In earlier days, Pisa was an important sea port for trade with Spain and North-Africa amongst others, but during the 16th century the approach to the town started to recede and today the city sits approximately 10 km from the coast.
The city is divided by the alga-green Arno river. Along the river, beautiful palaces were built in the 16th century. Nowadays, they hide the humble constructions, built behind.
Today Pisa is world famous for its Leaning Tower: Torre Pendente. The construction of the tower was initiated in the 12th century and finished in 1350.
Shortly after the start of the construction work, it became evident that the tower was leaning partly because of its flimsy foundations and partly because of the character of the ground. Nevertheless, it was decided to continue. In the beginning of the 1990’s however, the tower was closed to visitors because of the danger of collapse and an attempt was made to stabilize and reduce the leaning of the tower. It proved successful, reducing the gradient by approximately 44 cm so that today, the tower’s total gradient is 3,97 meters. In 2001, the tower was re-opened to the public.
The tower lies at Piazza dei Miracoli like the Duomo of Pisa, and the Baptistery, the biggest in Italy, and the Cemetery. The marsh land has caused subsidence in all of these buildings, but to a lesser extent than the tower. A marvellous sight, this collection of buildings with their walls of white Carrara marble.
At the cemetery you can see Galileo’s lamp hanging on a long chain. According to the legend, the lamp inspired him to develop his pendulum theory.