More than just a leaning tower

Cathedral of Pisa

I fear that I will always be unfair to Pisa. I spent a mere few hours here — I arrived one morning and by the same time the next day, I was back in Madrid — so that I can only speak of it from having caught the briefest glimpse of its tiny streets, so like those in Florence… and so not. I was slightly heartbroken at having left Florence as I explored Pisa, and I speak here with the awareness that this colored my perception of this other Tuscan city, which is, now that I see it through these pictures and a distance of five years between us, no less beautiful.

Baptistery of Pisa

Though best known for its leaning tower (which serves as the Duomo’s Campanile), the city is host also to other historical churches and monuments, and is the home of the University of Pisa, founded in the 14th century. It is also the birthplace of Galileo Galilei.


The origins of its name are a mystery, though there is archaeological evidence of the city trading with ancient Greeks and Gauls, and its Etruscan origins were confirmed with excavations undertaken at the Arena Garibaldi in 1991. Instrumental during Byzantine times, and even occupied at one point by Vikings, Pisa remained an important settlement due to its maritime location.


Could I plan this trip over, I might have granted Pisa a bit more time and given it a chance to win me over in its own right, instead of dedicating just a few hours to it. For now, however, looking at old pictures will have to do…

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