Pisa & Lucca
Pisa's name derives from an Etruscan word meaning "outfall" - the outlet formed by a river as it flows into the sea. Renown worldwide for its Leaning Tower, Pisa boasts thousand-year history reaching its golden age during the maritime republic. Every 4 years since 1956 boats from the 4 historic republics (Pisa, Venice, Genoa and Amalfi) re-enact a naval battle during the Historic Regata on the Arno River.
The cities other beauties are the Baptistery, who's construction took 200 years!, the Duomo and on the same Piazza "dei Miracoli" (Square of Miracles) home to many of the city's most beautiful attractions is the imposing Camposanto (sacred burial ground). To the right of the Camposanto is the marble-covered cathedral, a masterpiece of Pisan Romanesque architecture built in the early 1600s. The famous Leaning Tower rises directly behind the cathedral.
Pisa is also a nice visit for other less known reasons:
The Botanical Garden of the University of Pisa, founded in 1543, and so the oldest University Garden in Europe!
The Museo della Grafica (Museum of Graphics), included in the Palazzo Lanfranchi where you will find one of the most important public collections on contemporary graphics;
The Museum of Computing Machinery: a fascinating journey into the history of Computing, just few steps from the Piazza dei Miracoli.
Pisa can also proudly offer nice wide beaches overlooking the Tirrenean sea, providing a further reason of interest, along with its thermal baths....
...City-State… Walled City…City of 100 Churches, these are some of the names given to this lesser-known Tuscan gem. They surely give us an idea of what to expect during the visit. As a matter of fact as evidence of the care with which Lucca's Patricians have defended the freedom of the 'Civitas' are the great city walls (dating back to the 16th century) still intact. The 4250km long walls feature bulwarks and bastions that are still well preserved today...
Inside the Renaissance walls a rich collection of religious architecture, small oratories, private chapels of noble palaces and large churches, are left as architectural, artistic as well as religious heritage.Three great churches, among others, testimony to the Middle Age centuries, a period far from being the dark period it is mostly known for, but rich and fruitful for the history, economy and culture of the city and the great movements of people and cultures. The Church of San Michele, the Cathedral of San Martino and the Basilica of San Frediano. Not to be missed the lovely and unusual oval shape of Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.