Visit Pisa | Piazza del Duomo | Leaning Tower
Thanks to its thriving maritime activity, its political independence and its economic development in the eleventh century, born the Maritime Republic of Pisa. Between the twelfth and thirteenth century Pisa reached its heyday, coming to control the entire Mediterranean. The Pisan independence lasted until 1409 when, after several battles, Florence conquered the much-desired access to the sea.
Symbol of the Florentine domination is Piazza dei Cavalieri, so called because headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen, a religious order of chivalry wanted by Cosimo I Medici and full of important buildings, including the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri designed by Giorgio Vasari.
Vasari designed also the monumental Palazzo della Carovana, built by restructuring the medieval Palace of the Elders. Since 1846 is the seat of higher education institution "Normale" University, becoming one of the main sights of Pisa.
In front of the palace stands the Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici, first called Palazzo dei Priori, restored by the Medici in order to conform to the new aesthetics of the square. Another important building is the medieval Palazzo dell'Orologio, become a popular attraction for visitors because here, in the Tower of Muda, died Count Ugolino della Gherardesca with his sons, a famous story mentioned in the verses of Dante's Divine Comedy.
However the fame of Pisa is due to the magnificence of Piazza del Duomo, where you will find the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery of St. John the Baptist and the Campanile of Santa Maria, better known as Leaning Tower. The sight of the monumental complex that stands out on the turf is so suggestive that affected also the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, who gave to this place the name of Square of Miracles. For its beauty, since 1987, the square is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.