Palazzo dei Cavalieri
Palace in Pisa
The palace situated in the Piazza dei Cavalieri, also known as the Palazzo della Carovana, originally served as the Palazzo degli Anziani (Palace of the Elders). In 1562, the renowned architect Giorgio Vasari commenced the task of rebuilding and expanding the palace, thus giving rise to the magnificent Palazzo dei Cavalieri, which received its name from the training courses for knights (cavalieri) of the Order of St. Stephen that took place within its walls.
As one of the most impressive and ornate buildings outside the Piazza dei Miracoli, its facade is adorned with sgraffito ornaments, coats of arms, and busts of six Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany, from Cosimo I to Cosimo III. The grandeur of the structure is further accentuated by the projecting roof and the splendid double staircase leading up to the entrance.
Since 1810, the palazzo has been home to the Scuola Normale Superiore, an elite college of higher education founded by Napoleon. In front of the building stands a statue of Cosimo I sculpted by Piero Francavilla. On the north side of the piazza, you’ll find the Palazzo dell’Orológio, constructed in 1607 for the Order of St. Stephen and incorporating remnants of two early medieval tower houses. The Piazza dei Cavalieri, with its remarkable palaces and rich history, is a captivating destination to explore in Pisa.
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