Here the Arno River continues from Florence dividing the city into 4 distinct areas as it flows to the sea. There is much to see in this city beyond just The Leaning Tower of Pisa!
The area of Santa Maria is one of the most ancient districts and during the Roman Empire was a flourishing city. Surrounded by the 12th century wall the Piazza del Duomo consisting of the Cathedral, the Baptistry and the Tower complex is one of the most dramatic settings in Italy.
The Piazza is also known as the ‘Field of Miracles’ or Campo deli Miracoli with its magnificent lawn.
Pisa heralds from as early as the Bronze Age and was populated by Etruscans and eventually became part of the Roman Empire. It was an economic powerhouse in the Middle Ages and was a mighty Maritime city along with Amalfi, Genoa and Venice. The city was heavily damaged during WWII but thankfully the Duomo and the Tower were spared as well as some other Romanesque structures.
This is also a city to explore on foot like many other Tuscan cities. Be sure to explore the area around the Arno River after visiting the Field of Miracles and taking your kitschy picture trying to hold up the Leaning Tower. You know you will!!!
We only had a few hours to explore Pisa so our journey will have to continue on our next adventure. The Gothic Baptistry is directly across from the Duomo and is known for the pulpit carved by Nicola Pisano in 1260. In a not to be missed event every half hour an employee will close the doors and chant demonstrating the remarkable, unbelievable acoustics in this amazing place. It was amazing!!!!!!! Video below!
The cathedral employs horizontal striped marble, a technique borrowed from Moorish architecture which is found in other Tuscan cathedrals. It is renown for the Romanesque panels depicting the life of Christ on the transept door facing the tower. Note the beautiful carved pulpit done in the 14th century by Giovanni Pisano.
The Leaning Tower or the Torre Pendente rises high above the Field. Supposedly Galileo conducted experiments on gravity from the 187′ tower. Historians disagree- go figure! The story goes that the tower started settling when construction reached the third story. There was an attempt to compensate by making the remaining floors slightly taller than the leaning side but- alas- it didn’t work and only made the problem worse. You must have reservations to climb to the top. Sadly, we didn’t know that so we couldn’t get up there but I understand the views are crazy!
Did you miss Montepulciano?