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THE QUARTER OF SANTA MARIA

The quarter of Santa Maria (Saint Mary) is characterised by a beautiful part of the Lungarni (i.e. the part of the city along the river) i.e. Lungarno Pacinotti with a lot of old  palaces as Palazzo Regio.

Palazzo Regio (i.e. the Royal Palace) is an important building of the XVI century, where the Medici, the Lorena and then the Savoy families lived for a long time.

In the old palaces of the Lungarno Pacinotti lived also writers, poets and scientists like Dickens, D’Annunzio, Marconi.

There is also a nice little church called Madonna dei Galletti.

The other important Lungarno that is part of the quarter of Santa Maria is called Simonelli, from the name of the engineer that rebuilt this part of the city along the river. In this site we find the Arsenali Medicei (i.e. the Arsenal of the Medici family), where in the XVI century the galleys of the Knights of the Order of Santo Stefano[1] (Saint Stephan) were built.

In front of the Arsenali we have the medieval fortification called Cittadella Vecchia, with its beautiful Tower, the Guelf Tower.

Through via Santa Maria we arrive to the Miracle Square, with the most famous bell-tower of the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Via Santa Maria is full of Universities' Departments (humanistic and scientific Universities), in Pisa there is one of the first university in Italy (the Law University opened in 1343).

In the via Santa Maria beside the universities we have also an important Botanic Garden of the XV century.

The well-known Piazza dei Cavalieri (i.e. The Knights Square) is also a part of the Santa Maria quarter, here we find the University called La Normale founded by Napoleon in 1810, on the model of the école Normal of Paris, in the palaces where once lived the knights of the Order of Santo Stefano.

 


[1]  The Duke Cosimo of the Medici family founded this order to protect the city from the pirates of the Mediterranean sea.