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History & Culture

History & Culture
of the city of Pisa
Traditions, famous people, curiosities

Traditional events in Pisa

Pisa is a city that combines ancient splendor with needs of the modern city and its large number of student population. It offers a very busy calendar of holidays and events for everybody's taste: from traditional celebrations, like the one for S. Ranieri, the patron of the city, over medieval feasts like Gioco del Ponte, to the contemporary events placed in this beautiful ancient scenery.


The evening of June 16th, a day before the day dedicated to San Ranieri, the patron of Pisa, the lungarnos become illuminated with little lights and candles: every window and every door of these splendid buildings that embrace lungarnos are bearing more that 70 000 lights, called "lampanini".
The scenery is very unique and indescribable: all the city's life is concentrated there, people pass around, crossing the bridges and walking around the lungarnos and Pisa becomes a real living fairy tale.
The night culminates with the fabulous fireworks - a great spectacle.
It's curious how the only building illuminated out of the Arno area is the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

If you'd like to see this spectacular event, watch the video of la Luminare made by Toscanae Tirreno:


regatta for san ranieriJune 17th, for the celebration of the patron of Pisa, San Ranieri, the Arno river hosts the historic regatta.
This regatta has medieval origins and boats from four Pisa's downtown quarters take part in it.
Santa Maria, San Fancesco, San Martino and Sant' Antonio distinguish one from another by different color combinations:

  • white and blue for Santa Maria;
  • white and yellow for San Franceso;
  • white and red for San Martino;
  • white and green for Sant'Antonio.


gioco del ponte

Gioco del Ponte is a traditional medieval festivity held every year in summer on the Ponte di Mezzo in Pisa.
The game represents the battle between the Pisan quarters united at the Mezzogiorno and Tramonta sides.
Each side pushes the carriage in the middle in order to win over the "enemy". The game finishes when the flag of the side in which direction the carriage is going finally falls down.

The North side of Arno - Tramontana consists 6 city quarters:

  • Santa Maria
  • San Francesco
  • San Michele
  • Mattaccini
  • Satiri
  • Calci

The South side of Arno - Mezzogiorno unites other 6 quarters:

  • Sant'Antonio
  • San Martino
  • San Marco
  • Leoni
  • Dragoni
  • Delfini