This lovely city is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, thanks to the fame of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Pisa is a city as well as a comune in Tuscany, Italy, with the river Arno passing it just before it joins the Ligurian Sea. It is the capital of the Pisa province.
The source of its name is a mystery. While the starting point of the city had remained unknown for centuries, civilizations including the Pelasgi, the Etruscans, the Ligurians, and the Greeks, had variously been suggested as the forefathers of the city. Archaeological findings dating back to the 5th century BC established the presence of a city at the sea that was involved with trading with Greeks and the Gauls. The evidence of an Etruscan necropolis that was uncovered during diggings in the Arena Garibaldi in 1991 confirmed its Etruscan roots. Ancient Roman authors speak of Pisa as an old city. Strabo dated Pisa's establishment after the fall of Troy to the legendary Nestor, king of Pylos. The poet Virgil stated that Pisa was before his time a great center in his epic poem Aeneid; the settlers from the Alpheus coast have been attributed with the city’s founding in the 'Etruscan lands'.
Even though Pisa is known all around the world for its leaning tower, which is the bell tower of the city's cathedral, the city is home to more than twenty other notable churches, numerous medieval palaces, and many bridges crossing the Arno. The city is home to the University of Pisa, which has a history stretching back to the 12th century and houses the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa that was instituted by Napoleon in 1810, and the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, its offshoot. It is easy to find accommodation for your visit with Cuddlynest, so you can browse through a variety of apartments and other properties while planning your stay.
Once you arrive in Pisa, it is easy to get around. You can choose public transport, or rent a car and drive – although there is the hassle of finding parking and traffic in the peak season. If you are traveling from nearby cities in Tuscany like Lucca, Pisa is well-connected by bus and train, of which the latter will provide you a scenic route on your trip.
Things to do, things to see
To make the most of your visit, you can take part in organized tours, in which a knowledgeable guide will take you on a trip for discovering the main attractions of this Tuscan gem. There are plenty to choose from – you can take short of long tours, join a bike tour or grab your most comfortable shoes and go on a walking tour of Pisa.
If you arrive by train, you can go straight to the city center, where you can find your way to many squares with lots to do. Pisa is full of bars, shops (Corso Italia is highly recommended!), restaurants serving delicious food and museums. There are events and local markets as well. Wherever you go, Pisa is brimming with history and architecture that is a sight for sore eyes.
The Knights’ Square, known as the Piazza dei Cavalieri in Italian, is one of Pisa’s most notable landmarks in Pisa and the second chief square of the city. In medieval Pisa, this square was the political center and after the mid-16th century, the square became the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen. The Knights' Order of Saint Stephen was established by the Grand Duke for the defense of the Mediterranean from the attacks by the Turks. Now it is provides more of a focus on education, being the main building of the Scuola Normale di Pisa, an advanced learning establishment that is part of the University.
Santa Maria Della Spina
This small church is considered one of the most beautiful Gothic style churches in Italy. It was originally built in 1230; however, due to the danger of flooding from the river Arno, it was reconstructed in a higher area in 1871. Its name is a reference to the Jesus's Crown of Thorn, which was apparently once enshrined in the church.
The exterior part is fronted with panels of polychrome marble and decorated with structures such as arches, statues, rose windows, and sculptures. The inside is simpler. As a result of its modest proportions, the church was built to have only one nave. The interior decorations largely feature works of significant local artists of that time, including Andrea and his sons Lupo di Francesco and Giovanni di Balduccio.
The Holy Sepulchre Church
The Holy Sepulchre Church is an ancient church dating back to 1138. Diotisalvi, who worked as well at the Baptistery, designed it. The name of the church was derived from the Crusade of the archbishop of Pisa Daiberto. The eight-sided structure of the building replicates the map of Jerusalem Holy Sites. The external design is a reminder of what was once supposed to be the Temple of Salomon. The interior layout is based on the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem with its eight pillars, from which just as many central arches stretch out and end at a dome-shaped pyramid at the top. Inside the church you can view the "Madonna with Child" picture, which dates back to the 15th century, along with the shrine of Saint Ubaldesca – it is definitely worth a visit.
Vacation Rentals at Pisa, Italy
This must-see historic city should be visited at least once in a lifetime. No need to worry about where you will stay – CuddlyNest will help sort it out for you! Visit the Cuddlynest website for your choice of apartments, houses and villas, and you can select your amenities with our powerful advanced search engine to make sure all your needs are fulfilled. So don’t hesitate to set out on that holiday you have been dreaming about – with CuddlyNest, you will feel at home wherever you end up!