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PISA : Of Etruscan origin, this city became a faithful ally of Rome during the Punic Wars when its harbor was strengthened to serve as a strategic base for military operations in the Mediterranean. Its important role at the side of the Romans is also confirmed by a recent and remarkable archaeological discovery, made by some workers on a construction site in the railway station of San Rossore. Ten Roman ships were brought to light in perfect condition thanks to the thick layer of mud that covered them, and they returned intact on-board instruments and the precious cargo ships, over 300 jars with their contents. During the Middle Ages, Pisa became one of the powerful Maritime City Amalfi, Venice and Genoa.
It was a period of great commercial prosperity that began inexorably to the decline in the thirteenth century: the dramatic battle of Meloria in 1284 marked the defeat of Pisa who fought against the Genoese fleet of Doria, then came the capitulation to the Florentines who imposed a peace treaty particularly hard. Followed two centuries of continuous and tenacious battles and only Pisa in 1509 before finally collapsed in Florence: the period of domination of the Medici returned to Pisa prosperity that became part of the Duchy, until annexation to the Kingdom of Italy.
The Leaning Tower
The Tower is the most famous monument of the city, built between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, is located in Piazza del Duomo. The Tower hangs because the soil has yielded up the first work to its construction and has since remained so. Its design is attributed to Diotisalvi who also designed the Baptistery. The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been proposed as one of the seven wonders of the world.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The Cathedral of Pisa is the most important example of Romanesque Pisan. The architect Buscheto has in fact cast the classical tradition with elements of Byzantine, Norman, Arab and Christian. In this way has resulted in a very original style that anticipated the Florentine Renaissance.
The Baptistery of Pisa
The Baptistery of Pisa is another building that form the monumental Piazza del Duomo (known as Piazza dei Miracoli). Opera Diotisalvi, many sculptures of the facade were made by Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni. By Nicola Pisano also the pulpit, decorated with scenes from the Life of Christ. Probably the lack of money was due to the duplicity of the materials used to cover the dome, red tiles and slabs of lead, and the absence of frescoes on the ceiling provided for in the original design instead. The Baptistery of Pisa is the largest in Italy.
The Arno river in Pisa
Pisa is also famous for its riversides, in fact home to medieval buildings transformed over time. Lungarno best known is home to the Medici Medici Palace, the Palazzo Toscanelli and the Church of San Matteo. Along the river are also pubs and restaurants. Every June 16, the riversides are illuminated by many candles to celebrate the patron saint, that make the city unique.
LUCCA : First settlement Ligurian and Etruscan then, in 180 BC Lucca became a Roman colony. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the city was conquered by the Goths in the sixth century it became the capital of the Lombard Duchy of Tuscia. At the fall of this, it became the seat of the Marquis of Tuscany. In 1119 Lucca became a free town, then turned into a Commune, in which power was ruled by the representatives of the new merchant class. Besides the silk, developed an intense banking, thanks to which Lucca became an important economic center in Europe.
At the same time became an important stage of the pilgrimage that brought the Christians of northern Europe to Rome by the Via Francigena through it.
Involved in the wars between Pisa and Florence and the struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines, dominated for some time by Uguccione Faggiuola, by Castruccio Castracani and family Guinigi, Lucca became a republic in 1430 and maintained its independence until 1799.
In 1805 Napoleon, at the request of the senate of Lucca, was the Principality of Lucca and Piombino, assigning it to his sister Elisa and her husband, Felice Baciocchi.
With the Congress of Vienna and the Restoration he was created Duke of Lucca, attributed to the Bourbons of Parma. A Maria Luisa of Bourbon succeeded by his son, Charles Louis (1824), who ruled until 1847, when the duchy became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
In 1860, Lucca and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.
The Buccellato, a typical sweet of Lucca.
The Urban Park: The Walls of Lucca
The walls were built in the mid-sixteenth century and remained intact until the present day. consist of twelve curtains embankment that unite eleven bastions. Extend for more than four kilometers and are surrounded by mature trees including sycamore trees, chestnut, red oaks, etc. … The place is ideal for sports and being outdoors enjoying the view of the city.
The Cathedral of San Martino
According to tradition, the church was built three times over the years. The interior is rich in works of art, including the deposition of Nicola Pisano (1220-1280), the Madonna with Child and Saints by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494), and The Last Supper by Tintoretto (1518-1594) .
The Square of Anfiteatro
The current Piazza Anfiteatro had, originally, fifty-five arches on pillars that supported the recess formed by twenty steps that can accommodate ten thousand spectators. This colossal amphitheater was destroyed during the barbarian invasions and for centuries remained a quarry for building materials. Stripped of coating and all columns, began to host houses upon houses, which used the structure of the amphitheater. Today the square is unique, designed by Nottolini that tore down some buildings and created the way around the amphitheater said.
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