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Pisa
Pisa
The history of Pisa has got its roots in the 5th century B.C., when Pisa was an Etruscan settlement, that faced the sea. In the 2nd century B.C. the Romans built Portus Pisanus. After the end of the Roman Empire, this was a port town of great importance for the Gothes, the Longobards and the Carolingians too.


A further development transformed Pisa, in the 11th century, into one of the most powerful Italian Maritime Republics, together with Genoa, Venice and Amalfi.
Pisa was also protagonist of a large offensive against Arab pirates in southern Italy, in Corsica, in Sardinia and along the African coast; successively, after the first Crusade, its rays of action extended also to the East. The military activities were interwoven with that of the merchants who, in the course of the XI and XII centuries, along the tracks of the Crusades, created a large network of colonies and bases with Florentine trade.
During the Middle Ages the buildings that made Pisa famous were begun: the Duomo, the cathedral’s bell tower and the well known Leaning Tower.
The richness that Pisa gained in this period allowed it to found some colonies in North Africa, in South Spain and on the southern coast of Lesser Asia.
The decline of the Maritime republic began in 1284, when it was defeated by Genoa and became more visible, because of the sanding up of the port.
The Medici family ruled over Lucca from 1406 and so this town flourished again.In 1472 they re-established the university, which was declining, and brought new prestige to the ancient centre. Pisa is also the birthplace of Galileo Galilei, an astronomer, physicist, mathematician and the founder of the experimental method.


The Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli) is of most interest in the town housing the baptistery, the Cathedral and the leaning tower.

THE BAPTISTERY
It is the biggest of its kind in Italy, architect Diotisalvi started it, but it was Pisano to whom the credit must go for its present state, especially the Dome, a real achievement for the Middle Ages. The inside contains many superb works of art.

THE CATHEDRAL
Note particularly the superb façade and the pulpit by Pisano.

THE TOWER
There is much conflict about the “lean”. The latest statistics show that the tower was built at that angle originally, but experts fail to agree. The fact remains that this beautiful “Campanile” with its 190 marble and granite columns is a spectacular sight, the lean is becoming more pronounced therefore climbing up it was stopped for a while but now the tower has been reopened.

PARKING
There are several pay car parks in the city, but free spaces are difficult to find.
We suggest that you park at the airport and from there you can either walk through the city or take bus number 3 in front of the building, you must by tickets beforehand from the information desk in the arrivals hall


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