Pisa, Europe's most ancient maritime city, lies a few miles
from the sea on a small plain on which Mount Pisano dominates. The
town is divided into two by a loop of the River Arno.
the great conflict between Christianity and Islamism, represented
by the Crusades, Pisa almost founded an empire by opening new routes
to the sea trade of the time and founding prosperous colonies on
the Mediterranean coasts. On the sea however, in the tragic battle
of Meloria, the career of the town came to an end, weakened by civil
wars and the rivalry of Lucca and Florence from one side and Genoa
from the other.
In this period, between the 11th and 13th centuries,
so rich in cultural and economic exchanges, Pisan art flourished.
The Pisan artists, taking up and re-elaborating elements of the
paleochristian art, the Romanesque Lombard style and Arabian influences,
produced the wonderful monumental set of Piazza del Miracoli (the
The massive and beautiful structure of the Baptistery
rests upon the green, in front of the superb Cathedral. The motif
of the façade is reminiscent of the rings of galleries and
arches of the slender leaning Tower; to the side lies the beautiful
Cemetery, built towards the end of the 13th century, a place of
peace and meditation, which conveniently completes this wonderful,
organic monumental set, unique in the world.
Piazza delle Vettovaglie is the heart of
Pisa's nightlife and also, more importantly the first settlement
during the Roman era. Do try to make the 294 step climb to the top
of the leaning Tower, because it will give you the most breath-taking
view of Pisa. Also a stroll along the Arno with some breaks to see
the small chapels along the way, is a peaceful and relaxing way
to spend an afternoon.