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Miriam Gude wins the XVth Italian Thomas Dempster price 2009  

Pisa Italy - Visit Pisa Italia

Pisa lies at the mouth of the River Arno and is the capital of the province Tuscany. Although Pisa is best known for its Pendente Torre (the Leaning Tower of Pisa on Piazza dei Miracoli), there are many more reasons to visit this great city. Pisa is home to 87,500 residents with more than 20 churches, several palaces and a number of impressive bridges build across the river Arno. The historic center and the river Arno with on both sides beautiful palaces make visiting Pisa something very special.

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When you find yourself walking alongside the river Arno you should try to visit Santa Maria Della Spina. It’s a very cute little church which was originally built as an oratorio. Later it got expanded and became one of the highlights of the Gothic styles in Pisa. Nowadays exhibitions are held in it. The church got its name after a thorn (spina) from the crown of Jesus, was found and made a relic. During a flood, caused by the river Arno, the thorn was brought to a safer place and has been kept there ever since.

One of the oldest churches in Pisa Italy is the St. Sixtus church (also known as the San Sisto Church), which has been in use for tradional services since 1133. Today the St. Sixtus church is one of the best preserved Roman buildings in Tuscany.

The St. Sixtus Church (San Sisto) is near the Piazza dei Cavalieri an impressive square with a long history, such as political center during the Middle Ages. Currently the square is an important place for the students at the university of Pisa.

The university of Pisa was founded in the 12th century and is renowned for her academic expertise in physics, mathematics and engineering. The university is also home to some of the oldest botanical gardens (hortus botanicus) of Europe.Certainly worth a visit if you are enthusiast of gardens and special plants.

One of the most famous personalities from Pisa has to be Galileo Galilei. In the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) he showed the Duke of Tuscany the planets he had discovered with his own telescope. This is one of the many reasons why the Palazzo Reale is an interesting palace to visit.

Another beautiful palace is the Palazzo Gambacorti, which was build in a Gothic style during the 14th century. It currently functions as city hall of Pisa. In the Pallazo Gambacorti you can look at frescoes with  maritime victory celebrations of Pisa.

Besides the many churches and historical monuments Pisa has to offer, there are a lot of museums you can visit like the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, the paleontological museum, the mineralogical museum, the Museo delle Sinopie, the Domus Mazziniana and the Domus Galilaeana (a scientific institute devoted to the famous scientist Galileo), and finally the zoological museum.

As you can see there is plenty to do in Pisa, so if you plan on going to Tuscany and would like to visit an interesting city then Pisa is the place for you. We hope you will enjoy your holiday in Tuscany.