As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in January 2016, so this post may not be representative of this site today.
I made the mistake, I think, of visiting Pisa on a Sunday, which meant that most everything was closed. An exception were the tourist attractions/religious buildings of the Piazza dei Miracoli, and a few bars and restaurants in the nearby area. Closer to the river, things were a bit livelier, but it was mostly people just out for a stroll, as most establishments were still closed. Still, you will never hear me complain about having the streets of anywhere all to myself.
Piazza dei Cavalieri
In Medieval times, this square was considered the political center of the city, and was known as the Piazza delle sette vie, or the Square of the Seven Streets. In the early fifteenth century, a Florentine emissary stood at this square to let the citizens of the city know that the time of Pisan independence was at an end.
In the fifteenth century, to cement this further, it was rebuilt by Giorgio Vasari. The dominating structure is the Palazzo della Carovana, the palace of the Knights of St. Stephen, decorated with busts of grand dukes of Tuscany. It is the only building in the city done in the Renaissance style.
Also designed by Vasari was Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, or the Church of the Knights of the Holy and Military Order of St. Stephen. The façade was designed by Giovanni de’ Medici, Cosimo I’s extra-marital son, with the help of Alessandro Pieroni.
While small, Pisa is certainly worth visiting, if only to see the marvels of the Piazza dei Miracoli. I still wish I’d spent a bit more time — and possibly on a day of the week other than Sunday — lazily strolling through its pretty streets, taking in the sights.
Have you been to Pisa? Did you like it? I’d love to know!