Visit Pisa in one day

This is an excerpt from the book “Pisa in one day

This is a quick overview of the itinerary.

PISA. Here is an ancient city, first Greek, then Etruscan and Roman; a great Maritime Republic and finally part of the Medici Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Pisa developed its own architectural style by blending classical and oriental forms. Great Italian Gothic sculpture was also born at Pisa with Nicola Pisano’s school which produced Giovanni Pisano, Arnolfo da Cambia, and Andrea and Nino Pisano.

From the early 11th to the late 14th centuries Pisa was one of the greatest and most active Italian centers of art. Proof of this is the remarkable group of buildings constituted by the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Leaning Tower and the adjacent Cemetery which, in their unspoiled isolation, form one of the most solemn and enchanting corners in all of Italy.

We cannot even attempt to list the works of art produced by this extraordinary flowering in Pisa: from the superb bronze Doors by Bonanno (late 12th century) to the Pulpit by Giovanni Pisano (1310) in the Cathedral; from the mosaics, to the paintings by Cimabue, Andrea del Santo, Beccafumi, and Sodoma; from the inlaid woodwork in the choir, to the Tomb which Tino da Camaino sculptured for the Emperor Henry VII, and to the incredible collection of Greek, Roman and medieval sculptures which throng the four sides of the 14th-15th century Cemetery beneath a veritable treasure-house of medieval frescoes. The chain of artistic miracles continues unbroken in architectural setting untouched by the passing of the centuries.

Photos © Saro di Bartolo
Photos © Saro di Bartolo

Having finished our visit to the Cathedral of Pisa and the surrounding buildings, we go down Via S. Maria to the River Arno, where we find the church of San Nicola and next, to in the 16th century Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace), overlooking the river: and before reaching the Citadel, we cross Ponte Solferino and walk down the other side of the river, coming to San Paolo a Ripa d’Aroo, with a Romanesque facade similar to that of the Cathedral and containing excellent works of sculpture. Returning tour walk along the river and passing the bridge, we come to the extremely charming little church of S. Maria della Spina a jewel of Pisan-Gothic architecture.

Following the river to Ponte di Mezzo, past a row of beautiful old palaces, and passing the 17th century Loggia Banchi, we reach, by way of Via San Martino, in what was the quarter of the Arab merchants, the very ancient octagonal church of the Holy Sepulcher (Santo Sepolcro) (12th century), with its picturesque interior. Here stands the great church of San Martino, containing several beautiful paintings.

From here we return to the river, cross the Ponte alla Fortezza, which affords magnificent views of the Lungarni (river banks), and come to the Lungarno Medicco, where we find the National Museum of Pisa, an extremely important collection of paintings (Simone Martini, Fra Angelico, Masaccio, Gentile da Fin briano, Sodoma, etc., as well as a superb group of primitives) and of Greek, Roman, medieval and Renaissance sculpture.

Taking Via Giovanni di Simone, we come to the church of San Francesco (inside, frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi and Nicolo and Pietro Gerini), and from there to S. Catering, Gothic, with panel paintings by Traini and sculpture by Nina Pisano.

We go next to the Palazzo della Carovana (1562), designed by Vasari, with its painted facade, the Palazzo dell’Orologio, and the church of S. Stefano dei Cavalieri.

We are now in the center of Pisa and may wander through its ancient streets, lined with beautiful buildings.

We will pass the handsome church of S. Michele in Borgo, with Gothic arches and a facade in the Pisan style (14th century), on our way to Piazza Garibaldi, the bustling center of today’s city life.

End of the excerpt, you can but the entire content without advertising: “Pisa in one day” book.

Where to stay in Pisa

There are numerous high quality hotels, villas, apartments and agriturismi (Farm stays) available in Pisa, check them out and make a reservation here.

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