The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is among the most famous sights in Italy. The bell tower stands at roughly 55 metres high and is located on the Piazza dei Miracoli, which is not only the site of the famous ‘Campanile’, but also a number of other sights. The tower makes for a fantastic photo motif, but don’t miss out on your chance to climb to the top of this architectural masterpiece to enjoy the view over the city.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is right next to the Tower and surrounded by the green lawn of the Piazza dei Miracoli. Together with the Baptistery, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. A masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, it has been considered the most monumental building in Christian history for centuries.
The Baptistery is part of the cathedral. It stands at 54 metres tall with a diameter of 33 metres, making it the largest baptistery in the Christian world. The freestanding structure was built in stages, beginning in 1152 in the Romanesque style, until construction came to a halt in the late 12th century. Construction only commenced again in 1260, then in the Gothic style, and ended in 1358 with the completion of the beautiful dome.
Camposanto Monumentale Cemetery was built in 1278 and is another fine example of Gothic architecture. The inner courtyard is said to be filled with holy earth from Palestine, brought to Pisa during the Second Crusade. Camposanto Cemetery was a veritable pantheon for the city, where members of the most important families were interred – frequently in reused Roman stone coffins.
Piazza dei Cavalieri
The old town of Pisa is a true gem – with its narrow alleyways, pretty squares, churches, and palaces. The town is easy to explore on foot since it is located between the Piazza dei Miracoli and the river Arno. The Piazza dei Cavalieri is the centrepiece of the old town and featured prominently in the republican city of the Middle Ages. It is surrounded by beautiful buildings such as the Palazzo dei Cavalieri, that today houses the elite university, the church of Santo Stefano, or the Palazzo dell’ Orologio.
Borgo Stretto and the Banks of the River Arno
Borgo Stretto is Pisa’s main pedestrian street, linking up the Piazza dei Cavalieri and the bank of the river Arno. The arcades along this lively shopping street are lined with elegant shops and cafés, making it the perfect place to enjoy a delicious gelato or strong espresso. Borgo Stretto leads into Piazza Garibaldi and the Verona stone-clad Ponte di Mezzo bridge. The banks of the river Arno are lined with countless impressive town houses and palaces, whose reflections can been seen in the river on a sunny day. A number of museums have also found their homes along here.
The Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden in the heart of Pisa serves as a beautiful retreat. It was created in 1544 with the intention of growing medicinal herbs to be studied at the university. Other plants include date palms, agaves, cacti, an evergreen magnolia, bamboo bushes, and many more. At more than 200 years old, the two oldest trees are a ginkgo biloba and a magnolia grandiflora.
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