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The city of Pisa, the capital of the province, owes its historical importance to its geographical location. Its location on the coast meant that between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries the city dominated the Western Mediterranean, mainly thanks to its powerful navy fleet. And Pisa was once much closer to the sea than it is now, because silt from the Arno river silts were deposited in the mouth, distancing the coast from the city.
It was during this time that Pisa became a rich and prosperous city, mainly through trade ties with Spain and North Africa. During these centuries there was also a real cultural and scientific revolution in the city; it was also the period in which its most famous buildings were constructed, including the famous Tower of Pisa and all other buildings in the Campo dei Miracoli, or rather, the Piazza dei Miracoli.
But Pisa is also the city where important figures in history such as Galileo Galilei were born, and it was the headquarters of some of the most important universities in Italy.
However, assuming that you mainly came to the city to see its famous leaning tower, you will not be disappointed at all. But here is a little secret: it is not the only leaning tower in the city. Indeed, there are two others. Yes, you heard right. The marshy land on which Pisa sits sometimes yields to the weight of large buildings.
Do you want to know where the other two towers are? Go to the end of Campo dei Miracoli, opposite the Tower of Pisa and with the Duomo to your left go to the winding Via Santa Maria. Walk south along this street about 700 metres and one block before reaching the Arno river, stop at the San Nicola Church. Look at the bell tower. Surprising, right?
The third Leaning Tower is even more unknown by tourists and is a little further away, just over two kilometres from here along the banks of the river to the east. It is the bell tower of the Church of San Michele degli Scalzi. You can see it from afar.
As well as the leaning towers of Pisa, remember to pay attention to the other buildings located in the aforementioned Piazza dei Miracoli, including the Duomo, the Baptistery and the Camposanto. And if you have time, make sure you go to the small church of Santa Maria della Spina and the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo. You will be enchanted.
You could also enjoy some of the student and university environment; visit the Piazza dei Cavalieri, where you will also find spectacular buildings that combine various architectural styles.
As you can see, Pisa is much more than a beautiful sloping tower.