Pisa is an old town on the Arno river in Tuscany; its history dates back to the Etruscan and Roman period. During the Middle Ages, it was a commercial port town and comparable to other port towns like Genoa, Amalphi and Venetia: these four towns were called Quattro Repubbliche Marinare (Four Sea Republics).
After being defeated by near by Firenze, it stopped to be a powerful commercial city state, but under the Medici rule, Pisa flourished as university town and Galileo Galilei taught here.
|Pisa Airport Building
During the World War II, Pisa was heavily bombarded and many Medieval and Renaissance buildings were destroyed. But, still, its historical centre is fascinating and preserves Medieval buildings and structures.
Pisa has the largest airport in Tuscany and many budget airlines land here. Several large hotels have been recently opened to contain increasing flux of tourists. It, however, is still avoiding becoming a theme-park like tourist town thanks to the presence of the university, hospitals and national research facilites (CNR).
Although it used to be a port town, Pisa is now not really on the sea because of the land filling effect on the Arno. The closest point to the sea is called "Marina di Pisa", which is in about 15-20 min. drive by car. If you don't have a car, you can catch a bus from Piazza Sant'Antonio: there are 2 to 3 buses per hour during daytime of summer season. Most of these buses continue to Tirrenia (busy beach resort town) and Livorno.
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