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“There's a leaning tower in Pisa. There are always a lot of people on the grass beneath waiting for it to fall. - So, helmets? - Don't fall for that!” Gianni Rodari
Millions of tourists come to Pisa each year to admire all its beauty and, in particular, to visit the splendid Leaning Tower which for centuries has left every visitor breathless at its unique angle, which seems to defy the laws of gravity. This monument is none other than the bell tower of Pisa Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore, which stands in the amazing Piazza dei Miracoli, called this by Gabriele d’Annunzio because of the beauty of its buildings and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also includes the Camposanto, a monumental cemetery, and the Baptistery, in a fusion of Romanesque and Gothic styles.
Second only in terms of fame is Piazza dei Cavalieri, which contains many large modern and ancient buildings which look perfect together, like the Palazzo dell’Orologio (Clock Palace) with its Torre della Fame (Hunger Tower) and the neighboring Palazzo della Carovana and the Church of the Holy Spirit. It is also home to the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world, where Galileo Galilei, among other famous names, taught mathematics.
Continue your walk through Borgo Stretto, a typical district with narrow lanes, where you will find St Nicholas' church and the San Michele degli Scalzi church, which hide another two little leaning towers.
Cross the Ponte di Mezzo to get to the Lungarni streets along the river and enjoy their beautiful open spaces which create really charming views, especially at sunset. Look out for Sant’Antonio Abate Convent and its famous mural Tuttomondo, the last one created by Keith Haring, which is a spectacle of colors and tells of joy, peace and harmony. Now that you are in the area, stop here for lunch or dinner in one of the many small, local restaurants in the district.
For museum lovers, you can choose between the Museo dell'opera del Duomo, which contains Giovanni Pisano's "Madonna with child", amongst other things, and the Museo delle Sinopie, where there are frescoes which used to form part of the Camposanto's decoration.
EATING IN PISA
As well as traditional Tuscan dishes like pappa al pomodoro, Pisa offers really excellent culinary options to try, like zuppa alla pisana, made with stale home-made bread and vegetables, and pallette, a kind of polenta with beef and pork stew.
For main courses, there is a wide range of meat and fish dishes. Respectively, dishes not to miss are mucco pisano, beef flavored with black pepper, and stoccafisso alla pisana, cod with tomatoes and potatoes.
In Tuscan dialect, the word bischero has a negative meaning, but in cooking it has a different flavor: the torta co’ bischeri is a traditional Pisan dessert, a rice and cocoa tart best accompanied by a fortified vin santo.
Go and discover Pisa with an Alitalia flight and enjoy the city of the leaning towers!