Unique Places in Pisa

  • Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow
    Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey
  • Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow
    Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey
  • Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow
    Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Pisa

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    Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jun 10, 2012

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    I (and you) may refresh our memory about Pisa even without leaving Moscow. We should go to the Main Building of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and see a plaster replica of “Pulpet” by Nicolo Pisano.
    Every time I visited this museum since my childhood I admired by this masterpiece… Never knew that I would be able to watch the original in Pisa…

    12 Volkhonka St., Moscow
    (tel.: +7 495 609-95-20, +7 495 697-95-78, +7 495 697-74-12),
    Metro station: "Kropotkinskaya".
    Ticket price for foreign visitors 400 rubles (10 euro) for adults,
    200 rubles for schoolchildren, students and pensioners.
    Attention! Ticket prices for exhibitions might differ from those for permanent collections.
    Visitors are offered audio guides in Russian, English, German, French and Italian.
    Many exciting tours are on offer!

    Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm
    Thursdays from 10 am to 9 pm
    Closed Monday

    +7 (495) 609-95-20,
    +7 (495) 697-95-78
    http://www.arts-museum.ru/exposition/?lang=en

    Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow Pulpet by Nicolo Pisano in Moscow
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    San Nicola

    by croisbeauty Updated Sep 27, 2011

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    The church of San Nicola was first mentioned at the end of 11th century, together with the annexed convent. Between the end of 13th and the begining of 14th century the church was enlarged by the Augustinians, it is not sure but perhaps under the design of Giovanni Pisano.
    The facade features pilaster strips, blind arches and lozenges, and is decorated with intarsia. A covered passage conects the church to the Torre De Cantone and from it to the Palazzo delle Vedove. It was used by Medici noble ladies to reach the church without walking in the streets. The church has octagonal bell tower dating probably from 1170. It seems the bell tower is work of architect Diotisalvi.

    San Nicola San Nicola

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    Dublin and Havana on the same street?!

    by Jefie Written Jul 15, 2010

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    One thing I noticed during our two weeks in Italy is that it's fairly difficult to find a restaurant that's not an Italian restaurant. Perhaps that's why I thought it was so funny to discover an Irish pub and a Cuban restaurant facing each other as we were walking along Via Rigattieri. Not only that, but the Irish pub was a pretty impressive copy of the pubs you find in Dublin's Temple Bar area, just like the Cuban restaurant was almost exactly like Havana's Bodeguita del Medio. We were there at an awkward time since it was too late for lunch and too early for drinks, otherwise I almost certainly would have stopped by for a pint or a mojito.

    Temple Bar in Pisa (!) La Bodeguita in Pisa
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    Famous people's houses in Pisa

    by Jefie Written Jul 15, 2010

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    Just like I did when I was in Florence, I did my best in Pisa to keep my head up in case I could spot a marker indicating when someone famous had lived in a particular house, and I managed to find two. One has to do with literature, the other with science. As we were walking along Via San Martino, we spotted a sign indicating that the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley - the husband of Mary Shelley, the author of "Frankenstein" - lived in Pisa for a few months shortly before his death in 1822. The house where he lived has been almost entirely destroyed, but a portion of the exterior wall remains and the marker indicates that Shelley most likely wrote his famous poem "Adonaïs, an Elegy on the Death of John Keats" while he lived there.

    On the other side of the Arno River, at No. 24 Via Giusti, it's possible to see the house where Galileo, the father of modern science, was born on February 15, 1564. Galileo spent about 8 years in Pisa before his family decided to move to Florence, but he eventually returned to study and then teach at the University of Pisa. His biographer, Vincenzo Viviani, claims that Galileo conducted his first experiments in gravity by dropping balls of different masses from the top of the leaning tower, and that he first got interested in pendulums by watching a bronze chandelier sway at the Cathedral of Pisa.

    House where Galileo was born House where Percy Bysshe Shelley lived in Pisa
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    More than one tower

    by toonsarah Written Sep 16, 2009

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    While Pisa is so famous for its Leaning Tower, not everyone realises that it was, and to some extent still is, a city of towers. In medieval times, a tower house was the usual choice of edifice, and according to the Rabbi Benjamin of Jona from Tuleda in 1159 there were nearly ten thousand towers in this town. And while many of these have long since gone, plenty still remain. My main photo shows one in the Piazza Daneti, nowadays used rather prosaically as a bank (the Cassa di Risparmio), and photo 2 a glimpse of another tower seen from the banks of the Arno. While these are not exactly “off the beaten path” I place this tip here as these towers are relatively little known and are overshadowed by their less upright neighbour.

    Medieval tower, Pisa On the banks of the Arno
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    Via de Sette Volte

    by leics Updated Oct 29, 2008

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    Pisa is full of arcades, far more than I have seen elsewhere. It seems Medieval Pisans preferred arcades to provide their shade rather than the narrow streets and tall buildings one sees in, for example, Lucca and Florence.

    This street was fascinating. It really does have 'seven arches'. Houses are built over it, with gaps between where pools of sunlight lie.

    Worth wandering down, although I'm not so sure I'd fancy it at night: it was pretty dark even in the daytime!

    Underneath the arches......... ........and in the gaps between them.
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    Roman Baths

    by leics Updated Oct 29, 2008

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    Pisa did have a Roman settlement, although nothing much remains of its grid street system except the (possibly) the north-south line of Via Carducci > Borgo Sretto, and the east-west of Via Lorenzo.

    The only extant Roman ruins are those of the town baths. These were most usually set ouside the town proper (for fear of fire), so their position gives a pretty good idea of where the northern extent of Roman Pisa was.

    There is not much to see (and it is not particularly well-presented) but it's worth having a look if you happen to be in the area. Called the 'Terme di Nerone' and fed by water from the nearby river Auser and the Caldaccoci aquaduct, the baths were associated in Medieval times with 'Nero's palace'.

    Walk along Via Cardinale Pietro Maffi from the Campo dei Miracoli and yu'll find the baths near the Porta a Lucca city gate.

    Terme di Nerone Baths building
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    San Michele dei Scalzi

    by leics Updated Oct 29, 2008

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    It'll take a while to get to this church, walking upstream along the Arno into Pisan suburbia, but you may consider it worthwhile (I did).

    It's the third leaning tower, and it is seriously impressive. In fact, the whole building is very much askew.......inside the columns are obviously not quite right, and the main building has a drunken tilt.

    San Michele was documented in 1025, but the existing building dates from the 12th century. It was originally part of a convent. Inside there is a nave and two aisles, some of the column capitals being recycled Roman ones. There is also a 13th century painted wooden crucifix.

    On the facade are two 12th century carvings (one a copy, as the original is in a museum) and the brick and stone bell-tower is decorated with copies of its original ceramic discs (also in museums).

    Walk upstream along the Lungarno Bruneo Buonzi and just keep going along Viale delle Piagge (about 20 minutes walk from the start of Lungarno B.B.): you can't miss the church. It's a pleasant tree-lined walk along the river bank.

    Pretty spectacular angle! I was standing upright........ Exterior Medieval painted crucifix
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    San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno

    by leics Written Oct 29, 2008

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    Quite possibly built on the site of Pisa's first cathedral (founded in 805) , the exterior imitates Pisa's main cathedral with its arcades.

    San Paolo dates from the twelfth century. Badly damaged by wartime bombing, its interior includes a couple of Roman sarcophagi (reused).

    It has been restored but, sadly, was closed when I visited and I could find no indication of its opening times/days. It's worth a look, however, and the benches in its little park are a pleasant place for resting weary feet (popular with elderly ladies, who would very much have liked to chat....unfortunately, my Italian isn't up to it!).

    San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno
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    Santa Maria della Spina

    by leics Updated Oct 29, 2008

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    A wedding-cake confection, SM della Spina sits on the edge of the Arno looking somewhat out of place amongst the traffic.

    It's not in its original position, which was nearer the river. Amazingly, in 1871 it was taken down stone by stone and rebuilt higher up the bank.

    SM della Spina was first rebuilt in 1323 (original date 1230) by a local who had obtained one of the thorns from the crown of Christ (the 'spina'). That is no longer kept within this tiny church and, to be honest, its interior is rather plain. The 'Madonna del latte' sculpture by Pisano is now in a museum (there is a copy in the church) but the 'Madonna of the Rose' (Andrea & Nino Pisano) is still in place.

    Outside is a swirl of Gothic pinnacles and ornamentation: 13 statues of the disciples and Christ as well as many other carvings (some by the Pisanos), arches and windows and Christian symbols.

    The church is open most days from at least 10 - 4, later in summer and at weekends. Entrance is (as I recall) 2 euro.

    SM della Spina exterior Interior with Madonna of the Rose
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    San Sepolcro

    by leics Updated Oct 29, 2008

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    Interesting and unusual little church: it's octagonal.

    Designed by the same chap who designed the Baptistery (Deotisalvi), San Sepolcro dates from 1133 and was built for the Knights Templar. After a crusade led by Pisan bishop Daiberto, crusaders wanted a building which included a church, a hospital and a convent and which was based on the octagonal shape of what was thought at the time to be the original church of the Holy Sepulchre.

    There was an arcade (16th century) around the church until the 18th century.

    The church wasn't open when I visited (open Monday, Wednesday, Friday 4pm - 6pm) but has a few of interesting exterior architectural twirls and twiddles (see additional photos).

    San Sepolocro Lovely arch carvings Remnants of previous carvings

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    San Nicola

    by leics Updated Oct 27, 2008

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    There are three leaning towers in Pisa. This one, at San Nicola, leans quite a lot but it's not so easy to see in photographs because of the adjoining buildings. From the street, though, it is very clear.

    The 13th-century tower itself is strange: it begins as a cylinder, then becomes an octagon, then a hexagon. I wonder if the lean was obvious as it was being built and the change of styles was an attempt to prevent the whole thing collapsing?

    The exterior is an intriguing mish-mash of marbels and bricks, clearly demonstrating the changes made over the centuries.

    I understand the tower contains a magnificent spiral staircase, though I was unable to gain access. There are works by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano ( the wooden crucifix in my photo), as well as a couple of interesting paintings. I particularly liked the modern Peruvian nativity scene (I think it was made by a Peruvian community supported by the church). I loved the guy with a fag in his mouth, and the llamas lurking on the hillside (instead of sheep).

    The leaning tower A mish-mash of building styles The llama-herders outside the stable The Nativity 14th century crucifix by Pisano
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    San Matteo in Soarta

    by leics Updated Oct 27, 2008

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    You might visit the Mueso di S. Matteo, but don't miss looking inside the little convent church next door to the entrance.

    Originally built in 1027, it was enlarged in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Further changes were made in later centuries.

    Inside you'll find a rather good 3D-effect ceiling (I saw a very similar one in the Gesu in Rome: perhaps this is a copy?) as well as various Baroque frescoes. There's also a wooden 14th-century crucifix: I saw a few of these in Pisa and found them rather fascinating. See other photos with this tip.

    San Matteo exterior 3D effect ceiling Trompe l'oeil window 14th century crucifix Baroque frescoes
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    San Zeno

    by leics Written Oct 27, 2008

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    Possibly the oldest church in Pisa, San Zeno dates from 1029. It was orginally part of an abbey.

    The exterior is fascinating, having not only Islamic ceramic basins (now copies) but also clear evidence of the re-use of Roman carvings, marbles and tiles/bricks. I believe the interior also has a wealth of re-cycled materials but, sadly, the church was closed when I visited.

    My photos show the Roman evidence, but I did not stay too long: the homeless person's 'dump' of blanket/bags etc within the church portal turned out (on closer inspection) to contain the homeless person him/herself (hopefully asleep rather than deceased). I thought it prudent to beat a hasty retreat!

    San Zeno Re-used Roman carving Roman capital used as column base Archway More Roman re-cycling
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    Santa Caterina

    by leics Updated Oct 27, 2008

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    Dating from 1251 (although suffering a fire in 1651), this church is in the process of being restored.......a strangely empty place, but one which, nevertheless, retains its atmosphere.

    There is a tomb by Andrea Pisano, and a painting of St Thomas Aquinas from the 14th centrury, as well as other paintings and sculptures. A Dominican church originally, the wooden pulpit is said to be the one from which St Thomas preached.

    You can still see the frescoes and wall-painting in some parts......beautiful black-and-white arches at the sides.....

    Santa Caterina exterior Wall decoration revealed. Empty interior Beautiful painted arches Wall decoration
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