Booking an Italy day trip or cruise excursion to Pisa will introduce you to one of the most historic Italian cities that continues to be vibrant in contemporary times.
Historically Pisa was one of four Marine Republics - quite a formidable maritime presence as early as the 11th Century with an impressive navy and an expansive merchant fleet. Today it is a cultural gem perched along the stunning Mediterranean.
What North Americans may not realize is that Pisa has been a university city since the 1400s. The best and brightest students from Italy strive for acceptance at Pisa’s well respected university and top ranking research schools.
Just like Ivy League cities in the United States and university cities elsewhere in the world, Pisa benefits from this combination of braintrust and youthful enthusiasm in countless ways. The presence of students in the city centre brings much to the cultural mosaic from bars and cafes to music and visual arts, amidst the well preserved examples of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance buildings in the city’s centre.
The present meets the past again in the celebrated Piazza Dei Miracoli (Plaza of Miracles), which is where you find the renowned Leaning Tower. This entire Cathedral Square, located to the northwest of a fortified wall, is designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
This Cathedral Square is where you find the Baptistry, the Duomo Cathedral with its bell tower housed in the Leaning Tower, and a monumental cemetery. Many will point out the poetry of having places where birth is celebrated with baptism, life events are marked in the cathedral, and death observed with dignity all within these separate areas of the Piazza Dei Miracoli.
It isn’t unusual to see locals enjoying the green lawns within the Piazza, especially students.
The Cathedral itself is a tremendous example of grand Romanesque architecture, notably with some elements reminiscent of Islam like the distinctive interior columns. Remember that Pisa at the time the cathedral was built was a maritime port that naturally drew inspiration from the places her inhabitants saw in the Middle Eastern and North African countries.