On the foundation of Pisa are told various legends. One of them tells that the city was founded by the Ligurians, and his name would mean “marshy place”; according to other sources it would seem that the city had been built by the Etruscans, according to others that had been built by the Greeks, arrived in the peninsula since the end of the Trojan War. Latin and Greek writers such as Strabo, Virgil, Honorato Servio have expressed different opinions about it. What is certain is that the area has been populated since ancient times; the inhabitants were mostly traders and had first contacts with neighboring tribes, and later with Etruscan cities such as Volterra, Populonia and Bologna.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
In 180 BC the city was occupied by the Romans, becoming a colony with a military port. While Julius Caesar was in power, the city took the name of Julia Obsequens, and gained significant political and commercial privileges. At the beginning of the fourth century A.D. became the seat of the Archbishop, as evidenced by the fact that the bishop Gaudenzio is remembered in literary sources dating back to the 313. At the time when the Western Roman Empire was collapsing, Pisa could not be conquered and destroyed by barbarians thanks to its favorable geographical position. Later, the Pisani had to try to find agreements with the Lombards and Byzantines, who were advancing claims on the city.
Baptistery of San Giovanni – Stefania Consani
According to medieval historians, already in the seventh century A.D. Pisa had a major fleet, which became the basis of the power of the future Republic of Pisa. During the wars between the Franks and the Lombards for the domain of the central and northern territories, the king of the Lombards, when Pisa had paid allegiance, was defeated. The victory of the Franks meant that Pisa was attached to the Holy Roman Empire and inserted in the county-Duchy of Lucca. The rivalry between Lucca and Pisa lasted several centuries and visibly influenced the history of Pisa itself. Already in 1003 the city began a war for its independence, an end to a glorious victory that after a few decades, in 1080, gave birth to the Republic of Pisa. In the eleventh century Pisa participated very actively in the expeditions against the Saracens in southern Italy, freeing Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica. In 1099, during the First Crusade, the Pisan fleet accompanied the Christian army in the Holy Land and in no time Pisa became the first power of meditate Sea. Following a path deviation of the Arno, the ancient port is burying. Today it is hard to imagine that Pisa, from the eleventh to the thirteenth century, like Genoa and Venice was a powerful maritime republic.
Inside the Cathedral of Pisa “Harsh Light”
Its flourishing was due to geographical advantages: proximity to the sea, the lagoon and the happy position of the Arno, which directly connected the city to the sea. It is no exaggeration, then, to affirm that the maritime trade decided the destinies of cities and nations of that time. Pisa, in fact, established trade relations with Byzantium, the North Africa and Corsica. Between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Pisa they flourished architecture and the fine arts; He puts his own, in fact, the famous Pisan school. The defeat of the Pisans by the Genoese in the battle of Meloria in 1284, brought about the decline of the power and autonomy of Pisa. The annexation of the city to the Republic of Florence in 1406, closed the last chapter in the glorious history of the powerful Republic of Pisa.