The Maritime Republic and the Leaning Tower

Pisa is a city that needs no particular introduction. With its iconic Leaning Tower, Pisa is one of the most known and appreciated cities of art in Italy. The city is located in the westernmost part of Tuscany, about 12 kilometers from the sea and the mouth of the Arno river that crosses it.

Probably founded by the Etruscans in remote times, the city has always had a strong link with the sea and already in Roman times it was a port of primary importance. This role guaranteed it a growing strength during the Middle Ages until it established itself, starting from the 11th century, as a Maritime Republic. At that time Pisa managed to expand considerably, reaching with its ships and its merchants every corner of the Mediterranean Sea. This great expansion led to a series of clashes with the other great maritime republic of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Genoa, which culminated with the Battle of Meloria of 1284. The great battle ended with a clear victory for the Genoese and marked the beginning of a slow decline of the Pisans who had to watch their backs also from the other cities of Tuscany. Thanks to the sensational victory against the coalition led by Florence and Siena in the Battle of Montecatini in 1314, Pisa managed to maintain its autonomy until the end of the fourteenth century but, in 1406, it was definitively conquered by Florence.

The golden age of the Maritime Republic has left the city of Pisa with a heritage of art and culture of the highest level. Those who want to visit the city can only start from the magnificent Piazza dei Miracoli, a real treasure chest, where the famous Tower of Pisa, the Duomo, the Battistero and the Camposanto Monumentale are located. Also inevitable is the walk along the Arno river where the delightful Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina, the Palazzo Reale and the Palazzo Blu are located, and a visit to Piazza dei Cavalieri where the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa is located. In the historic center of Pisa there are many other things to see such as the walls, the republican arsenals, the Giardino Scotto or Piazza delle Vettovaglie (home of the city market) and museums to visit such as that of San Matteo.

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