Weekend Breaks to Pisa
Planning a short break to Pisa? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Pisa. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Pisa. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.
Top 10 Things in Pisa on a Short Break
The Leaning Tower is the most remarkable bell tower in Europe and represents Pisas main attraction. The construction began in 1173 and continued after two long interruptions for about two hundred years. Originally the tower was designed to be vertical but it tilted because of the softness of the soil.
The tower consists of six beautiful levels of airy and elaborately adorned colonnades, and is 52 meters tall on the north side, 54 on the south side, with almost 300 steps leading all the way to the top.
In 1990, the tower was closed to the public for safety reasons and restorations took place for over a decade. Since, December 2001 it has been reopened but the number of visitors is strictly controlled, so you must book in advance.
Tickets may be purchased at - www.opapisa.it
Located in Campo dei Miracoli, this Baptistery is the largest of its kind in all Italy. It was constructed in 1152 by Diotisalvi and different architectural styles where added during the next two centuries. Concluded with a Romanesque style and Gothic elements it contains a beautiful baptismal font and pulpit by Nicola Pisano. The other main attraction of the baptistery is its renowned acoustics, where you can enjoy singing a few notes and listening to the echoes it produces.
The admission price to this attraction can be combined with other visits to the monuments nearby, but more or less you will spend between $6 and $12 per person.
This cathedral is one of the finest of the Romanesque period and has a strongly marked individuality. Conceived to replace the previous cathedral, the constructions began during the 12th century in two different phases but still in the 21st century its façade has suffer restorations. Buscheto was the architect of this beautiful white marble building, followed by Rainaldo. Inside you can admire the monolithic columns made of granite, as well as, its silver altar and figures by Brunelleschi. Definitely a monument you dont want to miss while visiting Pisa.
Next to the Cathedral and Baptistery you can find this beautiful graveyard built in 1278 by Giovanni di Simone. Legend says, the soil came from Holy Land and it was believed to be miraculous. Only the most illustrious teachers and member of the Medicean family had their graves here. The graveyard was decorated with frescoes made by the most famous painters of the 14th century, and also with Roman sculptures, ancient sarcophagi and statues. Although, during the war, in 1944 the cemetery was bombed and suffered a significant degradation. The restorations began in 1990 and still today they are in progress, however, it remains an artistic high point and you must include this monument in your itinerary.
One of the main centers of cultural life in the city, offers a busy schedule along the year. Ballet and theater performances, pop and jazz concerts, opera and even seminars, lectures and workshops are held in this beautiful historical theaters of central Italy. The theater was founded in 1854 by Girolamo Pagliano and was designed by the architect Telemaco Bonaiuti. During the years, it has undergone three different renovations and nowadays it can comfortably seat over more than 1500 spectators.
For full details of the programme, please visit: www.teatroverdifirenze.it
Nearby the Piazza del Duomo is Borgo Street, one of the most charming places in the city thanks to its typical porticoes. Know as the main shopping street in Pisa, rich in all sorts of merchandise, from clothes to books, this area also offers many pubs and bars. During the evenings its packed with an impressive number of young people that gather here to enjoy its atmosphere. If youre in the mood for aperitifs or a cocktail, stop by Lo Sfizio, known as one of the best meeting points in Borgo Street.
Craft shops are very uncommon in this part of the country, but you can still enjoy the Chicco delle Vettovaglie, a fair trade shop held in the lovely Piazza Vettovaglie. This square has also hosted a colorful market for over 500 years, where you can buy all kind of fruits, vegetables and typical food. Surrounded by a nice and elegant arcade of the sixteenth century, narrow and crowded streets, you definitely should stop by and enjoy this little piece of beauty.
Every June, Pisa pays tribute to its patron saint, San Ranieri. The event begins with the Illuminaria at Ponte di Mezzo. More than seventy thousand wax candles are carefully set into glasses, fixed then onto wooden frames and placed in different areas of the city. The lights of the candles reflex on the river and creates a stunning view. This tradition was interrupted during the years but has been revived since 1969 and is followed the next day by a boat race. Four boats representing the most ancient districts of the city compete in a Regatta along the Arno river. The distance covered is 1500 meters and the winner is not the first to arrive but the first to climb up the top of the boat and reach for the banner which is the symbol of the victory. The event is free of charge and is very entertaining.
This national park was established in 1979 and offers over 24,000 hectares of nature. Away from the busy urbanized area of Pisa, here you can enjoy an endless number of fauna and flora and beautiful landscapes. The park offers different admittance and visit possibilities but the best way to discover the area is by requesting the services of guided tours. Also, if you have an interest for conservation or research, different activities dedicated to environmental education are held here by experts.
For more information on this park or others nearby, visit: www.parks.it
After visiting towers, churches, squares and even a cemetery, you might still have time to stop by at the new museum of navigation. This forgotten port came back to life when in 1998 workers from the train station found 10 ancient roman wooden ships. Most of the content in the ships survived and are on display at this museum, including a sailors skeleton.
Still today, excavations and restorations are in progress, so it has been called an exhibition in progress. Nevertheless, it offers an incredible archaeological site and its well worth a visit.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday an the admission is 3 for adults,
For more information, visit: www.navipisa.it
Sailing Trips - Sporting Activity
I participated in a beautiful daytrip by sailing boat. These trips are offered in Marina di Pisa. Information is available on the net www.green-ocean.de
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