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What to see in Pisa: 10 must-see attractions

When someone talks about Pisa you immediately think of its famous leaning tower, but this Tuscan city has much more to offer. Once Pisa, overlooking the sea, was one of the most famous Maritime Republics of Italy, here Galileo Galilei was born and one of the most important Italian universities was built too, the Normale. Today it is one of the most beautiful Italian cities of art, although its beauty is often obscured by the fame of other famous cities, such as Florence and Siena. In this post you will find out what to see in Pisa, with 10 recommended attractions you can’t miss.

1. The Leaning Tower

Let’s start with her, the popular “Tower of Pisa“, one of the most famous and photographed Italian monuments in the world.

The tower, in fact, is nothing more than the bell tower of the nearby Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Its construction began in 1173 and immediately caused a series of problems for the builders. Because of the sandy soil, in fact, already from the third floor the tower began to tilt. Works started again in 1275, when they decided to build the other three floors tilting them in the opposite direction to the slope of the bell tower. The tower was finally completed in the middle of the following century.

Over the years, numerous restorations and works have been carried out to reduce the slope of the bell tower, the last of which was completed in 2002.

The ascent to the Leaning Tower of Pisa is totally safe and the view from the top of its 57 meters is really wonderful.

2. Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

Pisa Cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, is a masterpiece of Pisan Romanesque style and shows all the wealth and prestige that the Maritime Republic of Pisa had reached at the time of its greatest glory.

Works on the construction of the church began in 1063 and were to be completed around 1180. The project of the architect Buscheto still amazes today for the mixture of different artistic styles, such as: classical, Byzantine, Norman and Arab. All those elements that recalled the relations of the Republic with the Mediterranean countries.

3. The Baptistery

The third building that is part of the monumental collection of Piazza del Duomo, commonly called Piazza dei Miracoli, is the Baptistery dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

The building was begun by the architect Diotisalvi and finished by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The construction went on slowly and was interrupted several times due to lack of money. It was the lack of money that forced manufacturers to use different materials and that’s why today we can see the difference between marble, red tiles and many lead plates.

On the inside you will find a beautiful pulpit by Nicola Pisano depicting Christ’s life and the Virtues.

4. The Monumental Cemetary

The last of the beauties you must see in Pisa in Piazza dei Miracoli is the Monumental Cemetery.

Tradition tells how Archbishop Ubaldo Lanfranchi, returning from the Holy Land, mixed that land with that one brought directly from Mount Calvary. Since then, it’s been called Campo Santo.

Inside are buried illustrious Pisan characters, but there are also preserved ancient sarcophagi dating back to Etruscan, Roman and medieval times.

5. The Museum of the Opera del Duomo

The Museum of the Opera del Duomo was inaugurated in 1968 to house the Treasure of the Cathedral and all those works that needed to be kept inside to ensure its preservation.

Today you can buy a cumulative ticket to visit all the monuments in Piazza dei Miracoli except the Tower of Pisa, which requires a separate ticket.

6. Piazza dei Cavalieri

Let’s keep suggesting what to see in Pisa. We move out from the famous Piazza dei Miracoli to reach another magnificent corner of the city: Piazza dei Cavalieri. This was designed by Giorgio Vasari and takes its name from the Headquarters of the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano who settled her by Cosimo I de’ Medici’s will

Many buildings overlook the square, but two in particular are worthy of note: the Palazzo della Carovana and the Clock Tower. The first one is the seat of the Scuola Normale di Pisa. The second, instead, is famous for the so-called “tower of hunger” where Count Ugolino, also named by Dante in the Divine Comedy, lost his life with his children and grandchildren.

7. The historic center

The historic center of Pisa is the place where you can find the major attractions of the city, including Piazza dei Miracoli and the beautiful district of Borgo Stretto. As well as the squares, churches and alleys there are still shops and trattorias not to be missed.

One of the best ways to really experience this area? Take part in our food tour in the historic center of Pisa! During a walk through the most interesting places of the city you will stop to taste, among others, the cecina, a typical focaccia prepared with chickpea flour, ribollita, sausage and beans and the mucco pisano, a really unique meat!

8. The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was built by the Caetani family in 1159 and then passed to the Medici’s who ordered its reconstruction between 1583 and 1587.

On the inside of this palace, more precisely in the Torre del Cantone, Galileo Galilei showed Cosimo II de’ Medici the use of the newly invented telescope.

Today the Museum of the Royal Palace houses the works that belonged to the families who lived in those rooms in the past. Also, here you can find wonderful paintings by Raffaello and the magnificent sculptures by Canova.

9. Keith Haring’s Mural

Among these things to see in Pisa we can not help but recommend the contemporary work of American artist Keith Haring. Tuttomondo is a 1989 mural painted by the artist passing through the Tuscan city. This is one of Keith Haring’s last works and represents world peace, the encounter with others and the different aspects of the same humanity.

10. The Lungarni

The last thing we want to recommend about Pisa is a walk along the Lungarni. Towers, bridges, palaces and churches overlook the river creating a timeless atmosphere, especially in the evening.

The most famous place is the Lungarno Mediceo, overlooked by important buildings such as Palazzo dei Medici, Palazzo Toscanelli and the Church of San Matteo in Soarta.

Near the Lungarno Gambacorti area, however, do not forget to visit the Church of Santa Maria della Spina.

These are our suggestions on what to see in Pisa: if you have the opportunity to stay in the city for at least one weekend we recommend that you do not miss any of these 10 attractions. Don’t forget, we are waiting for you to taste these delicacies of Pisan cuisine together!

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SELENE

SELENE

Laureata in Lettere e in Comunicazione e Culture dei Media, ama scrivere e raccontare. Il primo viaggio l'ha fatto che aveva solo due mesi e mezzo e da allora non si è più fermata. Ogni suo viaggio è accompagnato, ovviamente, da più assaggi della cucina locale! Oggi racconta questo e altro sul suo blog "Viaggi che Mangi" e nel frattempo scrive per altri portali.

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