If you'd like to know better the past and the present of Pisa, the visit to lungarnos is essential.
Lungarnos are the streets of the city that pass beside the river Arno. They are well known in Pisa for wonderful buildings that go along with the river bank until they reach the river outlet in Marina di Pisa.
Few centuries ago lungarnos were the heart of the city center, and that's why wealthy families had chosen this area for their residences.
They were completely reconstructed in 1871, which sadly destroyed many stairs and flights of steps that were characteristic of this area.
They are also important nightlife meeting places for Pisans.
The lungarnos of Pisa inspired some famous poets and writers such as Lord Byron and P.B. Shelley.
"Stand on the marble bridge, cast your eye, if you are not dazzled, on its river glowing as with fire, then follow the graceful curve of the palaces on the lung'Arno till the arch is naved by the massy dungen-tower (erroneously called Ugolino's,) forming in dark relief, and tell me if any thing can surpass a sunset in Pisa."
Also known as Royal Lungarno (because of the Royal Palace nearby), goes from the Ponte di Mezzo to the Solferino bridge.
Beside the splendid view upon the Mezzogiorno quarter, you can also admire some extraordinary historical palaces like:
- The Lanfreducci Palace, seat of the rectorate of the University of Pisa. The University building, which dates from the late XII century, is situated near Lungarno , in the area between Via Curtatone , Via Montanara and Via della Sapienza.
- The Agostini Palace ( the only one remained with its terra-cotta facade)
- The National Museum of the Royal Palace
- The church of Madonna dei Galletti
The Mediceo Lungarno is the part of the river bank from Fortress bridge to Ponte di Mezzo bridge.
It's probably the most famous lungarno of Pisa and it got its name because of the Grand Duke residency: the Medici's Palace, which is now the seat of Prefecture.
Among the historical buildings that could be found here are:
- The Toscanelli building, which is the seat of the Archives of the State now
- The S. Matteo in Soarta church
- The National Museum of San Matteo
Thanks to many bars and clubs, Lungarno Mediceo is the hot spot of the "Pisa's movida".
The Simonelli lungarno is located between the Solferino bridge and the Cittadella bridge. It got its name after Ranieri Simonelli, the man who reconstructed it in the XIX century.
Some of the buildings of this lungarno are:
- The church of S. Vito and Ranieri (S. Ranieri is the patron of Pisa, and this is the place where he died)
- The Museum of Armory
- The old Fortress or Cittadella
The name of the Lungarno Galilei is dedicated to famous scientist, Galileo Galilei, from Pisa. It was thought that he was born exactly in this area.
It goes from the Ponte di Mezzo until the Fortress bridge, on the opposite side of the Lungarno Mediceo.
You could see there:
- The Fiumi e Fossi Palace
- The Franceschi Palace
- The Pretorio Palace, nowadays the Municipal Library
- The Lanfraschi Palace, a splendid building constructed upon the ancient tower houses
- The San Sepolcro church
Lungarno Gambacorti got its name after the family which ruled the city of Pisa in the XIV century and lived exactly here, at this part of Arno, in the Gambacorti Palace, which is now the seat of the Municipality of Pisa.
The splendors of this lungarno are:
- The Logge di Banchi
- The church of Santa Cristina
- The church of Santa Maria della Spina
Lungarno Sidney Sonnino
Sidney Sonnino was the Minister of the foreign affairs during the World War I. He's originally from Pisa. The Lungarno is located exactly on the opposite side of the Lungarno Pacinotti, between the Solferino and Cittadella bridges.
The buildings that rise from there are:
- The Gate to the Sea (it's called this way because it was the way to get to Livorno)
- The ex Convent of Benedettine
- The San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno church
In extension of the Lungarno Mediceo, it was constructed in the XIX century thanks to the creation of the Piazza del Rosso and the demolition of the Piagge Gate.
This was the place where Politeama Theatre proudly stayed, but it was destroyed during the World War II bombings.
Now, there's the Congress Palace of the University of Pisa.
This lungarno is named after the great mathematician, Fibonacci from Pisa. It is located between the Fortress and Vittoria bridge.
It is the seat of the San Gallo fortress, built during the Florentine domination in the XV century. In the XVIII century it lost its function as a fortress and became the place for private residencies. At the end of the XVIII century, while it was the property of the Scotto family, the internal part was transformed into a splendid garden, called the Scotto Garden. During summer, it hosts a lot of musical events with national and international artists.
In the evening of June 16th, a day before the San Ranieri patron Holy Day, the lungarnos of Pisa transform into a spectacle: the splendid buildings of the river bank became illuminated by 70.000 little lights and candles called "lampanini".
For further information please see our page about traditional events in Pisa.