Pisa is one of the most famous cities of Italy and a preferred stayover for tourists who visit Florence and Tuscany. The legendary leaning tower of Pisa is already famous all over the world with its unique leaning structure. Pisa is a small city, but it is well-connected by transport with the cities of Florence, Livorno, and La Spezia. The city has deep roots of history & culture embedded in every corner where you can witness marvelous architectures of art, religion, and history.
Pisa has more than 20 historical churches, world class museums and beautiful scenery along the banks of River Arno. This city is also famous for its port, a 12th century university and medieval buildings. It is a fact that the most visited attraction of the city is its leaning tower that attracts a huge number of tourists from worldwide.
17 Wonderful Attractions of Pisa Italy
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is sometimes over-shadowed by the leaning tower, but this cathedral is a perfect example of the Pisan architecture. It is a five-aisled Romanesque basilica made with white marble. The cathedral was designed by a famous Pisan architect, Buscheto. The façade of the cathedral consists of beautiful stone and marble arches and has three lavish bronze doors.
The construction of the tower began in 1063 and was completed by the end of 12th century with some additions and little changes. The interior is beautiful decorated and is dominated by the beautiful oval dome. The highlights include the pulpit by Giovanni Pisano and the 13th century mosaic of Christ enthroned between Virgin and John the Evangelist.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Most of us know about the leaning tower of Pisa, even if we have not seen Pisa city ourselves, thanks to the thousands of pictures of the tower that are scattered everywhere. The artistic and funny pictures of people kicking, holding, pushing, and pulling the tower are already famous on the internet. The leaning tower of Pisa is one of the most famous towers of the world.
This tower is located right next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and its construction started in 1173 when the Cathedral was almost near to the completion. The tower started to sink on its south side during the construction and many efforts were made to balance the tower including adding the counterweight on the north side. All the efforts failed, and the construction of the tower was stopped.
After 100 years, the construction resumed with new plans of tilting the upper stories opposite to the tilt of the tower. Hence, you will also notice a slight curve in the tower’s architecture. Later, an open bell-chamber was also added to the magnificent white marble tower. The tower remained open for public until 1990 and then it was again closed as the tower started to sink again and seemed like it will collapse soon. However, due to expensive restoration program the tower’s tilt was reduced again and it was again opened for public in 2001.
The tower is not only famous for creating funny photos around it, but it is actually a very beautiful white tower that glows fantastically at night. You can visit and climb the tower to enjoy the serene views of the city.
The Baptistery of Pisa Italy
The Baptistery is located towards west of the cathedral within the Piazza dei Miracoli (famous for some important attractions nearby), but this is a unique structure that attracts many visitors. The construction of the Baptistery began in 1153 in the great days of Pisa when the city was booming with prosperity. The material used in its construction is same to the material used in the cathedral, but the stone patterns and colors are different. This structure is also unique because of the architectural transition from Romanesque to Gothic between the lower and the upper levels over the period of 200 years.
This conical dome is standing on four pillars and eight columns that create a beautiful effect of light and solemnity. The free-standing marble pulpit designed by Nicola Pisano is the main highlight of the dome. The other magnificent highlights are the figures of saints by students of Nicola Pisano and Giovanni Pisano. The Baptistery is around 54 meters high and its roof is only half complete and half of it was never completed and remains open.
Campo Santo Pisa Italy
Campo Santo means the sacred field and its construction started in 1278 when the Archbishop Ubaldo dei Lanfranchi returned from the Fourth Crusade with several ships loaded with earth from Golgotha so that the people of Pisa could be buried in sacred soil. Campo Santo is a rectangular cloister with galleries of decorated arches.
Campo Santo is also located near the Cathedral and made with same stone which is used in the other buildings of the area. The courtyard – a large lawn is very picturesque because of the decorated arches and the beautiful flowers that surround the whole area.
Museo Nazionale of Pisa Italy
The National Museum of Pisa is located on the banks of Arno River and features many spectacular sculptures and artefacts. You can learn about the glorified history of Pisa in this museum along with notable frescos which were part of the Cathedral and Baptistery once and are now displayed here at the museum. There is also a collection of ancient manuscripts and religious relics which were collected from various churches of Pisa and are displayed in the Museo Nazionale.
Santa Maria della Spina
Santa Maria della Spina is a small but very beautifully decorated church on the riverside and attracts the eyes from a distance. The views of the church are amazing from the bridges over the River Arno. It was built in the 13th century in Gothic Style with several rose windows and beautiful interior. The church suffered foundation damage in 1871 and was pulled down stone by stone and was again restored to its original state.
Palazzo dei Cavalieri
Palazzo dei Cavalieri is a beautiful palace which is named after the training course for knights held at this location by the order of St. Stephen. Originally the palace was called as Palazzo degli Anziani (Palace of the Elders) but it was enlarged and rebuilt in the 16th century to use it as the headquarters of the Knights and hence the name also changed. The front of the palace is amazingly beautiful and decorated by magnificent stonework. There is a large central staircase that leads up to the main doors with a series of stone statues which represent the Dukes of Tuscany.
River Arno in Pisa Italy
The banks of River Arno are perfect for a serene and calming stroll around the city. The city of Pisa is built around the River Arno which flows from the Mount Falterona. The river has 5 magnificent bridges in the central Pisa with a backdrop of beautiful houses and buildings.
Ponte di Mezzo in Pisa Italy
Ponte di Mezzo is the most beautiful and famous bridge over the River Arno that provides magnificent vantage point for amazing views of the city in different angles. The bridge was constructed in 1947 and is 89 meters long. The sides of the bridge are constructed with white Verona stone. Visitors love the panoramic views of the River Arno from the Ponte di Mezzo and it is a popular destination for romantic strolls.
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is a museum which is dedicated to the religious arts, paintings, and sculptures. Some of the displayed objects are from the naval history of Pisa. The museum is located near the cathedral and the leaning tower and provides magnificent views of these buildings from the 2nd floor.
Borgo Stretto in Pisa Italy
This beautiful street is famous for both shopping and the fantastic architecture around it. Borgo Stretto starts at the Piazza Garibaldi next to the famous bridge “Ponte di Mezzo”. There are many high-end retail stores, designer boutiques and quaint cafes on this street.
Guelph Tower is an eye-catching structure located on the banks of River Arno. Guelph Tower is a part of the old citadel complex of Pisa city. The ancient complex of buildings around the tower was the main ship-building area of Pisa during the 13th and 14th centuries. The tower was built to strengthen the defense for the city of Pisa. The tower has been renovated as an attraction and is opened for the public. You can visit and climb up to the top to enjoy the panoramic views of the city of Pisa and River Arno.
Keith Haring Mural
Keith Haring is an American artist who has become highly famous because of his magnificent wall murals. Keith Haring Mural is a unique wall mural which is now one of the major attractions of the Italian city of Pisa. This mural in Pisa displays the vision of peace and harmony through art which features 30 different figures in various poses.
University of Pisa Italy and the Botanical Gardens
Pisa is also famous because of its 12th century university that also maintains a beautiful botanical garden. The garden was originally established in the 16th century by the Medici family and has been relocated to the university area. The garden is at a short walk from the city center and has beautiful arrays of several plants, trees, and flowers. There are many sections of the garden which are divided by the characteristics of plants and the landscape. There are also several ponds, greenhouses, and arboretum.
Basilica Romanica di San Piero a Grado
This is a 10th century basilica which was built at the port of Pisa city in Italy. The basilica was built at the point where St. Peter is believed to have been landed in 44 AD. The church has been modified and rebuilt several times over the time and the interior is highly decorated with colorful paintings and frescos.
Gelateria De’ Coltelli
If you are in Pisa and looking for a local traditional desert, everybody is going to point you towards Gelateria De’ Coltelli which is the most famous ice cream parlor of the city. This ice cream parlor is located at the banks of River Arno and provides organic gelato with a wonderful range of fantastic flavors.
The Night Life of Pisa Italy
Piazza Garibaldi is the heart of the nightlife in Pisa where friends gather for drink and fun. Borgo Stretto also has many late-night cafes and bars where you will find plenty of crowd at night. The beautiful architectural buildings of Pisa also lighten up and become spectacular at night. The views of these buildings catch the attention from a distance and the surrounding streets provide beautiful atmosphere for night strolls.
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