Tour Pisa & Florence

Pisa:

It is situated at 4 m at sea-level and it has an area of 187,1 km². This magnificent town is also only 10 km far from the sea and it rises on the Arno riverside. It is an industrial center and in its province we can remind Larderello, known for its fumaroles, and Volterra, an archeological center known for the alabaster working, and a lot of other touristic attractions. The town has its best period in the XI-XIII century. The continuous interior fights brought in 1405 to the submission of Pisa from Florence. Only in the ‘500 the town saw another good period, also thanks the grand dukes of Tuscany: it was in fact in this period that Galileo Galilei started his famous scientific researches. The town has always been an important cultural center, in the past as in the present, with its university of 1343 and the very famous Normal High School. After the annexation to the Italian Kingdom and the construction of the railways the town had an important urban increment, also reinforced from the birth of new industries and from the reinforcement of the prestigious university center.

Florence:

The city has about 375.000 inhabitants and its good geographical position, in the middle of a big valley surrounded from mountains, make it one of the most beautiful Italian cities. It is also crossed from the Arno, whose presence has always conditioned the lives of the people. A tragic event that disturbed and moved the whole Italy was the flood of the river in the autumn 1966. In fact on 4th November of that year it overflew, destroying a big part of the city center and an wide cultural estate and making 35 victims. This tragic event moved an efficient solidarity machine at national and international level that surprises also nowadays. In the past the city influenced a lot the Italian culture; the Humanism and the Renaissance are only 2 examples of how Florence contributed to the artistic, language, cultural and political development of an Italy that was constructing its identity. One of the most famous Florentine figure of the world literature is Dante Alighieri. In the Middle Age the city was a free Common and during the XIII century the whole city area was disturbed from the ruthless fights between Guelfs and Ghibellines. In the Renaissance Florence knew the government of the Medici, an aristocratic Florentine family who gave a big impulse to the city identity and to the development of the arts. The most know figure was Laurence the Magnificent (1449-1492). Recently Florence was also capital of Italy (in 1865) before Rome received that title. Today the city is visited from tourists of all over the world thanks its artistic beauties collocated in prestigious historical palaces as the Galleria degli Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti.

 

The Tour will have the following program:

 

1) Piazza dei Miracoli ( Miracles square ):

The Dom place of Pisa is universal known as the miracles place. Here it can admire the monuments that represent the center of the religious life of the inhabitants. Gabriele d’Annunzio defined these monuments miracles because of their beauty and originality: the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the monumental Cemetery and the Handing Tour. In 1987 the place was included from UNESCO between the sites of the Humanity Estate. It is closed to the traffic and covered by a big meadow. It took its definitive aspect only on the XIX century thanks the architect Alessandro Gherardesca, who restored the famous monuments. The Tour, the most famous handing bell-tower in the world, hands because of the sable mud on which its foundations are based, foundations only 3 meters deep. After the consolidation works of the ninety’s the gradient was reduced of about 40cm and the monument was reopened to the public with limited entry forms.

2) Piazza dei Cavalieri ( The Knigth's square ):

It was called Seven Ways Place during the common age and it corresponds maybe to the old Forum of the roman Pisa. Anyway it was the political center of the republican Pisa, till it was transformed by Cosimo I de’ Medici to the seat of the new military order of the S. Stephan Knights for cancelling in the city the visible signs of the past independence. The actual aspect is then the fruit of a radical restructuration of the palaces realized from the project of the Florentine architect Giorgio Vasari since 1562. In the middle of the place we can found the statue of Cosimo I as Great Maître of the Knights Order built by Pietro Fracavilla in 1596 and a little fountain by the same author. Behind them the Caravan Palace of the Knights, the old Ancients of the People Palace in the republican Pisa, transformed by Vasari to the actual form and completely recovered on the façade by graffito of the same age. These graffito are similar, in the technic and in the subjects, to the graffito of the palaces in the streets Via dei Mille and Ulisse Dini. The Palace is now seat of the Normal High School, a prestigious university institution founded by Napoleon on the model of the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris. Here studied, for ex. The poet Giosué Carducci and the physician Enrico Fermi. On the left we can see the Clock Palace, born as infirmary for the Knights of the S. Stephan Order by unifying through a fly-over 2 tours of the Counts Della Gherardesca. In one of them starved to death in 1288 the Count Ugolino and the other men of the family who were suspected to have betray, as Dante remind in the XXXIII Chapter of the Hell.

 

3) Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina ( Church of Santa Maria della Spina ):

The little church of S. Maria della Spina in Pisa is an extraordinary example of the pisan gothic. It was built in 1230 on the Arno near the Ponte Novo, the important connection between the streets Santa Maria and S. Antonio. This bridge was destroyed in the XV century and no more rebuilt, but its position gave the church the name of “Santa Maria de Pontenovo”, changed to Santa Maria della Spina when ( since 1333 ) the church received the relic of the Christ Passion: one of the thorn (spina) of Christ crown. This relic is now in the Church of Santa Chiara in Pisa. The church was at the beginning a little oratory with a loggia increased in 1322. These works were projected from the pisan architect Lupo di Francesco and finished only 50 years later. It was always menaced by static problems because of the river. A lot of documents prove that since the XV century the church was restored more times after sinking of the earth for reinforced the structure. The most important intervention was that of 1871, when it was entirely decomposed and rebuilt at an higher level ( 1 meter ca.). Unluckily in this occasion a lot of sculpture were removed and substituted with copies. The sacristy was destroyed, so that we have the actual church, with a rectangular form and a façade entirely covered by two-colors marble. The most evident particularity of it are the elegant cusps, tympanums and tabernacles, with a beautiful sculptural decoration of rose-windows and statues. Unluckily this plastic decorations are today substituted by copies, while the originals, from the major sculpture of the pisan ‘300, are in the National Museum of S. Mathew. One of them was Lupo di Francesco, a follower of Giovanni Pisano, who worked between 1299 and 1336. He was an architect and a decorator of Santa Maria della Spina and he had a big and active boutique with his sons Cecco, Asinello and Ghiero. Another decorator was Andrea Pisano, also helped by his sons Nino and Tommaso. Not certain is the participation of Giovanni Pisano (who renewed the gothic Italian sculpture) and of Giovanni di Balduccio, even if 2 of their important sculptures are between the decorations.

4) Piazza Michelangelo ( Michelangelo square ):

Michelangelo liked this project, perfect for its simplicity and the nobility of its architectonic elements, so much, that he called it “the beautiful country-man”. It was realized by Giuseppe Poggi in the years 1865-1870 as the cross of the streets on the Arno between Porta Romana and Porta S. Niccolò. In the middle the monument of Michelangelo, with the bronze reproductions of his Florentine masterpieces: the very famous David and the statues on the Medici sepulchers in the new sacristy of S. Laurence. All around you can see the city and the hills, a truly beauty. From the Place you can go down, through monumental steps, to the medieval Porta S. Niccolò with its high and strong tour.

 

5) Chiesa di Santa Croce ( Church of Holy Cross ):

Santa Croce is one of the oldest Franciscan basilica and for its dimensions one of the biggest. Near the church there is the conventual complex with its 2 cloisters, the novitiate, the capitulars room – better known as Pazzi Chapel - , the refectory – today a museum that preserve very important pieces from the church and from the cloister. Founded in 1294 on the project of the big architect Arnolfo di Cambio, the basilica lived seven centuries of history, by increasing its artistic estate, so that it’s become one of the most loved and visited places of Florence. Everything here is represented at the maximum level: the frescos, by Giotto, Maso di Banco, Taddeo Gaddi, Giovanni da Milano, Agnolo Gaddi; the monumental crosses and the polyptic, the beautiful glass windows of the ‘300; the architectonic structures of the Renaissance by Michelozzo and Brunelleschi; the sculptures of the ‘400 by Donatello, Antonio and Bernardo Rossellino, Desiderio da Settignano, Benedetto da Maiano. Later, in the second half of the XVI century, Santa Croce received an architectonic program inspired by the principles of the Counter-Reformation and that saw the construction of big altars with paintings of the major Tuscan artists of the time. But only with the creation of Michelangelo tomb the basilica confirmed its vocation to give hospitality to the “tombs of the strong” and to become the Pantheon of Italian glories. Even the Place of Santa Croce is a place of the city life, today the seat of public manifestations and historical evocations, like the soccer in costume. During the ‘800 near the tombs celebrated by Foscolo, private tombs found a place in the basilica and in the cloister, because of a romantic nostalgia of the lost loves. In the XIX century the façade was realized, the bell-clock built and the monument of Dante Alighieri put in the place.

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6) Piazza della Repubblica ( The Republic square ):

This place has an ellipse form and it was obtained from the increase of the Old Mark (in the Middle Age) and of the Forum rests (of a roman city). It received a lot of changes during the centuries; the most important of them took place between 1885 and 1895 for repairing the old center and that was a big mistake. On the Place we find a monument of Vittorio Emanuele II by Emilio Zocchi. The only rest after the intervention of the XIX century is the Abundance Column, built in 1431 by Donatello at the cross of the central streets of the roman city. On the north side there is a renaissance palace by Giuseppe Boccini that is the seat of Fondiaria Assicurazioni since 1893. On the opposite side the building of Torquato del Lungo, exactly on the position where the monument of Vittorio Emanuele raised (it was moved in 1932). The building raises on the rests of Caponsacchi Tour and Amieri Palace. On the east side the Hotel Savoy by Micheli Vincenzo and the Triathlon Palace by Luigi Buonamici. The last intervention to the Place was realized in the ‘50s with the collocation of the Abundance Column and the copy of the allegoric sculpture (the Wealth) realized by Foggini in 1721 to substitute a piece of Donatello that is deteriorated.

 

7) Battistero e Cattedrale S.Maria del Fiore (Baptistery and Cathedral S.Maria of the flower):

The Church Santa Maria del Fiore of Florence (better known as Dom) is the result of an architectonic project of Arnolfo di Cambio begun in 1296. The cupola is a work of Brunelleschi, while the façade was finished at the end of the XVII century. It has an octagonal form (46m base diameter, 114,5m high) and was built without the help of supports for the arcs but using a technic of Brunelleschi, who had also to fight against the skepticism of the inhabitants. The objective of the project was to make light the big structure and to use the new machines. Brunelleschi won the competition of the year 1418, but the artist was obliged to have another one near him: Ghiberti. Brunelleschi didn’t like it, so he first menaced to destroy the project, and then dared Ghiberti to understand his studies. After some time Ghiberti had to admit his incapacity and to give back the project to Brunelleschi, who could start the construction: it was the year 1420.

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8) Piazza della Signoria e il ponte vecchio ( Ladyship square and the Old Bridge ):

Situated in the historical center this Place has always been the political and civil center of Florence. You can reach it in 10 minutes on foot from the central station Santa Maria Novella and it is nearby the Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio and Ponte Vecchio. After some transformations and after the realization of the Uffizi (1560-1580) the Place became as it is now: a great visual impact and a lot of sculptures and palaces. In the middle the monument on horse of Cosimo I (a bronze work by Giambologna of 1598) and the Fountain of the Place (or Neptun Fountain) by Bartolomeo Ammannati e Giambologna of 1575, built near Palazzo Vecchio for the construction of the new aqueduct. On the left of the steps of Palazzo Vecchio there are the sculpture of Marzocco (a copy, the original one by Donatello is in the Museo del Bargello), an heraldic lion with the coat-of-arms of Florence, then during the republican age lions were kept into the Palace. On the west side you can see some bronze copies of Judith and Olopherne, the David of Michelangelo (the original of 1504 is situated in the Academy Gallery) and the marble sculptures group of Hercules and Caco di Baccio Bandinelli. A lot of sculptures are exposed in the Loggia of the Signoria (or of the Lanzis), built in 1382 on the left of the Place, near Palazzo Vecchio. Between the most important sculptures we can remind the Theologian and Cardinal Virtues, the Fortitude of Jean, the Temperance, the Justice, the Prudence, the Faith and the Charity. But the most important and known of all is without doubt Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini, the mythic Greek hero who shows Medusa’s head after her death. On the other side of the Place there is an arcade with the rape of the Sabines, a marble sculpture group by Giambologna in 1853. Ponte Vecchio: It is one of Florence symbols, the oldest of the city. The actual structure goes back to the ‘300, but the first bridge (the roman one) was built in the I century before Christ in the point where the river was more narrow. Here was born the Roman colony of Florentia. During the centuries Ponte Vecchio was first the place of the tanner boutiques, then of the butchers and then of the greengrocer. About 1495 the boutiques were occupied by goldsmiths and jewelers, as today. In the middle of the bridge the panorama is very suggestive on both sides. On it you find the Vasari Passage, that relate Palazzo Pitti to the Uffizi. Luckily Ponte Vecchio is the only one the German didn’t destroy during their retreat in 1944.

9) Museo degli uffizi ( Uffizi museum ):

The Gallery of Uffizi in Florence is one of the most famous museums in the world. Because of its extraordinary paintings and statues collections it is the first touristic attraction of the city. The Uffizi contains a great artistic estate, like thousands of middle ages and modern paintings, a lot of old sculptures and miniatures. Its collections of the ‘300 and of the Renaissance contains also some absolutely masterpieces of the world art, as the works of Giotto, Simone Martini, Beato Angelico, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Correggio, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Caravaggio. Inside we can also find German, Holland and Flemish artists as Dorer, Rembrandt and Rubens. The Gallery is situated on the last floor of the big Palace built in the XVI century by Giorgio Vasari. At the beginning it had to contain the administrative and judiciary “offices” (in Italian Uffizi) of the Florentine country. The Palace was realized thanks the grand duke Francesco I and then made richer by the Medici Family. In a second time it was increased by the Lorenas and by the Italian government. Vasari also built an air gallery that bind the Uffizi with Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Garden, passing on Ponte Vecchio and the church Santa Felicita. The Vasari Corridor is an hanging corridor realized in 1565 and on which important collections of the ‘600 are exposed: the Contini Bonacossi Collection, the Drawing Room and the Uffizi Stamps.

Info: Click here!

* This tour will last about 8 hours, then it’s ideal for cruise passengers from Livorno harbor ( they will be taken directly al the ship exit ), or from another agreed place. We will start at 8:30-9:00 a.m. and come back at 5:00-5:30 p.m.

The Tour will have the following program:

1) Customers will be taken directly to the output of the ship ( without having to take the shuttle service made available by port companies ), or meeting place.

Pisa:

2) The Miracle Place.

3) The Knights Place.

4) The Church of Santa Maria della Spina.

Florence:

5) Michelangelo Place.

6) The Church of Santa Croce.

7) The Republic Place.

8) The Baptistery and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

9) The Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio.

10) The Museum of Uffizi.

 

From the harbor of Livorno:

1-4 persons = 400
5-8 persons = 480

 

From the harbor of La Spezia:

1-4 persons = 500
5-8 persons = 600

9-16 persons = 900