Self-guided Walking Tour of Pisa (with Maps!)

Self Guided Walking Tour Of Pisa

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Pisa is one of the most renowned cities in Tuscany, and its proximity to Florence, less than an hour away, makes it a must-visit destination on any Italian itinerary. While the city is famous for its iconic Leaning Tower, there is much more to explore and discover in this charming city.

The Leaning Tower, undoubtedly a fascinating architectural wonder, is just one part of a vast religious complex. Standing proudly alongside the tower, you’ll find an impressive cathedral and baptistery. The cathedral, with its intricate design and artistic treasures, is a magnificent example of medieval architecture and craftsmanship. The baptistery, with its striking dome and ornate details, is another captivating gem that should not be missed.

Exploring this religious complex offers visitors a deeper understanding of Pisa’s historical and artistic significance. Beyond the iconic Leaning Tower, you’ll find a rich tapestry of culture and heritage waiting to be uncovered in the heart of this beautiful Italian city.

Getting to Pisa by train: It is most convenient to arrive at Pisa by a train on your day trip to Pisa. You can catch a train from Florence or other nearby cities, which will arrive at the Pisa Centrale, the train station.

Getting to Pisa by Car: The main concern if driving into Pisa is to avoid the ZTL! It’s a restricted driving area with enforcement cameras and they will fine you. Via Paparelli is located outside the city walls, it’s totally free all week long, except for Wednesday and Saturday when the square houses the weekly market. €1 an hour when the machine is working!

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Logge dei Banchi

Logge Di Banchi
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Damien

Outside the station, the first thing you see is Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, the administrative core of the city: this is an amphitheatre-shaped square surrounded by a circular, fully-pedestrian open gallery full of shops where several historical buildings look onto.

Cross the square and head onto Corso Italia. As one of the main shopping pedestrian streets, Corso Italia was built along a Roman road – Borgo Stretto and Borgo Largo are the other main shopping streets.

Walk down Corso Italia until you come to the Logge dei Banchi.

The Logge dei Banchi, designed by architect Bernardo Buontalenti and built between 1603 and 1605, served as a marketplace for the wool and silk trades. The name “Logge dei Banchi” refers to the market stalls (“banchi” in Italian) that were set up in the loggia. Today, the loggia is still occasionally used for various markets and events.

Originally, the loggia had a square base with twelve pillars supporting a lower floor. In the early 18th century, the floor was raised, and a volute pediment adorned the structure. However, in 1814, the volutes were removed, and the upper floor was further enhanced with a triangular pediment. The loggia was connected to Palazzo Gambacorti via an overpass.

In 1925, a day hotel belonging to the Cobianchi chain was constructed by excavating the basement of the Logge. Today, this space has been converted into public toilets, which were reopened and restored in 2012.

Since 1865, the State Archive of Pisa has been housed in the Logge dei Banchi. The loggia, with its distinctive profile, is one of the most recognizable elements of the views along the riversides of Pisa, especially when seen alongside the clock tower. It remains an important historical and architectural landmark, adding to the charm and character of the city’s urban landscape.

Location: Logge dei Banchi, Via di Banchi, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy
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Palazzo Blu (Blue Palace)

Palazzo Blu Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi Pisa
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Japs 88

Don’t cross the Arno just yet and head to your right onto the Lungarno Galilei: the “lungarni” are the roads that run along the Arno river, both in Pisa and in Florence, and are important streets for both residents and visitors alike. Many splendid buildings dating back to the Renaissance period and the Middle Ages still grace the riverfront, including numerous hotels. Remarkably, these buildings survived the bombings during WWII.

The Blue Palace, located on the banks of the River Arno, has a rich history dating back to the 11th century. Parts of the palace were built in the 16th century, and over the centuries, it has been owned by various famous and influential families.

During the 19th century, the palace underwent significant renovations, and a wing was added to create a symmetrical design. It was during this time that the iconic blue color was applied to the facade, giving the palace its name. The interior of the Blue Palace is adorned with lavish embellishments typical of the 19th-century aristocratic style.

Today, the Blue Palace houses the Museum of Art and Culture in Pisa. The museum’s collection boasts over 300 works of art, spanning from the 14th to the 20th centuries. Visitors can admire pieces by renowned artists such as Nino Pisano, Cecco di Pietro, and Benozzo Gozzoli.

In addition to its impressive art collection, the museum also showcases archaeological records from Pisa’s rich history, including artifacts from the Etruscan, Roman, and Hellenistic eras. On the ground floor, visitors can even see the remains of a road dating back to the 12th or 13th centuries.

The Blue Palace is not only a treasure trove of art and history but also a venue for temporary exhibitions on various captivating themes. These exhibitions may delve into topics as diverse as space exploration or the iconic literary work, Dante’s Inferno.

For those with an interest in art, history, and culture, a visit to the Blue Palace and its Museum of Art and Culture is a must while exploring the city of Pisa.

Location: Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi, Lungarno Gambacorti, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy | Hours: Tuesday - Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM Saturday - Sunday and holidays: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM | Price: Adult: 3,00 Euro | Website
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Santo Sepolcro

Chiesa Del Santo Sepolcro
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Luca Aless

Head back the way you came with the River Arno on you left. Walk past the Ponte di Mezzo and the unique San Sepolcro church, an octagonal building built as a refuge, a hospital and a monastery, dedicated to the Knights Templar is on your right.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Pisa, also known as San Sepolcro, holds an intriguing history and unique architectural design. It was first mentioned in a document dating back to 1138 and was associated with the Knights Hospitaller, a lay military religious order responsible for protecting the faith and caring for the sick and the poor.

The church’s octagonal shape, though unusual, was a common architectural style during the time of the Crusades. Many churches across Europe were modelled after the “real” Saint Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the mausoleum built by Emperor Constantine in 336 to mark the burial place of Jesus. The octagonal shape is not only a tribute to the original tomb but also carries spiritual significance. In Christian symbolism, the number eight represents resurrection, while the round shape symbolizes God’s infinite nature.

This unique church stands as a testament to Pisa’s ancient connection with the Holy Land and serves as a reminder of the historical and religious importance of the Crusades era. Its design and history make it a significant and intriguing site for visitors to explore and appreciate.

Location: Santo Sepolcro, Piazza Santo Sepolcro, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy | Hours: 3:30-5:00 pm | Price: Free
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National Museum of San Matteo

Pisa Museo Nazionale Di San Matteo
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Luca Aless

Carry on walking along the Lungarno Galileo Galilei and cross over Ponte della Fortezza. Turn left and walk along the River Arno until you reach National Museum of San Matteo.

The museum is located in the old Benedictine convent of S. Matteo in Soarta, which dates back to the 11th century. The convent has undergone various alterations and restorations over the centuries, resulting in very little remaining of the original structure, except for the church and a few pieces of medieval wall.

The late medieval cloisters, built with brick and featuring double mullions and columns with original capitals, are on the upper floor. These cloisters were largely restructured in the 16th century, along with other parts of the building that are not accessible to the public. In the early 19th century, a Chapter of Canonesses was installed in the convent, and a neoclassical entry was likely added during this time. Between 1866 and 1940, the building served as a town remand home, which required significant structural adaptations.

After the Second World War, the transformation into a museum and restoration of the building took place. The National S. Matteo Museum was established in 1949, thanks to Piero Sanpaolesi, with a focus on the aesthetic quality of the artworks on display. Later, the decision was made to group the exhibits by type and reunite the original ensembles.

The museum houses the largest collection of works of art in Pisa. Notable items include a remarkable collection of medieval pottery, including ceramic basins from around the Mediterranean and medieval and modern crockery found during excavations in Pisa (Tongiorgi collection). There are also precious jewels and a selection of medieval coins and seals from the Franceschi and Supino collections.

The museum’s collection of illuminated codices is impressive, with examples from the 12th to the 14th centuries, known for their rich illuminations. The museum also features stone statues dating from the Middle Ages to the 16th century, including fine examples of Romanesque sculpture and masterpieces by Nicola Pisano and Donatello.

Furthermore, the museum showcases a collection of wooden sculptures and paintings, comprising over two hundred works from the early 1200s to the modern age. These pieces were created by significant artists such as Giunta Pisano, Berlinghiero, Simone Martini, and Masaccio, among others. The museum’s diverse collection makes it a significant cultural and historical treasure in Pisa.

Location: Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, Piazza San Matteo In Soarta, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy | Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9:00 to 19:00 (last admission 18:30). Sundays and holidays from 9:00 to 13:30 (last admission 13:00) | Price: Adults € 6.00 | Website
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Borgo Stretto (Narrow Street)

Borgo Stretto Pisa
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Daniel Ventura

Leaving the National Museum of San Matteo you continue along the river. the next building is the Palazzo Medici. On an 11th century structure, it takes on the form of a royal palace in the 13th century. The former Palazzo Appiano (original name) was acquired in 1446 by the Medici family. For some time now, the palace has been home to the seat of the Prefecture of Pisa.

Carry on along the river until you reach the Ponte di Mezzo, then turn right into Borgo Stretto (Narrow Street).

If you’re in the mood for shopping or simply want to explore the charming medieval streets of Pisa, Narrow Street is the place to be. This long street is mostly pedestrianized and teeming with shops offering a diverse range of products, from books and souvenirs to high-end boutiques.

As you walk down Narrow Street, you’ll notice its unique architecture, with arcades lining each side, supported by Corinthian columns. These arcades provide a sheltered and inviting atmosphere, making it a perfect place to find not only shops but also numerous bars and restaurants to take a break and enjoy some refreshments. The buildings along this street were once the homes of wealthy merchant families, and their two and three-story houses still exude a sense of grandeur and history. Don’t miss the 15th-century Poschi Palace, located on the corner of via San Francesco, a remarkable landmark in itself.

One must-visit spot on Narrow Street is Café Settimelli, which boasts its historical significance by displaying a sign above the arched entrance, stating that this was once the residence of the Galilei family, and it is said that Galileo himself was born there. A little further on there is a statue of  Galileo with his gaze turned towards the sky and holds a telescope in one hand and a globe, symbol of the world, in the other.

Location: Borgo Stretto, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy | Price: Free
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Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights Square)

Palazzo Dei Cavalieri
CC BY-SA 4.0 / FrDr

Shortly after you pass the Statua Galileo Galilei, turn left down Via Ulisse Dini which leads to Piazza dei Cavalieri.

During the medieval era, Knights’ Square served as the political hub of Pisa, and it is believed that before that, it might have been the location of the Roman Forum.

In 1406, the end of Pisa’s independence was announced in this very square by Florence’s emissary.

In the 16th century, Cosimo I de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, commissioned Vasari to redesign the square in the Renaissance style. The Knights of St. Stephen had recently established the Order of the Knights, and the square was dedicated to their honour. The Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen was formed to protect the coast from Turkish pirates.

At the heart of the square stands a statue of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, erected in 1596.

Knights Square is home to several significant buildings. The Cavalieri Palace, also known as the Palace of the Convoy, served as the training ground for Order initiates, undergoing three years of preparation here. The palace is adorned with artistic graffiti depicting allegorical figures, zodiac signs, and busts representing the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

The Clock Palace is famous as the place where Count Ugolino was imprisoned and met his tragic end of starvation. Today, the palace houses the University library.

The Puteano College was founded in 1605, and the Consiglio dei Dodici Palace features valuable 18th-century paintings.

The Church of the Knights of the Holy and Military Order of St. Stephen, designed by Vasari, was completed in 1569. Inside, visitors will find naval banners captured by successful Knights of St. Stephen, a testament to their maritime endeavours and achievements.

Location: Palazzo della Carovana, Piazza dei Cavalieri, Pisa Province of Pisa, Italy
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Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower Of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, renowned as the world’s most famous freestanding bell tower, was constructed between 1173 and 1372 as a companion to the Pisa Cathedral. Its unique architectural feature, the leaning aspect, resulted from the tower sinking into the soft, sandy soil during its early construction. After a century-long pause in construction due to battles and conflicts, the tower was completed with careful adjustments to compensate for its tilt.

One of the tower’s significant historical associations is with Galileo Galilei, who performed his famous experiment by dropping spheres of different masses from the tower to demonstrate that their time of descent was independent of their mass. This groundbreaking experiment challenged Aristotle’s theory of gravity and laid the foundation for modern physics.

Despite facing several major earthquakes, the tower has impressively withstood the test of time, thanks to its height and the soil’s supportive characteristics. To prevent further leaning and preserve this iconic landmark, extensive stabilization efforts were carried out between 1990 and 2001, successfully reducing the tilt and ensuring its stability.

Visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a must-do while in the city. Climbing its 251 steps offers breathtaking views, making it an ideal spot for memorable photographs. Tickets are in high demand, so it’s advisable to purchase them in advance, and please note that children under eight are not permitted to climb.

The Leaning Tower’s fascinating history, remarkable architecture, and cultural significance make it an essential destination for anyone exploring the city of Pisa.

Location: Leaning Tower of Pisa, Piazza del Duomo, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy | Website
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Battistero di San Giovanni (Pisa Baptistery)

Battistero Di San Giovanni (Pisa Baptistery)

The Pisa Baptistery, a magnificent marble structure, began its construction in 1152 and was completed in 1363, a process spanning over two centuries. Designed by Diotisalvi, the baptistery stands tall at 54.86 meters (180 feet), making it the largest in Italy and almost as tall as its renowned neighbour, the Leaning Tower. The architectural style of the lower portion showcases Romanesque features, while the upper sections display elegant Gothic pointed arches.

The entrance of the baptistery is adorned with two classical columns, and the lintel is divided into two tiers. The lower tier depicts scenes from the life of John the Baptist, while the upper tier features John the Baptist alongside Christ, the Madonna, and angels.

Upon entering the interior, visitors are greeted by 12 columns symbolizing the 12 apostles. In the centre of the baptismal font stands a striking bronze sculpture of John the Baptist. The three steps of the font represent The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, holding great significance in Christian symbolism. Notably, the renowned scientist and astronomer, Galileo, was baptized in the baptistery in 1564.

The pulpit, an exquisite masterpiece sculpted by Nicola Pisano in 1260, is a remarkable representation of a new focus on realism in art, signifying the beginning of the Italian Renaissance period.

Like its famous neighbour, the Leaning Tower, the Pisa Baptistery also leans slightly, with an inclination of 0.6 degrees. Visitors have the opportunity to climb to the viewing level, providing panoramic views of the captivating Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) and its extraordinary ensemble of architectural wonders.

Location: Battistero di San Giovanni, Piazza del Duomo, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy | Baptistery and Cathedral Ticket with Audio Guide
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Duomo di Pisa (Pisa Cathedral)

Cathedral Of Santa Maria Assunta Pisa

The Pisa Cathedral, situated on the Miracles Square, is a splendid example of Italian-Romanesque architecture. Its construction began in 1064 under the guidance of architect Busketo, whose tomb is incorporated into the façade, adorned with white stone, grey marble, and colorful marble discs. An inscription commemorates the foundation of the Cathedral and Pisa’s triumph over the Saracens.

At the eastern end of the building, a replica of the Pisa Griffon can be seen. The original, an impressive 11th-century Islamic metal sculpture, is now housed in the Cathedral Museum.

Enormous bronze doors were installed after the original wooden ones were destroyed in a fire in 1595. Above the doors, you’ll find four rows of open galleries, featuring a statue of the Madonna and Child and the Four Evangelists. Worshipers commonly enter through a door built by Pisano in 1180 on the side of the cathedral facing the bell tower.

Inside the cathedral, the black and white marble facings create a captivating ambiance, and the mosaics showcase a Byzantine style. The granite Corinthian columns were acquired from a mosque in Palermo, captured by Pisa in 1063.

The interior’s gilded ceiling and frescoed dome were meticulously restored after the 1595 fire, as was the nave’s coffer ceiling. A precious fresco titled “Christ in Majesty with the Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist” fortunately survived the blaze and can be admired in the apse.

The cathedral boasts an intriguing tradition to mark the beginning of the Pisan new year. A beam of light shines through a round window on the south side of the nave, landing on the same spot every year precisely at noon on March 25. The light reaches a shelf affixed to a pylon on the opposite side of the church. Known as Galileo’s lamp, the lamp at the center of the nave is tied to a legend suggesting that the renowned scientist formulated his theory of isochronism of the pendulum while observing its oscillations from the roof of the nave. The original lamp, smaller and significantly different, is now located in the Camposanto.

It is noteworthy that Galileo Galilei, the great scientist, was consecrated as a scientist in this magnificent cathedral, adding to the rich historical and cultural significance of this awe-inspiring place of worship.

Location: Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Piazza San Giovanni, Volterra, Pisa, Italy
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Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery)

Camposanto Sacred Field Pisa

The Monumental Cemetery, located at the northern boundary of the Miracles Square, acquired its name “Monumental” to distinguish it from later cemeteries. According to legend, it was built around sacred earth brought back from Golgotha in the 12th century by the Archbishop of Pisa, Ubaldo de’Lanfranchi.

An intriguing belief surrounds the cemetery: bodies buried here are said to decay within 24 hours. It was the fourth and final structure to be built on the square, occupying the site of the original Baptistery. The Gothic-style oblong building was initiated by di Simone in 1278 and completed in 1464. Initially intended to be a church, the plans were altered after the western end was finished.

The outer wall features 43 blind arches and two doorways. Above the right-hand entrance, you’ll find a tabernacle housing sculptures of the Virgin and Child, as well as four Saints, crafted by Giovanni Pisano in the 14th century. Most of the tombs are situated under the arches, and although numerous Roman sarcophagi once adorned the cemetery, only 84 remain today.

Within the building, you can explore three chapels: the Chapel Ammannati, dating back to 1360; the Chapel Aulla, constructed in 1518 and featuring an altar made by della Robbia; and the Chapel Dal Pozzo, added in 1594.

Notably, in the Aulla chapel, visitors can see the original incense lamp that Galileo Galilei used for calculating pendular movements. This lamp is the same one Galileo observed inside the cathedral, now substituted by a larger and more elaborate one.

Sadly, during World War II, the cemetery suffered damage from American bombing, resulting in a fire that destroyed much of the marvelous frescoes. The surviving frescoes were removed and an ongoing restoration process commenced in 1954, with the aim of returning them to their original locations, preserving and showcasing the historical and artistic treasures of this significant site.

Location: Camposanto, Piazza del Duomo, Pisa Province of Pisa, Italy | Hours: January-February, from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm; March-April, from 9:00 am to 7.00 pm; May-June, from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm; July-October, from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm; November-December, from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm. | Price: Adults 7€ (including the Cathedral). | Website | Camposanto and Cathedral Entry Tickets and Audio Guide
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Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden)

Orto Botanico (Botanic Garden) Pisa
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Notafly

The Botanical Garden in Pisa holds the distinction of being the first university botanical garden in all of Europe, dating back to its founding in 1544. Since 1591, it has been situated in its current location, offering visitors a serene and captivating environment to wander through, appreciating the beauty of nature and discovering an array of botanical treasures.

The garden encompasses various sections, each with its unique charm, including well-tended gardens, tranquil ponds, the botanical school, and greenhouses that shelter an array of plant species. A remarkable feature is the old botany institute, which was completed in 1595 and boasts an exquisite facade adorned with sea shells, making it a true architectural gem.

One of the garden’s highlights is the Pharaonic collection, a fascinating display of horticultural treasures unearthed from ancient Egyptian tombs. Additionally, the garden houses a collection of endangered aquatic plants that are so scarce in nature that they can no longer be found in the wild. The water gardens with their lovely pools and fountains provide a serene backdrop for contemplation.

For those interested in botanical history and knowledge, the Botanical Garden offers the Botanical Museum, established by the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1591. Inside, you can explore portraits of renowned botanists and various artworks, delving into the rich history of botany. Moreover, the Herbarium houses an impressive collection of 350,000 samples, including diverse seagrass specimens.

Visiting the Botanical Garden is an enriching experience, allowing you to connect with nature and delve into the captivating world of botanical wonders and scientific exploration.

Location: Botanical Garden and Museum, Via Luca Ghini, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy | Hours: From October 31st to March 26th: every day, 8.30am – 5pm From 27 March to 29 April: every day, 8.30am – 7.00pm From 30 April to 12 June: every day, 8.30am – 8.00pm From 13 June to 12 July: every day, 8.30am – 9.00pm From 13 July to 4 September: every day, 8.30am – 8.00pm From 5 September to 10 October: every day, 8.30am – 7.00pm From 11 to 30 October: every day, 8.30am – 6.00pm | Price: Adults €4 | Website
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Santa Maria della Spina Church

Santa Maria Della Spina Pisa

The tiny church in Pisa boasts one of the most remarkable examples of Gothic architecture in all of Europe. Despite its simple rectangular shape, the exterior is a marvel, entirely constructed from marble and adorned with elaborate cusps, tympani, and tabernacles. Intricately detailed sculptures adorn the walls, complemented by elegant rose windows and numerous statues from the 14th century.

Originally built in 1230, the church underwent enlargement in 1325. In its early days, it was known as Santa Maria Di Pontenovo, named after a bridge that once stood nearby. Regrettably, the bridge collapsed in the 1400s and was never reconstructed. Although the church housed a sacred relic believed to be a thorn from the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ during the Crucifixion, the relic now resides at Santa Chiara Church. Nonetheless, the church retains the name “della spina” or “of the thorn” in remembrance of its association with the sacred artifact.

In 1871, the church underwent renovations to elevate it above the flood level of the Arno River. These alterations sparked controversy and dismay among locals and visitors, including the Englishman John Ruskin.

While the interior of the church is relatively austere compared to its ornate exterior, it still holds a notable Gothic sculpture at its center—the Madonna of the Rose by Andrea and Nino Pisano, an exceptional masterpiece of artistry and religious significance. A visit to this outstanding church offers a glimpse into the magnificent world of Gothic architecture and sculpture in the heart of Pisa.

Location: Santa Maria della Spina, Lungarno Gambacorti, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy | Hours: Open only on special occasions or exhibitions | Price: Free
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Tuttomondo Mural

CC BY-SA 4.0 / Guglielmo Giambartolomei

The Church of Sant’Antonio Abate in Pisa is adorned with a remarkable mural on its southern exterior wall. Painted in 1989, it stands as one of the final works of the renowned American artist, Keith Haring, who tragically passed away due to complications from AIDS.

Named “Tuttomondo” or “all the world,” this colossal 180-meter-tall mural holds immense significance to Haring, who considered it one of his most significant projects. Displayed in his signature cartoon style, the mural portrays 30 figures united by the theme of peace and harmony.

Noteworthy elements within the mural include a man conquering an evil serpent, symbolizing the triumph over adversity, and a depiction of a woman with a baby, symbolizing motherhood and nurturing. Additionally, figures supporting dolphins represent humanity’s connection and bond with nature.

As a beloved spot for both art enthusiasts and tourists, the mural attracts many admirers. Visitors often take the opportunity to capture a Pisa selfie with this captivating modern art piece as their backdrop. Across from the mural, the Keith Café and Art Shop offer a delightful setting to savor a meal or sip on coffee while reveling in the beauty of this stunning creation. The Tuttomondo mural stands as a profound and enduring tribute to Keith Haring’s artistic legacy and his powerful message of unity and peace.

Location: V. Emanuele II, 18, 56125 Pisa PI, Italy
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Bagni di Nerone

Bagni Di Nerone Roman Baths Of Nero Pisa
CC BY-SA 3.0 / sailko

Walk east along the Via Consoli del Mare, walk straight over Via Giosuè Carducci and continue until you reach the park Piazza Martiri della Libertà. Head north past the car park and turn left and then right back onto Via Giosuè Carducci. Straight ahead is the Baths of Nero.

The Baths of Nero in Pisa are an important archaeological site located near Porta a Lucca, not far from Piazza del Duomo. These are the remains of a Roman thermal building, often referred to as “of Nero” since the Middle Ages, although it is not actually associated with the Roman Emperor Nero or any of his palaces. The original layout of the complex dates back to the late 1st century AD, during the reign of Emperor Domitian, as indicated by the use of the opus victatum mixtum construction technique, which consists of alternating rows of brick and bench blocks in the facing of the walls.

In the following century, the thermal baths underwent renovations, and an epigraph mentioning the Veruleii Aproniani family, particularly Lucio Venuleio Aproniano Prisco, who financed the renovation, has been found. The Veruleii Aproniani were a prominent family with significant land and ceramic factories. The thermal baths were patronized and restored in the 16th and 17th centuries under the orders of Cosimo III.

The most well-preserved part of the baths is the sudatio laconicum, which is a room for hot air baths. It is octagonal in shape, with an apse and a perforated dome roof, partially restored. The remains of the gymnasium, apodyterium (changing room), and tepidarium (warm room) are also visible. The baths were supplied with water from the nearby Auser River and the Caldaccoli aqueduct from San Giuliano Terme.

The building must have been quite monumental, judging from the marbles and sculptures found on-site, which likely adorned the baths. Over the years, various excavations and restoration efforts have been carried out to preserve and showcase the historical significance of the Baths of Nero, making it an important site to explore and understand the ancient Roman history of Pisa.

Location: Baths of Nero, Largo Parlascio, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy | Hours: 24 hours | Price: Free
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