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Many visitors to Tuscany arrive and leave via Pisa airport. Sadly, few of them give Pisa more than a fleeting glance en route to their ultimate destination. This is a great shame, as the city is a lively and interesting one that is worthy of greater examination.

The Campo dei Miracoli and leaning tower (ticket booking here) are clearly an absolute must, but do try and make time to explore the rest of the city. Below you will find some links that will tell and show you more about Pisa.

Though no longer a port, Pisa was at one time one of the ‘rulers' of the Mediterranean; the city had its golden age during the eleventh and twelfth centuries when it was an important maritime republic.

The architectural style known as Pisan Romanesque, much seen throughout Tuscany, was born during these times and the wonderful sculptures of (father and son) Nicola and Giovanni Pisano are some of the finest mediaeval works in Italy. The city suffered enormous damage at the hands of both Germany and the Allies during the war; the bridges have been rebuilt, but the enormous damage done to the Camposanto cemetery was irreparable.

Pisa is much changed from the days when it was a favourite of such expats as Byron, Shelley and Browning. Rebuilding and restructuring has often been inelegant and disorganised, but Pisa is a vital city, thanks largely to the airport and the university.

The river Arno flows pretty much through the middle of Pisa. The airport and the railway station are to the south of the river, with the bulk of the 'sights' being on the north side. The main drag runs from Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, opposite the railway station, along the Corso Italia, crossing the river by the Ponte di Mezzo and from there into Piazza Garibaldi and the Borgo Stretto.

It is possible to park outside the Campo dei Miracoli, or you may choose to park near the railway station (at Via Cesare Battisti). Should you choose to try and park in town, your best bet is Piazza Carrara, found off the Lungarno Pacinotti to the north of the river.

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