Tuscany: Places to Explore



Most people think "Leaning Tower of" when they think of Pisa. Its position as one of Italy's most famous landmarks attracts hordes of day-trippers from around the world. But even if the building doesn't captivate you, Pisa has other treasures that make a visit worthwhile. Taken as a whole, the Campo dei Miracoli—the "Field of Miracles" where the Leaning Tower, the Duomo, the Camposanto, and the Baptistery are located—is one of the most dramatic and beautiful architectural complexes in Italy.

Pisa may have been inhabited as early as the Bronze Age. It was certainly populated by the Etruscans and, in turn, became part of the Roman Empire. In the early Middle Ages it flourished as an economic powerhouse—along with Amalfi, Genoa, and Venice, it was one of the maritime republics. The city's economic and political power ebbed in the early 15th century as it fell under the domination of Florence, though it enjoyed a brief resurgence under Cosimo I in the mid-16th century. Pisa endured heavy Allied bombing—miraculously, the Duomo and Leaning Tower, along with some other grand Romanesque structures, were spared, but the Camposanto sustained heavy damage.

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