Pisa - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Pisa


The holiday destination of Pisa is most famous for its leaning campanile, yet its other equally notable coups include its long maritime legacy dating to 1000 BC, its prized university and its status as the birthplace of the world's greatest physicist and astronomer, Galileo Galilei. The Pisans also created one of the most beautiful squares in the world in the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles). Pisa's key component is the famous Leaning Tower, whose layers of heavy marble were constructed on a shifting subsoil foundation that has been the bane of Pisan engineers for more than 800 years, an essential holiday attraction. It seems that the tremulous soil underneath the Field of Miracles has exacted its price on the other buildings too, most notably San Michele dei Scalzi. Other attractions of interest in Pisa include the Museo delle Sinopie, a museum containing a display of sketches from the frescoed cycle that decorated the walls of the Campo Santo cemetery, and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in which exhibits of arabesque panels and Corinthian capitals reveal the influences of Rome and Islam on Pisan architects. The Museo Nazionale di San Matteo displays a range of Florentine art from the 12th through to the 17th centuries.

Information & Facts

The official language of Italy is Italian. English is understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of the country.

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Those arriving in Italy with foreign currency can obtain Euros through any bank, ATM or bureaux de change. ATMs are widespread. Travellers cheques can be exchanged with ease in the large cities, not so in the smaller towns. Credit cards are accepted in upmarket establishments and shops around the cities. Banks are closed on weekends, but tend to have better rates than casas de cambios.

The world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa was built as a freestanding bell tower ( campanile) behind the city cathedral. Constructed during the 11th and 12th Centuries, the tower is the third-oldest building in Pisa's Cathedral Square. Originally intended to stand vertically, the tower now leans towards the south-west due to uneven foundations in the loose earth. At its highest point the tower reaches 186 feet (57m) above ground level, and has 296 steps leading to the top floor. It is not certain who the original architect was but it was most likely designed by Diotisalvi.

Pisa is home to one of Italy's most famous attractions, the Leaning Tower, yet it is also celebrated for its outstanding university, proud maritime heritage (dating back three millennia), and its status as the birthplace of Galileo Galilei, the world's greatest astronomer.

Other notable sites are the strikingly beautiful square Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles); the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, which displays wonderful arabesque panels; and the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, known for its collection of Florentine art from the 12th through to the 17th Centuries. And yet Pisa's identity will forever be linked to its Leaning Tower, an accident of engineering caused by the combination of the top-heavy marble of the building and the shifting subsoil of its foundations. Other buildings have also suffered over the years, notably San Michele dei Scalzi (located in the Field of Dreams).

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