Old town center
- Piazza dei Cavalieri, seat of the ancient order of St Stephen’s Riders, now the finest university in Italy, whose façade is entirely covered by frescoes by Vasari. The whole piazza is an enchantment because, in spite of its being so close to Piazza dei Miracoli, it’s protected from mass tourism.
- We start right in the heart of Pisa and then proceed to Piazza delle Vettovaglie, the heart of the medieval city with its towers; this piazza is a popular area where there’s a colourful market every day.
- Borgo Stretto, the old commercial main street in Pisa, with loggias protecting people from the sun or the rain. We then come to
- Ponte di Mezzo bridge which we cross, viewing the riverside and Palazzo Gambacorti, the city hall; we walk down Corso Italia, and come to
- Fresco by Keith Haring, the world-famous modern artist who made this giant, delightfully chaotic fresco. If it’s not a Sunday, we go into the Post Office, an Art Nouveau masterpiece; we then go back to the Arno and stop in front of the impressive façade of
- Palazzo Blu, head office of the Bank of Pisa and venue for the most important exhibitions in Pisa;
- The very fine, delicate church of Santa Maria della Spina, saved from the Arno flood water, with its fairyland architecture, 14th-century, by pupils of Nicola and Giovanni Pisano;
- We pass in front of the church of San Nicola with its original leaning (another one!) bell tower;
- We go up Via Santa Maria and pass the Botanical Garden to come back to Piazza dei Miracoli;
- We can also go to the fascinating San Matteo Gallery with its wonderful collection of painted crucifixes, Islamic terracotta, Gothic sculptures and paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries.
The museum of San Matteo is open everyday, except Monday, from 8.30 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. and tickets cost 4 Euro per person. Free access for people aged 65 and over or 18 and under, on production of an identity document. Here’s the link for the museum: http://www.ambientepi.arti.beniculturali.it/flash/musei/smatteo/index4.html.