Resource Guide to Traveling and Visiting Tuscany


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River Arno
Lighted Tower
Santa Maria della Spina
Pisa - The city of the Leaning Tower

Although it is world wide famous due to its Leaning Tower, the city of Pisa also has many other great attractions and amazing characteristics to offer. Pisa is one of the most important historic Italian areas and one of the most visited year around as well. This city allows tourists to meet buildings which conjugate many different époques and artistic currents, such as, for example, Romanesque and Gothic among many others.

Pisa is located towards the western area of Tuscany, and its origins date from as long as 3.000 years ago. During that time, a settlement started being built up at the seaside and gave origin to what today is one of the most famous cities of the world. This way, the historical richness of Pisa is amazing due to its great amount of years and this can be observed in the buildings which have remained through the pass of time and which show the different époques through which the city has passed.

Another one of Pisa's main characteristics is its university, established in the first years of 1340 and world wide known due to its excellence. This way, Pisa is a city which gives main importance to knowledge, science and arts, being up to the date with modern life as well as maintaining some of the characteristics which gave it shape through the pass of time.

The Leaning Tower is located in the northwest area of Pisa, sharing one same area with other important buildings. At this area, known as Campo dei Miracoli, next to the famous Leaning Tower, there are other three great and unique buildings: the Camposanto or Holy Field; the amazing Duomo or Cathedral of Pisa of 1000 years; and the Baptistery or Battisterio of circular shape.

There are several other buildings and interesting areas for visitors to meet in Pisa besides the Campo dei Miracoli. Towards the south side of the city, tourists can visit two interesting museums: the Museo delle Sinopie and the Museo dell'Opera, offering the chance to observe original paintings and sculptures of famous artists from many centuries ago.

Duomo inside
The Leaning Tower


The 14th-century Romanesque Leaning Tower is of course Pisa’s main attraction (it has 294 stairs) and really seems to overturn any moment.  A fortification project has made some progress in stopping the increase in inclination and even managed to pull the tower back a bit (40 centimetres). The Leaning Tower belongs to an ensemble of four impressive buildings all located on "Campo dei Miracoli" (square of miracles): the cathedral Santa Maria Assunta, the campanile (leaning tower that was actually a bell tower), the baptistry (looks like a huge "baci" chocolate, that is a delicious Italian candy) and the Camposanto cemetery.

Should time permit stop at Palazzo dei Cavalieri, walk down Via Santa Maria towards the river banks of Arno, where the small Gothic chapel of "Santa Maria della Spina" is located and the National Museum of San Matteo (excellent collection of 12th-through 15th-century art).

We also suggest taking a taxi/bus or bicycle ride to the Church of "San Michele degli Scalzi" to see the other leaning tower of Pisa; completed in the 13th century this seldom-visited tower is worth a look even though it’s not as impressive as the famous one.

It’s also fun just to walk around Pisa (pop. 104 000). The city is very compact with many narrow streets, small markets, hidden treasures and a great ambience; we suggest seeing it on a day trip from Florence perhaps in combination with Lucca just 13 mi/20 km northeast. Another possible stop is Pistoia which has a cathedral and baptistery in the Pisan-Romanesque style and the Ceppo Hospital (L’Ospedale de Ceppo) which has a brightly painted terra-cotta frieze.