Sant'Antonio: Historical Quarter in Mezzogiorno
If you have walked through Corso Italia and reached the Lungarno, but you are a real slow traveler and you want to see Pisa for real, you must explore the two historical quarters of Mezzogiorno then.
What should you see in Sant'Antonio?
Following this itinerary...
...you should see:
- Keith Haring's Mural
- Mazzini's House in Via Mazzini, 71. Mazzini lived in this house and died here in 1872. The house is now home to a very important library rich in original documents relating to the Italian Risorgimento, the period that lead to the unification of the nation
- Explore the little medieval streets behind Corso Italia: they are a perfect example of medieval architecture. And remember: look up!
- Once you are back on the Lungarno, after Palazzo Gambacorti, heading south, there is a very ancient church, Santa Cristina and opposite, there are the ruins of an old building. That was the house where Saint Catherine of Siena lived in Pisa and in the Church of Santa Cristina she received the stigmata
- The Lungarno Gambacorti has a number of incredibly beautiful buildings. Many of them are a perfect example of the typical Pisan Tower Houses, which were cut off by the Florentines after they conquered the city
- You will soon see a beautiful Gothic jewel, the little white marble Church of Santa Maria della Spina along side of the river. The name comes from the relic that was once kept in the church, one of the thorns from Christ's Crown, now preserved in the Church of Santa Chiara, inside the University Hospital. The statue of the Holy Virgin with the baby on the highest spire is by Nicola Pisano, although this is only a copy. The original has been moved to the national Museum of San Matteo
- A few steps past the gothic church is Ponte Solferino (Solferino Bridge), which marks the beginning of Lungarno Sonnino. This stretch of Lungarno between the bridge and the Porta a Mare City Gate (literally Gate leading to the sea), hosts two of the most interesting buildings in Pisa: the former Benedictine Monastery with the little church of Saint Benedict (1393), which now belongs to the bank Cassa di Risparmio di Pisa, and the beautiful church of San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno standing in a tree lined square and a very nice garden.
- San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno is one of the most beautiful places in Pisa, and every traveller should stop here. Legend says that on the riverbank here, Pier delle Vigne, a very famous poet, committed suicide after the false accusation of betrayal by his lord Frederick II. San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno was founded in 803 and it is also known as Duomo Vecchio (Old Cathedral). The inside of the church is very simple and suggestive and we recommend that you stop to admire the Roman Sarcophagus located above the left-hand side door which hosts the body of the famous philologist Burgundio (13th century)
- Chapel of Saint Agata: this little octagonal chapel is just behind San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno and it dates back to the 11th century, when the Pisans had it built to celebrate their victory over the Palermitans
- Porta a Mare: from this gate, perfectly preserved, the Florentines entered Pisa at the beginning of the 14th century and conquered the city
The historical Quarter of Sant'Antonio ends at the bridge called Ponte della Cittadella. If you cross the bridge you enter the historical quarter of Santa Maria.