Pisa Tourist Information
WHAT TO KNOW:
Vasari rearranged the buildings on the square (erected “in confusion and disorder”), proceeding to their unification but erasing all or almost all traces of republican Pisa.
Piazza dei Cavalieri is one of the most sumptuous realizations of the Medici in Pisa, the result of a radical renovation of the buildings carried out on a project by the architect Giorgio Vasari. In medieval times it was called Piazza degli Anziani or of the “Seven Streets” because seven roads converged there. It was the political and administrative center of the Republic, with tower houses of different sizes and heights.
Short description with the main attractions
Let’s start with the Palazzo della Carovana, former Palazzo degli Anziani, with its fine facade decorated with allegorical figures, symbols of the zodiac, drawings of plants, marble busts of the Medici grand dukes. The palace is the seat of the prestigious Scuola Normale Superiore, founded by Napoleon in 1810 on the model of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. The Normale has seen the graduation of Nobel Prize-winning physicists such as Enrico Fermi and Carlo Rubbia, writers and poets such as Giosuè Carducci, Giovanni Pascoli, Tiziano Terzani, and even politicians such as Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Giuliano Amato.
To the left, the Palazzo dell’Orologio which joins with an arch two pre-existing towers, one of which is the “Muda Tower“ (where the eagles changed their feathers). Here would be consumed according to Dante (Divine Comedy, Hell) the “meal” of Count Ugolino after being imprisoned with children and grandchildren and sentenced to death for high treason.
In front of the Normale are, on the left, the large Palazzo della Canonica, the Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici, seat of the governing body of the Knights of Santo Stefano, the Collegio Puteano, a former college for students and the small church of San Rocco, the baroque Church of the Knights of Santo Stefano. In the center of the square is the statue of Cosimo I as Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano, by Pietro Francavilla.