More than Campo dei Miracoli, Pisa
Besides the Medicis which ruled Pisa after it lost to Florence in 1406, these Tuscan cities share one more thing - the Arno river. While the Arno looks romantic in Florence, it takes on a rather uninteresting 'industrial' character in Pisa, before it empties into the Ligurian Sea. Or was it perhaps because I visited the riverbanks on a cold, wet, autumn night?
Notwithstanding this, the promenade on the Arno riverbank is a good vantage point to take snaps of Pisa and its buildings, even on a wet, cold night. One useful skill I've learned during this time was to how use one hand in taking snaps from my heavy DSLR camera while the other hand holds an umbrella!
A tiny, ancient church easily pased by........
San Sisto dates from 1133, although it was an important site before the present building was erected. The exterior is fairly plain, apart from the Islamic-inspired ceramic roundels set into the frontage (now copies). Inside there are a few interesting bits: an Arabic graveslab, a galley rudder......
But what made this place special for me was its atmosphere. I walked in at twilight, when the passegiata was in full flow, and was immediately struck by the enveloping silence (even though the door remained open). I've been to many, many ancient churches and very few have this type of stillness and calm.
Worth seeking out to see if you have the same experience.
Directely on the shore of the river Arno you see the statue of G.Garibaldi in Pisa.
In fact it is hard to find any town in Italy without a statue of Garibaldi, and once you know that, it becomes great fun when travelling through Italy to see the differences umong all of these statues, and of course Garibaldi always gets a nice place for his square and monument !
how many of you knew that keith haring painted in Pisa?.......................................................... i am really mad with tourists who just go to pisa with a stupid guided tour to see the tower and get the idea there is just one leaning tower..
these tourists, i call them SHEEPS
Here's some more Roman remains I stumbled across opposite Torre Guelfa on the south bank of the river.
Directions: Just down from San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno church near the bridge that goes to Torre Guelfa.
The tall Guelph tower rises in one of the most scenic areas of Pisa, the Cittadella Vecchia (Old Citadel). Its unique profile has attracted for centuries people visiting the town or simply walking along the Arno.
This part of Pisa, characterised by ancient remains usually ignored, is actually the witness of centuries of history. In fact, at the beginning of the 13th century, after the many and important victories of its fleet over all the Mediterranean Sea, the Republic of Pisa reunited in this place all its busy shipyard activities. The choice fell on the western-most part of the city, near the monastery of San Vito (an important religious institution now completely lost apart from the church of San Vito remodelled many times over the centuries), where harbour structures already existed from the previous century.
Just a short walk along Via Cardinale Pietro Maffi east from the Leaning Tower are the remains of the citys Roman baths. It didn't look like it was possible to walk round the remains when I visited.
Address: Via Carlo Fedeli
As I walked towards the Piazza dei Miracoli, the tourist spot in Pisa, I passed a beautiful garden (Via Roma).
It was the botanical garden of the University of Pisa. This garden is designed by Cosimo de Medici in the 16 century.
However the entrance is not in the Via Roma but in the Via Luca Ghini, nr 5.
Here you also can visit the museum for Mineralogy.
If you are visiting the San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno Church, do not forget to look at the other side.
Just in front you can see an ancient city gate with remains of the town ramparts. And at the other side of the River Arno you can see the remains of an ancient Citadel, which was built in the 15th century by the Florentines, and the remains of the shipyards were once the Galleys were built (1588).
If you are visiting the San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, do not forget to walk around the church, in order to see the Chapel of Saint Agatha.
This small chapel dates from the 11th century (1063) and was built by the monks of the Church of San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno.
This octagonal chapel is made of bricks, and it seems that this original shape comes from Islamic influences. Inside are kept remains of mural decorations from the 12th century. Unfortunately this chapel was not open.
After I had admired the outside of the San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno Church, I decided to go in.
But of course it was Sunday morning, and yes there was a service going on. That way I just entered silently, and stood there for a while in the back of the church, to see the interior of this church, without disturbing the service.
The interior looked very sober.
This San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno is also located along the River Arno (5 minutes walk from the Santa Maria della Spina).
This is probably the oldest Church in Pisa, built in the 9th century. Later on they built a new front in a typical Pisan-Gothisc style.
It looks as this church was built as a model for the big Duomo at the Piazza dei Miracoli.
The Chapel Santa Maria della Spina which is located near the Arno River is used for temporary expositions.
When I visited this beautiful Chapel there was an exposition of Angelo Barbaro named Ulixes.
In the middle of the Chapel there was a Christ figure walking over a bleu lake, it looked very special.
Anyway this Chapel is a very good location for small expositions.
You can also visit the interior of this beautiful Chapel of Santa Maria della Spina.
Opening hours are from 6.00 till 10.30 and from 15.00 till 18.00 (however this opening times change from time to time).
Entrance fee was 1.50 euro.
The interior looked sober but beautifully.
At first I hoped that I could see the Spine from Christ's Crown of Thorns, which was kept here (said my first guide book), but then afterwards I read in a second guidebook that it is kept in the Santa Chiara near the Duomo.
Nowadays this Chapel is used for temporary expositions.
In the past this Chapel was located near the mouth of the Arno River. But due to several floodings the entire Chapel was moved to its present location.
It was built in 1230, and restored several times.
It is really worth to walk around this Chapel in order to admire the very rich Gothic decorations.
It almost looks as they exaggerated, as there are so many pinnacles, canopies and statues on this Chapel.
Anyway it looks just great.