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Piazza del Duomo, Pisa
Lying a few kilometres from the sea, at the end of a long fertile plain, that of the river Arno, Pisa is in the centre of an area characterised by an incomparable natural environment, composed of great woods along the shores dominated by the scent of pine and brackish air, now enclosed in a Nature Park that protects them. Coltano, Tombolo, Migliarino, San Rossore, also Marina di Pisa and Tirrenia area the capitals of this environment which makes Pisa unique, not only on the Tuscan scene.
Pisa, an ancient Roman port and great maritime republic, is no longer on the sea but its splendid past lives within its abundant historic and artistic monuments: narrow streets that open into picturesque little squares with multicoloured markets; the noble "Lungarni" with its splendid and majestic palaces; the charming Piazza dei Cavalieri and Piazza dei Miracoli, one of the most famous monumental complexes in the world with its Cathedral, Baptistery, Camposanto and famous Leaning Tower, symbol of the city. A town of bell towers and churches, unique and unmistikable with their pure Romanesque style, Pisa also offers visitors a series of folk events. These include the Musical Season, the great Historical Boat Race, the famous Game of the Bridge and the "Luminara", a fantastic candle-light illumination of the Lungarni held every year on 16th June, on the eve of the feast of the town's patron saint Ranieri.
History - Home to Etruscans and Romans, Pisa was once a lagoon urbe because the Arno delta, the river and the coast were located further inland.The city enjoyed naval and military authority and was also a thriving trading port. Italy became too small to contain the fine Maritime Republic of Pisa as its prestige and power increased. Yet the end of the 13th c. marked the beginning of its decline. Beaten by Genoa and beleaguered by the silting up of its famous harbour, Pisa became weakened.
Misfortunes followed and began to affect political affairs. Independence gave way to subjugation and the city changed from a free city state to a dominion. Overcome by Florence in 1406, the city spent hundreds of years under the yoke of domination, its former glories a distant memory. But the city underwent a miraculous reawakening in the 19th c. The Lorrainese were important in its recovery because they drained the lagoon area and the banks of the Arno river. They began to build squares and palaces and also restored the Tenuta di San Rossore, nowadays a verdant natural park of great beauty.
Pisa is not only a city with an enormous quantity of art treasures, but also a city of very old cultural traditions. It is the homeland of Galileo; possessor of a flourishing University, among the oldest and most famous in the world.
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