Pisa was the last stop on our intra-rail through Italy and it was a quick one, but not less memorable for that! The truth is we got to Pisa early in the morning on a Friday and had our flight back home to Portugal right after lunch. With such a short amount of time to explore this city filled with happy and cheerful people, we got to work and didn’t waste one minute!
Here are our suggestions of the attractions you can’t miss in Pisa:
THE (LEANING) TOWER OF PISA
It’s more than obvious that the Tower of Pisa is the reason for the city to be filled with curious travelers every day. One of Italy’s most famous monuments, this leaning tower is the star of many an Instagram photo and Facebook post of tourists returning home. The truth is, this tower was originally built in the 12th century as an erect structure. But it was built on sandy ground and on top of a 3m deep block of stone which ended up not being enough to sustain its weight of approximately 14.5 tonnes. That’s what results in its 4º inclination (about 40m of inclination) in its almost 60m of height!
We got to Pisa pretty early and thought that that would give us an advantage when taking photos from the tower’s surrounding gardens. Boy were we wrong though! The gardens were filled with people and we had to try really hard to photograph the Tower of Pisa from different angles without having randoms in our shot. We thought we would be able to see the tower quickly but the truth is its inclination and architecture are so mesmerizing that we took a little longer than we had anticipated. But there is so much more beyond the Tower of Pisa to discover!
PIAZZA DEI MIRACOLI
The Piazza dei Miracoli, or the Square of Miracles in English, is the square where you’ll find Pisa’s greatest attractions such as the Duomo, the Camposanto and the Tower of Pisa. Protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the square is one of the finest examples of medieval art and architecture in the world. Because Pisa is more than its leaning tower, this is one of the great reasons to visit this city!
Designed by Buscheto in 1604, this cathedral is the insignia of Pisa’s roman architecture and it is absolutely stunning with its blend of Byzantine and Islamic styles. Its façade made of pink marble is superb and the famous Tower of Pisa was originally built as its bell tower.
Pisa’s baptistery is the largest in Italy and, interestingly enough, it’s even taller than the Tower of Pisa! Its construction dates back to 1152 and you can find it right in front of the Duomo. Inside, the Pulpit by Nicola Pisano tells some of the stories of Jesus Christ throughout five different panels.
The arches in Camposanto are amazing and yet this remains one of the least visited sites in Piazza dei Miracoli. As the name indicates, Camposanto is a cemetery where some of Italy’s most important historical figures are buried with soil brought from the Holy Land in medieval times.
Have you been to Pisa? What other places would you recommend to visit?
honeymooners, Pisa 08/2013