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This article is about Pisa in Italy. For other places of the same name, see Pisa (disambiguation).

Pisa (population 90,000) is a city in Tuscany, Italy at the mouth of the river Arno on the Mediterranean.



Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa

By far the best known sight in Pisa is the famous leaning tower which is but one of many architecturally and artistically important structures in the city's Campo dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles to the north of the old town center. Campo dei Miracoli also hosts the beautiful Duomo (the Cathedral), the Baptistry and The Camposanto (the monumental cemetry).

Other interesting sights include Knights' Square, where the Palazzo della Carovana, with its awesome facade made by Giorgio Vasari may be seen, Borgo Stretto where it is possible to stroll under medieval arcades and Lungarno, the avenues along the river Arno. Remarkably, there are at least two other leaning towers in the city, one at the southern end of central Via Santa Maria, the other halfway through the Piagge riverside promenade.

Pisa hosts the University of Pisa, especially renowed in the fields of Physics, Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science.

Construction of a new leaning tower of glass and steel 57 meters tall, containing offices and apartments should start in summer 2004 and take 4 years. It was designed by Dante Oscar Benini and rised criticism.


Already existing during the Etruscan and Roman times, Pisa reached its apex in the Middle Ages when it was one of the 4 Marine Republics of Italy (Repubbliche Marinare ), together with Genoa, Amalfi and Venice.

At that time the city was a very important commercial center and controlled a significant Mediterranean fleet. It conquered part of Sardinia and successfully defeated several rival town in Sicily and in the south of Italy; its fleet also took part in the crusades. Pisa used the richness it had accumulated in those years to build the monuments that constitutes the Campo dei Miracoli.

The town had an indipendent republican government and was ruled by a city council. Pisa always sided with the pro-imperial Ghibellines, actively supporting emperors such as Frederick Barbarossa, Frederick II and Henry VII. Those emperors acknowledged Pisa independence and were grateful for its loyalty such that the town was chosen to host the spoils of Henry King of Germans, the son of Frederick II. The spoils still rest in the Pisa Cathedral.

The decline began in 1284 when it was defeated by Genoa in the naval Battle of Meloria . The defeat ended the marine power of Pisa and the town never fully recovered. It tried to rebuild its power in the course of the 14th century but was eventually conquered by Florence in 1406. Galileo Galilei lived and was born here.

Notable people born in Pisa

External links

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