Welcome to Pisa
Once a maritime power to rival Genoa and Venice, Pisa now draws its fame from an architectural project gone terribly wrong. But the world-famous Leaning Tower is just one of many noteworthy sights in this compelling city. Education has fuelled the local economy since the 1400s, and students from across Italy compete for places in its elite university. This endows the centre of town with a vibrant cafe and bar scene, balancing an enviable portfolio of well-maintained Romanesque buildings, Gothic churches and Renaissance piazzas with a lively street life dominated by locals rather than tourists – a charm you will definitely not discover if you restrict your visit to Piazza dei Miracoli.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italian Torre Pendente di Pisa, medieval structure in Pisa, Italy, that is famous for the settling of its foundations, which caused it to lean 5.5 degrees (about 15 feet (4.5 metres) from the perpendicular in the late 20th century. Extensive work was subsequently done to straighten the tower, and its lean was ultimately reduced to less than 4.0 degrees.
The foundations have been strengthened by the injection of cement grout and various types of bracing and reinforcement, but in the late 20th century the structure was still subsiding, at the rate of 0.05 inch (1.2 mm) per year, and was in danger of collapse. In 1990 the tower was closed and all the bells silenced as engineers undertook a major straightening project. Earth was siphoned from underneath the foundations, decreasing the lean by 17 inches (44 cm) to 13.5 feet (4.1 metres); the work was completed in May 2001, and the structure was reopened to visitors. The tower continued to straighten without further excavation, until in May 2008 sensors showed that the motion had finally stopped, at a total improvement of 19 inches (48 cm). Engineers expected the tower to remain stable for at least 200 years.
The Square of Miracles
The Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa, the Square of Miracles in English, was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. The square is not located right smack in the center of the city as you might imagine but along the north western edge along the city's fortified wall, almost out of the center. This is where space was available back in 1094 when construction was first started on the cathedral.
As in most cities, the square was called Piazza del Duomo until Italian writer and poet Gabriele d'Annunzio described the square as the "prato dei Miracoli," or "meadow of miracles" in his novel Forse che sì forse che no (1910). The square is now simply known as the Campo dei Miracoli, which is literally the "Field of Miracles".
Construction of the Duomo began in the 11th century and, after many changes, was actually only completed in the 19th century.
Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights’ Square), is an important landmark in Italy, being one of the squares of Pisa. A political centre in medieval times, the place holds significance due to the fact that it used to be the headquarters of the Order of the Knights. The Knights of St. Stephen built this society in the middle of the 16th century.
Currently, the square is the main part where the Scuola Normale di Pisa is housed. Situated in the forum of Portus Pisanus, the square is also referred to as the Piazza delle sette vie (The Square of the seven streets). It was the political centre of its time and after 1140 saw the construction of many churches and buildings belonging to different municipalities and administrators.
Lungarnos of Pisa
Lungarnos are quays that run along a river; Pisa's ones, with their beautiful palaces and romantic bridges over them, have been the heart and soul of the city for centuries. Today, it is possible to walk along them to admire river Arno and its surroundings and, especially if the weather is good, to stop and eat an ice cream or get a drink in one of the several cafes along them.