was rebuilt in similar forms to those of the 18th century. ARCHITECTURE The church, crammed between two other buildings, has a simple plastered facade, with a portal surmounted by an arched Read more [...]
Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi is a palace in Pisa, located on Lungarno Gambacorti, near the Church of Santa Cristina. The palace has recently become known as Palazzo Blu (Blue Palace), because of the restored color of its plasterwork. SHORT HISTORY On November 14, 1356, Doge Giovanni Dell’Agnello, owner of some properties in the area, obtained permission to enlarge some of his buildings, thus raising the first nucleus of the palace, a structure composed of large pillars, with two or more modules, joined to form ogival arches, filled with bricks and decorated with single mullioned windows. During the first Florentine domination, between 1406 and 1494, the building underwent considerable changes, due to the decline of the Dell’Agnello family. Passed to the Municipality at the end of the 14th century, it became the property of the Republic of Florence, which used it as the headquarters for the five supervisors of the occupied city, until it was given back to Giovan Bernardino Dell’Agnello. Towards the end of the 16th century, the complex was transformed by the families of Sancasciano and Del Testa. It was precisely Emilio Del Testa, who in 1593 radically transformed the building to a sumptuous late-Renaissance palace, applying a Read more [...]
Torre Guelfa (Guelph Tower) is a tower in Pisa, located on Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli, near the Old Citadel (Cittadella Vecchia) and Ponte della Cittadella. SHORT HISTORY On this area, during medieval times, it was the Republican Arsenal, where the ships of the Marine Republic of Pisa were built, ships that contributed to the city’s rise as a Mediterranean power. At the beginning of the 15th century, the shipyard was enlarged and transformed to what will be later known as the Old Citadel, in opposition to the New Citadel (Cittadella Nuova), built in 1440 on the other side of the city. Around the same time, Torre Guelfa was built. The name of the tower was chosen in contrast to the older Ghibelline Tower (Torre Ghibellina), erected in 1290 and later destroyed. The Guelph Tower, together with the Sant’Agnese Tower (Torre di Sant’Agnese), the Canto Tower (Torre del Canto) and the Ghibelline Tower, delimited the ancient area of Terzanaia, where republican galleys were built and repaired. In 1944, during the Second World War, the whole area was badly damaged by bombing, and the citadel along with the Guelph Tower were completely destroyed, with the exception of the Republican Arsenal. In 1956, Read more [...]
Palazzo Lanfreducci, also called Palazzo alla Giornata or Palazzo Upezzinghi, after the 19th century owners, is a Mannerist or early Baroque-style palace on the Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, in Pisa. The building is now the seat of the Rectorate of the University of Pisa. SHORT HISTORY Built at the behest of Francesco Lanfreducci, Knight of Malta and exponent of an important and ancient family of Pisa from the 13th century, the palace owes its present appearance to the Sienese architect Cosimo Pugliani, who suprevised the works between 1594 and the early 17th century. The Pisans called it Palazzo alla Giornata, inspired by the motto chosen by its owner, located on the architrave of the main portal. One of the many legends raised by the enigmatic motto alla Giornata (at the day) tells that, after a long imprisonment in Algiers, the Knight Lanfreducci placed that inscription above the door as a reflection on the precariousness of life. Behind the palace, there was a church called San Biagio delle Catene, owned by the Lanfreducci family. Torre dei Lanfreducci (Tower of Lanfreducci) is one of Pisa’s best preserved medieval towers, located in the internal courtyard of the palace. The tower, with a rectangular Read more [...]
Palazzo Toscanelli, known until the 19th century as Palazzo Lanfranchi, is a Renaissance-style palace located on Lungarno Mediceo, in Pisa, about 120 meters away of Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici. Since 1913, the palace is the seat of the State Archive (Archivio di Stato di Pisa), which holds an impressive collection of documents from the archives of the Pisan Republic. Over time, the archive was enriched with documents from the Pisan monasteries or donations from private individuals belonging to noble Tuscan families. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the first half of the 16th century by Bartolomeo Lanfranchi. Another palace commissioned later by Alessandro Lanfranchi stands across the Arno River. In 1576, the palace was refurbished after a design by Francesco Mosca. Lord Byron lived in the palace between 1821 and 1822. From here, the English poet left for Greece, where he died in 1824. The Toscanelli family bought the palace in 1827. The current appearance of the building dates back to the same 19th century, when Palazzo Toscanelli was renovated by the architect Alessandro Gherardesca. Giovan Battista Toscanelli and his wife, Angiola Cipriani, lived in the palace, gaining over time a large and prominent art collection. Among the Read more [...]
Palazzo Prini-Aulla, also known as Palazzo Mazzarosa, is a palace in Pisa, built in Neo-Renaissance style, located on Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, at number 45. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built around 1830 at the behest of the Prini-Aulla family, who kept the property until the beginning of the 20th century. The architect was Alessandro Gherardesca, who built the palace by merging some medieval houses and by closing an alley whose access corresponded with the entrance door of the current structure. Over time, famous people lived in the palace, such as the Italian philosopher and poet Giacomo Leopardi, the French writer Xavier de Maistre, or the French poet Alphonse de Lamartine. ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace, built in Neo-Renaissance style, has three levels. The ground floor has 10 rectangular windows and a massive portal, while the upper floors have 11 rectangular windows each. The portal is surmounted by a balcony, and the window on the main floor corresponding to the portal is decorated with the coat of arms of the Prini-Aulla family. HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Prini-Aulla is located about 1 kilometer away from the Pisa Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop is Pacinotti 1, Read more [...]
Palazzo Reale is a large palace in Pisa, located on the northern bank of the Arno River, on Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, at number 46. Today, the palace hosts the National Museum of the Royal Palace (Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale). SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) was built in 1583 by Bernardo Buontalenti for Francesco I de’ Medici, to replace the Medici Palace located near the Church of San Matteo. The palace was built by merging some medieval buildings dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries and partly still visible – that of the Counts Gaetani of Terriccio, Pomaya and d’Oriseo (the Tower of the Verga d’Oro and the Tower of the Canton), and was remodeled several times, during the 17th and 19th centuries. On an alley behind the palace, we can see the round arches of a medieval building, now lowered due to the rising of the floor, and in the courtyard, there is an ancient tower, with an arched portal, two small windows with a pentagonal architrave and a single-lancet window higher up. On the ground floor of the courtyard, we can also find the remains of a loggia, with two columns with capitals, partially abraded. Read more [...]
Ponte di Mezzo, commonly known as Ponte Conte Ugolino, is a bridge over the Arno River, in Pisa. The bridge connects Piazza Garibaldi, belonging to Tramontana, the northern part of the city, to Piazza XX Settembre, located south of the river, in Mezzogiorno. Every year, on the last Saturday of June, a historical reenactment event takes place on Ponte di Mezzo, known as the Battle of the Bridge (Gioco del Ponte). SHORT HISTORY Until the 12th century, Pisa had only one bridge, made initially of wood, which connected the two banks of the Arno River in the position where the Church of Santa Cristina currently stands. In 1035, the year of the victory of Lipari, the wooden bridge was rebuilt in stone and moved further east, on the current site of Ponte di Mezzo. The bridge was restored by the order of Pietro Gambacorta in 1388, owner of the homonymous palace. In 1635, the bridge, known at the time as Ponte Vecchio, collapsed due to a flood of the Arno. The reconstruction work took about thirty years, and the bridge was completed in 1660. In the early decades of the 20th century, Pisa’s tram network went into service, with Read more [...]
Palazzo Agostini, commonly known as Palazzo dell’Ussero or Palazzo Rosso (Red Palace), is one of the most beautiful palaces in Pisa, and one of the main examples of Gothic architecture in Tuscany. The palace, belonging to the noble family Agostini Fantini Venerosi della Seta Gaetani Bocca Grassi, is home to the Caffè dell’Ussero starting with 1775, and houses the Cinema Lumière since 1899. SHORT HISTORY In the first half of the 14th century, the Astajo family built the palace by merging two older buildings. In 1447, the heirs of Jacopo and Filippo Astajo ceded the palace to Antonio Primi. Later, the palace passed to the Florentine family Visdomini who, on January 25, 1465, ceded it to the brothers Antonio and Pietro, Pisan goldsmiths. In 1496, the palace was bought by Mariano and Pietro Agostini, belonging to a family of mercantile origin, specialized in the silk trade. The palace was restored in 1895 on a project by the architect Angelo Giannini. On May 12, 1895, the roof was added by Luigi Corona, on a design by the architect Luigi Del Moro. ARCHITECTURE The facade, covered in terracotta tiles with a characteristic reddish color, from which the palace draws its Read more [...]
Palazzo Roncioni is a palace located on the northern bank of the Arno River, in Pisa, adjacent to the Palazzo Toscanelli and about 100 meters away from Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the first half of the 17th century, by merging several medieval buildings. In 1662, the original owners, the Navarette family, sold it to the Roncioni family. In 1789, Angiolo Roncioni, passionate about art, hired the painter Giovanni Battista Tempesti to paint frescoes on the walls and the vaulted ceilings of the palace, and J.B. Desmarais to paint family portraits. In 1794, Angiolo Roncioni and Andrea Agostini created the Roncioni Academy, a cultural circle where famous artists were invited, and where the most advanced theatrical texts of the period were presented. In 1795, the owner comissioned the architect Alessandro Gherardesca to build a small theater in the palace. The Count Vittorio Alfieri, the founder of the Italian tragedy, stayed there in the same year, when he was invited to recite his work Saul during the period of Luminara di San Ranieri. In 1816, the writer Madame de Staël lived in the palace, and later Louis Bonaparte – the brother of Napoleon, and Read more [...]
Palazzo della Canonica is a 16th-century palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, across the square from Palazzo della Carovana. SHORT HISTORY In 1567, Cosimo I de’ Medici donated the medieval buildings standing between Via Ulisse Dini and Via San Frediano, to provide quarters for the important and influential division of the priests of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. Giorgio Vasari was comissioned to design the palace, along with the whole new layout of the square, and David Fortini was the architect to built it. The works on the building lasted over forty years, because most of the funds available were directed to the construction of the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The interventions continued until the 17th century. Between 1604 and 1607, the rooms on the top floor were built, which were renovated between 1690 and 1692, with further additions around the middle of the 19th century. ARCHITECTURE The long facade of the palace closely resembles that of Palazzo della Carovana. Three rows of windows define its facade as a whole, masking the differences between the medieval buildings joined together to make the new Read more [...]
Palazzo del Collegio Puteano is a palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, adjacent to the Church of San Rocco, between Palazzo dell’Orologio and Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici. SHORT HISTORY Palazzo del Collegio Puteano was built in its current form between 1594 and 1598, by merging a group of ancient buildings. In 1605, the palace was granted to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, to host Piedmontese students of the University of Pisa, according to a wish of Archbishop Carlo Antonio Dal Pozzo. The facade of the palace was decorated with allegorical frescoes between 1608 and 1609 by Giovanni Stefano Marucelli. After the suppression of the Order, the college remained open until 1925. In 1930, only five years later, Scuola Normale di Pisa reopened it as the Student House of the prestigious University, which had its headquarters in the nearby Palazzo della Carovana. In 2001, the palace became the seat of the Ennio De Giorgi Center for Mathematical Research. HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo del Collegio Puteano is located about 1.4 kilometers away from the Pisa Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop is Corsica, located about 100 meters away, on the bus Line Read more [...]
The Church of San Francesco is a 13th-century church, located in Piazza San Francesco, in Pisa. SHORT HISTORY Mentioned for the first time in a document from 1233, the church was rebuilt starting with 1261 at the behest of the archbishop Federico Visconti. Between 1265 and 1270, the works were directed by Giovanni di Simone. During this time, the slender bell-tower was also built. The new church included many private chapels belonging to noble Pisan families. The chapels, which preserve ancient tombs, were built and adorned by the Pisan families, who exercised the right of patronage on the church, while the Franciscan monks only limited themselves to the administration of the religious building. Two new cloisters and the San Bernardino Chapel were added in the 15th century. The marble facade dates back to 1603, and the interior was renovated in the same 17th century. In 1863, following a law of December 1861, the church and convent were deconsecrated and converted to military barracks. All the objects, paintings and ornaments were therefore withdrawn by the families, who exercised their patronage rights. On July 7, 1866, the church was transformed into a warehouse. On May 22, 1893, the Ministry of Education Read more [...]