Exploring Pisa

Everyone wants to visit the Leaning of Pisa and there is good reason for this. The beautiful and ill-fated building is spectacular and is a great starting point. Moving on from the Tower you will find that there is so much more to discover.

1. Square of Miracles

The Piazza dei Miracoli, or the Square of Miracles, is arguably the most famous place to visit in Pisa. The Leaning Tower, which is actually called the Bell Tower, is within the group of buildings along with the Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistry and the Camposanto Monumentale (or Monumental Cemetery, as the latter is also known).

Each of these would be sufficient to draw crowds by itself so with all being together the Square of Miracles is certainly a place you want to visit.

La torre cursiva

2. Botanical Gardens

Located within walking distance of the Square of Miracles is the Orto Botanico, or Botanical Gardens. With so much art and architecture to experience in Pisa, the Botanical Gardens provide something a bit different. The gardens are run by the University of Pisa and date back to 1544. It is believed that they were the first university botanical gardens in Europe.

3. Verdi Theatre

It’s true that you can go to the theatre at any time, but while you are in Pisa you really should experience attending a performance in this 19thcentury theatre. The stage is one of the largest throughout the whole of Italy and the theatre is renowned for its high calibre productions which include opera, dance and plays.

4. Santa Maria della Spina

This small but exquisite example of a Gothic church was originally known as Santa Maria di Pontenovo in 1230 when it was first built. It changed its name to include Spina meaning ‘thorns’ due to allegedly housing one of the thorns from the crown worn by Jesus on the cross. The church was completely dismantled in 1871 and rebuilt on a higher level due to the water levels of the Arno River.

Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta, Pisa

5. Piazza dei Cavalieri

There are many delightful squares across Pisa to visit but this one is particularly interesting. It was designed by Vasari and during the Middle Ages was the political centre of Pisa. It is now the home of the Scuola Normale Superiore, a university founded by Napoleon.

Pisa is a lovely town in Tuscany that has a lot of offer anyone who has the time to take in the vast amount of art, architecture, culture and history that is available. The Leaning Tower may be one of Pisa’s most famous landmarks but there is much more to this part of Italy than you think.

Images by anieto2k and David Jones, used under Creative Commons

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