Generic introduction of Pisa

The urban walls
The urban walls

The historic center of Pisa is surrounded by urban walls, remained almost intact except for some areas to the south and west, the city is crossed and divided into two areas by the river Arno, Tramontana to the north and Mezzogiorno to south. The main squares, Piazza dei Miracoli, Unesco heritage since 1987 and Piazza dei Cavalieri are located in Tramontana. The main center of city life is Borgo Stretto, Borgo Largo, the Lungarni and Corso Italia.


The climate of Pisa is mitigated by the influences of the sea which is a few kilometers away, the area in which it is located is flat and called Valdarno, surrounded by the Monti Pisani (Pisan mountains).


The city of Pisa currently has about 90,000 inhabitants. Famous in the world for its Leaning Tower, the city plays an important role also for its 3 universities (the University, the Scuola Normale and the Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna) to which about 50.000 students are registered, for the largest Italian research center (CNR), for its airport (Galileo Galilei), the most important in Tuscany, for its hospitals, for Camp Darby (American military base) and in recent times for the Virgo interferometer, located in Cascina, in the province of Pisa, from where the gravitational waves hypothesized by Einstein were captured.


An important role that derives from its history, because its geographical position has favored its development, in the Middle Ages it was in fact one of the 4 great Maritime Republics, to this period dates also the foundation of the Studio that made it one of the major centers cultural heritage of the world. Galileo Galilei was born here, demonstrating the heliocentric theory, condemned to heresy but considered today the father of modern science; here was also born Leonardo Fibonacci, who introduced the current Arabic numerical system in Europe; here worked Guglielmo Marconi, considered the precursor of wi-fi, the inventor of the wireless telegraph; here stayed and drew inspiration D’Annunzio, Leopardi, Shelley, Carducci and the characters to name would be many, many others.


Famous the quote of Dante Alighieri: “Ah, Pisa, foul reproach of those that dwell | in that fair country where the is heard; | since slow thy neighbors are to punish thee, | then let Caprara and Gorgona move, | and make a hedge across the Arno’s mouth, | that every person in thee may be drowned!” (Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto XXXIII).


The pisan cross
The Pisan cross

The symbols most related to the city are the Madonna, to whom the Duomo is dedicated, the eagle, often shown on correspondence and coins and the red color that serves as the background to the typical Pisan cross, known as the “patente”. The patron saint is San Ranieri.



The Luminara
The Luminara

Another marvel of the city is dedicated to the patron saint: the Luminara di San Ranieri, which takes place on June 16th. On this occasion, particularly felt by the citizens, about 100,000 lights are lit, arranged on every cornice of the Lungarni and the electric lights are turned off, fireworks explode and throughout the night the city is a fervor of shows and various parties.


Other significant events are:


  • On 17 June the regatta of San Ranieri takes place, in which the 4 districts of the historic center compete (when Florence conquered Pisa, it decided its new structure: Santa Maria and San Francesco in Tramontana, Sant’Antonio and San Martino in Mezzogiorno)
  • On the last Saturday of June there is the Gioco del Ponte, a competition between the districts in which a huge trolley mounted on the Ponte di Mezzo is pushed.
  • From October 18 for a season the concerts of the classical music at Normale School.
  • In autumn the Pisa Book Festival, which takes place at the Palazzo dei Congressi and brings together independent publishing houses, one of the most important of its kind.
  • The Internet Festival.
Last Modified on 9 March 2019
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