Cavalieri Square, Pisa

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  • Palazzo dell'Orologio art)
    Palazzo dell'Orologio art)
    by hquittner
  • Palazzo dei Cavaliero (lt) & S. Stefano (rt)
    Palazzo dei Cavaliero (lt) & S. Stefano...
    by hquittner
  • Piazza dei Cavalieri
    Piazza dei Cavalieri
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Piazza dei Cavalieri

    by Jim_Eliason Written Nov 14, 2011
    Piazza dei Cavalieri
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    This was the secular heart of Pisa as contrasted by the Spiritual center at Piazza de Miracoli. The Knights Square is named after the crusading order of Knights of St. Stephen who once had there headquarters here. Today the city hall and the gates to the University of Pisa are here.

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Home of the Scuola Normale Superiore

    by Jefie Updated Jul 8, 2010

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    Palazzo dell'Orologio in Pisa
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    Whereas Piazza dei Miracoli has been the religious heart of Pisa since the 11th century, Piazza dei Cavalieri - or Knights' Square - was for many years the political and social centre of the city. The piazza stands where the old Roman forum used to be, and it was almost entirely remodeled in the 16th century by Giorgio Vasari, the favourite architect of the Medici family, when Pisa became part of the Tuscan empire ruled by Florence. The Palazzo della Carovana, for example, was built between 1562 and 1564 to become the headquarters of the Knights of St. Stephen (hence the name of the piazza). The church of San Stefano was also designed by Vasari in a style that is very reminiscent of the Renaissance-style churches in Florence. Most of the buildings now belong to the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, a highly selective private university. The Palazzo della Carovana has become the university's main building, while the Palazzo dell'Orologio houses the school's library.

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Piazza di Cavalieri

    by toonsarah Written Sep 16, 2009

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    Piazza di Cavalieri, Pisa
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    Pisa’s most famous (you can certainly even say iconic) sight may be in the beautiful Campo dei Miracoli, but that doesn’t mean that there are no other squares worth seeing. Not that “square” is an adequate translation of piazza in this case. The vast open space that is the Piazza Cavalieri (the Square of the Knights) undoubtedly deserves a much grander name, worthy of the imposing buildings that surround it as well as its own massive scale.

    One of these buildings is the classic facade of the church of Santo Stefano in its south eastern corner (photo 2). This dates back to the mid 16th century, but with 18th and 20th century additions. We didn’t go inside but apparently it houses relics, banners and lanterns taken from Turkish ships and pirates from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

    My main photo shows the western side of the square – please click to see it in its full glory. On its far right you can see the 1596 century statue of Cosimo I of the Medici family. This powerful family renovated the square in the 16th century as a symbol of their strength and power. Next to the statue is the Palazzo dell'Orologio, which has served as both hospital and prison for the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano, founded to defend the Tuscan and Mediterranean coasts from Turkish fleets and pirates. This Palazzo was built by connecting two medieval towers, the Torre della Giustizia on the left and the Torre dei Gualandi on the right. This latter is sometimes also known as the Torre della fame, the Tower of Hunger, or Tower of Count Ugolino, because of a rather gruesome legend which tells how he was imprisoned here for treason and left to starve with his children, whom he ate. Today the Palazzo houses the library of the most prestigious University in Italy, the Scuola Normale Superiore.

    In the centre of the photo is the Collegio Puteano, with faded frescos beneath its eaves (photo 3 is a close up of one of these) and the tower of the Chiesa San Sisto just visible behind it. And on the far left is just a tiny corner of the 17th century Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici which dominates the southern side of the piazza.

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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Palazzo dell'Orologio

    by Tijavi Updated Aug 14, 2009

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    Palazzo dell'Orologio

    On the northern side of Piazza dei Cavalieri stands one of Pisa's most historical buildings - the Palazzo dell'Orologio. In this palazzo's tower, Count Ugolino della Gherardesca, his sons and grandsons were starved to death on suspicion of aiding Pisa's mortal enemies, the Genovese, in the battle of Meloria, which was recorded in Dante's Inferno.

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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Chiesa di Sto Stefano

    by Tijavi Updated Aug 14, 2009

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    A typical renaissance church
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    Southeast of Piazza dei Cavalieri stands the official church of Cosimo di Medici's Knights of Sto Stefano - Chiesa di Sto Stefano, also designed by the Medici's favorite architect, post-Michelangelo era, Giorgio Vasari. The church was closed during my visit, so I didn't get to see the interiors. From the outside, though, the church looks like a "run-of-the-mill" renaissance church - but the only church built along that architectural style in Pisa.

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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Palazzo dei Cavalieri

    by Tijavi Updated Aug 14, 2009

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    Beautiful graffiti decoration
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    Beyond Piazza dei Miracoli, to the southeast lies Piazza dei Cavalieri, one of Pisa's most important squares. Vasari, of Florentine fame, redesigned this town square in the 16th century, named after the religious knighthood of Sto Stefano, founded by Cosimo il Vecchio.

    Piazza dei Cavalieri's main attraction is Palazzo dei Cavalieri was designed by Vasari and is covered with beautiful graffiti decoration. Overlooking the piazza is the statue of Vasari's patron, Cosimo Medici.

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  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Cavalieri is Famed

    by BruceDunning Updated Aug 25, 2008

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    Sign of the square corner on Capitano house
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    Besides the main feature of Palazza CAvalieri being Palazzo Carvana, there is St. Stephano church and Palazzo del Orologio in the square. It is called Knights' Square because in the mid ages, knights of Saint Stephano were trained in the palace to learn how to defend the Pisa region from Muslim invaders. It is also called square of seven streets because you know why-there are 7.
    This was a focal point for politics in the mid 1100's and continued until Florence decided in 1406 that it should not be. The palace Carvana is now a school for "normal" people; actually called Scola del Normale, it teaches high academic students on a plan for greater things. The palace was built in 1562-64 be Giorio Vasari, who designed most of the square. Later in 1821 the grand staircase in front was added. The facade is called sgraffti, or as a layman explains crude plaster is molded onto the vertical surface and decorative items are styled. Work continued on the palace through 1580, but knights used it starting in 1564. Palazzo del Orologio was built in 1602-04 and two towers were encompassed inside the new construction and connected with a vaulted tunnel. The bell tower was added in 1696

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  • darkjedi's Profile Photo

    Palazzo dell'Orologio

    by darkjedi Updated Jan 12, 2008

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    The building was designed by Vasari, who joined two separate medieval towers together by adding an arch.This impressive building was once a jail and was built in 1607 for the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen.

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  • SPW's Profile Photo

    Walking in the rain...

    by SPW Written Jan 28, 2007

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    Clock tower, piazza dei cavalieri
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    Leaving the Campo dei Miracoli we made our way into town, without a map, an interesting experience!
    We found the Piazza dei Cavalieri, with a beautiful old building, the original university building, several palazzi, a historic chuch and a clock tower where a man was apparently bricked in and starved to death.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Piazza dei Cavallieri

    by keeweechic Updated Aug 14, 2006

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    Piazza dei Cavallieri (The Knights Square) -This charming square was at one time the ‘civic centre' of mediaeval Pisa, and before that may have been the site of the Roman forum. The building was altered during the 1500’s into the main headquarters for the Order of the Knights (Cavalieri) of Santo Stefano. The Church of S. Stefano and the Palace of the Orologio (clock) where Count Ugolino della Gherardesco was imprisoned and condemned to die of starvation, as narrated by Dante in the ‘Divine Comedy’.

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Palazzo dei Cavalieri

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 13, 2005

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    Palazzo dei Cavalieri
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    Palazzo dei Cavalieri, with its proportions and beauty, dominates whole the square with a noble architectonic structures of the 16th and 17th centuries. Originaly it was called Elders' Palace, but when Pisa fell under the Medici, Cosimo I commissioned Vasari to transformed it. By order of Cosimo I the palace became the seat of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen founded by him to defend and protect the Tyrrhenian coast from the Muslim raids.
    The simple facade is animated by elegant graffito decorations and ogival niches containing busts of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. During the Napoleon era, in 1810 the palace was transformed into the college. Today it houses Scuola Normale Superiore.

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Palazzo dell'Orologio

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 13, 2005

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    Palazzo dell'Orologio

    Palazzo dell'Orologio or Gherardesca was built in 1607 for the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen. The building was designed by great Vasari, who joined two separate buildings together by an arch, not to break the street. The arch content clock and beautiful small white stone belfry on its top.

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    San Stefano dei Cavalieri

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 7, 2005

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    San Stefano dei Cavalieri

    Unfortunately, when I've visited Pisa the beautiful church of San Stefano was under the scafold. The church and the campanile, of various styles, were designed and built by Vasari from 1565 to 1572. The marble facade, by Giovanni de Medici, was erected between 1694 and 1606. The interior of the church is very beautiful in particularly the wooden ceiling with painting panels. Also, behing the main altar there is the golden bronze bust of Santo Lussorio or Rossore, made by Donatello in 1427.

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  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Palazzo dell'Orologio

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 4, 2005

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    Also on the piazza is the clock tower of the Palazzo dell'Orologio, where Count Ugolino della Gherardesca, suspected of having betrayed his fellow Pisans in the fateful battle where Genoa decisively crushed Pisan naval might, was locked up to starve to death along with his sons and grandsons. The tragic story was immortalized by both Dante in his "Inferno" and Shelley in his "Tower of Famine".

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    Chiesa di Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 4, 2005

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    The Military Order of the Knights of St. Stephen was founded in Pisa by Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Pope Pius IV approved the new Order on 1 October 1561 and bade that it follow the Benedictine rule. He conferred the red lanceolate lobed cross on it and named it after Saint Stephen, Pope and martyr, in honour of Cosimo's victory over Siena in 1554, on this Saint's day, 2 August. Cosimo established the Order in the monumental square, later known as the Piazza dei Cavalieri (the Knights' Square). Here, Giorgio Vasari constructed two large buildings and a church, dedicated to the Saint, to belong to the Order.

    This church, by Papal Bull, became a collegiate church, on 7 July, 1562. Construction was begun by Vasari on 17 April 1565, on the site of the ancient church of St. Sebastian alle Fabbriche Maggiori, where the Ghibellines had held their council on I July 1288, deposing Count Ugolino della Gherardesca from his place as Captain of the People.

    The church originally had only one nave, the two lateral ones were added in the 17th century and were only consecrated in 1867.

    The church itself was consecrated on 21 December 1569 and the first Prior was the Pisan Canon, Mons. Francesco Perignani. Leonardo Bitossi did the sculpting in marble and grey sandstone and Davide Portini was director of works, chief mason was Domenico Celli from Lucca.

    The facade, entirely in marble, was modelled on a plan by Don Giovanni de' Medici between 1594 and 1606.

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