Pisa is located about 100 kilometers south of Cinque Terre. The city is intersected by the Arno River, which flows a few miles further in the Mediterranean. The main attractions are located on the right bank of the river.
The Centre of Pisa is situated at about 3-kilometer from the airport. You can go there by bus or with a train that connects the airport with the railway station of Pisa.
On the “field of miracles” you'll find 4 medieval buildings: the Cattedrale (Duomo), the Battistero, the Camposanto and obviously the ' leaning ' Tower (Torre pendente). There are 2 museums: the Museo delle Sinopeo and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (this is currently (2015) restored).
The duomo has enormous dimensions and has five naves and a three-aisled transept. With the construction was begun in 1064, in the typically Pisan-Romanesque style.
The Bell Tower (Campanile) was built in 1173. The tower is about 56 metres high. Already at the beginning of the construction, the tower began to tilt. The construction was stopped due to the wars with Genoa and Florence. 100 years later, when the tower was completed, they built is right again, making it warped as well. In 1990, the engineersstarted with the stabilization of the tower. Only in 2001 it was again opened to the public.
This baptistery is dedicated to John the Baptist and symbolizes the great importance that was given in the Middle Ages to the baptism, the sacrament with which man is freed from original sin.
It was built in 1153, on the foundations of an older building from the 5th and the 6th century. Inside is a statue of John the Baptist at the centre. The pulpit is decorated with bas reliefs which depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments. You can go up the stairs to get just under the dome. At regular intervals, there is a demonstration of the special acoustics of the dome.
Noteworthy is the location of the baptistery, right in front of the Cathedral. Those who were baptized, could enter directly into the Cathedral.
This is a walled cemetery. The Gothic building dates back to the 13th century. The outside is pretty sober and consists of 43 blind arches. One of the doors contains a Tabernacle with an image of Mary with child.
Inside the camposanto is a collection of Roman sculptures and sarcophagi. The frescoes were severely damaged by incendiary bombs in July 1944. The restoration is still under way.
The other attractions in Pisa lie also on the right bank of the Arno, especially on the Piazza del Cavalieri and along the embankment of the Arno, where you find numerous palaces.
In the immediate neighborhood of Pisa are still some sites worth visiting if you have a few spare hours left, waiting for your plane to leave.
The Certosa of Pisa is located in Calci, a small village about 10 km east of Pisa, in the green of the Val Graziosa. The monastery was founded in 1366 by the Carthusians, an order which was founded in 1084 by Saint Bruno. The monastery is similar to the other Certosas we already visited in Padula, Pavia and Neuville-sous-Montreuil.
The monastery can be visited with a guide only. The tours begin on the half hours. We had too little time for a visit (the plane wouldn't wait). We can therefore only provide a picture of the monumental façade.
Puccini was born in Lucca and belonged to a famous family of organ composers He chose the less highly regarded opera genre, but was a master and the only one of his family who is really remembered.
He stayed for a long time in Torre del Lago, where he built a villa. There, he wrote his most famous operas: La Bohème, Tosca and Madame Butterfly. The villa still breathes the atmosphere of the 19th century. The piano on which he made his compositions is still prominent in the living room.
A visit is possible except on Monday morning, from 10 to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 4:30 pm. The visit start in principle every 40 minutes. When we were there, in October, the gate was closed. Only after a dozen minutes (in the pouring rain) we discovered a small bell, after which we were let in immediately.