The Historical Quarters of Pisa

The first settlements were on the northern shore of the river Arno, approximately where Piazza delle Vettovaglie is nowadays.

Pisa's city center is divided into 2 major areas and 4 historical Quarters (Quartieri storici), located in the area enclosed by the 12th century city walls, which are considered among the longest walls build in the Middle Ages.

The Historical Quarters of Pisa The Historical Quarters of Pisa

Pisa started to expand outside the city walls only at the beginning of the 20th century, therefore all of its history is actually embraced by the ancient town boundaries. The part of the city south of the Arno is called Mezzogiorno, the northern part is called Tramontana.

Mezzogiorno was once called the Town of Kinzica after Kinzica dei Sismondi, the main character of a very popular legend.

The story tells that she saved the city from attack by the pirate Musetto by ringing the bells in the middle of the night. On occasion of the historical Parade preceding the Regatta of the Maritime Republic, a girl plays the part of Kinzica and she represents the city.

The historical quarters of Sant'Antonio and San Martino are in Mezzogiorno, and Santa Maria and San Francesco are the two historical quarters in Tramontana.

Before starting your walk through the city centre, there is a rule that every visitor in Pisa should remember: you must look up. Pisa can only be appreciated if you raise your eyes and look at the beautiful buildings.