Before we set off for Pisa, we had already heard in the press that it was going to be wet there. Wet from above – there was supposed to be a lot of rain – and wet from below – the Arno had already overflowed its banks and the high water determined life in the city.
When we arrived at the airport and took the Pisamover to the city, it was raining cats and dogs and despite wearing suitable clothes, we were a bit soaked when we arrived at our hotel. Yes, and that was not to get any better the next day, only on our second day the sun came out.
Flood in Pisa
So we set out to explore the city. Our first destination the Arno. When you read so much about the flood, you want to know if it’s really that bad or if the media exaggerated.
Apparently, the reports were really not exaggerated. We had read in the morning that the water was already receding. Besides additional elevations of the bank area, sandbags were also stacked in front of lower lying areas. The view to the bridge showed us then also, how high the water stood.
On our second day we could then see significant changes in the water level. Bridge piers reappeared and the first shoreline sections became visible. It stopped raining and the city seemed to wake up from a stupor.
Sights in Pisa
Pisa has so much more to offer than its Leaning Tower. We strolled through streets, walked across squares and discovered beautiful places. We would like to introduce some of the sights in Pisa.
San Michele in Borgo
In a rather narrow street we discover an imposing church facade in marble robe from the 14th century. The upper part is reminiscent of Gothic loggias with beautiful decorations. The main portal is surmounted by a statue “Madonna and Child” and an angel and the sacrificial abbots. In the lower part of the facade one can discover legible writings that refer to an election of the rector of the university from the early 17th century.
The church and an associated monastery was built in the late 10th to early 11th century outside the city walls of Pisa. At first it was used by the Benedictines, later by the Camaldoles. These remained there until 1782, after which the church was converted into Prioria.
A visit to the nave is worthwhile, there is plenty to discover.
Borgo Stretto, 10
56127 Pisa PI, Italy
Logge dei Banchi
On the banks of the Arno we discover a building that reminds us very much of a covered marketplace and we were right. The Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando I de’Medici had the Logge di Banchi built from 1603 to 1605. Here was the seat of the wool and silk market, the exchange offices and later the grain market of the city.
We have found shelter from the rain here. But I can also imagine very well how the market stalls stood here well protected from the weather and the merchants offered their goods.
Via di Banchi, 5,
56125 Pisa PI, Italy
Piazza dei Cavalieri
We went twice to the beautiful Piazza die Cavalieri, a place with some sights in Pisa. When it rained we were almost alone there, when it was sunny there were a few visitors.
Attention. On both days you had to be very careful. Over the square drive cars without visible fixed paths and also without much consideration for pedestrians!
Cosimo I. commissioned extensive restructuring in the city in 1558. In the course of these measures, this beautiful square was also created.
New medieval buildings were erected around the square as a result of alterations and consolidations: Palazzo della Carovana (1562-64), the church of S. Stefano dei Cavalieri (1565-69), Palazzo della Canonica (1566), Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici (1603), Palazzo Puteano (1563) 1594-98), the church of S. Rocco (1575), Palazzo dell’Orologio (1605-8). In the center of the square there is a statue of Cosimo I.
In the Middle Ages, around the square was the political and administrative center of Pisa.
The Palazzo dell’Orologio is for me the most interesting building of the square. Here, during the redesign of the square, two different medieval houses were united. Two tower houses connected with a raised passageway
Santa Maria della Spina
Directly on the banks of the Arno we discovered the small church of Santa Maria della Spina. The church already exists since 1230 and stands at the foot of a bridge. Over the years, it has often changed structurally. It was even completely dismantled once and rebuilt a little higher.
Today, the facade shows three small towers with figures on their gables. For me, the marble building does not fit visually into the area, but very well with the buildings around the Leaning Tower.
We were able to take a look inside the church. The nave consists of a single room – if you want to see exactly the works hanging there, you have to pay admission.
We like to discover a little less known sights in Pisa.
A bit away from the hustle and bustle lies the Fortezza Nuova, an old fortress in Pisa . It’s nicknamed nuova = new to distinguish it from the older Fortezza across the river. But the complex is not so “new”. It was built from 1440 with the beginning of the Florentine rule and has been restored, renovated and reconstructed several times.
Meanwhile, the area is a public garden and here, for example, concerts are held.
As we approach the plant we first notice a moat in which the plant is beautifully reflected. When we go closer, we then notice that the ditch has somewhat strange dimensions and only when we look closer, we discover – it is not a ditch. Here the high water has put a parking lot under water! Too bad for the parking lot, but nice for us, because so we get quite unique photos of the plant.
I can only recommend a walk through the small park. The grounds are very well maintained, there are many benches in shady places and a playground for children. The perfect oasis in the city.
Via di Fortezza, 3,
56125 Pisa PI, Italy