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The Story of Pisa 



The Mediaeval Town Series 



*ASSISI. By LINA DUFF GORDON. 

[\th Edition. 

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The Story of Pisa 
by Janet Ross and Nelly 

Ericbsen. Illustrated by 
Nelly Erichsen 




London: J. M. Dent & Co. 

Aldine House, 29 and 30 Bedford Street 
Covent Garden, W.C. ? ? 1909 




All Rights Reserved. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

From Legend to History .... I 



CHAPTER II 
Barbarossa and the Pisans . . . 25 

CHAPTER III 
Decline of the Pisan Power . . 46 

CHAPTER IV 
The Fall of Pisa 68 

CHAPTER V 
Pisa under the Yoke of Florence . . . 88 

CHAPTER VI 

The Appearance of the City ; Walls, Towers, 

Bridges, and Embankments . . .103 



Story of Pisa 

CHAPTER VII 

PAGE 

The Duomo, the Baptistery and the Leaning 

Tower . . . . . .150 

CHAPTER VIII 
The Campo Santo, its Frescoes and its Sculpture 197 

CHAPTER IX 
Churches . . . . . . .241 

CHAPTER X 

Pictures and Sculpture in the Museo Civico, the 
Archiepiscopal Seminary, the University, the 
University Library, the Natural History 
Museum and Botanical Gardens, the 
Archivio di Stato, the Opera del Duomo, 
the Universita del Cappellani, the Archivio 
Arcivescovile . . . . 307 

CHAPTER XI 
The Pa laces of Pisa . . . . .340 

CHAPTER XII 

The Surroundings of Pisa . . . . 376 



List of Hotels 408 

Index ....... 409 



VI 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

Between Walls and Mountains ... I 

S. \Maria della Spina ..... 46 

The Lung* Arno looking westward . . . 105 

Piazza de' Cava fieri . , . . .109 

The Walls of Pisa from the north-west . . 113 
Porta al Leone . . . . . .122 

Portion of an Intarsia Panel in the Duomo, 

showing fart of the City and Medieval 

Towers . . . . . .127 

The Torre della Campana . . . . 133 

The Uppezinghi Tower . . . . 136 

Medieval House, Vicolo della Sapienza . . 139 
The old Arsenal with Torre Guelfa . . . 141 

The old Ponte al Mare from an Intarsia Panel 

in the Duomo . . . . .148 

The Duomo, Baptistery, and part of Leaning 

Tower . . . . . .151 

The Silhouette of Pisa from the north . . 154 



Story of Pisa 

PAGE 

Detail of Column at the East Door of the 

Baptistery ... .183 

The Pulpit of Niccolo Pisano, Baptistery, 

Pisa 187 

The Leaning Tower and Apse of the Duomo . 193 
The Campo Santo . . . . .199 

The Tabernacle over the Entrance to the Campo 

Santo ....... 202 

The Hippogrffi Campo Santo . . . . 237 

S. Paolo a Ripa d* Arno . . .243 

Part of the South Faqade of S. Maria della 

Spina 251 

Trophy of Turkish Standards and a Gal ley- 
Poop, Church of S. Stefano . . . 297 
Campanile of S. Niccolo . . . .302 

The Thirteenth- Century Sea! of the Commune, 

Museo Civico . . . . 307 

The Imperial Eagle and the Cross of the 

Commune . . . . . .340 

The Birthplace of Galileo . . . .361 

S. Piero a Grado . . . . .376 

The Pine Woods of S. Rossore . . . 383 
Arms of Fico-Pisano . . . . .407 



Vlll 



Illustrations 

REPRODUCTIONS OF PICTURES 

The Ivory Madonna, by Giovanni Pisano, in the 

Sacristy of the Duomo of Pisa . frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

The Massacre of the Innocents, a Panel from 
the Pulpit of Giovanni Pisano, Museo 
Civico . . . . . . 17 

East Door, Baptistery . . . . . 32 

Tower of Famine . . . . . 54 

How Messer Johanni Del/ 3 Agnello rode to 
Leghorn to meet the Pope, and how the 
Pope refused to land . . . . 8 1 

How War began between Pisa and Lucca . 8 1 

Part of the Triumph of Death, by an unknown 

follower of the Lorenzetti, Campo Santo . 96 
Part of the Triumph of Death, by an unknown 

follower of the Lorenzetti, Campo Santo . 214 
The Glorification of S. Thomas Aquinas, by 
Francesco Traini, in the Church of S. 
Caterina . . . . . .289 

S. Ursula saving the City of Pisa from a Flood, 

by Bruno di Giovanni, Museo Civico . 304 

MAPS 
Ancient Map of Pisa, by Bonanno . . . 1 1 6 

Map of Pisa 408 

ix 



PREFACE 

^PHERE is not one, but a multitude of Pisas 
pre- Roman and Roman, Pisa of the Teutonic 
invasions and of the Duchy of Tuscany, Pisa of 
maritime supremacy, Pisa of the Crusades, Pisa of the 
guelphs and the ghibellines no end of Pisas, down 
to the sleepy little town whose mild winter climate 
attracts invalids. None of them save the first are 
entirely invisible in this twentieth century. Here are 
fragments of baths, there are inscriptions, elsewhere 
buildings still standing. The town to eyes that can 
see is an old curiosity shop, and its description 
may easily turn into the catalogue of a museum of 
antiquities. 

Writers on morals tell us that what they call sins of 
" omission " are no less heinous than those of " com- 
mission," but with a book on Pisa the statement is 
doubtful. There was so much to chronicle, and so 
many kind friends each with a favourite hobby, which 
for the moment seemed all-important, and then sank 
into comparative insignificance when a new one was 
broached, that the authors were often bewildered. 
They have kept the history, for which Mrs Ross is 
responsible, and the description of the city, which fell 
to the share of Miss Erichsen, who has also done the 
drawings, apart. 

They must express their thanks for the kindness 
shown them by Professor Clemente Lupi, Keeper of 
the State archives at Pisa ; Cavaliere Marini, Librarian 

xi 



Story of Pisa 

of the University there ; the Cardinal Archbishop of 
Pisa, who allowed them to see the archiepiscopal 
archives ; the Canons and Chaplains of the cathedral ; 
and the Priors of S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno and of 
S. Michele degli Scalzi. Their best gratitude is also 
due to Cavaliere Angelo Bruschi, Librarian of the 
Marucelliana Library at Florence ; to Dr E. Perceval 
Wright, of Trinity College, Dublin ; to the Rev. 
Principal Lindsay, of Glasgow ; and to the President 
of the Istituto Storico Italiano for permission to repro- 
duce two drawings from the Chronicle of Giovanni 
Sercambi. 

JANET ROSS. 
NELLY ERICHSEN. 



Xll 




BETWEEN WALLS AND MOUNTAINS 



Story of Pisa 



CHAPTER I 
From Legend to History 

. " gia del Tosco mare 
Donna e Regina, chi sara che tenti 
Scriver 1'istoria tua formata e vera? " 

Delle Istorie Pisane, Raffaello Roncioni, 
Archivio Storico Italiano, vi. 

LJOW many of the travellers who visit Pisa now 
remember that she is one of the most ancient 
cities of Italy, and was famous when Rome was but a 
hamlet ? They can see the ancient walls, but can 
they conceive that in the long history of the com- 
munity settled between the rivers Arno and Serchio 
the grey lines of buildings are but of yesterday ? They 
may perhaps remember that a palace of Hadrian, one 
of the greatest of Roman Emperors, stood where the 
cathedral now stands ; that temples to Apollo and to 
Mars covered the sites of the churches of S. Pierino 



Story of Pisa 

and S. Michele in Borgo ; that at the foot of the Via 
S. Maria grave priestesses of Ceres sang hymns in 
honour of their goddess, who ripened the golden corn 
which covered the plains from the Monte Pisano to 
the coast ; and that in a temple which stood in the 
Piazza S. Andrea love-sick young men and maidens 
presented their offerings at the shrine of Venus, and 
made their vows to the goddess they evoked. But 
can they realize that in those far-off days, before our 
Christian era began, Pisa was a city so old that 
its beginnings were even then half-concealed, half- 
disclosed, in legends of her origin ? If her antiquity 
be almost beyond conception, it is harder still for 
our imagination to realize the volcanic spiritual 
force which was pent within the small town whose 
whole extent, from north to south and east to west, 
can be traversed within the hour. Who can conceive 
as he saunters along the quiet Lung' Arno, or paces 
the almost silent streets, that he is inside the walls of a 
Republic which treated, almost on terms of equality, 
with Christian Emperors in Germany and in Constanti- 
nople, and with Moslem Soldans in Bagdad and in 
Alexandria ? What evidence remains of a merchant 
state whose influence, if not dominion, made itself felt 
from Spain to Babylon and from Aix-la-Chapelle to 
Carthage ; which had colonies and exchanges in the 
valley of the Nile and on the banks of the Orontes, 
in Cyprus and in Sicily, on both coasts of the 
Adriatic, in North Africa and in Spain, whose fleets 
swept every part of the Mediterranean and had reduced 
to subjection Sardinia, Corsica, and the Balearic 
Islands ? Where can one see traces of a judicature 
whose Consuls, Elders, or Senators heard the last 
appeals in suits which had begun in Pisan law courts in 
Acre, Joppa, and Jerusalem, in Antioch and Laodicea, 
in Damietta and Tunis , ? 



From Legend to History 

The greatness of Pisa began to decline in the thirteenth 
century. Since then she has lived on her memories : 
her motto might be fulmus. Her decay shows how 
powerless are the greatest material resources and the 
most strenuous mental energies against slow-growing, 
half-formed ideas, pregnant with the promise and 
potency of a new future. Pisa was ghibelline, and 
her rivals were guelphs. Whatever contemporary 
aspirations, associations, and prejudices gathered round 
these words, their root ideas instinctively represented 
the past and the future. The ghibelline clung to the 
imperialism of old Rome : his thought of a world-wide 
polity was a great cosmopolitan state like the Roman. 
The guelphic idea contained, hidden as yet but living 
in the germ, the modern conception of a brotherhood of 
independent nations. Pisa was ghibelline, and she fell. 

It is scarcely correct to speak of the history of Pisa. 
She had a succession of histories Pre-Roman and 
Roman, Lombard and Mediaeval, Florentine and 
Italian. All have left their traces on the city. 

Dionysius mentions her as one of the primitive 
Italian towns, either taken from the Siculi, or built by 
the Pelasgi and the aborigines. A nother tradition is 
that the Etruscans conquered the Greek city of Alphea 
and changed the name to Pisa. This is followed by 
Virgil :- 

" Hos parere jubent Alphea? ab origine Pisae, 
Urbs Etrusca solo. . . . " * 

In his commentary on the ^Eneid, Servius gives 
the seven legendary origins of the town which were 
current in his day, and says : " Alpheus is a river be- 
tween Pisa and Elis, cities of Arcadia where the temple 
to Jupiter Olympus stands. From this region came 
the founders of Pisa in Italy, to which they gave the 

1 Mncid, lib, x, 179. 

3 



Story of Pisa 

name of the former city, and so Virgil has added ' on 
Etruscan soil,' having said that its descent was from 
Pisa on the Alpheus. Pisa was in fact founded in 
olden days by settlers from the Peloponnese, that is, by 
those who followed Pelops into Elis. Some say that 
Pisus was a king of the Celts and a son of Apollo 
Hyperboreus, that he waged war with the Samnites and 
was received by their Queen when after the death of her 
husband she came to the throne, and that he founded 
a town in Etruria and gave it his own name. Others 
say that a youth of divine origin and of great power 
founded Pisa. Cato, in the Origines, says he does not 
know who were in possession of Pisa before the coming 
of the Etruscans ; but that it is ascertained that 
Tarchon, an Etruscan by birth, founded Pisa and 
adopted the language of the district ; for a people called 
Teutanes who lived there before spoke Greek. Others, 
again, say that a Phocian city used to stand where Pisa 
now is, and this is a proof that the town derives its 
origin from the Peloponnese. Others assert that the 
inhabitants of the town were Teutae and that the town 
itself was called Teuta ; and afterwards, because in 
their Lydian language Pisas meant matchless harbour, 
the city was thus named from the crescent of the moon. 
Another tradition is that the city was founded by 
Epeus, the builder of the Trojan horse, who was cast 
ashore at that spot with other Greeks ; and when the 
Trojan women, from fear of the mistresses to whom 
they were being taken, burnt the ships, he gave up all 
hope of returning, and remaining there built a city 
which he called after Pisa in the Peloponnese." 

In very early days we get a glimpse of the import- 
ance of Pisa. During the Ligurian wars several of 
the Roman legions were quartered there, communica- 
tion being easy with the imperial city along the great 
Via Aurelia made by C. Aurelius Cotta in 241 B.C, 



From Legend to History 

The road was continued to Vada Sabatia, the modern 
Vado, in 109 B.C., by ^Emilius Scaurus, and called by 
his name. Later, under Augustus, the road was 
carried through Genoa into Gaul, and the whole took 
the name of Via Aurelia. 

In 195 B.C. the Consul Valerius Flaccus marched 
against the Gallic Boii, and the Praetor of Etruria 
advanced on Pisa in order to attack the enemy on the 
flank and drive them back towards the hills. Two 
years later the city was only saved by the arrival of the 
Consul Q. Minucius from Arezzo, and in 1 80 B.C. 
she was made a Roman colony. She then elected her 
own magistrates, and the competition for office was so 
great and the rivalry so keen, that in the year of the 
death of C. Caesar, the grandson of Augustus (A.D. 4), 
we find that owing to serious disturbances at the elec- 
tions Pisa was left for some time without magistrates. 1 
From her harbour, Porto Pisano, at the mouth of 
the Arno, whose very site is now a matter of dispute, 
the Romans embarked for Gaul, Spain, Corsica, Sar- 
dinia, and the coast of Liguria. According to Tar- 
gioni, Repetti, and Canon Piombanti, Porto Pisano 
was situated near the old fortress of Leghorn. " Many 
ships sailed from there," writes Prof. Vigo, "during 
the second Punic war for the conquest of Corsica and 
Sardinia. In 225 B.C. the legion of C. Attilius 
Regulus disembarked there to join ^Emilius Papus in 
the Maremma, where the Gauls were defeated with 
great slaughter at Telamone. Two years later the 
Etruscan army started from Porto Pisano for Sardinia, 
and in 87 B.C. Marius landed there on his return from 
Africa." 2 Its importance as a harbour towards 

1 Rom.m Society from Ntro to Marcus Aurelius. S. Dill. LL.D., 
212. 

2 Miscellanea Livorncse. Prof. Vigo, Anno 2, p. 53 ; and 
11 Porto Pisano, by the Same. 

5 



Story of Pisa 

the end of imperial times can be gathered from the 
poets, Claudian and Rutilius Namatianus. The first, 
relating how Stilicho tarried in Pisa whilst preparing 
numerous vessels against the rebel Gildon, mentions 
Porto Pisano as the chief harbour of Etruria, while 
Rutilius calls it the famous emporium of Pisa and the 
source of her great riches. About 1100 the Pisans 
built two towers at the entrance of the harbour, and a 
third on the shoal of Meloria. Later they erected 
four other towers, of which some vestiges remain. 
When Pisa fell under the dominion of the Florentine 
Republic the fine tower, the Marzocco, was built. 
Gradually, however, the bay silted up, Leghorn rose 
in importance, and in the seventeenth century the once 
famous Porto Pisano was utterly abandoned. 1 

The old Pisan chronicler Marangone proves to his 
own satisfaction that his beloved birthplace was built 
1700 B.C., and was known as Alpheus until Nero 
changed the name to Pisa because the tribute of the 
Western Empire was sent there to be weighed (from 
pesare, to weigh). He gives a minute account of a 
magnificent temple built in honour of Diana by the 
Emperor Nero, which is evidently only a reminiscence 
of the Golden House in Rome. 

But little remains of the ancient splendour of Pisa. 
Broken statues, some fine sarcophagi, numerous in- 
scriptions, two in the Campo Santo, decreeing funereal 
honours to Lucius and Caius, grandsons and adopted 
sons of Augustus, are interesting as records of the 
municipal history of the Roman Empire. Two 
marble columns with fine capitals, belonging probably 
to the vestibule of a temple erected under the rule of 
the Antonine emperors, now embedded in the wall of 
the Cassa di Risparmio, and a small portion of a Roman 

1 Guida Storica eJ Artistica della Citta di Livonia. Canon 
Piombanti. 



From Legend to History 

bath, are all that can be seen above ground of Roman 
work. The latter shows that the land has risen at 
least eight feet in the last seventeen or eighteen cen- 
turies. Of the Pelasgian and Etruscan city there is 
no vestige. Dennis declares that most of the Etruscan 
urns and sarcophagi were brought from the neighbour- 
hood of Volterra in iSoS. 1 

In ancient days Pisa stood on a tongue of land 
formed by the confluence of the rivers Arno and 
Serchio (then called the Auser), and in the time of 
Strabo the city was only two and a half miles from the 
sea. Now it is about six. Colonel Mure notices the 
similarity in the site of Pisa of Etruria with Pisa of 
Greece, both standing on " a low, warm, marshy flat, 
interspersed with pine-forest." Dennis suggests that 
the analogy of site may explain the identity of name, 
derived by Colonel Mure from cr/ffo, a marsh, or from 
T/Vtfa, a pine, or fir-tree. 2 As a fact, the pine-woods 
near Pisa stretch for many miles along the coast, and 
the trees may be the descendants of those under which 
Rutilius, when weather-bound in 415, hunted the wild 
boar. It is evident from what he writes that little 
change had taken place in the position of Pisa since 
ancient times : 

" I range the old city of Alphean birth, 

Which Arno and Ausur circle with twin streams ; 
The confluent rivers form a tapering cone ; 
Its open front through scanty piece of ground 
Is entered, but in the united flood 
Arno retains its name, Arno alone 
Reaches the ocean." 3 



1 Cities and Cemettries of Etruria. G. Dennis, ii. 81. J. M. 
Dent & Co., London. 

2 I6id., ii. 79 n. J. M. Dent & Co., London. 

3 Rutilii Claudii Namatlanl de Rcdlti suo, Libri duo. Edited, 
with introduction and notes, by Charles Haines Keene, 

7 



Story of Pisa 

The Roman custom of erecting statues to eminent 
men was followed at Pisa, for Rutilius' chief object 
in walking there from Triturrita was to see the statue 
of his father Lachanius, Prefect of Tuscany, in the 
forum of the former city. 

What was the condition of Italy during the suc- 
cessive invasions of Italy by the Huns, the Herulii, 
and the Goths, none can say. In the eighth century 
Pisa was under the rule of Duke Allone of Lucca, of 
whose conduct Pope Adrian complained several times 
bitterly to Charlemagne. The favourite residence of 
the Marquesses of /Tuscany was at Lucca, but as their 
rule extended down to and along the coast, they had a 
palace also at Pisa, and old Luitprand gives her the 
proud title of " Tusciae provincial caput." One might 
be tempted to suggest that with the preference thus 
shown for Lucca, accentuated by her having the 
privilege of coining money, began the hatred and 
jealousy between the two cities. The first encounter 
between them was, according to Muratori, in 1003 at 
Aqualonga, during the civil wars occasioned by the 
rival claims of Ardoin, Marquess of Ivrea, and Henry, 
Duke of Bavaria, to the crown of Italy. Lucca took 
the side of the Italian, Pisa that of the German. 

The Pisans had, however, other and worse enemies 
to contend with. They had established commercial 
houses in many of the South Italian ports; indeed, in 
Bari and Trani whole streets belonged to them and 
at Bovino, near Troja, stood a Palazzo de' Pisani, while 
they had large dealings with the Greeks of Calabria. 
When the Greeks became unable to withstand the 
attacks of the Saracens, who ravaged the towns along 
the coast and bore away the inhabitants to slavery, the 

M.A., translated by George F. Savage-Armstrong. M.A., 
D.Litt. G. Bell & Sons, London, 1907. 

8 



From Legend to History 

Pisans sent a fleet to their aid. Whereupon, accord- 
ing to the legend, the Saracen Emir Moezz-Ibn- 
Badis, called Musa or Mugettus by the Italian 
chroniclers, left Sardinia, which he had conquered, 
and sailed up the Arno by night to attack Pisa in 
1005. The houses on the left bank of the river were 
in flames and the inhabitants in full flight, when a 
woman of the Sismondi family named Chinzica rushed 
across the bridge to the palace of the Consuls and 
gave the alarm. A statue was erected to her when 
the burnt portion of the town was rebuilt and called 
after her. 1 

After they returned from Calabria the Pisans deter- 
mined to p.inish Moe'zz, but a war with Lucca retarded 
the expedition. Benedict VIII. sent a Legate to 
Pisa, and it was probably owing to his mediation and 
diplomacy that Genoa joined with Pisa in an attack 
on the infidel in Sardinia in 1017. The allied fleets 
were victorious, and the Emir fled. The Genoese, not 
anticipating so complete a victory, had stipulated that 
the spoil of war should be theirs, while the Pisans 
were to take any territory that might be conquered. 
Dissensions broke out between the allies, and to secure 
possession of the island Pisa had to turn her arms 
against Genoa. Moe'zz made desperate efforts to 
regain Sardinia. Every spring an infidel fleet attacked 

1 Muratori throws doubt on the story. He says that 
Chinzica is an Arab word. Sismondi derives it from Kenn- 
zeichen, German for birthmark Repetti treats the tale 
with contempt, and says the only authority for it are the 
words fuit capta Pisa a Saracenis in a fragment of an old 
chronicle. Grassi tells us that in the tenth century the 
name of the southern portion of the city was changed from 
Gussalongo, or Spazzavento, to Kinsic, which means ex- 
change or mart in Arabic, on account of the Oriental mer- 
chants who dwelt there. Prof. C. Lupi, Inspector of 
Ancient Monuments in Pisa, confirms the Arab definition 
on the authority of Prof. Michele Amari. 

9 



Story of Pisa 

one or more of the ports, until the Pisans followed 
him to Africa, menaced Carthage, and took Bona, 
bringing back the Emir's crown as a present to the 
Emperor Henry II. Towards the end of his life 
Moe'zz, with the help of the Spanish Moors, again 
landed in Sardinia, and, with the exception of the 
town of Cagliari, made himself master of the island 
in 1050. We learn from the old chroniclers that 
Leo IX. sent a Legate to entreat the Pisans not to 
leave Sardinia in the hands of the infidels, proni : sing 
that if they wrested it from Moe'zz he would give 
them the island in perpetuity, on condition that they 
acknowledged the supremacy of the Holy See by 
paying an annual tribute. In despite of the people, who 
were weary of incessant strife, the Pisan nobles then 
equipped another fleet. Genoa, the Marquess Male- 
spina, and Count Gentilio of Mutica in Spain, joined 
them, and the allies disembarked near Cagliari. 
Although Moe'zz, in spite of his eighty years, fought 
with desperate valour, the Saracens were routed. 
Sardinia then fell under the dominion of the Republic 
of Pisa, and was divided into four Giudicati, or Judge- 
ships Cagliari, Torres, Gallura, and Arborea (now 
called Oristano). The judges afterwards assumed the 
title of kings and attempted to rule independently. 

The power of Pisa at sea was so great that the 
Counts Robert and Roger of Normandy, who were 
fighting against the Saracens in Sicily, applied to her 
for aid, and she sent a strong fleet to Palermo. 
Marangone entirely ignores the Normans and writes : 
"In 1062 the Pisans were seized with a desire to sail 
to Sicily, which was full of infidels. Having armed 
galleys, ships, and brigantines, in such numbers that 
not even a boat was left in Pisa, they started. A 
good wind took them quickly to Sicily, where they 
besieged Palermo, a large and fair city. At length 
10 



From Legend to History 

Palermo was taken, and the spoil and the treasure that 
was therein cannot be described ; and the Pisans, leaving 
a garrison to keep order, sailed back to Pisa. News 
of the victory had already been received, and the 
citizens were perpetually watching for the arrival of 
the fleet. When it approached all the people went 
out to meet it, not having patience to wait until it 
arrived at the city. And then was such joy, such 
embracing and such kissing that it seemed as though a 
thousand years had passed since they had met. Having 
brought so much treasure the Pisans determined to 
distribute it for the love of Christ and for His honour 
and glory, for which alone they had fought. S. 
Reparata, the ancient cathedral of Pisa, was not a 
fine building, so with the said treasure it was deter- 
mined to erect a stately church to be called S. Maria 
Maggiore. It is to be remembered that this cathedral 
was begun in 1063 and finished in 1 100. It was 
therefore built in thirty-seven years, whereby may be 
gauged the greatness of Pisa in those days, not only 
for the number of her inhabitants, but for her riches. 
He who has not seen the Duomo of Pisa has not seen 
one of the finest things in the world." 

During the last expedition to Sardinia the Pisans 
had also conquered Corsica, and, continues Maran- 
gone, "they lived in peace and tranquillity until the 
Genoese, who conceived themselves to be on an equality 
with the Pisans if not superior to them, could no longer 
endure to see such prosperity. Under the pretext of 
carrying merchandise to the East they armed twelve 
galleys, and entering the mouth of the Arno they 
landed and robbed the people. The Pisans called out 
their men and sailed forth with twelve galleys to attack 
those of Genoa. They took seven laden with spoil, 
the others fled, and the Pisans returned with great 
honour." Smarting under the defeat, the Genoese 

11 



Story of Pisa 

armed a number of swift galleys and invested the castle 
of Vada in 1075. The Pisans retaliated by taking and 
burning Rapallo, and harrying the country round, 
which caused the Genoese to return home. 

In the same year Gregory VII. gave his approval 
to a code of laws drawn up by the Pisans, called 
Consuetudine d't Mare (Usages or Customs of the Sea), 
for regulating maritime disputes. These were ratified 
six years later by the Emperor Henry IV., when he 
signed a treaty between the empire and Pisa. This 
treaty shows that the Pisans had already recognised 
laws or customs to ensure justice in questions concern- 
ing intricate matters relating to navigation. Hemmed 
in by Florence on the one side and by Lucca on the 
other, she of necessity became a maritime power. 
Gradually the whole sea-coast from Lerici to Piom- 
bino had acknowledged her supremacy, and the 
towns stood in much the same relation to her as the 
Latin cities once did to Rome. 1 The treaty also 
shows that Pisa had become an important factor in 
the Empire, as the Emperor promises not to nominate 
any Marquess of Tuscany without the consent of the 
twelve Consuls elected by the city of Pisa. 

Although good children of the Church, the Pisans 
had friendly relations with the infidels, which aroused 
the ire of the Countess Matilda's rhyming chronicler 
Donizone. He was most indignant that her mother, 
the Countess Beatrice, who died in Pisa in 1076, 
should be buried in a city contaminated by the presence 
of so many pagans instead of in her own castle of 
Canossa. 

" Qui pergit Pisas videt illic monstra marina, 
Hsec urbs Paganis, Turchis, Libycis, quoque Parthis 
Sordida, Chaldzi sua lustrant littora tetri," 

he writes in his debased Latin. 

1 Histoire da Republiques Italiennes. Sismondi, i. 361. 
12 



From Legend to History 

The small wars constantly recurring between Pisa 
and Genoa were put an end to for the time by 
Victor III., who succeeded in reconciling the two 
Republics and persuading them to attack the infidels in 
Tunis. The allied fleet took the city and destroyed 
Elmadia in 1070, a year after the Pope's death. On 
their return they determined to build a church in 
honour of S. Sisto, patron saint of the city, whose 
name day, August 6, had always been a fortunate one 
for them. Great were the rejoicings at Pisa when 
Urban It. made their Bishop Daimbert Primate of 
Corsica in 1091, and raised the See of Pisa to an 
Archbishopric. Three years later the Pope visited 
the Countess Matilda at Pisa, and no doubt inspired 
Daimbert with his enthusiasm for the crusade, as the 
Archbishop incited his flock to join with such fiery 
eloquence that they acclaimed him Commander-in- 
chief. Marangone declares : " If they had not feared 
to leave their city empty and go so far away, every 
Pisan would have enlisted, so great was the desire 
awakened in their hearts to join the crusade. Sailing 
over our seas they soon reached Constantinople, where 
was a Greek emperor named Alexis, who gave infinite 
trouble and annoyance to the Christians. Our people 
were assailed by Suliman, with Turks and Saracens in 
countless numbers. Had they not been succoured by 
Godfrey they would have been in great peril. The 
fight was strenuous and long, so that when night 
approached none knew who was the victor. But next 
morning we killed about 40,000 Turks, Medians, 
Syrians, Chaldeans, Saracens and Arabs, and Suliman 
fled, spreading abroad the report that he had been 
victorious." 

In glowing words Pisan chroniclers describe how, 
during the siege of Jerusalem, " Cucco Ricucchi, a 
most valiant soldier, bearing the banner of Pisa sur- 



Story of Pisa 

mounted by a crucifix, being intent on the battle, 
inadvertently turned the crucifix towards those who 
were behind him, and shouted with a loud voice, 
' Advance, O Christians, for you have conquered,' 
which was true. Ever after the Pisans bore the 
crucifix with the face towards those who came behind ; 
and tradition says that to commemorate this, Pope 
Paschal ordered the crucifix to be borne thus before 
him. It is written in all histories that Duke Godfrey 
and his brothers, Baldwin and Eustace, were the first 
to scale the walls of Jerusalem. But in the annals of 
Pisa this honour is assigned to the aforesaid Cucco and 
to Coscetto of Colle di Pisa. Of the latter we have 
the record carved in stone in Leghorn under the 
archway of the fortress, where are the following 
words : ' I, Coscetto of Colle Pisano, was the first to 
scale the walls of Jerusalam.' * To content both 
parties, let us say that the Pisans on one side were the 
first and Duke Godfrey was the first on the other." 
None of the old Pisan chroniclers, however, mention 
that a fierce quarrel broke out between the Venetians 
and the Pisans, and that the fleet of the latter was 
defeated off Rhodes. 

From William of Tyre we learn that Daimbert, 
Archbishop of Pisa, "a well-educated, pious, and 
prudent man, a friend to honesty," arrived at Laodicea 
(Latakia) in December 1099 with about 25,000 
Italian pilgrims, men and women, horse and foot. At 
Laodicea he joined the Counts Baldwin and Bohe- 
mund, and following the coast line they marched on 
Jerusalem. The towns were nearly all in the posses- 
sion of the enemy, their panniers (cistercias) were 
empty, and no food could be bought, as the country 
people refused to deal with them. Beasts of burden 
failed, so their march was toilsome and slow, and the 
1 The inscription no longer exists. 



From Legend to History 

weather being cold and wet, many died. But by the 
mercy of God at last they reached Jerusalem. 1 After 
much deliberation, the chief crusaders resolved in 1 100 
that the " venerabilis vir dominus Daimbert " should 
be made Patriarch of Jerusalem in the place of Arnulf 
of Normandy. This was done, says William of Tyre, 
to the great envy of Arnulf, which led to many 
evil consequences. Daimbert was invested with all 
the possessions privileges and rights, owned by the 
patriarchs in olden time and under the Greek rule. 
Then Godfrey and Bohemund, kneeling before him, 
asked to be invested, the one with the kingdom of 
Jerusalem, the other with the principality of Antioch, 
which was done. When Godfrey died (noo) he 
left the tower of David and the city of Jerusalem by 
will to the Patriarch. This excited the anger of 
the leading crusaders, and Count Gamier of Gres, 
Godfrey's cousin, seized the tower and fortified it. 
Whereupon Daimbert wrote to Bohemund and com- 
plained of Baldwin, claiming, partly by right as 
Patriarch, partly by the will of Godfrey, one-fourth 
of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, the tower of 
David, and the city of Jerusalem. This gave Arnulf 
the opportunity to intrigue against him. 2 When 
Daimbert heard that Baldwin was coming to Jeru- 
salem, knowing that Arnulf had accused him of am- 
bitious designs, he took refuge in the church of Mount 
Sion. 3 The quarrel between Baldwin and himself 
was, however, made up, and he crowned Baldwin 
King of Jerusalem in the church at Bethlehem, in the 
presence of the clergy and the people, the bishops and 
the chiefs. 4 

1 William of Tyre's Historia Rerum In Partibus Transmarinis 
Gestarum. Recueil des Historiens des Croisades, \, 386. 

2 Recueil des Historiens des CroisaJes, i. 387. 

3 Recueil, of>. cit., i. 410-11, 4 Ibid., i. 413. 

'5 



Story of Pisa 

After Baldwin had been crowned he marched with 
his whole force to Joppa (Jaffa), and summoned the 
captains of the Pisan and the Genoese fleets to meet 
him. A bargain was made that the third part of all 
booty taken in any town or on any battlefield with 
their assistance should be theirs. At the siege of 
Csesarea, where the fleet bore their part, each private 
soldier received about 7 in money and 2 Ibs. weight 
of peppercorns, Cassarea being the chief market for 
spices. In 1 104, when King Baldwin summoned the 
fleets to help him to invest S. Jean d'Acre, the Pisans 
landed their crews to manage the escalading machines, 
at which they were very expert, and, relying on 
Baldwin's promise that the inhabitants would be 
spared, Acre surrendered. But the Pisans and the 
Genoese, heedless of the king's word, seeing the 
citizens depart with much baggage, rushed through 
the streets slaying the people and seized all they 
could. The Franks, who had besieged the town by 
land, then also fell on the citizens, killed four thousand, 
and took possession of treasure and cattle. Baldwin 
was very wroth, but Daimbert entreated him on behalf 
of his townsmen, and peace was made between the 
Pisans and the king. 1 Arnulf, however, again sowed 
discord between the Patriarch and Baldwin, and a 
great quarrel arose. Mistrusted by the clergy and the 
people, Daimbert left Jerusalem for Antioch. There 
he was hospitably received by Bohemund, with whom 
he went to Italy to complain to Paschal II. that 
Baldwin and Arnulf had humiliated the Church in his 
person. The papers of accusation were sent to the 
Pope, who waited a long time to see if the accused 
made any defence. None being made, the Patriarch 

1 Bishop Albert's Historia Hitrosolymitana, Recueil^ iv, 
606-7. 

16 



From Legend to History 

was called to Rome, but he died at Messina whilst 
waiting for a transport in HO7- 1 

Besides the profit accruing from so many naval 
armaments which they supplied, the continual passage 
of private adventurers on their vessels, and the estab- 
lishment of new marts for their commerce, the Pisans 
reaped very material advantages from their expeditions 
to Syria and Palestine. From Laodicea in the north 
to Acre in the south, they obtained grants of land in 
most of the coast towns in the possession of the 
crusaders. Thus Tancred, in recognition of the aid 
they had given in conquering the Greeks of Laodicea, 
made a bargain with them in u 08 to be his allies, 
promising that if he took the town he would give 
them the arches of the colonnade (*uoltas prodomi} 
from end to end, i.e. from the upper end as far as the 
church of S. Nicholas, inclusive of the church, down 
to the lower end on the seashore, whilst in Antioch 
he gave them the church of S. Salvator. 2 They 
generally contrived to secure sites near the harbours 
for the erection of their warehouses, convenient for 
unloading and loading their ships, and built houses, 
baths, bakehouses and mills, and sank wells. Every- 
where they tried to obtain the right of having their 
own law courts, presided over by judges of their own 
nationality, who dispensed justice according to the 
ancient laws of their city. Sometimes they paid for 

1 William of Tyre's Historia Rerun in Partibus Transmarinis 
Gesfarum. Recueil, i. 404-6, 410-11, 456. 

2 Regesta Regni Hierosolymitani. Edited by Reinhold Rohricht, 
Innsbruck, 1893, and Appendix, 1894, i 1. yoltaiprodomimtans 
"arches of the colonnade ." These colonnades, common to 
many Eastern towns, were an especial feature in Antioch. 
See Ritter, Abhandlung d. Konigl. Acad. d. Wisicnschaft, 
Berlin, 1854, 345 ft seq., where he describes many of the 
towns as having colonnades leading to a church or other 
sacred spot. Also Adonis Attis Osiris. J. G. Frazer, 84, 94(). 

B 17 



Story of Pisa 

these privileges in money, but more often in warlike or 
transport service, procuring also the right of trading 
exempt from custom dues, and of acting as bankers. 
In one or two instances they actually acquired posses- 
sion of strongly fortified towers, to the envy and anger 
of their rivals, the Genoese. They bargained indis- 
criminately for these privileges with Christians or with 
Moslems, obtaining from the Moslem ruler of Egypt 
a free market in Alexandria, and the right of building 
warehouses and a court of law in Cairo. They also 
secured the site for a fondacco, or exchange, a free 
market, and their own court of justice as far east and 
inland as the city of Babylon. 

When the Pisans returned from Jerusalem they 
brought home great riches and much treasure. 
" Among other things," writes Marangone, " were 
the three most holy bodies of Nicodemus, Abiba, and 
Gamaliel, disciples of Our Lord. As usual, much of 
the spoil was devoted to churches and to public works. 
A gate was built, called Porta Legatia or Porta a 
Mare. Some have wondered that the city of Pisa in 
those days had neither walls nor gates, to which I 
reply that till then union had been so complete in the 
city that her citizens were her walls and her gates. 
Also, that artillery being then unknown, walls were 
unnecessary, and that Pisa had fifteen thousand towers. 
Every house was a tower, as can still be seen. Every 
battlemented tower armed a galley, and there was but 
one garden, where is now S. Pavolo all' Orto. Pisa 
was therefore strong without walls." 

During the absence of the Pisans in the Holy Land 
the Lucchesi had seized Ripafratta, so, after sending 
several ineffectual embassies to Lucca to remonstrate, 
war was declared. The Emperor Henry II. came to 
Pisa and took the side of his faithful ghibelline city. 
He ordered the Lucchesi to give up town and castle 
18 



From Legend to History 

to the rightful owners, and to sign a peace which lasted 
until 1 1 14. 

On Easter Sunday in 1113 the Archbishop Piero 
of Pisa, holding a Cross on high, appealed to his 
people to succour their Christian brethren who were 
languishing in chains in the Island of Majorca. 
Nazaredech, as the Italian chroniclers call Nasr-ed- 
Daulat, Emir of the Balearic Islands, had for some 
time been the scourge of the French and Italian 
coasts. The grey-beards who had taken part in the 
expedition against Sardinia were the first to acclaim 
the Archbishop, and exhorted the young men to join 
in the holy war. Their enthusiasm was contagious. 
Twelve of the principal citizens were chosen as leaders, 
and the spring passed in preparing the fleet. The Pope 
sent a Nuncio to bless the crusaders, and on August 6 
the fleet started for Sardinia to embark recruits among 
the Pisan nobles who held fiefs in the island. But 
contrary winds kept them fast in the mouth of the 
Arno, where messengers overtook them with the news 
that the Lucchesi were in full march on their defence- 
less city. Landing, they hastened back and beat off 
the invaders, and then, afraid to leave their wives 
and children exposed to another attack, they begged 
the Florentines to guard Pisa during their absence. 
Florence despatched two thousand men, who encamped 
two miles outside the city, and as none were left save 
old men, women, and children, the captain forbade any 
of his men to enter the gates under pain of death. One 
man disobeyed and was hanged. 

Navigation was not easy in those days. When the 
Pisans first sighted land they thought it was Majorca 
and went on shore to destroy all they could. An old 
poet relates that on discovering that they were devastat- 
ing the coast of Catalonia and killing Christians, they 
threw down their arms and gave way to despair, thinking 

'9 



Story of Pisa 

they were doomed never to find the Balearic Islands. 1 
Delayed by bad weather they preached the crusade 
against the infidel to the Spanish nobles, and in April 
1 1 14 the fleet reached Ivi$a. After a sharp struggle 
the island capitulated, and the Pisans sailed to Majorca. 
For a year the city held out, but was at last captured, 
and with a vast amount of treasure the Pisans returned 
home, bringing with them the wife and the little son of 
the Emir. Both were converted, and the boy so won 
the hearts of the Pisans that eventually they begged 
Pope Benedict to make him King of Majorca. His 
mother died in Pisa, and an epitaph on the front of the 
cathedral tells her story. In memory of the service 
rendered, the Pisans offered to the Florentines the 
choice between two doors of chased metal and two 
porphyry columns from Marjorca. The captain chose 
the latter, and enveloped in scarlet cloth they were 
sent to Florence, where they still stand outside the 
door of S. Giovanni. 

In 1 1 16 the Emperor Henry V. passed through 
Pisa on his way to Rome, and bestowed many privileges 
on the Archbishop, whereby he gained great popularity. 
But it soon waned when Pope Gelasius II., who was 
a Gaetani of Pisa, was driven from Rome by his 
persecutions and took refuge in his native city. The 
Pisans received him with all honour, and having just 
finished their cathedral begged him to consecrate it. 
The jealousy of the Genoese was aroused by the Pope 
placing the bishops of Corsica under the control of the 
Metropolitan church of Pisa, so they set sail with 
eighty galleys, containing, according to the Genoese 
chronicler Caffaro, twenty-two thousand men. The war 
lasted fourteen years. Ships were destroyed, villages and 
castles on the coast pillaged and burnt, but neither side 

1 Rertim Pisanls in Afarjorica gestai. Poema. Laurentii 
Vernensis, t iv., Rer. Ital. Scrip, 

20 



From Legend to History 

gained a decisive victory. At length Innocent II., 
who, like his predecessor, had been driven to take refuge 
at Pisa, interposed. To pacify the Genoese he named 
their bishop an archbishop, and instituted two new 
bishoprics on the Riviera which he placed under him ; 
Corsica was divided between the archbishops of Pisa 
and Genoa, while Sardinia remained as before under 
the Pisan See. In 1134 the Pope held a General 
Council at Pisa, at which S. Bernard of Clairvaux 
assisted, when the Anti-pope and all his followers were 
excommunicated. 

After peace had been signed between Genoa and 
Pisa, Prince Robert of Naples came to beg the Pisans 
to give aid to Naples and to himself. He had been 
forced to do homage to King Roger of Sicily, but refused 
to fight against Innocent II. in favour of the Anti-pope 
Anacletus II. Pisa, devoted to Innocent, consented to 
send 8000 men, but demanded 3000 Ibs. of silver for 
the expenses of her fleet, and the Neapolitans in order 
to pay melted down their church plate. All com- 
munication by land with Naples had been cut off by 
burning the suburbs, placing a line of outposts in the 
Campania, and erecting fortificatipns at Aversa. 
Amalfi, which Roger had conquered, had been de- 
nuded of soldiers, and her galleys had been ordered to 
Sicily. She was therefore defenceless, and fell an easy 
prey to the Pisans in 1135. They pillaged the town, 
and it is said that among the spoils were the celebrated 
Pandects of Justinian, which were sent to Pisa. 1 Their 

1 An opinion was long current that the Roman Law had 
fallen into disuse, and been forgotten in Italy and elsewhere 
in Western Europe. It was supposed that no copy of the 
Pandects existed save one which lay hidden in Amalfi, and 
was discovered when the city was captured in 1135 by the 
Pisans, acting in conjunction with the Emperor Lothar II. ; 
that the Emperor had presented it to the city of Pisa and 
that at the same time he had issued an edict that the Roman 

21 



Story of Pisa 

victory was, however, short-lived. King Roger 
marched across the mountains from Aversa, surprised 
the Pisans whilst they were besieging the castle of 
Fratta, and took 1 500 prisoners. 

A few months later Prince Robert again appealed 
for help, but the Pisans refused to enter into a new 
war without allies, so the Prince went to Germany, 
and S. Bernard, the holy Abbot of Clairvaux, wrote 
to the Emperor strongly urging him to punish Roger 
of Sicily, the only king who recognised Anacletus 
the anti-Pope. Ere the snows melted Lothar was 
on his way to Italy, and Pisa lent the Prince five ships 
which eluded the fleet of King Roger and entered the 
harbour of Naples with food for the starving people 
and news of speedy succour. By the Emperor's aid 
Innocent II. was reinstated in Rome and Prince 
Robert in Capua, while the Pisan fleet swept the seas 
of King Roger's ships and entered the bay of Naples 
in triumph. 

Law should be substituted for the German Law through- 
out the Empire, and had established schools for teaching it. 
But as a matter of fact the Roman Law had never fallen 
entirely into disuse. There is ample evidence that in the 
towns of Northern Italy learned men at any rate were 
acquainted with the Pandects, and probably also with the 
Code and the Institutes, while there is no reliable evidence 
that any copy of the Pandects was brought from Amalfi to 
Pisa, or that any such edict as alleged was issued by Lothar 
in regard to the Roman Law. It is, however, true that in 
the twelfth century there was a marked revival in the study 
of the Roman Law at Bologna and in other cities, both in 
Italy and elsewhere. The more probable history of the 
famous Pisan MS. which was taken to Florence after the 
sack of Pisa in 1406 and is now in the Laurentian library, is 
that given by Odofredus, a Bolognese jurist of the thirteenth 
century, who states that it was brought to Pisa from Con- 
stantinople in the time of Justinian. It is the only complete 
copy of the Pandects and dates from the sixth or seventh 
century. 

22 



From Legend to History 

Dissension soon arose between Innocent and the 
Emperor, and the latter left for Germany full of 
resentment against the Pisans who were devoted to the 
Pope. S. Bernard defended them in an eloquent 
letter in which he spoke out clearly to Lothar : " It 
surprises me how you can have formed a bad opinion 
of men who are worthy to be doubly honoured. I 
say this of the Pisans. They were the first, and till 
now the only ones, to uphold the flag of the Empire 
against her enemies. I say as was said of holy King 
David ; where amongst all the cities is to be found 
one like Pisa ? Obedient in taking up arms, obedient 
in laying them down, ever a supporter of the Empire. 
Who but the Pisans put to flight that powerful enemy 
the Sicilian tyrant and liberated Naples? Who but 
the Pisans, with their impetuous courage, took Amalfi, 
Ravello, La Scala and La Fratta, opulent and well- 
found cities hitherto deemed impregnable ? How much 
better it would have been to quit the faithful city of 
Pisa without anger ; for on the one hand she received 
the Pope with love and gave him hospitality, on the 
other hand she rendered great services to the Empire. 
I see, however, that the contrary has happened. Those 
who offended you have been rewarded, those who 
served you have been contemptuously flouted. Per- 
chance you have not been well-informed as to these 
matters. Now that you know, change your mind and 
your speech. Let men who are worthy to be highly 
honoured by royal favours receive what they merit. 
The Pisans deserve much and may deserve more. To 
a man of your judgment I have writ enough on this 
subject." The Emperor died ere the letter reached 
him, or the words of S. Bernard might have softened 
his heart towards the Pisans. 

In 1141 fierce war again broke out between Pisa 
and Lucca. The castle of Aghinolfo, now called 

23 



Story of Pisa 

Montignoso, always a bone of contention, was taken 
by the Lucchesi. " Then/' writes Marangone, " they 
collected a large force in 1145 to attack Pisa. 
Approaching the castle of Morrona they began the 
attack. But the Pisans had been warned and marched 
against the army of Lucca, which did not hesitate to 
show its face to the enemy. When the struggle began 
such was the ardour and the valour of the Pisans that 
in a short time the Lucchesi were routed. Few were 
killed but many were made prisoners, and the Pisans 
returned home in triumph. This generally happened 
when we fought with the soldiers of Lucca." The 
old chronicler adds that prisoners were exchanged 
but fails to explain how the Lucchesi, who were 
always beaten, had any prisoners. Indeed it is diffi- 
cult to reconcile the accounts of hostilities between the 
two cities given by their respective chroniclers. The 
Pisan writers recount a series of brilliant victories, 
whilst the Lucchesi declare that the Pisans were 
invariably beaten with great slaughter. At length the 
bewildered reader wonders how anyone was left alive 
to note down the incessant fighting. 



CHAPTER II 
Barbarossa and the Pisans 

\ A /HEN, in obedience to the fiery eloquence of 
VV S. Bernard, Conrad III. and Louis VII. of 
France started on the disastrous second crusade, the 
Emperor ordered that Genoa and Pisa should make 
peace, as he needed their fleets. The document shows 
how extensive must have been the trade of the two 
Republics. After mutually promising not to injure 
each others subjects, either in person or in goods, it 
continues, " If a Pisan injures a Genoese or a Genoese 
a Pisan, the malefactor is to be sought for from Capo 
d'Anzio to Capo delle Saline near Reggio, through 
Sicily, from thence to Venice, from Venice to Con- 
stantinople, from Constantinople to Syria, all through 
Egypt and Barbary, all over Spain, and from Spain 
to the Porto di Monaco, and in all the marine 
stations." 

The ignominious failure of the Christian arms in the 
East does not seem to have much affected the Pisans. 
They determined to still more beautify their city, and 
great were the rejoicings when the first stone of the 
Baptistery was laid on September 23, 1153. Columns 
were brought from Elba and from Sardinia to adorn 
it, and as the building proved to be more costly than 
had been anticipated a tax of one florin was laid on 
every family in Pisa, the number of which Tronci 
gives as 34,000. Soon afterwards Ripafratta, the 



Story of Pisa 

strong fortress, was erected as a bulwark against the 
Lucchesi under the Consulship of Cocco Griffi, 
whom Marangone describes as " a man of great 
ability, a lover of his country, and very wealthy. He 
also proposed to the people to build walls around the 
city. They were begun from the Porta Legatia to 
the Porta al Leone, which gate was made to give 
pleasure to the Florentines, and was called al Leone 
because all those who came from Lyons in France 
entered by it, and passing down the Via S. Maria and 
over the Ponte Nuovo, they went the Porta S. 
Antonio and so on to Rome. 1 In the same year the 
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa came to Pisa, but only 
tarried a few days as he was intent on going to Rome 
for the crown. The Pisans sent ambassadors to the 
Emperor at Rome, who received them with more 
pleasure and with greater honour than other envoys." 
It is true they had aided him in his struggle with the 
league of the Lombard cities, but he was probably also 
struck by the determination they had shown in 
obtaining commercial and trading privileges from both 
Saracens and crusaders all over the East. Thus 
Baldwin III., King of Jerusalem, with the consent 
and by the advice of his mother Milisend, made a 
bargain with the Pisans. They were to end all their 
disputes and quarrels, save those their honour required 
them to wage against the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the 
clergy of Cassarea, the abbot and monks of S. Maria 
de Latina ; the King to do likewise. The Pisans were 
to be loyal to the King and to serve him by sea and 
by land, while he promised to protect all Pisans, save 
those who carried iron, wood, fish, or arms to Egypt. 
Further, the King bestowed on them the Viscontado, 

1 Another and more probable account is that the gate was 
so-called because of a marble lion which stood on a bracket 
on one side. 

26 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

or Vice-Countship of Tyre, 1 which gave them a 
law-court of their own. Near Tyre he gave them five 
carrucata, or plots of land which could be ploughed by 
a yoke of oxen, and confirmed the privileges given by 
Baldwin II, to the Pisans of Tyre. He also engaged 
that his brother Almeric, Count of Ascalon, should 
make peace with the Pisans. Accordingly the Count 
made over to Villano, the Archbishop, and to the 
Consuls of Pisa, one half of his rights in the city of 
Joppa, and land for building ware-houses, houses, and 
a church, subject to the consent of the Patriarch, 
besides half the dues payable on all goods imported 
or exported by sea or land. When Almeric succeeded 
his brother as King of Jerusalem in 1141 he gave the 
Pisans a tract of land between the city and the port of 
S. Jean d'Acre in return for their help during the siege 
of Alexandria. To this he added the right of free 
trade in Egypt, permission to have a tribunal in Cairo 
of their own and to build ware-houses and a mill. 
The privileges in S. Jean d'Acre had been confirmed 
by successive kings of Jerusalem, and it is note-worthy 
that they all treated with the Commune of Pisa as 
with an independent power, without reference to the 
Marquesses of Tuscany. The archbishops of Pisa 
often acted as the representatives of the Republic as 
they had frequently done since the end of the eleventh 
century. We find castles, towns and whole districts, 
ceded or sold, entirely or in part, to the archbishops, 
the deed being, however, also signed by a certain number 
of citizens, generally the Consuls, as consenting parties. 
These two associates were destined to become rivals 
as soon as the Commune was acknowleged as a 
political body and took its place in the feudal hierachy. 

1 Viscontado is the equivalent to Consulship. " Et con- 
eedimus eis [Pisani] Vicecomitatem, sive Consulatum pro 
regenda curia et eorum honore in Tyro." 

2 7 



Story of Pisa 

In 1153 Alberto " Viceconies major" made a last 
effort to preserve the old authority of the Viscounts 
which was fast slipping from their grasp. The Consuls 
of the city garrisoned the towers and the highest 
tower-houses, and the streets were deluged with blood. 
The Viscounts were deposed, the taxes hitherto col- 
lected by them were declared to be the property of the 
Communes and the title Visconte then gradually became 
a family name. Certain tolls were, however, still 
enjoyed by the archbishops and the Opera del Duomo. 
On March 20, 1 160, Guelph, Marquess of Tuscany, 
whose election by Frederick I. had been ratified by 
Pope Adrian IV. a short time before he died, sum- 
moned a congress at S. Genesio. The Pisans, how- 
ever, refused to swear fealty to him, save in their own 
city. Six days later he entered Pisa and was saluted 
as Dux Pisanus. 1 In return he promised to pro- 
tect the Pisans, to keep neutral in the quarrel that had 
broken out at S. Genesio between Lucca and Pisa, and 
confirmed the ancient privileges and possessions of the 
Pisan archbishops and canons. This did not deter 
Archbishop Villano from going in an armed galley to 
meet Alexander III., who had been driven out of 
Rome by the Imperialist faction. He asked the 
Consuls to invite the Pope to Pisa, but they declined, 
out of love for and dread of the Emperor Frederick, 
to receive him. They could not well welcome a Pope 
whom the Emperor refused to acknowledge, after 
having given him such material aid during the siege of 
Milan. Frederick wrote to his faithful city of Pisa 
praising to the skies the valour of her soldiers, and 
the famous diploma of April 1161 followed. This 

1 That Pisa was regarded as the capital of Tuscany, at 
least in Germany, is shown by the title given there to Duke 
Godfrey, Pisanus Marchio et totus Tuscias et Italic domin- 
ator. Pert?, VIII. Chron. S. Huberti 581 anno 1069. 

28 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

exempted Pisan merchants from all fiscal duties in the 
Empire, bestowed the whole sea-coast from Porta 
Venere to Civita Vecchio on the city of Pisa in feudal 
tenure, forbidding anyone to make, or to use, a port, 
without her consent. Mazzara, Trapani, half of 
Naples, of Salerno, of Messina and of Palermo, were 
rather prematurely given to the Pisans with the 
adjoining ports and territory, and the absolute pos- 
session of a street in each of these cities. The 
Emperor also promised not to make peace with 
William of Sicily without consulting them, to attack 
Genoa and to seize Porte Venere for them. Their 
territory was enlarged to the east as far as Barbialla, 
twenty-eight miles from Pisa ; to the south-east as far 
as Querceto near Volterra ; and to the south as far as 
Cornia and Scarlino, about fifty-six miles distant from 
the city. 

When the King of Sicily heard of the intimate 
accord between Frederick and Pisa, he imprisoned 
every Pisan merchant in the Sicilian ports, and 
sequestered their goods. War also broke out with 
Genoa. It began with a conflict between Genoese 
and Pisans in Constantinople ; the latter had the 
advantage of numbers, they drove the Genoese out of 
the city and seized their merchandise. Genoa sent 
out armed galleys, devastated Porto Pisano, captured 
ships and took many prisoners. Then the Emperor, 
who needed the Pisan fleet for his designs on Sicily, 
interfered and insisted on peace. In January 1163 
the Pisans sent envoys to the Emperor in Lombardy, 
and they brought back a banner and a sword, given by 
him to show that he considered Pisa to be above all 
other Tuscan cities. Archbishop Villano, who had 
always ignored Frederick's anti-Pope Victor, returned 
to Pisa early in 1164, when he refused to permit the 
usual Easter ceremonies to be performed. In April 

29 



Story of Pisa 

Victor died at Lucca and the Emperor's Chancellor 
Christian, Archbishop of Mayence, hastened to elect 
Guido of Cremona Pope. When the Chancellor and 
Paschal III. came to Pisa, Villano's position^ became 
untenable and he retired to Gorgona, while the Con- 
suls received Christian and the anti-Pope with great 
honours. 1 

The Genoese, jealous of the supreme position of 
their hated rival, then incited one of the Sardinian 
Judges to declare himself independent, and to offer a 
large sum of money to the ever impecunious Emperor 
to be named King of Sardinia. Tronci describes the 
incident with a graphic pen : " Barisoni, Judge of 
Arborea in Sardinia, being richer than the others and 
puffed up with pride, bethought himself to increase his 
dignity by becoming King of Sardinia. Wishing to 
throw off the yoke of Pisa, he applied to her enemies 
the Genoese for help. In the hopes of wresting 
Sardinia from the Pisans and by underhand means to 
gain what they were unable to get by fair, they en- 
couraged him to take the name of king and sent their 
ambassadors with his to the Emperor. The Bishop 
of S. Giusto, who spoke in Barisone's name, pro- 
mised that the kingdom should be a fief of the Empire, 
and that a large yearly tribute should be paid, in addi- 
tion to a sum of 4000 marks of silver. Seduced by 
the idea of ready money Frederick granted the request, 
whereupon the Pisans raised their voices aloud and 
told the court that no living man should bring Bari- 
sone to the mainland against their will. The 
Emperor took offence, and asked the Genoese whether 
they would undertake to fetch Barisone. They 
answered that they would do it. Taking four imperial 
ambassadors they sailed for Sardinia and brought 

1 See Studi sul/e I slltuzione Comunali a Pisa. Prof. G. Volpe, 
1 66 ft seg., Pisa, 1902. 

3 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

Barisone to Genoa, from whence they accompanied 
him to Pavia. There, on August I, in the church of 
S. Sisto, Frederick solemnly crowned him King of 
Sardinia. The Pisans, unable to contain their anger, 
returned home." The whole transaction is like a 
comic opera. The Genoese lent Barisone money to 
give to Frederick and when they took him back to 
his kingdom the Sards declined to repay them, so the 
King was kept in prison for debt in Genoa. At last 
the Pisans sent an embassy to Frankfurt to negociate 
about Sardinian affairs. Frederick, probably thinking 
that the rich city of Pisa would be of more service to 
him than a bankrupt kinglet, graciously listened to 
their arguments. Summoning the Council of the 
Empire " with great pomp and solemnity he gave 
Uguccione the Consul the imperial banner, sealed the 
the deed of concession with his gold seal and signed 
it with his own hand. The Genoese ambassadors 
were present, and their disgust was as great at seeing 
Sardinia given back to Pisa with such honour as had 
been their joy when Barisone was crowned." 

Incessant fighting continued between the Pisans and 
the Genoese, and in i 166 Lucca joined with Genoa, 
"so great was the rancour and intense hatred they 
bore us," exclaims Marangone. "The Lucchesi ad- 
vanced to Monte S. Giuliano and the Pisans slowly 
marched to meet them, hoping that they would descend 
into the plain, which they did. Then the Pisans 
began to fight so bravely that in a short time the 
enemy was put to flight and pursued as far as Massa. 
Thus the Lucchesi were again beaten and the Pisans 
returned with great satisfaction to their city." Soon 
afterwards they captured several Genoese ships laden 
with merchandise, and during the following year the 
two cities seized each other's ships, and harried 
villages and towns on the coast. 

31 



Story of Pisa 

- About this time, the new walls round Pisa having 
been built, the old typographical division of the city 
into three parts, cinthicanus, foriportenis, and de Bur- 
gis, was abandoned. It was divided into the four 
quarters of Chinzica, Foriporta, di Mezzo, and Ponte, 
and the ancient walled city formed only one quarter of 
the new Pisa, that of di Mezzo. 

Frederick I. was in Lombardy in 1167, and sent 
his Chancellor, the Archbishop of Mayence, to Pisa 
to summon a public parliament. In the name of 
the Emperor he demanded that the Pisans should 
recognise Paschal III. as the true and only Pope and 
elect another archbishop to be confirmed by him ; and 
that they should join him in an expedition against 
Sicily and Calabria. The Pisans agreed to his de- 
mands, and when Frederick and his wife Beatrice 
came from Rome to Pisa they were received with 
great honour. "The keys of the city," writes Maran- 
gone, " were offered in a silver basin by the Consuls 
and a baldaquin of cloth of gold was held over their 
heads. All the people rushed to see such a triumphal 
entry, shouting * Imperio ! Imperio ! ' not for mere 
ceremony but with all their hearts. After vespers 
Frederick caused the people to be assembled and in 
their presence thanked the Consuls, not only for the 
honourable reception the city had given him, but for 
the galleys they had sent for his service. to Civita 
Vecchia and to Rome, and for other things the Pisans 
had done. Adding that he loved Pisa more than any 
other Tuscan or Italian city." 

Almeric, King of Jerusalem, sent an ambassador in 
1168 to thank the Pisans for the help given to him 
during the siege of Alexandria forty galleys and a 
great tower which they placed against the walls, and 
from whence they shot into the city. Marangone, as 
usual, declares that the city surrendered owing to the 
3 2 




EAST DOOR, BAPTISTERY 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

bravery of the Pisans, who thus won for themselves 
everlasting fame in Egypt and in Syria. The King 
gave them land at S. Jean d'Acre for building a 
church, which they did S. Peter of the Pisans. He 
also granted them a court of justice, with the right 
of being tried according to their own laws ; serious 
crimes, such as homicide and treason were, however, 
reserved for the King's court. 1 These grants gave the 
Pisans advantages over their enemies the Genoese, as 
they annulled, or transferred to them, privileges 
formerly belonging to Genoa. Almeric also gave to 
the Commune of Pisa every right of trade throughout 
the whole territory which they had occupied, and a 
curiam in the town of Babylon, besides exempting 
them from paying taxes in certain cities ; praying them 
to aid in protecting Jerusalem, which was menaced by 
the Soldan of Persia, by Noureddin, Sultan of Aleppo, 
and by Saladin. They replied that if they made 
peace with their enemies they would do all they could 
to help the King. Their " enemies" were, as usual, 
the Genoese, against whom they were perpetually 
sending out fleets, and the Lucchesi, with whom they 
were always fighting, and who tried to make a league 
against them. But Florence refused to join, and in 
1172 made a treaty with Pisa. Thus strengthened 
the Pisans attacked Genoese ships wherever en- 
countered, until they and the Lucchesi sent envoys 
to complain to the Emperor. He despatched Christian, 
Archbishop of Mayence, who summoned the repre- 
sentatives of Florence, Lucca, Siena, Genoa and 
Pisa, before him, and in the Emperor's name com- 
manded that strife should cease between the cities, and 
that the prisoners of war should be given up to him. 
Marangone says the Archbishop was bribed by the 
Lucchesi to demand the prisoners, and that knowing 

1 Regesta, op. cit., llj. 

c 33 



Story of Pisa 

this the Pisans refused, whereupon he drove them from 
his presence with contumely. The Florentines sided 
with the Pisans and left with them. Genoa then sent 
out her fleet and sacked the island of Pianosa, which 
belonged to Pisa. Another council was held in July 
at Borgo S. Genesio, when the Archbishop insisted on 
peace being sworn to within forty days by 1000 men 
of either city, and, continues Marangone, *' He de- 
manded as a surety that 100 citizens of Lucca, who 
were in prison at Pisa, should be given up to him, and 
these he sent to Florence ; fifteen Pisan cavaliers and 
fifty foot soldiers, who were at Lucca, he sent to 
Pistoja. Then this Archbishop, who had promised 
the Lucchesi to obtain the release of their prisoners, 
made other demands, all for greed of money. The 
Florentines and the Pisans refused to accede, so he 
seized and imprisoned them in Lucca. War again 
broke out between the Pisans and the Florentines on 
one side, the Archbishop, Lucca, and Genoa on the 
other. The Pisans sent ambassadors to the Emperor 
in Germany with bitter complaints of the conduct of 
his chancellor ; his reply was that all had been done 
without his knowledge, that he was coming to Italy 
and would then set things right." 

In spite of the incessant wars with Genoa and Lucca 
the Pisans found time to think of beautifying their 
city. In August 1174, after much debating about 
architects and plans, the first stone of the famous 
Leaning Tower was laid. In the same year the 
Emperor returned to Italy and found himself con- 
fronted by a strong league of the confederate Lombard 
towns. Completely beaten at Legnano in 1176 he 
was fain to consent to a truce of six years, and to 
acknowledge Alexander III. as the rightful Pope. 

In the interests of trade the Pisans must have made 
friends with Saladin, as already in 1173 he had pro- 

34 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

mised them the right of free trade throughout Egypt. 1 
Two years later they actually fought against the 
Christians as his allies. Marangone tells us that " in 
1176 William, King of Sicily, went with 150 galleys, 
and 250 ships for carrying horses and engines of war, 
to take Alexandria in Egypt. In the port was a 
Pisan ship which the Sicilians burnt, and then landed 
to attack the town, which was valiantly defended by 
the Saracens. The walls were destroyed, and many 
men were killed before they entered. Then the 
Pisans, ardently desirous of revenging their ship, joined 
the Saracens. After four days of hard fighting the 
Sicilians were put to flight. More than 100 horsemen 
and 300 foot-soldiers were taken prisoners, while 
1000 horsemen fled. The King, seeing his army so 
weakened that he was left almost alone, returned to 
his kingdom with small honour, and left the town to 
the Saracens." 

When the Emperor came to Pisa he was well 
received, although his decision about Sardinia, half 
of which he commanded to be ceded to Genoa, did 
not please the Pisans. The Genoese and the Lucchesi, 
on the other hand, were furious at his commanding 
them to dismantle the strong fortress of Viareggio, 
built at great expense as a menace to Pisa. However, 
noble Pisan youths met Frederick at the gate of the 
city with a baldaquin of brocade, and the Lung* Arno 
was magnificently adorned with triumphal arches and 
statues representing his splendid achievements. 

After long discussions peace was at last signed in 1 1 84 
between the Lucchesi and the Pisans, who were then 
enabled to give their attention to affairs in the East. 
Owing to the incompetence of Guy de Lusignan, 
Regent for Baldwin IV., King of Jerusalem, who had 
become blind through leprosy, Saladin had been 

1 Regcsta, op, at. 

35 



Story of Pisa 

enabled to cross the Jordan and to attack the Chris- 
tians. Convoys of food had been cut off, and there 
was a great famine. The Pisans, Genoese, and 
Venetians, who according to custom convoyed the 
cargoes they had brought from Italy inland, fared the 
worst. On July 6, 1187, Saladin destroyed the 
Christian army at Tiberias, towns and castles opened 
their gates to the victorious infidel, and on October 3 
Jerusalem capitulated. Tyre was saved only by the 
arrival of Conrad, Marquess of Montferrat, at the 
head of an Italian fleet. He confirmed the concessions 
made by Raymond, Count of Tripoli, to the Pisans in 
recognition of their services during the siege. The 
list is a long one. It includes many houses and the 
right of having bakeries in them, two horse-mills, and 
the bath that had been King Baldwin's ; besides 
allowing them to use their own coinage, weights, and 
measures (modii) for wine, etc., he added new privi- 
leges and liberties. 1 He also promised that if by the 
help of God the Christians won back Joppa, he would 
place the Pisans in possession of the houses that once 
belonged to them, and of rights and privileges such as 
they enjoyed at Tyre. 2 

Soon after the fall of Jerusalem Pope Urban III. 
died. His successor, Gregory VI 1 1., sent legates all 
through Christendom, imposed a universal tax, called 
Saladin's tithe, on all classes, 3 and knowing, says 
Tronci, " how necessary were the fleets of Pisa and 
Genoa, he came in person to Pisa in 1187 to make 
peace between the rival Republics." But he died 
after a reign of only fifty-seven days, and was buried 
in a sumptuous tomb outside the principal door of the 
cathedral. His successor, Clement III., was crowned 

1 Regcsta, op. cit., 177. 2 Regesta, op. '/., 178. 

8 The History and Literature of the Crusades. Heinrich von 
Sybel, edited by Lady Duff Gordon. London, 1861, 94. 

36 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

in Pisa on January 7, 1188. He reconciled Henry 
II. of England with Philip Augustus of France, and 
they both swore to abandon earthly quarrels and to be- 
come warriors of the Cross. Pilgrims thronged from 
Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia, but the zeal was 
not great in Germany until the Emperor Frederick 
Barbarossa, at the age of near seventy, took the Cross 
in March 1188, and by his firm and powerfull will 
collected together a mass of nearly 100,000 pilgrims. 1 
He drove out all disorderly and useless persons from 
his camp and led a compact army of 20,000 knights 
and 50,000 soldiers across Asia Minor. Hope rose 
high among the Christians as the great Emperor 
entered Cilicia ; Saladin declared his intention of 
retreating across the Euphrates as soon as Frederick 
arrived in Syria, the Emirs prepared for flight. But, 
on loth June 1190, as the German army was slowly 
crossing a narrow bridge over the rapid mountain 
torrent Seleph, Frederick, impatient to get to the front, 
urged his horse into the stream and was swept away by 
the raging waters. When drawn out, far down the 
river, he was a corpse. 2 His son Henry returned to 
Germany after his father's death, and in 1192 went 
to Rome to be crowned Emperor by Celestin III. 
Tancred, King of Sicily, was in open revolt against 
the Church, so the Pope commanded that Constance, 
who as the daughter of the late king was the rightful 
heir to the Sicilian crown, should quit her convent and 
marry the Emperor Henry. It was looked upon as 
well nigh a miracle when the Empress, a woman of 
fifty, gave birth to a son. 

Henry sent ambassadors to the Pisans, always the 
faithful allies of his father and of the Empire, to ask for 
help to subdue Sicily and Apulia, and thirty galleys 

1 The History and Literature of the Crusades, 96-7. 

2 Ibid., 107. 

37 



Story of Pisa 

were at once despatched. In return the Emperor 
granted them sovereign rights not only over their own 
city, but over a considerable extent of territory, in- 
cluding sixty-four smaller towns and castles. He gave 
them Corsica, Elba, Capraia, and Pianosa, confirmed 
the feudal rights bestowed by his father, and the 
privilege of electing their Consuls and magistrates. 

Pisa was probably governed by Consuls as early as 
1063. She certainly entered into costly and distant 
wars, as, for instance, against Genoa (1077), Tunis 
(1099), the Balearic Islands (1114-1116), and 
Amalfi (1135), without demanding the permission of 
the Emperors or of the Marquesses of Tuscany. 
Then, like other Italian Communes, she was governed 
by a Podesta, mentioned for the first time in 1 1 99 
and afterwards intermittently with Consuls, until the 
very name of the laws were changed, in 1236, from 
Breve del Consoli del Comune to Breve Pisam Podes- 
tatisy occasionally called Breve Pisani Communis. 1 Far 
more interesting than these laws, which were more or 
less common to all Italian cities, is the Consolato del 
Mare, the written code of maritime law, which Hallam 
declares " has defined the mutual rights of neutral 
and belligerent vessels, and thus laid the basis of the 
positive law of nations in its most important and dis- 
puted cases." 2 According to Schaube, it is mentioned 
in the history of Pisa in 1201, when the Tunisian 
authorities complained to " the Archbishop, the Consuls 
of the Sea, the Elders of the Commune, and the Men 
of Pisa in general," of the damage done in the harbour 
of Tunis by Pisan pirates. 3 But the charter granted 

1 Manuals di Storia del Diritto Italiano. Francesco Schupfer, 

377- 

2 Vieiu of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages. H. 
Hallam, 12 ed. in, 333. 

3 Das Consulat des Meeres in Pisa. Adolf Schaube, 4. 

$8 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

to Pisa in 1081 by Henry IV. seems to denote that 
it existed at an earlier date. The first statutes of the 
Ordo Marts that have come down to us are dated 1297, 
but many of the articles are evidently copied from far 
older documents, as they refer to Consuls as ruling the 
Commune, instead of to Elders and to Captains of the 
People. In the Breve Marts it is laid down that 
the statutes of the Ordo are to be revised every year by 
the Consuls aided by a notary. After 1311 the 
Breve di Ordo Maris were translated into the vulgar 
tongue (Breve dell* Ord'tne del Mare). But it was 
not a mere translation. Many of the statutes were 
considerably altered, and in 1336 fifteen new articles 
were added. Not only all shipowners, sailors, ship- 
builders, sail and rope makers, were put under the 
jurisdiction of the Consuls of the Sea, but also the 
men who worked in the docks and all strangers who 
brought goods into the Pisan waters, and even the 
brokers. The Consuls were charged to put down 
piracy, and had galleys for that purpose. If stolen 
goods came into their possession or into that of anyone 
belonging to the Ordo, the goods were to be returned 
to the rightful owner ; if they belonged to a Saracen, 
they were to be sent back by the first ship to the 
Levant. 1 

1 In the Campo Santo of Pisa is an inscription a copy 
made in 1811 from a transcript of a lost original which 
shows that in very early Roman times the shipwrights of 
Pisa had a guild, or collegium, which word was used then as 
it is at the present day, to designate a body corporate, which 
most probably had its own laws and its representatives. 
The translation runs: "Marcus Naevius Restitutus, of the 
Galerian (voting) tribe, son of Marcus, a soldier of the loth 
praetorian cohort, rests here, who left in his will to the most 
ancient and worthy guild of shipwrights of Pisa 4000 
sesterces, from the interest of which they are to keep up 
sacrifices for the dead and offerings of rose-wreaths yearly at 
his tomb. If this is not done^by them then by the same 

39 



Story of Pisa 

The Constitutum Legis and the Constitutum Usus 
certainly date from the first half of the twelfth 
century. Parts of the former bear the date of 1146, 
and it contains seventeen articles. The Constitutum 
Usus was first revised in 1160, but must have been 
far older, as the introduction states that the city had 
long been guided by usages which the Previsores, or 
Judges, had followed, but not unanimously. It was 
added to from 1221 to 1233, and contains twenty-six 
articles. Schupfer says that it is the best civil and 
commercial code of those days, combining much of 
the Roman law with some of the Langobard, but at 
the same time creating new procedures and modifying 
ancient ones, to suit a new order of things, particularly 
with regard to commercial matters. 1 

Meanwhile the Pisans were of great assistance to 
Philip Augustus of France and to Richard of England 
in the siege of S. Jean d'Acre. They made a huge 
machine called the Cat, which they pushed up against 
the walls of the town, thus protecting the sappers at 
their work of undermining. 2 But when they sided 
with Conrad of Tyre against Richard, the old chronicler 
declares that the king's friends could no longer bear 
their pre-eminence at sea, and their perpetual coming 
and going from Tyre. So they were expelled. But 
they speedily returned and received trading privileges. 3 
The old hatred between the Pisans and the Genoese 

arrangement, the carpenters of Pisa, receiving 4000 sesterces 
from the shipwrights as a penalty, will be bound themselves 
to keep up " (the sacrifices and offerings). The inscription 
will be found in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, xi. 14361, 
and in Pisa Illustrata, A. da Morrona, ii. 315. 
* JManualc di Storia, etc., op. //. , 392* 

2 Recuetl, op. cit., ii. 157. (From the continuation of 
William of Tyre's Historia, by an unknown author, written 
in old French.) 

3 Ibid., ii. 201-03. 

40 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

had broken out fiercely when they were at Messina 
with the Emperor Henry, and a pitched battle had 
been fought between the two fleets. Afterwards the 
Pisans incited some of their citizens, who were little 
better than pirates, to take possession of, and to rebuild, 
the castle of Bonifazio in Corsica. From this strong- 
hold they swooped down on passing Genoese ships 
and did untold damage. Genoa sent a deputation to 
complain, and the answer was that the Commune of 
Pisa had nothing to do with the rebuilding of the 
fortress or with the deeds of those who had installed 
themselves there, adding that they had also suffered, 
and would help in besieging the castle. The Genoese, 
furious at being laughed at, sent a fleet, took Bonifazio, 
and seized many Pisan vessels. War continued for 
several years, and at last Innocent sent legates to try 
and make peace. The Pisans refused, so the Pope, 
whose anger had been aroused by their acknowledging 
Philip of Suabia as Emperor, against his candidate 
Otho of Brunswick, excommunicated the city. In 
1 200, finding they were always involved in war, the 
Pisans built an arsenal at Porto Pisano large enough 
to hold seventy galleys, and a smaller one close by. 
The new arsenal was soon in full work as the Pisans 
attacked Siracuse, to whose help Genoa, and Henry, 
Count of Malta, sent a fleet. The besiegers were 
dispersed with considerable loss, so the hatred between 
the rival cities became intensified, and the chronicles 
contain little else than lists of vessels taken or sunk on 
either side. At length the expense and the loss of 
life induced them to listen to the Emperor Otho IV., 
who in 1210 arranged a peace, which was agreed to 
by 500 of the chief burghers and the Consuls of 
Genoa, and 500 noble citizens and the Consuls of 
the Sea of Pisa. Indeed the government of Pisa at 
that moment was in the hands of the Consules Pisa- 



Story of Pisa 

norum Ordlnis Mans. The citizens were divided 
among themselves ; some favoured the old system of 
government by the various bodies of Consuls, others 
the more concentrated rule of the Podesta, and the 
quarrel was accentuated by the mutual jealousy of the 
nobles. 

S. Francis of Assisi came to Pisa in 1211, and by 
his preaching gained many disciples. One of them 
was Agnello degP Agnelli, founder of the Franciscan 
monastery in Pisa, who became the first Guardian of 
the Order in France. Tronci says that " Agnello 
died in Oxford, after founding several monasteries in 
England, and performing great works and divers 
miracles. His body was placed in a wooden coffin 
in the church of his Order in Oxford, and when the 
friars decided to transfer his relics to a more worthy 
sepulchre they found his body had dissolved, not into 
dust, but into most sweetly odorous oil, in which his 
bones were floating." 

When Frederick II. was crowned in Rome in 
1 220 all the cities of Italy sent ambassadors. Accord- 
ing to usage they paid visits to the cardinals after the 
ceremony. One of these had a pretty and clever 
little dog, which one of the Florentine envoys ad- 
mired. " Knowing," writes an old chronicler, " the 
liberality of the Cardinal, he begged for the dog, 
and Monsignore promised to give it to him when he 
left Rome. A few days later the Pisans dined with 
the Cardinal and they admired the dog so much that 
he, forgetting it had already been given to the Floren- 
tine, offered it to them, but said he would keep it 
until they went home. The Florentine ambassador 
sent for the dog a few days before starting for Florence, 
and when the Pisans reminded the Cardinal of his 
promise, with much confusion he told them that the 
little dog had already been given to a Florentine." The 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

Pisans thought this was a studied affront, and meeting 
the Florentines in Rome they came to blows, and 
were worsted. When the Podesta and the Elders of 
Pisa heard of the insult offered to their ambassadors 
they ordered all the merchandise belonging to Floren- 
tines in Pisa to be seized, and refused to listen to any 
explanation. So in 1222 there was a great battle, in 
which the Pisans were worsted, and 1300 men were 
taken in chains to Florence. " Thus was manifested 
the justice of God," exclaims Villani, " that the 
Pisans should be punished for their pride, arrogance 
and ingratitude. These battles and disasters in Italy, 
particularly in Tuscany in the cities of Pisa and 
Florence, began for so miserable a thing as a quarrel 
about a little dog ; of which one can only say that it 
was a devil in the shape of a dog, on account of all the 
ills that came to pass." 1 

Ever faithful to the Empire the Pisans put a large 
fleet at the orders of Frederick II. for his expedition 
to the Holy Land, and in return he confirmed the 
rights and privileges they had acquired in Tyre, Acre 
and Joppa. When Frederick sailed for the second 
time to Syria, pursued by the excommunication of 
Gregory IX. (1228), he obtained for the Christians, 
by a masterly stroke of diplomatic policy without 
drawing the sword, the possession of the Holy Places. 
According to the Pisan Chronicles 2 the Pope, after 
inciting Sicily and Naples to revolt, wrote to the 
Soldan to advise him to attack the Emperor, assuring 
him that no help would be despatched from Italy. 
The Soldan sent the Pope's letter to Frederick, who 
returned to Italy, beat the Papal troops, and put down 
the rebellion in the Kingdom of Naples. The Pisans 
also fell under the displeasure of the Pope and were 

1 Cronaca di Giovanni Villani^ xi. 10. 

2 Croniche di Pisa, Rerum. Hal. Scrip., i. 500. 

43 



Story of Pisa 

excommunicated, which made them still more ghibel- 
line. So when Gregory summoned a Council to 
depose Frederick, and cardinals, apostolic legates and 
prelates assembled in Genoa to embark for Rome, 
forty Pisan galleys joined the imperial fleet under 
Enzo, the fair-haired son of the Emperor. A great 
battle ensued, several ecclesiastics and Genoese nobles 
were drowned, others were taken prisoners. When 
Enzo wrote to his father to ask what he was to do 
with them the Emperor answered : 

" Omnes Prelati Papa mandate vocati 
Et tres Legati, veniant hue usque legati." 

Legates and nobles were accordingly sent to him 
at Amalfi in chains, whereupon the Pope renewed the 
excommunication against the Pisans, deprived their 
city of all her privileges, deposed her archbishop and 
declared Sardinia free. 

When Louis IX. of France started for the abortive 
sixth crusade he sent to the Syrian ports to engage 
Italian vessels for the transport of his troops. But 
they demanded such exorbitant sums that the negotia- 
tions fell through. Instead of serving the King they 
fought among themselves ; the old French chronicler, 
under the date of 1249, says: " Et fu en Acre la 
guerre de Pisans et de Genovois qui dura XXVIII 
jors, et jeterent les uns as autres de XXII manieres 
d'engins, perrieres, trebuches et mangouniaus." 1 The 
following year the Sardinian judges, encouraged by the 
edict of the Pope, refused to obey the commands of 
the Republic ; so Pisa sent an army, the judges fled, 
and their places were filled by four trustworthy Pisan 
nobles. Consternation was general in Pisa when the 
death of Frederick II., at Firenzuola, was known. 
For him her citizens had braved the anger of the 

1 Recueil, op. cit., ii. 437. 

44 



Barbarossa and the Pisans 

Church and lain for twenty-nine years under interdict, 
and for him many had died. They at once acknow- 
ledged his son Conrad as Emperor and placed their 
fleet at his disposal for the siege of Naples. Soon 
after the surrender of the city Conrad died, and bitter 
war broke out in Tuscany between the guelphs and 
the ghibellines. The Lucchesi were attacked and 
beaten by the Pisans and the Siennese at Montopoli, 
whereupon the Florentines abandoned the siege of 
Tizzano, a castle near Prato, and marched in all haste 
against them. After a severe struggle the Florentines 
were victorious and Tronci writes: " Then was wit- 
nessed the inconstancy of fortune, for those Lucchesi 
who had been bound, and were being taken prisoners 
to Pisa, of a sudden found themselves free. They 
bound the Pisans with the same ropes and led them 
prisoners to Lucca.'* 



45 




S. MARIA DELLA SP1NA 



CHAPTER III 
Decline of the Pis an Power 

" . . . That mew, which for my sake the name 
Of Famine bears, when others yet must pine.'' 

Hell, xxxiii. 23, 24, Dante. Cary's translation. 

/^\F the political upheaval of 1254, which put an end 
^ to the rule of the Commune in Pisa and founded 
that of the People, we have no details. It is mentioned 
by an old chronicler in one short and pithy sentence : 
" In the time of the Podesta, Jacopo de* Avvocati, 
the People of Pisa rose and seized the government, 
taking it away from the nobles." What power the 
Podesta had possessed he now shared with the Captain 
of the People, but the real government was exercised 
by the College of Elders, who were elected every two 
months exclusively from the ranks of the burghers. 
Whilst the city was in the throes of revolution the 
Florentine army, having subjugated Volterra, appeared 
before the gates of Pisa. " Knowing/* writes Villani, 
" of the taking of the strong city of Volterra the Pisans 
were afeard. They sent ambassadors, bearing the keys 
of the city as a sign of humility, to the Florentines to 



Decline of the Pisan Power 

treat for peace. Peace was granted on the promise 
that Florentine goods should be for ever free of duty 
on entering or on leaving the city of Pisa ; that the 
Pisans should adopt Florentine weights and measures ; 
that they should not make war on Florence or give aid 
to her enemies ; and that either Piombino or the castle 
of Ripafratta should be given up to them. A Pisan 
named Vernagallo then said : " If we wish to delude 
the Florentines let us show ourselves more anxious to 
keep Ripafratta, thus will they take it." And so it 
happened. Ripafratta was taken and soon afterwards 
given to Lucca. It showed small discernment not to 
have chosen Piombino, a seaport." 1 The curious 
vein of childishness which crops up now and again in 
the Italians in the middle ages was shown by the Pisans, 
who out of bravado set a stone shaped like a bale of 
merchandise over the door of one of the towers they 
had built at Lerici, after taking the place from Genoa, 
with an inscription insulting to Genoa, Portovenere 
and Lucca. 2 Furious at being thus flouted, the 
Genoese and the Lucchesi attacked and took the 
castle, and the offending stone was taken to Genoa 
and destroyed with every mark of ignominy. 

The only cities remaining faithful to the ghibelline 
party were Pisa and Siena. The former was in con- 
stant communication by sea with Manfred, who incited 
her to attack Lucca. She also made a treaty with 
Alfonso, King of Castille, who had been elected 
Emperor by a strong party in Germany. The Pisans 

1 Cronlca dl Giovanni Fillani, ii. 83. 

2 Stoppa in bocca al Genovese. 
Crepacuore a Portovenere. 
Strappa borsello al Lucchese. 

Tow in the mouth of the Genoese. 
Agony to the heart of Portovenere. 
A rent in the purse of the Lucchese. 

47 



Story of Pisa 

marched against Lucca, but were lured into a trap and 
utterly routed by a combined force of Florentines and 
Lucchesi, while the Genoese disembarked in Sardinia 
and took the castle of Castro. So Pisa was forced to 
make a new peace with Florence, which was signed 
in September 1256 on very onerous terms. The 
Pisans had long been desirous of being reconciled to 
the Church, and the old chronicler says that " mutual 
friends of Alexander IV. and of the Pisans advised 
the latter to coin 3000 golden florins with the 
effigy of Pisa. This was done. The florins were 
put into a silver basin and offered by these friends to 
the Pope, who exclaimed ' Blessed be the city by 
whom these florins were coined,' and then he was told 
that they came from Pisa." Anxious to send aid to 
the Christians in Syria, the Pope raised the interdict 
under which Pisa had lain for twenty-nine years, and 
tried to make peace between her and Genoa. But 
Pisa remained obstinately imperial. In May 1261 
she joined the league " to the honour of King Man- 
fred and the ghibellines," and her fleet, with Manfred's, 
made a vain attempt to prevent Charles of Anjou from 
going to Rome to receive the Sicilian crown. He 
retaliated by seizing, on the pretext of a squabble 
between Provencal and Pisan sailors, merchandise 
belonging to Pisan merchants, and forbidding them to 
trade with Sicily. 

The death of King Manfred at Benevento in 1266 
was deeply mourned by Pisa, who, with other ghibel- 
line cities, sent ambassadors to young Conradin, grand- 
son of the great Emperor Frederick II., inviting him to 
come to Italy, and promising him help in men and money. 
This step cost Pisa dear. Early in 1268 Charles of 
Anjou and the Florentines devastated her territory, 
took many castles, seized Porto Pisano, and destroyed 
the towers which defended the harbour. An old 
48 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

chronicler remarks that Charles' men, being northerners, 
did not feel the cold of January, and thought it was 
spring. A few months later young Conradin arrived 
in Pisa, and was received with the honours due to an 
emperor. Pope Clement despatched legates to com- 
mand him not to advance, or to fight against King 
Charles, champion and Vicar of the Holy Church, 
under pain of excommunication. Conradin, however, 
writes Villani, " did not desist from his design, 
nor obey the commands of the Pope, it seeming to 
him that his cause was just, and that the Kingdom 
[Naples^] and Sicily were his by right. So he fell 
under the ban of the Church which he disdained and 
disregarded." Not only were Conradin and his chief 
followers excommunicated, but also the citizens of 
Verona, Pavia, Siena and Pisa, and the ghibellines of 
the Marches of Ancona. The young prince brought 
with him 500 knights, Pavia sent him 12,000 ounces 
of gold and Pisa gave him 17,000, so he started for 
the conquest of his kingdom with a light heart. The 
hopes of the ghibellines were, however, crushed at the 
battle of Tagliacozzo when Conradin was defeated, 
and the poor lad ended his life on the scaffold. The 
Lucchesi, reinforced by the Captain of King Charles 
in Tuscany, besieged and took Castiglione, in the 
valley of the Serchio, and advancing to the very gates 
of Pisa, according to custom, coined money to show 
their contempt. So disheartened were the Pisans that 
when Gregory X. passed through Florence in 1273, 
they sent ambassadors humbly to ask pardon for their 
past errors, to beg that the dignity of archbishop might 
be restored to the head of their cathedral, and that the 
Pope would intercede for them with King Charles. 
Gregory, who dreamed of another crusade, when the 
Pisan fleet would be most useful, granted their requests, 
and made peace between them and Charles of Anjou. 
D 49 



Story of Pisa 

Internal dissensions now broke out in Pisa. Ugolino 
della Gherardesca, Count of Donoratico, had become 
too powerful to please the Pisan burghers, so in May 
1275, he and the principal guelphs of the city were 
expelled. Obtaining aid from Florence, Lucca and 
the Tuscan guelphs, they overran the territory of Pisa, 
and took Vico-Pisano and other castles. This was 
followed by another raid, when Villani tells us that 
" out of fear of the Florentines the Pisans had made 
a deep canal, which joined the Arno, more than ten 
miles long, eight miles away from their city. They 
built bridges and defences, and erected small wooden 
loop-holed towers, and behind them stood the Pisan 
army. The Florentines, however, found an un- 
guarded passage across the canal, whereupon the Pisans 
fled in disorder, and were pursued to the very gates of 
the city. Many were killed and many were taken, 
and after this defeat the Pisans sued for peace and 
obeyed the Florentine commands, reinstating Ugolino 
and the other guelphs in their possessions/' 

Peace now reigned for a time, and Villani, who 
we must not forget was a Florentine and a guelph, 
continues: "At this time (1282) there were more 
powerful and rich citizens in Pisa than in any other 
city in Italy ; the Judge of Gallura in Sardinia ; 
the Counts Ugolino, Lapo, Neri and Anechino, and 
the Judge of Arborea, also in Sardinia, and they all 
held high state. The Pisans were lords of Sardinia, 
of Corsica, and of Elba, and their private revenues, as 
well as those of the Commune, were immense. It 
may be said that their ships had command of the sea. 
In the town of Acre they were most powerful, and 
were related to many of the rich burghers there. 
Jealousy had existed for some time about the island of 
Sardinia between them and the Genoese, whom they 
accounted almost as women in matters of navigation, 

50 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

and despised. In Acre, the Pisans insulted the 
Genoese, and aided by their relations among the 
burghers drove them out with fire and with sword. 
The Genoese thus maltreated, and being by nature 
proud, in revenge manned a fleet of 70 galleys, and 
in August 1282 approached within two miles of Porto 
Pisano. The Pisans sallied forth with 75 galleys, and 
the Genoese, seeing that the enemy was stronger, and 
that their own fleet was chiefly manned by Lombard 
and Piedmontese hirelings, would not accept battle, but 
returned home. The Pisans then arrogantly sailed to 
the port of Genoa and shot quadrangular silver shafts 
(quadrelle d'ariento) into the town, and then ravaged 
the coast by Portovenere and the Gulf of Spezia. On 
their homeward voyage it pleased God to send a 
tempest, with such violent and impetuous wind from 
the south-west that the fleet was scattered. Twenty- 
three galleys were cast ashore at Viareggio and at the 
mouth of the Serchio. Few men perished, but many 
returned to Pisa naked ; some had only a shirt on, as 
though they had been despoiled by an enemy. The 
Genoese, to revenge the insult received from the 
Pisans, like wise men ordered that no more foreigners 
were to be admitted on their fleet as had been the case 
hitherto, but only the best and most important of their 
citizens." 

This seems to have had the desired effect, for during 
the next year the Genoese twice beat the Pisans and 
took many prisoners and much treasure. Villani tells 
us that in 1284 the Pisans determined to take revenge, 
and armed 70 galleys. " They sailed to the port of 
Genoa and insulted the Genoese, took ships and boats, 
robbed and harried the coast, and then, with great 
parade and noise, dared the Genoese to come out and 
fight. Not being prepared, they excused themselves 
with fair and noble words, saying that if they fought 



Story of Pisa 

in their own harbour the Pisans would lose their 
revenge and their own honour would be small, but 
that if the Pisans would return to Porto Pisano they 
would arm their galleys, come with all speed to meet 
them, and be masters of the battle. And this was done. 
The Pisans departed with loud shouts of derision, 
mocking the people of Genoa, and returned to Pisa. 
In all haste the Genoese armed 130 galleys and ships, 
and under Messer Uberto Doria, entered the Pisan 
waters in August. With shouts and cries the Pisans 
embarked, some at Porto Pisano, some at Pisa. 
The Podesta Morosini, the Admiral Ugolino della 
Gherardesca, Count of Donoratico, and the chief 
citizens, went on board a galley in the city between 
the' two bridges, and amid great acclamations hoisted 
the standard. When the archbishop and the clergy 
came to bless the expedition the ball and the cross at 
the top of the standard fell, which wise men looked 
upon as an evil omen. But the Pisans heeded it not, 
and with great pride and shouting Battle ! Battle ! 
dropped down to the mouth of the Arno, where they 
joined the galleys from Porto Pisano. The number 
of vessels was 83. The Genoese awaited them on 
the high seas and engaged in battle off the island, or 
rather rock, of Meloria. Fierce and long was the 
fight, and many good men on either side died from 
wounds or by drowning. At length, as it pleased 
God, the Genoese were victorious. The Pisans 
received infinite damage by the loss of so many good 
citizens 16,000 men dead or prisoners and of 40 
galleys captured, besides those that were sunk in the 
sea. The galleys and the prisoners were taken to Genoa, 
and the only rejoicings made were processions and 
masses to thank God ; for which the Genoese were 
much commended. In Pisa there was lamentation and 
woe. There was not a house or a family that had not 

5 2 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

lost several men either dead or in prison. From that 
day Pisa never recovered her position or her power." 
Then it was that the proverb arose : " He who would 
see Pisa must go to Genoa." 

By many the loss of the battle was attributed to the 
cowardice, or worse, of the admiral. He is said to 
have fled when the Genoese captured the Podesta's 
galley, and he was the first to bring the evil tidings to 
Pisa. Roncioni states that Ugolino never forgot or 
forgave his banishment and his deposition from his 
judgeship in Sardinia ten years before, though he had 
been astute enough to hide his resentment after being 
reinstated at the instance of the Florentines. He 
defended himself so adroitly before the hastily sum- 
moned Council that they named him Podesta and 
Captain of the Forces. A contemporary chronicler, 
Jacopo Doria, who was evidently behind the scenes, 
says this was done because they hoped that being in 
high favour at Florence and at Lucca, he might pre- 
vent the guelph cities from forming a league against 
Pisa. His nephew, Nino Visconti, Judge of Gallura 
in Sardinia, was appointed Captain of the People, and 
together they expelled the chief ghibelline families 
from the city, gave several castles up to the Floren- 
tines, and ceded Viareggio to Lucca. Pisa was nigh 
losing all political liberty. Even Elders of the People 
were condemned to death. Only the Consuls of the 
Sea were respected, for we find that in 1286 both 
Podesta and Captain solemnly swore to observe the 
Breve Curia Ordinis Marts, and to include one 
of the Consuls of the Sea in any commission for 
changing the Breve Communis. The following 
year saw a change in the laws issued under the 
authority of the Consuls of the Commune. What 
once had been guarantees of liberty became in- 
struments of tyranny under the altered names of 

53 



Story of Pisa 

Breve Pisanl Commums and Breve P'tsani Populi et 
Compagniarum . 1 

Meanwhile Nino Visconti went to Sardinia where 
he obtained considerable influence. Ugolino, fearing 
lest he might establish himself there as ruler, sent his 
son Guelph to recall him, and when he returned re- 
fused to receive him again in the government, so civil 
war ensued. Archbishop Ruggieri degP Ubaldini 
then saw his opportunity. He offered to expell Vis- 
conti and advised Ugolino to visit one of his castles for 
a few days. Ruggieri then summoned the chiefs of 
the ghibelline party, and Nino Visconti fled to Calci. 
Dark looks and menacing words met Count Ugolino 
as he rode to the palace of the Elders, only to find 
the Archbishop installed as Podesta and Captain of the 
People, who declared that the Pisans were sick to 
death of his cruelty and tyranny and would no longer 
recognise his authority. Ugolino hastened to his own 
palace and sent his grandson Nino Gherardesca, sur- 
named II Brigata, to summon his friend and ally Tieri 
da Bientina, who entered the town by boat with 1000 
men. All night and all day fighting continued, and 
then, as Villani writes "fortune, as it pleased God, 
turned her face from him. The people rose in wrath, 
and unable to withstand so furious an onset the besieged 
gave way and the palace was taken. In the fight a 
bastard son ^Landuccio] of Ugolino's was killed, and 
one of his grandsons. The Count, two of his sons and 
two of his grandsons, were taken prisoners, and his 
followers and all the guelphs were driven out of 
Pisa." 

1 The former was revised in 1303, and nine times again 
between that date and 1338. The latter was revised six 
times between 1307 and 13249 in which year a translation 
was made, " so that persons who know no grammar, i.e. 
are not learned, can have a perfect understanding of the 
things they wish to know." 

54 




TOWER OF FAMINE 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

The Pisans engaged Count Guido of Montefeltro, 
who had been placed under the ban of the Church, 
as their Captain, so the Pope excommunicated the 
Commune of Pisa as an enemy and a rebel. Ugolino 
della Gherardesca, his sons Gaddo and Uguccione, 
and his grandsons Anselmuccio and Nino II Brigata, 
had been imprisoned in the Gualandi tower on the 
Piazza degP Anziani, or delle Sette Vie, and as the 
new Captain entered the city the keys of the prison 
door were thrown into the Arno. It was strictly 
forbidden to give food to the prisoners, who in a few 
days died of hunger. " With loud cries," writes 
Villani, "the Count had begged for absolution, but 
neither friar nor priest was allowed to approach the 
tower. The five corpses were taken out and ignom- 
iniously buried (see p. ) and ever since it has been 
called the Tower of Hunger. The Pisans were 
greatly blamed by the whole world for such cruelty. 
Not on account of Ugolino, who for his sins and his 
treachery perhaps deserved such a death, but for his 
sons and his grandsons, who were innocent youths." 
The Pope cited the Archbishop to appear before 
him after the deaths of the Gherardesca, but Ruggieri 
paid no heed to the twice repeated summons, or to the 
interdict which followed. 

Montefeltro had a hard task to procure soldiers as 
Pisa was surrounded by hostile troops. He however 
drilled five hundred citizens and defended the city 
against the Lucchesi, the Florentines, amongst whom 
was Dante, the exiled Pisans, and other Tuscan guelphs. 
The Lucchesi gave a polio to be raced for in honour 
of S. Regulus and then raided the country round and 
took Caprona. The great friendship between Dante 
and Nino Visconti probably dated from the campaign 
of 1289. 

The following year the Florentines and the Luc- 

55 



Story of Pisa 

chesi again marched on Pisa, while the Genoese 
attacked Leghorn and Porto Pisano. The two towers 
which guarded the entrance of the port were destroyed, 
lighters full of stones were sunk across the entrance, 
while the lighthouse was undermined and thrown into 
the sea with the men who were in it. In December 
1291 Count Guido took his revenge. Villani writes : 
" Hearing that the castle of Pontedera was carelessly 
guarded and that many of the garrison had gone to 
celebrate Christmas in Florence, he attacked it. The 
place was strong, with thick walls and many towers, 
and wide ditches full of water, which were crossed by 
means of small boats he carried with him. The walls 
were scaled with ladders of rope, and by reason of the 
bad watch, or as some say of the bad faith, of the 
captains who did not keep the number of men they 
were paid for, the castle was taken and the captains and 
their fifty soldiers were slain. (There ought to have 
been a hundred and fifty. ) Thus by their avarice the 
captains lost their own lives and brought shame on the 
Commune of Florence, for this was one of the strongest 
castles on the Italian plains." 

To revenge the taking of Pontedera the Florentines 
overran the Pisan territory, burnt villages, destroyed 
the crops, and then, as usual, held games and races 
outside the gates of the city. At last peace was 
concluded between Pisa and Florence on condition 
that the Pisans dismissed Count Guido of Montefeltro 
and reinstated Nino Visconti, Judge of Gallura, and the 
other guelphs in all their possessions. She was also 
forced to cede part of Sardinia and Bonifazio in Corsica 
to Genoa, who then set free the prisoners taken sixteen 
years before at Meloria. " The Pisans thought," 
writes Tronci, " to welcome home many, but of the 
16,000 men not 10 per cent, had survived, and most of 
them were either too old or too infirm to bear arms 

56 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

again. They were received with indescribable joy." 
In her distress Pisa adopted the singular plan of 
electing Boniface VIII. her Podesta, with a large 
salary. He raised the interdict and sent Count Elio of 
Colle as his Vicar. But he took advantage of the 
fallen fortunes of Pisa to make a treaty with James 
III. of Aragon, which contained a secret clause con- 
ferring upon him the island of Sardinia, on condition 
that he renounced his claims on Sicily. Meanwhile 
messengers arrived from the newly-elected Emperor 
Henry VII., announcing his speedy arrival and asking 
the Elders of his well-beloved and faithful city to send 
him money. 60,000 golden florins were at once de- 
spatched and an equal sum was promised as soon as the 
Emperor arrived in Pisa. In 1312 he entered the 
city amid great rejoicing. Through gaily-decked 
streets spanned with triumphal arches he rode first to 
the cathedral, and then to the Palazzo degl' Anziani, 
which had been prepared for his reception. He went 
on to Rome in April to be crowned, but left the 
Eternal city directly after the ceremony. Resting at 
Tivoli and then at Todi and Arezzo, the Emperor 
was persuaded by the ghibellines, against the advice of 
his German barons, to invest rebellious Florence. On 
September 19 the imperialist army was at S. Salvi, 
where Henry fell ill. Raising the siege he withdrew 
to Poggibonsi, and a ghibelline Milanese chronicler 
writes : " Those stupid Germans, always intent on thiev- 
ing, ignoring military discipline and knowing no mercy, 
robbed friendly and peaceful villages, burning what they 
could not take away." Famine stared the imperialists 
in the face and the Emperor determined to retreat to 
Pisa. But first he held a High Court of Justice, con- 
demned the guelph cities to lose their privileges and 
ordered their inhabitants to destroy their fortified walls. 
Those who had abetted in the rebellion against himself 

57 



Story of Pisa 

he banished the Empire and declared their goods to be 
confiscated. All the judges and notaries in Florence 
he dismissed, and fined her citizens, while the Com- 
mune was condemned to pay 100,000 marks in silver. 
As to King Robert, convicted of giving aid and 
encouragement to rebels, the Emperor deposed him 
and his heirs, and absolved his subjects from their oath 
of allegiance. The King answered by declaring 
Henry VII. to be unworthy of the imperial crown, a 
robber, and as loquacious and garrulous in his writings 
as any old woman. Early in March Henry reached 
Pisa, ill, without money, and with few followers. 1 
The Pisans furnished him with another sum of 60,000 
florins, but their welcome lacked the enthusiasm of 
former days. After repeating his condemnation of the 
guelph cities, and writing a long statement to the Pope, 
he marched on Siena, but on August 24, 1313, he 
died at Buonconvento, poisoned, according to some, 
in receiving the Holy Communion. His death was a 
bitter blow to the Pisans, who deposited the corpse of 
their Emperor in the church of Suvereto until a suitable 
tomb had been prepared, and two years afterwards it 
was borne to Pisa followed by 3000 citizens in deep 
mourning. 

The Pisans then offered the lordship of their city 
to the Count of Savoy and to Henry of Flanders ; 
who both refused. They then appealed to Uguccione 
della Faggiuola, who had been the Emperor's Vicar 
at Genoa. A brave man and a good soldier, he was 
so tall and strong that his armour would have over- 
weighted any ordinary man. According to Troya and 

1 Giovanni Sforza thinks that Dante went to Pisa with 
Henry VII., and there remained during the siege of Florence, 
and that the XIV. Canto of Purgatory and part of De Mon- 
archia, which he intended to dedicate to the Emperor, were 
written in Pisa. Dante e i Pjsani. Studi Sforici, Gio. Sforza, 

58 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

others it was to him that Dante alluded as the 
" greyhound " destined to save Italy. The poet knew 
Uguccione well. He was allied to him by marriage 
and had received hospitality in his castle of Faggiuola. 1 
Uguccione at once proclaimed war against Lucca, 
which was popular on account of the insulting words 
written by Dati under big mirrors he hung round the 
tower of Asciano, to show the Pisans what a strong 
place they had lost : " Oh women of Pisa, use these to 
look at yourselves." Buonconti, a fiery Pisan, sug- 
gested that two large mirrors should be hung on tall 
poles outside Lucca to prove that the ladies of Pisa 
did not lack mirrors. So the Pisan army marched to 
the very gates of Lucca, set up poles with mirrors 
hanging from them and wrote underneath in large 
letters : " Take these Bonturo Dati, who insulted us 
by saying our women had no mirrors. We send them 
to thee out of courtesy in order that thou mayst see 
thyself." Arrows were also shot into the town, 
with the inscription : " For thee Bonturo Dati who 
said the Pisan women had no mirrors." On their 
return the Pisans seized cattle, and took banners from 
several villages which they hung upside down in the 
cathedral of Pisa to commemorate the successful raid. 
Uguccione consented to make peace with Lucca on 
condition that Viareggio, Asciano, Ripafratta and 
other castles, should be surrendered to Pisa, and that 
the Lucchesi ghibellines should be reinstated in all 
their possessions. As this was not done he again 
attacked the city, and for eight days Lucca was given 
up to the tender mercies of Uguccione's German 
mercenaries and her Pisan foes. The Florentines, 
who had delayed sending help to Lucca, now awoke 
to the danger that threatened the Tuscan guelphs. 

l Del Feltro Alle^orico del Ghibellini. Troya. Napoli. 
MDCCCLVI. 

59 



Story of Pisa 

They still held Montecatini, and sent in all haste to 
engage Prince Philip of Taranto to come to their aid, 
besides summoning their friends from Bologna, Siena, 
Gubbio, Volterra and other guelph cities. Uguccione 
was encamped in the Val di Nievole with his Pisans 
and his Germans, the warlike Bishop of Arezzo, the 
Count of Santafiore, and the ghibellines of Tuscany, 
among whom were the Florentine exiles. For several 
days, writes Villani, " the enemies stood facing each 
other, divided by the streamlet Nievole. The Floren- 
tines, with many captains and small discipline, despised 
their enemies : Uguccione and his people with great 
fear kept good guard and perfect order." The con- 
sequence was that the guelphs were utterly routed, and 
that Uguccione became more powerful than before. 
But alarmed at the position Castruccio Castracane was 
attaining in Lucca, he sent orders to his son Neri, 
captain of the city, to kill him. Neri, knowing how 
popular Castruccio was, hesitated, and told his father 
to come to Lucca and superintend the execution him- 
self. No sooner had Uguccione left Pisa than an ox 
was turned loose. Several men rushed after it shout- 
ing, " The ox ! the ox ! " but as soon as a sufficient 
crowd had been attracted, the cry was changed to 
" Liberty ! liberty ! Long live the People ! Death 
to the tyrant ! " A rush was made for the Uguccione 
palace in Via S. Maria ; it was sacked and all his 
family were killed. The mob then attacked the palace 
of the Elders. Fighting continued for two hours, until 
Marino di Caprona, captain of Uguccione's cavalry, 
rode up with three hundred horsemen. After consult- 
ing with some of the nobles he was persuaded not to 
plunge the city into civil war ; Tronci writes that, 
" knowing the cruel nature of Uguccione, he bade the 
troopers halt. The people, no longer afraid, then 
forced the doors of the palace, and the troopers swore 
60 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

fealty to the Elders, who took steps for defending the 
city." News of the rising in Pisa reached Lucca 
before Uguccione, and the Lucchesi expelled his son 
Neri, liberated Castruccio from prison, and proclaimed 
him Lord of Lucca. At the same time the Pisans 
elected Count Gaddo, son of the munificent Bonifazio 
della Gherardesca il vecchio, Captain of the People, 
and Francesco della Mirandola, Podesta. 

Gaddo della Gherardesca was deservedly popular. 
He made an honourable peace with King Robert of 
Naples, with Florence, and with the other guelph 
Tuscan cities, reformed abuses and instilled fresh 
vigour into the magistrature ; under his wise rule 
Pisa began to breathe again and to recover some 
of her ancient prosperity. But in 1320 he died, 
and his uncle Nieri, who was suspected of having 
poisoned him, became Lord of Pisa. All was now 
changed. He secretly aided the Genoese exiles 
against their own city and against Florence, and the 
partisans of Uguccione della Faggiuola were recalled 
and reinstated in their positions as Elders and magis- 
trates. In 1323 an attempt was made by Castruccio 
to assassinate Count Nieri Gherardesca and his son ; 
but although Nieri was unpopular, the Pisans hated 
Castruccio more, and rallied round Gherardesca. In 
the same year the Judge of Arborea in Sardinia 
rebelled against Pisa in favour of the King of Aragon, 
who laid claim to the island in virtue of a decree of 
Boniface VIII., and after three years of fighting the 
Pisans were forced to cede Sardinia to the King. 
Discontent was rife in Pisa. In Corsica all had been 
lost save the bare title of ecclesiastical supremacy, and 
in the Levant, Pisan power had dwindled to nothing. 
Discord between the guelphs and the ghibellines 
became more accentuated with the arrival of Louis of 
Bavaria in Milan. The Florentine and other exiles 

6 1 



Story of Pisa 

and some of the popolo of Pisa made a demonstration 
in favour of Louis against Pope John XXII. and 
King Robert, so the Podesta expelled the exiles and 
banished many Pisans. Meanwhile Louis issued a 
proclamation declaring John XXII. to be a heretic and 
unworthy of wearing the tiara, and proclaimed Pietro 
da Corvara, a minor Franciscan monk of the most 
zealous type, Pope, as Nicholas V. On May 30, 
1327, Louis was crowned at Milan as King of Italy. 

Castruccio met the Bavarian, as the old chroniclers 
always call Louis, at Pontremoli, on his way to Pisa. 
But the Pisans shut their gates and refused to acknow- 
ledge an Emperor who had been excommunicated by 
the rightful Pope, or to allow his ambassadors to enter 
the city. They, however, offered a subsidy of 60,000 
golden florins, on condition that he withdrew from 
their territory. A siege then began which lasted two 
months. Castruccio was on the right bank of the 
Arno, Louis on the left, and the blockade was com- 
pleted by a wooden bridge upstream and a bridge of 
boats below the city. At length, in spite of the 
warlike counsels of the Archbishop and the Elders, 
Pisa capitulated on October 8, 1327, on honourable 
terms. She was to pay the 60,000 golden florins she 
had offered before, to preserve her laws and institu- 
tions, and Castruccio and the exiled Pisans were 
forbidden to enter the city. Louis and his wife made 
their entry without much ceremony on October u, 
and three days later the Pisans, partly to curry favour 
with Louis, partly from fear, burnt the treaty of capitu- 
lation, and agreed to receive Castruccio and the exiles. 
Feeling himself now absolute master, Louis demanded 
another 60,000 florins for the expenses of his journey 
to Rome, and in a few days 100,000 more for the 
pay of his troops. But first he accompanied Castruccio 
to Lucca, where he created him Duke of Lucca, 
62 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

Pistoja, Volterra and the Lunigiana, and his Vicar at 
Pisa. On December i 5 he left for Rome, and Cas- 
truccio reluctantly followed him. Then the Florentine 
guelphs saw their opportunity ; they took Pistoja and 
drove Castruccio's men back to Serravalle, who at 
once recalled their master from Rome. On reaching 
Pisa he assumed the position of absolute ruler, appro- 
priated the revenues, and imposed heavy taxes upon 
the city. In their distress the Pisans sent a large sum 
of money to Louis, requesting that he would bestow 
their city on his wife. He consented, and the 
Empress despatched Count Oettingen as her Vicar. 
Castruccio received him politely, but two days later 
summoned some of his trusty Lucchesi, imprisoned 
several of the principal citizens, and was acclaimed 
Lord of Pisa for two years by the people. He then 
started to retake Pistoja, which capitulated on August 
3. The heat and the fatigue he had undergone, how- 
ever, cost him his life. He died of fever at Lucca on 
September 3, 1328, at the age of forty- seven. 

When the Emperor heard that Castruccio was dead, 
and that his sons had been to Pisa and forced the 
Podesta to acknowledge them, he returned, and was 
" greeted," says an old chronicler, " with great joy 
by the Pisans, who were thus delivered from the 
Lucchesi. They roused his anger against the sons of 
Castruccio by telling him that they were in treaty to 
sell Pisa to the Florentines, so when the Duchess 
Pina, Castruccio's widow, came to implore the Em- 
peror to take her sons under his protection, he answered 
that he would examine into the state of the city of 
Lucca and the wishes of the inhabitants." Finding a 
strong party hostile to the Castruccio family the 
Emperor deposed them, and appointed one of his 
barons governor of Lucca. Then after exacting 
1 50,000 florins he returned to Pisa, where, according 

63 



Story of Pisa 

to JVillani, "on December 13, the Bavarian, who 
called himself Emperor, summoned all his barons and 
the chief men of Pisa, both laymen and clerics, who 
were of his party, to a parliament. The friar Miche- 
lino of Cesena, who had been General of the Francis- 
cans, spoke against Pope John XXII., and the 
Bavarian, with the air of an Emperor, pronounced 
his deposition. About the same time John XXII. 
held a consistory in Avignon, denounced the Bavarian 
as a heretic and a persecutor of the Holy Church, and 
declared his deposition. In January the anti-Pope 
Pietro da Corvara entered Pisa, gave plenary absolution 
to all who agreed that John was a heretic and unworthy 
to bear the title of Pope, and confirmed the sentence 
given against him by the Emperor." 

1329 was a miserable year for the Pisans. They 
were excommunicated by the rightful Pope, ruined by 
incessant demands for money by Louis, and their 
territory was harried by Baltrame del Balzo, King 
Robert's captain, against whom Louis refused to send 
his troops unless they were paid, " which was accounted 
a most vile thing." Joy was universal when in April 
the Emperor left for Lombardy. As soon as the 
Pisans heard that he was not returning to Tuscany, 
they begged young Count Bonifazio della Gherardesca 
novello, commonly called Fazio, to become their leader, 
and to drive out the Emperor's Vicar and his German 
hirelings. Count Fazio at once made an arrangement 
with his friend Marco Visconti to come to his aid. 
One Saturday the Pisans rose in revolt, cut the Ponte 
alia Spina, set fire to the Ponte Nouvo, which was 
built of wood, and barricaded the Ponte Vecchio so 
that the Emperor's men could not cross to the quarter 
of Chinzica, where Fazio and Visconti were. The 
Vicar, seeing no chance of re-establishing his authority, 
left the city with his troops, and Count Fazio became 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

Lord of Pisa. He sent the anti-Pope for safe custody 
to one of his castles in the Maremma, and despatched 
ambassadors to John XXII. Peace was then made 
between him and the Pisans. The anti-Pope was 
sent to Avignon, the rightful Archbishop of Pisa was 
reinstated, and the Emperor's nominee, the warlike 
Bishop Gherardo of Aleria, was disposed. Louis at 
once created him leader of the exiles of Pisa, Genoa 
and Parma, and they seized castles belonging to Pisa 
and did much damage. Their friends in the city tried 
to provoke a rebellion against Count Fazio, but the 
Pisans loved him too well, and the mal-contents were 
expelled. Fazio must have been a remarkable man. 
As soon as peace was established he proposed to the 
Senate and the Elders to found a university. Am- 
bassadors were sent to Pope Benedict to ask permission 
to levy a tax of a tenth on the clergy for endowing it. 
The request was indignantly refused ; nevertheless, the 
university was opened early in 1340. In December 
of the same year Fazio died, universally mourned by 
the Pisans, who, out of love for him, elected his eleven 
year old son Ranieri in his place, with his father's 
trusted friend, Fenuccio della Rocca, as his tutor and 
adviser. 

For years the Florentines had cast longing eyes on 
Lucca. Early in 1341 Mastino della Scala began 
bargaining with them about the sale, and to clench 
matters he offered Lucca to the Pisans. They de- 
clined to buy, but suggested that they would lend 
money to the Lucchesi in order that they might pur- 
chase their own freedom. This did not suit Mastino, 
who, after hard bargaining, got 250,000 florins from 
the Florentines for what had cost him but a few years 
before 36,000. The Florentines, who had signed a 
convention with the Pisans that they would never 
attempt to subjugate Lucca, sent ambassadors to Pisa 



Story of Pisa 

to demand certain privileges which they knew would 
not be conceded, threatening vengeance in case of a 
refusal. The Prior of the Elders addressed the 
hastily summoned council as follows: "Magnificent 
lords and honoured citizens, we have met because 
Messer Mastino has sold Lucca to the Florentines, 
and now they go about saying * Messer Mastino has 
sold to us Lucca, and has given to us Pisa/ So now 
it is for you to advise what is to be done. They say 
that when Pisa is theirs, three of the four quarters of 
the city are to be destroyed. The fourth, which is 
Chinzica, they will spare and call Firenzuola. Say, 
therefore, what is to be done ? " One of the council 
spoke strongly in favour of peace with so power- 
ful a neighbour, but Giovanni Vernagalli rose and 
said : " Illustrious citizens, we are here to pro- 
mote the welfare and the greatness of our city and 
of ourselves. With all due deference to those who, 
speaking before me, said that the Florentines are 
powerful, which is true, that the sale of Lucca is no 
concern of ours, and that we ought not to think of 
going to war, I answer that the Florentines say * we 
have bought Lucca and Pisa has been given to us,' 
and they threatened us, as you know. My advice is 
that we accept war courageously, sacrificing our sub- 
stance, and, if need be, our women and our children. 
Let us at once lay siege to Lucca, God will aid us, 
for right is on our side. Perchance He will cast 
down their pride as a punishment for the thousand 
subterfuges with which they have cheated us." 
Vernagalli's glowing oratory turned the scale. War 
was declared, many citizens subscribed large sums of 
money, and in July the Pisans seized Ceruglio, Porcari, 
and the country round about. A few days later they 
invested Lucca. Known as good paymasters their 
army was reinforced by 1000 cavalry sent by Visconti, 
66 



Decline of the Pis an Power 

Lord of Milan, whilst Mantua, Reggio, Parma, Padua 
and Genoa, also sent contingents, and many ghibellines 
from the Romagna flocked to their standard. The 
Florentine army, chiefly consisting of Tuscan guelphs, 
was commanded by Maffeo da Ponte Caradi of Brescia, 
whom Villani calls a valiant soldier but not a good 
leader. Many were the skirmishes before the two 
armies met in October when the Florentines were 
beaten with the loss of 300 killed and 1000 
prisoners. But the Pisans did not succeed in 
taking Lucca, and for nine weary months they were 
encamped round the city. As no help came from 
Florence, Lucca capitulated on July 6, 1342, and a 
courier was at once despatched to bid Pisa rejoice. A 
peace \vas signed which lasted nearly fourteen years. 
Among the prisoners exchanged was Giovanni Visconti, 
brother to the Lord of Milan. Welcomed by the Pisans 
with great festivities, and given handsome presents, he ill 
repaid their liberality by plotting with the Lanfranchi, 
Gastani and others, to depose Ranieri della Gherar- 
desca and seize the lordship of Pisa, whilst Castruccio's 
sons were to occupy Lucca. The plot was, however, 
discovered, Giovanni Visconti fled, and the Pisan 
ring-leaders were beheaded. Lucchino Visconti took 
his brother's part, and together with Castruccio's 
sons entered the Pisan territory. For months fighting 
continued without either side gaining any decided 
advantage, until at last the great ghibelline, Filippo 
Gonzaga, made peace bttween them. 



67 



CHAPTER IV 
The Fall of Pisa 

1348 was a sad year for Pisa. Young Count Ranieri 
died after eating a dish of cherries and drinking wine ; 
according to the Lucchese chronicler Sercambi, " he ate 
and he drank what the Pisans are wont to give, that is 
poison." Civil war then broke out between the Bergo- 
lini, 1 as the poor youth's friends called themselves from 
the nickname Bergo which had been given to him, and 
the opposite faction of the Raspanti. 2 They fought 
whenever they met in the streets and set fire to each 
others houses, until on Christmas eve the Bergolini got 
the upper hand and Messer Andrea Gambacorti and 
his friends became practically masters of Pisa. Civil 
war had been bad enough, but a far greater disaster 
was the plague. " No man would speak to another," 
writes an old chronicler, "the father abandoned his 
son, the son his father, the brother his brother and the 
wife would not even look at her husband. So many 
died that few were left to bury them. Whoso touched 
money or clothes belonging to the dead died. In 
former times those who fell ill lingered two or three 
days, but this plague was so malignant that a man went 
to bed well and was dead ere the sun rose. Many 
died whilst talking, and the dead were so hideous that 

1 From bergolare, to be loquacious, or a facile speaker. 
Bagolare, or bagola, is still used in Lombardy for chattering. 

2 From raspare, to scratch, meaning that they scraped 
together money. 

68 



The Fall of Pisa 

people were afraid to look on them. All the shops 
were shut, nothing was done in the city save bury the 
dead, for each day there were from two to five hundred 
deaths. The plague lasted from January to September 
and more than seventy per cent, of the inhabitants died." 
The Emperor Charles IV. came to Pisa early in 1355 
and was welcomed as though he were a saint. It was 
reported that he fasted three times a week, heard mass 
daily, and by way of penance seldom slept in a bed. 
He commanded that the Bergolini and the Raspanti 
were to make peace and to swear fealty to him as their 
liege lord, and knighted two of Castruccio's nephews 
who belonged to the latter faction. Charles evidently 
delighted in splendid ceremonies. He determined to 
follow in the footsteps of the old Roman Emperors 
and to crown a poet. On May 15, 1355, clad in 
his imperial robes he led Zanobi da Strada, son of 
Boccaccio's master, into the midst of a great assembly 
on the Piazza del Duomo and crowned him with bays. 
Resplendent in his crown, and accompanied by the chief 
dignitaries of the Empire, Zanobi rode about Pisa amid 
the acclamations of a vast multitude of people. 
Boccaccio refused to recognise these Pisan laurels as 
legitimate, and Petrarch regarded them as an insult to 
the man loved by the Ausonian muses. 

When Charles left for Rome dissensions again broke 
it in Pisa, so when he returned he summoned the 
chief men of the city and angrily ordered that discord 
should cease. That night fire broke out in the Palace 
of the Elders where he was with the Empress. Charles 
then took up his abode in the Canonry adjoining the 
cathedral, sent for seven of the principal citizens of the 
Bergolini faction, and ordered them to be beheaded 
before him on the Piazza. He had been for some 
time secretly treating with the Lucchesi, who oftered 
him 1 20,000 florins to be freed from the supremacy of 

6y 



Story of Pisa 

Pisa. The arrival of the Pisan garrison from Lucca, 
which had been replaced by the Emperor's troops, 
caused the Bergolini and the Raspanti to forget their 
quarrels and unite in attacking the Germans. One 
hundred and fifty were killed, and the cry " down with 
the Emperor who is taking Lucca from us," resounded 
through the streets. Charles was preparing for flight 
when Count PafFetta and Ludovico della Rocca, 
leaders of the Raspanti, hoping eventually to obtain 
ascendancy in their city, came to him and said : " Fear 
not, the cry is * long live the Emperor, death to the 
traitors Gambacorti.' >: Placing themselves at the 
head of the German soldiery they attacked the palaces 
of the Gambacorti in the Chinztca quarter, took many 
of them prisoners, and dispersed their followers. The 
prisoners were examined on the rack and Matteo 
Villani writes : " Seeing that death was certain, in 
order to be no more tortured they confessed that they 
had intended to kill the Emperor and his people. 
Thus the unfortunate Gambacorti, who for long had 
governed Pisa so well and honoured the Emperor, 
were led in their shirts, bound with ropes of straw and 
with cords as boys would bind and drag along the 
vilest thieves, to the Piazza degF Anziani. There, in 
the mud and filth of the Piazza and of the blood of one 
another, they were beheaded. The poor corpses all 
bespattered with blood lay for three days, by command 
of the Emperor, on the Piazza." 

Not feeling himself safe in Pisa, where lamentations 
for the murdered citizens and curses against the Germans 
were beginning to be loud, Charles left at the end of 
May for Pietrasanta on his way to Germany. Matteo 
Villani tells us ' he stayed in the fortress with the 
Empress, and every evening he locked the gates with 
his own hands and kept the keys in his room, which 
was in the round tower." 
70 



The Fall of Pisa 

To recoup some of the money extorted by Charles, 
the Pisans broke faith with the Florentines and imposed 
a tax on all merchandise passing through the city or 
through Porto Pisano, on the pretext that they were 
obliged to keep two armed galleys outside the harbour 
to guard against corsairs. The Florentines warned 
their subjects to clear their merchandise out of Pisa, and 
then made a treaty with Siena to pay 7000 golden 
florins a year for ten years for the use of the port of 
Talamone, and for permission to enter the city of Siena 
with their merchandise without paying duty. " This 
time," observes Matteo Villani, " the Pisans, who were 
cleverer and more cunning than other Tuscans, were 
caught in their own net. For when the Florentines used 
the harbour of Talamone and frequented Siena, the 
merchants from other parts of Italy did the same, 
and abandoned Pisa. So the city was emptied of 
merchandise, the houses were emptied of inhabitants, 
the shops of goods, and the inns of merchants and 
travellers. There was no traffic on the roads and 
there were no ships in the port. Then the Pisans 
perceived that their city had become a solitary castle, 
and their anger rose against those who governed them/' J 
Knowing how costly and inconvenient the new port of 
Talamone was for Florence, the Pisans thought to get 
back the lost trade by abolishing the tax and offering 
new facilities. But not a bale of merchandise came 
near Pisa. They then sent out galleys to intercept the 
merchant vessels and force them to go to Porto Pisano, 
whereupon Florence hired galleys from Provence and 
from Naples, and even captured a Pisan ship and forced 
her to to disembark her cargo at Talamone. For 
five years desultory fighting continued between the two 
Republics on sea and on land, until in 1362 open war 
was declared. The Florentine admiral took the isle 
1 Cronica. Matteo Villani, I. chap. Ixi. 

7 1 



Story of Pisa 

of Giglio and then attacked Porto Pisano, destroyed 
the towers, and broke the chain which closed the 
entrance to the harbour. The chain was sent as a 
trophy to Florence, dragged about the streets as a mark 
of ignominy, and four pieces were suspended to the 
prophyry columns outside the Baptistery, which had 
been given by the Pisans to Florence in in?. 1 

Pisa sent to engage the famous White Company 
commanded by a German, Albert Sterz, but before 
their arrival Piero Farnese, the Florentine general, 
attacked the Pisans. As there were few foreign mer- 
cenaries in either army, the fight was furious, and 
many men were killed on either side. The Pisans 
were beaten, and their general was taken with many 
other prisoners to Florence in triumph. Farnese then 
advanced on Pisa, and the Podesta called the inhabi- 
tants to arm and fight. '* not for Talamone, but for the 
walls of Pisa." Again the Florentines were vic- 
torious, and as usual money was coined at the very 
gates of the city. On the silver pieces was figured a 
fox, emblem of Pisa, lying on his back beneath the 
feet of the Florentine S. Giovanni, who held a piece 
of the chain of Porto Pisano in one hand. The 
plague now came to the aid of the Pisans. The 
Florentine army was decimated ; Piero Farnese died 
of it on June 19, 1363, and was succeeded by his slow 
and incapable brother, Rinuccio, as general of the 
Florentine troops. He was utterly beaten, taken 
prisoner at Ancisa by the Pisans together with 1000 
horses and large droves of cattle, while castles and 
villages were burnt within a short distance of 
Florence. 

1 The chain was restored to Pisa in 1848 with great 
ceremony, and now hangs on the western wall of the Campo 
Santo. Other accounts say the Genoese gave a piece of the 
chain to the Florentines. 

72 



The Fall of Pisa 

In January 1364 Sir John Hawkwood, who, 
according to Ammirato, thought little of the Floren- 
tines and Jess of bad weather, entered the service of 
Pisa. At Monte Morello, Montughi and Fiesole, 
he destroyed villages and villas, stormed the barri- 
cades erected by the Florentines outside the Porta S. 
Gallo and took many prisoners : then, after burning 
the house of S. Antonino and others near by, he and 
his troops returned to their camps at Montughi and at 
Fiesole. " During the night," writes Matteo Villani, 
"they held high festival and several of the leaders 
were knighted. Companies of twenty-five or a 
hundred danced with torches in their hands which 
they threw to one another when they met. There 
were more than two thousand of these torches and the 
bearers holloaed and shouted, those who were near the 
walls using insulting words against the Commune of 
Florence, which were heard by the men on guard. 
In order still more to flout the Florentines they sent a 
trumpeter and a drummer outside the Porta alia Croce, 
who suddenly sounded an alarm, and the people of 
Florence, roused by the noise, rushed about the streets 
screaming that the enemy was storming the walls." 
Hawkwood returned to Pisa laden with booty and was 
received with great rejoicing. But the day of reckon- 
ing was not far off. Henry de Montforte, in com- 
mand of the Florentine army, and a strong body of 
troops led by Lanfranchi, chief of the Pisan exiles, 
encamped on the river Era, an affluent of the Arno, 
on the evening of May 21, 1364. Next day, passing 
near Pisa, they were at S. Pietro in Grado burning 
villages and villas. Just as the Florentines were pre- 
paring for battle, a troop of 1400 cavalry arrived in 
Pisa from Lombardy. Not feeling himself strong 
enough Montforte crossed the Arno, destroyed the 
bridge behind him, and seized Porto Pisano. From 

73 



Story of Pisa 

thence he marched on Leghorn, but found it deserted, 
as the inhabitants, warned of his approach, had taken 
refuge on vessels out at sea. He burned the town and 
left in hot haste for Florence. 

In July a far more numerous army, commanded by 
a new captain, Galeotto Malatesta, left Florence. 
The Pisans were completely beaten near Cascina with 
the loss of 1000 dead and 2000 prisoners, and the 
Florentines pursued them up to the very walls of Pisa. 
One of the tame eagles escaped from the city, for as 
the Romans and the Sienese kept tame wolves and the 
Florentines lions the Pisans kept eagles, and flew into 
the Florentine camp, where it was killed amid great 
rejoicing, writes an old chronicler, and the besiegers, 
dragging the dead eagle in the dust, returned to 
Florence in triumph with their prisoners, whom they 
treated in most ignominous fashion. The Pope now 
came forward as mediator, and while the treaty was 
being discussed at Pescia, an astute, low-born Pisan of 
the Raspanti party, Giovanni delP Agnello, was sent 
to Bernabo Visconti to negotiate a loan. He suc- 
ceeded in his mission, and on his return constrained 
his fellow-citizens to make him Doge of his native 
city, and consequently also of Lucca, for a year. 
Matteo Villani exclaims : " Never was a ruler more 
odious and more overbearing. When he rode out he 
bore a golden staff in his hand and wore magnificent 
clothes. When he returned to the palace he placed 
himself, as though he were a relic, at the window to 
be seen of the people, swathed in cloth of gold, leaning 
his elbows on cushions covered with cloth of gold ; he 
allowed, and even insisted, that all who addressed him 
should kneel as to a pope or to an emperor." Sercambi 
even accuses him of murdering his wife, " because she 
was not of sufficient rank for his present magnificence. 
Be that as it may, she died, and being without a wife 

74 






The Fa!! of Pisa 

he determined to find one of good family, and chose 
Madonna Tradita, sister to the Prefect of Vico. 
Not to go into too much detail, it is only necessary to 
say that he took the said lady without any dower, she 
giving up all to her brother. She was handsome, tall, 
and most virtuous, and came to Pisa with an honour- 
able following. There were great rejoicing, as is 
usual ; and then Giovanni commanded that the Com- 
mune should give to the bride 20,000 golden florins as 
a mark of their joy, which was done. . . . We will 
say no more of this lady, because she was so unhappy 
with such a husband that she did not remain a year 
with him." 

Peace was proclaimed between the two Republics 
on August 30, 1365. On Pisa the conditions were 
hard. The castle of Pietrabuona, once belonging to 
Lucca, was to be ceded to Florence, others were 
razed : all the privileges and franchises once enjoyed 
by the Florentines were to be restored, and 100,000 
golden florins were to be paid out of the revenues of 
Lucca in ten years. The Florentines on their side 
engaged to give back the prisoners and the Pisan towns 
and castles they had taken. Agnello, having driven 
the Gambacorti and other Bergolini out of the city, 
summoned the Great Council and was proclaimed 
Doge of Pisa for life. The announcement that Urban 
V. intended to leave Avignon for Rome, and that the 
Emperor Charles IV. was returning to Italy, fell like 
a thunderbolt on Agnello who had made a secret 
alliance with Visconti, the sworn enemy of the 
Emperor. Nevertheless he went to Leghorn, escorted 
by Sir John Hawk wood and 1000 cavalry to receive 
the Pope, who refused to land when he saw so strong 
an armed force. The Doge returned crestfallen to 
Pisa, knowing, as a Pisan chronicler remarks, that the 
Pope and the Emperor were as one man. A few 

75 



Story of Pisa 

days later (June 1368) the King of Cyprus arrived 
in Pisa, thinking to meet the Pope, and Agnello's 
pride was great at being treated like a brother sovereign 
by a king, however small. 

Visconti made peace with Charles IV., and Agnello, 
in dismay, sent ambassadors to Milan offering to cede 
Lucca to the Emperor, and to pay a large sum to be 
confirmed Doge of Pisa. On September 4, Charles 
and the Empress arrived in Lucca, and were greeted 
with delirious joy by the inhabitants, who hated the 
Pisans more than they hated the devil. Agnello, 
after receiving the Emperor at the gate of the city, 
went, says Sercambi, "to S. Michele and stepped out 
on the portico of the cloisters to read a letter Antonio 
da Ghivizzano had brought from Pisa. So many of 
his friends and followers crowded round him that the 
beams of the portico broke, and thus the said Messer 
Giovanni dell' Agnello broke his thigh, Messer 
Gherardo, his nephew, was much hurt, Messer 
Upezzinghi broke his leg, and many others received 
grievous wounds. When this was known in Lucca 
the people exclaimed : Now thou hast got the bells 
of S. Michele which thou wouldst have sent to Pisa : 
God and S. Michele have performed a miracle.' 
Tommaso di Conte Aiutamichristo of Pisa heard 
the news, and ran to the Piazza S. Michele. There 
he drew his sword, and kissing the hilt, mounted in 
all haste and rode to Pisa to concert with the 
Raspanti to kill and undo all of the house of the said 
Messer Giovanni." Shouts of joy echoed through 
Pisa. " Long life the Emperor. May the Doge 
die." New Elders were appointed, who took up 
their residence once more in the Palace which 
Agnello had taken for his own abode, and on 
October 3 the Emperor entered Pisa in state. 

Before he left for Rome he presided at a council 



The Fall of Pisa 

in the cathedral and demanded money. Bishop 
Markwald was appointed governor of the city with 
500 mercenaries, who behaved as though they were 
in an enemy's country. In addition Bergolini and 
Raspanti fought, so the Pisans began to regret the 
exiled Gambacorti. The city was in such a dis- 
turbed condition that the Emperor, passing Pisa by, 
went to Lucca on his return from Rome, and being 
as usual in need of money, accepted 10,000 florins 
offered by Piero Gambacorti to be reinstated in his 
father's Pisan possessions. Sercambi writes : " Many 
Pisans came to Lucca saying, * Messer Piero, mount 
your horse, for the people of Lucca await you with 
joy.' But he, knowing well the deceitfulness of the 
Pisans, as he stood by his horse looked at Simone 
di S. Casciano who was there and said, ' Messer 
Simone, what will happen to us ? ' The reply was, 
Good. And a second time he said, * Messer 
Simone, what will happen to us ? ' again the 
answer was, Good. Then, having put one foot 
in the stirrup, almost as though afeard, he withdrew 
his foot and again said, * Messer Simone, what will 
happen to us ? ' and again the reply was, Good. 
Then the said Messer Piero drew his sword half 
out of the scabbard, kissed the Cross, and signing 
himself mounted his horse and rode to Pisa, where 
he was received with great honours alike by great 
and small." He dismounted at the church of S. 
Michele di Borgo and swore on the high altar to 
be faithful to the Pisan people and to the Emperor, 
not to excite party passions, or to encourage tumults. 
Four days later twelve elders were elected all Ber- 
golini houses belonging to the Raspanti were pillaged 
and burnt, and many of them fled to Lucca to appeal 
to the Emperor. He despatched troops, but the 
citizens armed, and in a sanguinary conflict worsted 

77 



Story of Pisa 

the imperialists. Charles then sent a strong body of 
Germans, who laid the country waste, and arrived 
at the gates of Pisa laden with booty. Again they 
were beaten, lost all they had robbed, and returned 
to Lucca in a sad plight. The Florentines, who had 
always been friendly to Gambacorti, now came for- 
ward as mediators. Pisa paid 50,000 golden florins 
to Charles and promised to receive him as their 
sovereign lord whenever he visited the city, while 
he promised not to change the popular government. 

Giovanni deir Agnello, after his accident at Lucca, 
had taken refuge in Milan. Visconti hoping to use 
him as an instrument for his designs on Tuscany, 
gave him 1000 cavalry, and with these and the 
exiled Raspanti he entered the Pisan territory and 
did great damage early in 1369. The League of 
the Tuscan cities at length drove the invaders back 
into Lombardy, and Pisa was at peace. Her citizens 
elected Piero Gambacorti Captain and Defender of 
the Commune and the People, and an old chronicler 
writes : " Messer Piero kept open house for eight 
days. Many citizens, the Consuls of the Guilds, and 
the Communes of the towns subject to Pisa, gave him 
presents of money, wax, confectionery, chickens, eggs, 
and other things. The gifts were so many that it 
is impossible to enumerate them, and for those eight 
days Pisa was like a paradise." One of Piero's first 
acts was to promise the Florentines absolute freedom 
from all taxes if they would send their merchandise to 
Porto Pisano ; and to facilitate the carriage of goods 
the road from Florence to Pisa along the Arno by the 
Gonfolina pass was made. 

Pisa now began to recoup some of her ancient 
importance. Her citizens would have been contented 
but for the ever-present fear of raids from the wander- 
ing bands of condottieri which infested Italy, and for 



The Fall of Pisa 

the terrible outbreak of plague in 1373 which lasted 
for many months. This was probably the reason for 
revising the laws of the Guild of Medicine the follow- 
ing year. Tronci gives the constitution as follows : 

** A Prior, who must be a doctor, two councillors, 
a secretary and a public notary, are to be elected every 
year. To enter the guild every Pisan doctor is to pay 
five francs, every foreigner ten, Pisan surgeons two 
and a half francs, whilst a foreigner is to pay five. 

" A doctor is forbidden to take a fee of more than 
from ten to twenty-five soldi from a patient, according 
to the respective social position of either. 

" To avoid the possibility of fraudulent judgments 
which doctors might commit, the Prior and his coun- 
cillors are to put into a borsa (ballot bag) the names 
of those doctors known to them as God-fearing men. 
Those whose names are drawn from the bag are to fix 
the consultation fees, and no other doctor may give 
any opinion or judgment. If they do the Podesta of 
Pisa shall not accept it. 

" The Prior is to admit any properly qualified doctor, 
whether a Pisan or a foreigner, to the guild. But 
within a month the candidate must dispute in a public 
and proper place on a medical question, and read a 
series of theses. Should he not have taken a degree 
and yet want to practise, the Prior is to examine him, 
and, finding him expert and able, can admit him. If 
not, the Prior is courteously to forbid him to practise. 
The same rule holds good for the surgeons. Should 
the candidate accuse any of the guild of being pre- 
judiced, the Podesta of Pisa is to appoint three of the 
most learned friars of the city, who, together with 
those doctors of the guild who are unprejudiced, shall 
examine him, and deeming him able and expert may 
admit him. 

" Medicines being dangerous, a doctor or a surgeon 

79 



Story of Pisa 

who is called in for consultation shall not order any 
medicine or remedy without the consent of the doctor 
employed in the case. 

" If a patient had begun taking medicine from the 
pharmacy of one doctor, no other doctor called in 
may send to him medicines from any other pharmacy, 
without good and sufficient reasons. 

" A doctor of great reputation in whom the patient 
has faith may be called in, even though he does not 
belong to the guild. 

" Finally, the Podesta of Pisa is to see that these 
present regulations, as well us the ancient ones, shall 
be observed, and is to give every aid and encourage- 
ment to the Prior and to the guild of doctors." 

Early in 1376 Pope Gregory sent a Franciscan 
friar to Pisa to deliver his Brief, excommunicating and 
cursing the Florentines. He commanded that no 
Pisan should harbour, aid, or even speak to a Floren- 
tine, under pain of excommunication. Gambacorti, 
who was friendly to Florence, and saw that obedience 
to the Pope meant the ruin of Pisa, sent ambassadors 
to Avignon to represent the impossibility of carrying 
out such orders. But the Pope was immovable, and 
when he landed to rest at Leghorn in November on 
his way to Rome, though he accepted the presents 
offered, he refused to remove the interdict from Pisa. 
Tronci enumerates the gifts as follows : Fifty calves, 
two hundred wethers, four hundred capons and as 
many chickens, quantities of game, eggs, cheese, bread, 
wine, oil, confectionery, fine wax, corn and oats. 
Presents were also made to the cardinals and prelates 
in attendance. 

The election of Urban VI. was hailed with joy by 

the Pisans, as their Archbishop was his nephew, and 

when he became a cardinal he persuaded the Pope to 

raise the interdict. For some time Piero Gambacorti, 

80 




HOW MESSER JOHANNI DELL* AGNELLO RODE TO LEGHORN TO MEET 
THE POPE, AND HOW THE POPE REFUSED TO LAND 




HOW WAR BEGAN BETWEEN PISA AND LUCCA 



The Fall of Pisa 

who was a real statesman, had been trying to bring 
about a federation among the Italian princes and the 
Republic in order to deliver Italy from the curse of 
the condottieri, to assure the liberty of commerce, and, 
above all, to arrange misunderstandings between the 
various states by arbitration instead of by war. The 
delegates met in Pisa, October 9, 1388, but the fair 
promise of peace was destroyed by Giovan Galeazzo 
Visconti. He suborned Gambacorti's trusted secre- 
tary, Jacopo d'Appiano, through his son, who was in 
his service. Old Appiano was implicitly trusted by 
Piero Gambacorti, and he refused to listen to friends 
who warned him that Jacopo was a traitor. When 
Giovanni d'Appiano arrived in Pisa at the head of a 
company of Lombard cavalry his father threw off the 
mask, and caused Gambacorti's intimate friend Lan- 
franchi to be waylaid and killed. The assassins took 
refuge in Appiano's house, the citizens armed, and 
Piero Gambacorti sent his son Benedetto to guard the 
bridge, whilst the other garrisoned the Piazza degP 
Anziani. Fighting took place at the bridge, and then 
Jacopo d'Appiano rode to Piero's house and appealed 
to him to join in quieting the tumult. The old man 
came out and was at once struck down, his two sons 
were murdered, and Jacopo d'Appiano became Lord 
of Pisa. He turned the Elders out of their palace, in 
which he installed himself, banished all the adherents 
of Gambacorti, denounced the treaties with Florence 
and with Lucca, and raided their territories with 
the help of mercenaries sent by Giovan Galeazzo 
Visconti. 

Early in 1398 Visconti, desirous of bringing things 
to a crisis, sent three commissaries to Pisa to demand 
that the castles of Piombino, Leghorn, Cascina, and 
the fortress of Pisa should be given over to him. Old 
Appiano courteously replied that he must first consult 
F 81 



Story of Pisa 

the Elders, and would reply the next day. Then 
sending for his son Gherardo, he bade him collect the 
soldiers he could trust at break of day near the Palazzo 
degl' Anziani. In the morning he invited the Duke's 
commissaries to come there, but they haughtily replied 
that if he had anything to say he could go to them. 
Appiano gave orders to take them prisoners, and after 
a hard struggle they were lodged in the fortress, where 
their secretary confessed on the rack that the intention 
had been to murder Appiano and to seize Pisa. Jacopo 
despatched a letter to Milan telling the Duke that 
three rascals, who pretended to come from him, were 
now in prison at Pisa under the accusation of intending 
to murder both himself and his son, and that the 
Florentines hearing this had sent an embassy to offer 
an alliance with their Republic. For once Visconti 
had been outwitted. A new treaty was signed 
between Milan and Pisa, and at the Duke's request 
the three prisoners were released. When Jacopo 
d' Appiano died in 1 398, his incompetent son Gherardo 
succumbed to the mingled promises and threats of the 
Duke of Milan, and sold Pisa to him for 200,000 
golden florins. For himself he reserved Piombino, 
some castles, and the island of Elba. In vain the 
Pisans entreated to be allowed to buy their city of 
him at a higher price. He declared that he was 
bound to Visconti. In February 1399, Lombard 
troops took possession of Pisa, and the new governor 
at once busied himself to raise the money his master 
had to pay to Gherardo d' Appiano. When Giovan 
Galeazzo died in 1402 he left Pisa to his natural son 
Gabriello Maria, who was received in sullen silence 
by the discontented and impoverished citizens. Angry 
at not being offered the usual presents given to a new 
lord, he imprisoned many of the Bergolini party, under 
the pretext that they were conspiring against him. 
82 



The Fall of Pisa 

Some were beheaded, others were heavily fined. So 
hated was he that one of them actually informed the 
Florentines of a weak place in the fortifications, and 
on January 1 5 their army appeared under the walls of 
Pisa. But the man repented and warned the Elders, 
and the Florentines baulked revenged themselves by 
burning villages and villas. 

At that time Genoa was ruled for the King of 
France by Jean Le Maingre, surnamed Bouciquaut, a 
soldier of fortune who to maintain his hold on the 
Genoese had to enter into their political views. The 
idea that Pisa and Leghorn should become subject to 
Florence was hateful to them, so in answer to Gabri- 
ello Maria Visconti's appeal for help he promised him 
the protection of France in return for Leghorn and 
a yearly tribute of a horse and a peregrine falcon. 
When the Pisans knew that Leghorn had been given 
up to Bouciquaut and that their city was to be under 
the protection of France, they rose, seized the Genoese 
galleys at Leghorn and took their crews prisoners. 
Visconti fled to Sarzana while his mother took refuge 
in the citadel at Pisa where, alarmed by the firing of a 
cannon, she missed her footing and falling from the 
tower was killed. 1 Her son began to treat with the 
Florentines, and for 206,000 golden florins engaged 
to deliver the citadel of Pisa, and the castles of Ripa- 
fratta and of S. Maria in Castello into their hands. 
On September 12, 1405, Gino Capponi took possession 
of the citadel for the Florentines, and leaving a strong 
garrison returned to Florence. The Pisans rose as 
one man, took the citadel, and sent an imperious mes- 
sage to Florence demanding the immediate restitution 
of Ripafratta and of S. Maria in Castello, the price of 

1 This is Gori Dati's account. Ammirato says she 
slipped, or was pushed off, a plank, used as a provisional 
bridge. 

83 



Story of Pisa 

which they were prepared to pay at once. S. Anton- 
ino tells us that the Florentines had various re.isons for 
desiring to conquer Pisa. Firstly, because they had 
bought the city : secondly, because they had ever hated 
the ghibellines and Pisa had always sided with the 
Emperors, enemies of Florence : lastly, because Porto 
Pisano was most convenient to them for shipping their 
merchandise. So the messengers returned with a 
refusal and the Pisans hastened to garrison and victual 
their castles, particularly Vico-Pisano which withstood 
a siege of six months. " It was a great war in all the 
territory," exclaims a Pisan chronicler, " but still 
greater in the city, because the Pisans were not united. 
The Agnello were ghibellines, or Raspanti, while the 
Gambacorti were guelphs, or Bergolini. At first the 
ghibellines were all-powerful and the Gambacorti were 
banished : but at length the Elders insisted that private 
hatreds should no longer interfere with the defence of 
the city. Giovanni Gambacorti with all his relations 
was recalled, and the two factions swore to keep the 
peace and to work together for the public weal. Not 
many days passed ere Gambacorti caused his rival to 
be murdered, and seized the lordship of Pisa. Re- 
membering the old friendship between his house and 
the Florentine Republic, he begged for permission to 
send ambassadors to the Signory, hoping to make peace 
and thus to maintain his position in Pisa," But the 
Signory refused and Pisa prepared for war. The 
F lorentines blockaded the city by land, and built a 
fortress on either side of the Arno below Pisa, with a 
bridge connecting them to prevent ships from bringing 
grain from Sicily. With famine staring them in the 
face, the Pisans sent to offer the lordship of their city 
to King Ladislaus of Naples, who refused it. They 
then turned to the King of France, who sent an envoy 
to tell the Florentines to leave his city of Pisa in peace. 



The Fall of Pisa 

The Signory replied that they had always been faithful 
friends of His Majesty's, and that having bought Pisa, 
which had ever been a trouble and an annoyance to 
them, they would send ambassadors to France and lay 
their reasons before him. The envoy declared that his 
master would be satisfied with this answer and would 
think no more about Pisa. As a last chance the 
Pisans appealed to the Duke of Burgundy. His 
messenger " with arrogant words commanded the 
Florentines to raise the siege of a city which belonged 
to him, whereupon they tossed him into the river," but 
being a good swimmer he escaped. 

Since March 1406 the Florentine army had lain 
before Pisa. In June the commissary, Gino Capponi, 
ordered an attack, which was repulsed. But the Pisans 
were starving. They drove out the useless mouths, 
whereupon the Florentines hung the men, cut the 
women's clothes off at the waist, branded them on the 
cheek with the lily of Florence, and drove them back 
to the gates of the city. Women being still expelled 
by their starving fellow-citizens, the besiegers cut off 
their noses. 

Giovanni Gambacorti at last determined to treat 
secretly with Gino Capponi. For himself he obtained 
excellent conditions, 50,000 florins, the islands of 
Giglio and Capraja, the citizenship and some houses 
in Florence with exemption from all taxes for himself 
and his heirs : the castle and town of Silano for his 
brother Andrea, and the archbishopric of Florence 
for his cousin, a bishop. At the same time he stipu- 
lated that no murder or thefts should be committed, no 
insults offered to the citizens of Pisa, and that the 
Elders should be respected and continue to manage the 
finances of the city. On October 9, the Florentines 
entered Pisa. Ammirato says that "few of the 
citizens knew that the Florentines were masters of the 

85 



Story of Pisa 

city. At the windows stood astonished, famine- 
stricken, thin and pale men and women with sunken 
eyes and small, drawn faces, looking more like wild 
animals than human beings. The hunger and misery 
they had undergone was manifested when the soldiers 
threw to them bread they had by chance brought with 
them. Like birds of prey the people seized it, tearing 
it from one another and devouring it with an avidity 
that was marvellous to behold. Orders had been given 
that while the bulk of the army surrounded the city, 
large quantities of flour and bread should be made 
ready to enter with the first detachment. The people 
fell upon it as though their hunger could not be satis- 
fied and would endure for ever, and many died from 
over-eating. Neri Capponi testifies that the bread 
eaten by the Elders was made of linseed. It is certain 
that many lived on grass, which they collected in the 
streets and dried, making from it a kind of bread. 
Gino Capponi and Corbinelli went to the palace, and 
the Elders received them with all humility and asked 
for their commands. The commissaries told them to 
go upstairs, and there the keys of the city and the 
pass-word for the forts were delivered up and the 
Elders renounced their authority. Then, wishing to 
place the emblem of Florence at the windows of the 
palace, the commissaries were reminded of the flag 
taken from the Florentines three years before, which 
the Pisans had dragged through the meanest streets of 
the city and then hung upside down in the cathedral. 
The commissaries ordered the flag to be brought with 
great blowing of trumpets to the palace and to be placed 
with the others in the windows. Such was the end of 
the empire of Pisa, one of the most noble cities in 
Tuscany for antiquity, power, and position. In past 
centuries she had torn Sardinia from the Saracens, and 
Elba was hers. One may say she was mistress of the 
86 



The Fall of Pisa 

seas on account of the number of galleys and ships she 
possessed, and beyond the seas she had been most 
powerful in Acre." * 

1 Istorie Florentine. Scipione Ammirato. Lib. xvii. Gont. 
692. 



8 7 



CHAPTER V 
Pisa under the Yoke of Florence 

T^LORENCE was now so strong that she even 
interfered in religious matters. The rival Popes 
Gregory XII. and Benedict XII. could not be 
induced to meet and come to some understanding, 
so 1 20 learned theologians sat for three days in 
Florence, and at length declared Gregory a heretic, a 
schismatic, and a destroyer of Christianity. The Flor- 
entines then decided as Ammirato writes : " that they 
would no longer trouble their heads about him." On 
June 5, 1409, both Gregory and Benedict were 
condemned as heretics and schismatics and deposed by 
the Council which met at Pisa, and ten days later 
the cardinals entered into conclave. On June 26, 
Cardinal Piero da Candia was proclaimed Pope as 
Alexander V. " The Council," writes Symonds, 
" effected no reform, and cannot be said to have done 
much more than to give effect to those aspirations after 
Church-government by means of Councils, which had 
been slowly forming during the continuance of the 
schism." * 

In 1421 the Florentine Republic bought Leghorn 
and Porto Pisano from Genoa and determined to be- 
come a maritime power, but she never succeeded in 
rivalling Venice or Genoa on the sea. Officers were 

1 Renaissance in Italy, John Addington Symonds, 2nd 
edition, i. 71. 



Pisa under the Yoke of Florence 

appointed under the old name of Consuls of the Sea, 
but they were merely Officiates Communis Florentie sub 
appelatwne Consulum Marts. The great Ordo Marts, 
or Guild of the Sea, practically ceased to exist when 
Pisa fell under the rule of the Duke of Milan and 
lost all raison d'etre, when in 1406, Marshall Bouci- 
quaut, the French governor of Genoa, seized Leghorn 
and Porto Pisano, and thus shut Pisa off from the sea. 
Florence was not loved by her new subjects. After 
the discovery of a plot to deliver the city into the 
hands of Piccinino, the chief citizens of Pisa were 
ordered to live in Florence under police supervision,- 
and many fled to Sardinia, Sicily, Tunis and Egypt. 
Repetti quotes a letter from the Died di Batla to their 
Captain at Pisa, which shows how ferocious was the 
hatred of the Florentines. " Here we are agreed that 
the most efficacious way of assuring the safety of Pisa 
is to clear her of her citizens. We are tired of writ- 
ing to the Captain of the People, he replies that the 
Captain at Arms does not favour such a measure. So 
now we desire you to arrange with him, and to use 
every cruelty and severity in executing our orders. 
We trust to you to see quickly to this ; nothing more 
pleasing to our people can be done." 1 Forty years 
after Pisa had fallen under the yoke of Florence the 
city was almost depopulated, her fields were abandoned 
to marsh fever, her industries were killed, her arts and 
her sciences were crushed out. "Therefore," writes 
Symonds, "when Charles VIII., in 1494, entered 
Pisa, and Orlandi, the orator, caught him by the 
royal mantle, and besought him to restore her liberty, 
that word, the only word the crowd could catch in 
his petition, inflamed a nation : the lions and the 
lilies of Florence were erased from the public build- 
ings ; the Marzocco was dashed from its column on 

1 Dir.ionario delta Toscana. E. Repetti, Hi. 346. 

8 9 



Story of Pisa 

the quay into the Arno ; and in a moment the dead 
republic awoke to life." 1 

The only warning voice raised against this attempt 
made by Pisa to regain her lost liberty was that of 
the Cardinal of S. Pietro in Vincola (afterwards 
Julius II.). He pointed out to the Pisans that the 
French were not likely to remain in Italy ; that no 
foreign prince would take up arms in their cause unless 
he intended to become their master ; and that in a war 
with Florence they would inevitably be beaten. 

When Charles VIII. returned from Naples (1495) 
the Florentines called upon him to fulfil the compact 
by which the fortresses of Sarzana, Pietrasanta, Leg- 
horn and Pisa, were to be restored to them. But his 
councillors reminded him that the possession of Pisa 
and Leghorn would make him master of the whole 
seaboard from Marseilles to Naples. Guicciardini tells 
us that he was even more influenced by the tears and 
supplications of the Pisans, " who with their women 
and little children prostrated themselves at his feet. 
With great lamentations and many tears they implored 
everyone about the court, down to the common 
soldiers, to save them from such a calamity. Many of 
the soldiers, particularly the Swiss archers, went to the 
King, and Salazart, one of his pensioners, spoke in 
their names. He prayed that for the glory of the 
crown of France and the satisfaction of his numerous 
servants, who were ready to lay down their lives for 
him and whose advice was more disinterested than 
that of men corrupted by Florentine gold, he would 
not deprive the Pisans of the liberty he had bestowed 
upon them." Ever irresolute and weak, the King 
again promised freedom to the Pisans, but a few weeks 
later at Asti he signed a decree granting the citadel of 
Pisa to the Florentines in return for a large subsidy. 

1 Renaissance in Italy, op. cit. \. 269. 

9 



Pisa under the Yoke of Florence 

The commandant, however, disredarded the orders of 
Charles and gave up the citadel to the Pisans on re- 
ceipt of 12,000 ducats for himself and 8,000 for the 
garrison. Most of the money was contributed by the 
Duke of Milan, the Venetians and the Genoese, all 
of whom had ulterior designs upon Pisa. But when 
they quarrelled among themselves the unhappy city 
was left to her fate. She stood three sieges, during 
one of which (1503) the Florentines attempted to 
divert the course of the Arno by digging two large 
canals near Fasiano, four miles above Pisa. Leonardo 
da Vinci, " the engineer," visited the works, when a 
huge dam, on which 8,ooo men were employed, was 
washed away by a flood and the idea was abandoned. 
A bridge of boats was then thrown across the Arno 
above, and fortified entrenched camps were made at 
the mouths of the Arno, the Serchio and the Fiume- 
Morto, below Pisa. Hunger forced the Pisans to 
capitulate, and on June 8, 1509, the Florentines 
entered the city, and the story of the ancient republic 
of Pisa merges into that of Florence. 

Two years after Pisa had fallen under the dominion 
of Florence, she was selected as the seat of another 
Council under French and Spanish sanction and sup- 
port, which Pope Julius II. declared to be illegal and 
schismatic, and he excommunicated Florence and 
consequently also Pisa. 

With the accession of Duke Cosimo I. de Medici, 
Pisa awoke to new life. From his ancestors he had 
inherited a love of letters and of science, and his 
political insight was of no common order. The ex- 
tinct University of Pisa was reconstituted in 1574 on 
the plan of those of Padua and Pavia, and endowed 
with a fixed income. The Sapienza (the University 
building) was enlarged, and celebrated professors were 

91 



Story of Pisa 

summoned from other seats of learning. Full power 
was given to the Rector to deal with all questions 
relating to the University, and the monasteries in Pisa 
were forbidden to take students. The Duke also 
founded a chair of botany and a botanical garden, 
which he enriched with plants from Egypt, the Levant 
and Sicily. Finding, however, that professors and 
students declined to live in a half-deserted city (the 
number of inhabitants had fallen to 8500), and that 
owing to the choking of the canals for carrying off the 
stagnant water the climate had become pestilential in 
summer and autumn, he instituted the Uffizio de' Fossi, 
or Board of Works for the canals, with ample funds 
and powers even more extensive than those possessed 
in former times by the Consuls of the Sea. The 
incursions of corsairs along the Italian coast next 
occupied his attention. In 1561 he submitted statutes 
for a new military Order to the Pope, and in January 
the following year a Papal Legate invested the Duke 
with the habit of Grand Master of the Order of S. 
Stefano. 

In October 1 562 Cosimo, the Grand Duchess and 
all their children, save Francesco, the eldest son, who 
was in Madrid, went on a hunting excursion in the 
Maremma. Vain were the warnings of Cosimo's 
doctor that the season was more than usually unhealthy 
and that marsh fever of a pernicious type was rife. 
He and his sons were ardent sportsmen. Giovanni, 
already a Cardinal and Archbishop designate of Pisa, 
although only nineteen years of age, paid no heed to a 
slight feverish attack at Rosignano. The following 
day he rode to Leghorn " gay and seemingly as well 
as ever." But next morning (Tuesday November 17), 
he was delirious and on Friday night he died. Duke 
Cosimo wrote to his eldest son : " This lamb, for so I 
must call him, is now where I trust God will summon 

9* 



Pisa under the Yoke of Florence 

me when my time comes, no other testimony is needful 
for this than his life and death. He died in my arms. 

1 wish also to tell thee that thy mother, persuaded by 
me, is reconciled to the will of God. Don Garzia 
and Don Ernando have both slight fever but not of a 
bad type, and I do not think there is any danger. 
To-morrow we go to Pisa. Sickness is general in 
Venetia and in Lombardy and many die. God give 
thee health. From Leghorn, November 20, 1562. 
Thy loving father, THE DUKE OF FLORENCE." 

According to the custom of those days the body 
was embalmed. It was then carried to Pisa and from 
thence to Florence, where a solemn funeral service 
took place in S. Lorenzo. Meanwhile the two other 
brothers were ill at Pisa. Ferdinando recovered but 
Garzia died on December 12, aged fourteen. His 
mother, for whose health (she was consumptive) the 
court passed the winters at Pisa, nursed him until 
attacked by fever and violent haemorrage she broke 
down, and died five days after her favourite son. A 
detailed account of the malady and death of Garzia 
and of the Duchess Eleonora was written by Cosimo 
to his son in Spain. 1 Contemporary documents, 
diaries and letters all give this same account of the 
three deaths. The story that the two brothers 
quarrelled as to whose dog had killed a hare, that 
Garzia insulted his elder brother and was struck by 
him, and that Garzia then stabbed the Cardinal so 
vSeverely that he died in a few hours, and was then 
killed himself by one of his brother's attendants, was 
published in a small newspaper, the Awiso, seven days 
before the death of Don Garzia. Saltini attributes the 
calumnious tale to the Florentine exiles, who stript 

1 Istoria dtl Granducato di Toscana sotto il Cover no della Casa 
Medici* Riguccio Galluzzi, ii. 263-269, MDCCLXXXI Ediz. 

2 a. 

93 



Story of Pisa 

of their patrimony had been reduced to beggary, and 
were persecuted by Cosimo with relentless severity. 
Giustiniano simply latinised the account in the news- 
paper for his history, and another Venetian historian, 
Natale de' Conti, repeated it. But when about to 
publish a second edition, his work was sent by a friend 
to Vincenzio Borghini at Florence in 1577 who 
answered : " I see he repeats the fable that the 
Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici was stabbed by his 
brother Garzia, and that the latter was killed by one of 
the Cardinal's attendants. All this he has taken from the 
Historia of Pietro Giustiniano, who, without considering 
the responsibility attaching to a grave and honest 
writer, simply copied it out of a newspaper. It is well 
Conti should know that the whole is a fable. The 
youth died of fever caught in the Maremma as did his 
brother and his mother. The present Cardinal Fer- 
dinando was in imminent danger, and several courtiers, 
as well as a priest I sent to the Duke, died all of 
fever." The story was improved upon and spread 
abroad in a new edition of J. A. de Thou's Histoire 
Unhersel/e published in 1620, called Thouanus Resti- 
tutus, because Nicolas Rigault and Claude Du Puy 
added several omitted paragraphs. In it Cosimo was 
accused of killing Don Garzia in the presence of the 
Grand Duchess to avenge the murder of Giovanni. 
Muratori, who could not obtain access to the Medicean 
archives, used what materials were under his hand and 
set the stamp of his great authority on the tale. It 
was only when the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo 
charged Galluzzi to write the history of the former 
dynasty, that the jealously guarded archives of the 
house of Medici saw the light. 1 

1 For fuller details see Tragedle Medicee Domestic/if, narrata 
sui document! da G. B. Saltini, 112-117. G. Barbera. 
Firenze, 1898. 

94 



Pisa under the Yoke of Florence 

One of the greatest geniuses the world has produced 
was born in Pisa in 1564 Galileo Galilei. He de- 
scended from the Bonajuti, a noble Florentine family, 
who gave several Gonfaloniers and Priors to their 
native city. Tommaso Bonajuti changed his name in 
1348 to Galilei, and his grandson, christened Galileo, 
was a celebrated professor of medicine in the University 
of Florence. The family, however, became im- 
poverished, and Vincenzo (born 1520), father of the 
great Galileo, was engaged in trade in Pisa, where 
Galileo, Michelangelo, and four daughters were born. 
Vincenzo, a good classical scholar, a mathematician, 
and an excellent musician, wrote several books on the 
theory of music and played admirably on the viola and 
the lute. Even as a child Galileo showed a love for 
mechanical invention, constructing toy machines. From 
his father he learnt drawing and music, and soon rivalled 
him as a lute player. At the age of twelve he was sent 
to the monastery of Vallombrosa to be perfected in the 
humanities ; there he was persuaded to join the novi- 
tiate of the Order, whereupon his father, who intended 
him to be a doctor, recalled him. In 1581, when 
seventeen years old, he entered the University of Pisa, 
and immediately attracted attention by his keen in- 
tellect and his philosophical writings. But his habit of 
going to the bottom of things, of declining to accept a 
statement on the authority of a master, and even daring 
to call in question the dictates of Aristotle, Plato, S. 
Thomas Aquinas, and other revered authorities, was 
most distasteful to the professors. He was nicknamed 
" The Wrangler," and roused such a spirit of hostility 
that eventually he had to leave Pisa. Not long after 
he joined the University he made his first discovery. 
Seeing the lamp in the cathedral swing after being lit, 
not having a watch, he timed the oscillations by his 
pulse, and observed that though they became gradually 

95 



Story of Pisa 

less they always took the same time. Various ex- 
periments led to the construction of the pulsologia. 
Imperfect as the instrument was, the physicians hailed 
it with delight. Vincenzo Galilei, who had mean- 
while settled in Florence, finding he could no longer 
maintain his son at the Pisan University, begged 
Cosimo I. to grant him one of forty free scholar- 
ships. But the professors recommended Ferdinando I. 
to refuse, so Galileo went to Florence and devoted him- 
self to the study of mathematics and physics. In 1 586 
he constructed the hydrostactic balance, and wrote an 
essay on the centre of gravity in solid bodies. This 
gained him the name of the modern Archimedes, and 
attracted the attention of the mathematician, Marquess 
Guidobaldo del Monte, who became his fast friend 
and patron. He recommended Galileo to the Grand 
Duke and to Don Giovanni de j Medici, and he was 
appointed professor of mathematics at the University 
of Pisa in 1589 for three years, at the magnificent 
salary of about ,13 a year. From his chair he de- 
nounced the falsehood of many of the statements of 
Aristotle, amongst others, that if two different weights 
of the same material were let fall from the same height 
the heavier one would reach the ground first. Galileo 
maintained that, with the exception of a very minute 
difference due to the disproportionate resistance of the 
air, they would reach the ground at the same time. 
To demonstrate this he invited the professors and the 
students to meet him at the Leaning Tower, and 
balancing a lo-lb. shot and an ii-lb. shot, he let them 
fall from the top at the same moment. They struck 
the ground simultaneously. The Aristotelians, how- 
ever, quoted their master against him, refused to believe 
the evidence of their senses, and made life almost im- 
possible for Galileo. They would, however, hardly 
have succeeded in turning him out of the University 



mam 




2 ex 

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Z. G. 

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5 o 



Pisa under the Yoke of Florence 

had Don Giovanni de* Medici not invented a dredg- 
ing machine, on which Galileo was ordered to report 
by the Grand Duke. His verdict was unfavourable, 
and Don Giovanni became his bitter enemy. The 
Capltolo in Biasimo della Toga, a fragment of a burlesque 
ridiculing the order that the professors were always to 
wear their gowns, gave great offence ; while his severe 
criticisms on Tasso's Gerusalemme Libcrata, although 
they agreed with the verdict of the Accademia della 
Crusca, raised a storm. Galileo dabbled in poetry 
himself, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso he knew by heart, 
and was wont to say that there was as great a differ- 
ence between the two poets as when a man ate a 
cucumber after a good melon. 

In 1592 Galileo was appointed to the chair of 
mathematics at Padua, and his inaugural discourse on 
December 28 won him golden opinions. Exordium 
erat splendidum, wrote Tycho Brahe. But Pisa kept 
up her hostility to the last. Father Castelli, professor 
of mathematics there in 1613, was forbidden to mention 
the double motion of the earth in his lectures, and wrote 
to him : " Your marvellous discoveries are scarcely 
known here, even by name." The following year a 
Dominican friar, preaching in S. Maria Novella in 
Florence, denounced Galileo and all professors of 
mathematics. "They are of the devil," he exclaimed ; 
" mathematicians, as the authors of all heresies, should 
be driven out of every State." 1 

Under the Grand Duke Francesco I., who suc- 
ceeded his father in 1573, Pisa suffered like the rest 
of Tuscany, but things changed when the Cardinal 
Ferdinando de' Medici came to the throne in 1587. 
He left the Church, and a marriage was arranged 

1 For a detailed life of the great Pisan, see Galileo, His Life 
and Work, by J. J. Fahie, from which much of the above has 
been taken. John Murray, London, 1903. 

G 97 



Story of Pisa 

with the handsome young Princess Cristina of Lor- 
raine. Landing at Leghorn she drove to Pisa, where 
her fame as a horsewoman and a good shot, as a beauty 
and a pious daughter of the Church, had preceded her. 
At S. Piero in Grado, 4000 Pisan militia were 
drawn up, and as her carriage approached they 
fired a salute. " Seldom has so splendid a one been 
heard," writes Messer Cervoni of Colle, "and the 
illustrious bride did not show fear, as women are wont 
to do, but displayed such pleasure that one could see 
she had been brought up among soldiers by a valorous 
queen, as was Caterina of France. They say that 
when she saw Pisa she exclaimed : This is a beauti- 
ful city. Entering with great pomp by the Porta a 
Mare she received many gentlemen and ladies, who all 
praised her grace and her beauty." Messer Cervoni 
himself came to great honour, for he presented her with 
two sonnets, " which she took with a smile, saying she 
would read them with pleasure, and then asked me my 
name, which I told her. Turning to the Duchess di 
Brausuich (Braunschweig), her aunt, she spoke in 
their language, and they both laughed in such guise 
that I saw the homage was pleasing to them." 1 

Ferdinando I. continued his father Cosimo's work 
at the port of Leghorn, and made a canal from Pisa to 
Leghorn to avoid the long round by the Bocca d'Arno 
to the sea. He began the aqueduct which brings 
water from Asciano, and augmented the botanical 
garden. In 1593 Pisa was plunged into mourning by 
the damage done to her beloved Duomo by fire. The 
splendid pulpit by Niccolo Pisano, and many pictures, 
bronzes and marbles, were buried under the ruins. 
The Grand Duke gave large sums from his privy 
purse and granted permission to quarry marble in the 

1 Descrizione de le Pompe, e Feste fatte ne la citta di Pisa. M. 
Giovanni Cervoni da Colle. In Fiorenza, 1589. 

9 8 



Pisa under the Yoke of Florence 

islands of Giglio and Elba, and the famous cathedral 
slowly rose again. 

In 1600 Ferdinando I. accompanied his niece 
Maria de' Medici to Pisa on her way to France. 
The young girl had already assumed the airs of a 
queen, and the Grand Duke, proud of the marriage, 
lavished considerable sums on triumphal arches and 
illuminations, and on the decoration of the galley which 
was to bear her to Marseilles. Under him the knights 
of S. Stefano distinguished themselves. The corsairs 
of Barbary were beaten, and their chief town, Bona, 
was captured. Admiral Ingherami became the terror 
of the Turkish pirates, and Pisa acclaimed the return 
of many hundreds of liberated Christian galley slaves. 
On the death of the Grand Duke Cosimo II., in 
1621, Tuscany was ruled for a time by two incapable 
and bigotted women, the Grand Duchesses Cristina 
and Maria Maddalena, grandmother and mother of the 
young Grand Duke Ferdinando II. The Pisan 
plain again became a morass, commerce and agriculture 
declined, and to crown all the plague broke out. In 
1630 the population of Pisa had diminished one third. 
It was only when the house of Lorraine succeeded to 
the throne of Tuscany in 1738 that she began to 
revive. At the close of the eighteenth century the 
city was alternately occupied by French and by 
Austrian troop', until Napoleon created the kingdom 
of Etruria. 

It was during a visit of the Queen of Etruria that 
the famous Giuoco del Ponte was played in Pisa for 
the last time in May 1807. This Game, or Battle, of 
the Bridge, was a local development of the ancient 
Giuoco del Mazzascudo, popular in many Italian towns 
in the thirteenth century. On the stone bridge, which 
replaced the old wooden Ponte Vecchio towards the 
end of the fourteenth century, the citizens of the 

99 



Story of Pisa 

northern bank of the Arno contended with those of 
the southern, aided by the inhabitants of the country 
districts, until it was swept away by a flood in 1635. 
The game was then for some years played in a street 
until the completion of the Ponte del Mezzo enabled 
them to use a bridge again. Before the battle a 
pavilion was set up on either side of the river, and a 
challenge, couched in most magniloquent language, was 
sent to their adversaries by the side which had been 
beaten the year before. The benediction of the 
banners of the North took place with great pomp in 
the church of S. Niccolo or of S. Michele in Borgo ; 
while those of the South were blessed in S. Martino, 
S. Lorenzo in Chinzica, or in S. Cristina. In the 
northern churches they sang the Mass of the Blessed 
Virgin, in the southern that of S. Caterina of Siena ; 
the saint was regarded as the patron of the game, 
because the Pisans thought that it was owing to her 
intercession that no fatal accident happened. On the 
evening preceding the game the city was gay with 
waving banners and resounded to the blare of trumpets, 
while the people sang : 

Suonin pur le trombe intorno 
Sopra il Ponte si combatta, 
Vinca Borea o Mezzogiorno 
Sempre Pisa vincera. 1 

The players must have presented rather an unwieldy 
appearance. Their heads were covered with zfa/zata, 
or bonnet of quilted cotton, over which was placed an 
iron helmet with a movable vizor. Under the breast 
and back pieces, made of iron, was worn a doublet 
of quilted cloth, the shoulder pieces were either of iron 

1 Let the trumpets sound around us 
On the bridge let battle be, 
Whether Boreas wins or Zephyr 
Victorious aye shall Pisa be. 

100 



Pisa under the Yoke of Florence 

or of quilted canvass, and hands and arms up to the 
elbows were encased in padded gauntlets. Round the 
neck was tied a broad quilted collar which protected 
the shoulders. Over all this was a silken tunic 
descending to the knees of the same colour as the 
banner of the squadron to which the player belonged. 
His only weapon was the targone, made of stout board 
3 1 inches long, in shape like a narrow shield, 9 inches 
wide at one end and tapering to 4 inches at the 
other. This was held by means of two straps placed 
on the inside like those of a shield, one to be grasped 
by each hand, so that it could be used both to thrust 
and to parry. It was also held at the narrow end and 
wielded as a club. These targoni belonged to those 
who used them and descended from father to son. 
Many were embellished with mottoes, as can be seen 
in the Museo Civico, where is also a small model of 
the bridge with the players. 

On the parapet in the centre of the bridge stood a 
tall flag-staff with the Pisan standard, a white cross on 
a red ground, which was lowered across the bridge as 
the players moved into position. When it was raised 
they rushed at one another, thrusting and smiting with 
unspeakable fury, writes an eye-witness. The object 
was to drive the enemy back across the bridge, and 
sometimes the players were thrown into the river and 
continued their battle in the water. Time was called 
after forty-five minutes, when the side which had 
gained ground was declared the victor. If neither 
party had lost or gained, the battle was considered 
drawn and peace was proclaimed. Ballads, sonnets 
and madrigals, without number have been written about 
the Giuoco del Ponte, G. B. Guarini, author of // 
Pastor Fido t sings about 

"Pisa al ferir' invitta, al vincer nata," 

101 



Story of Pisa 

and Alfieri, who was in Pisa in 1895, writes: "I 
enjoyed the diversion of the Giuoco del Ponte, an 
extremely beautiful spectacle, which unites in itself a 
indefinable something of ancient and heroic." A year 
later he composed a sonnet in honour of the game. 1 

There is little more to say of Pisa. In 1809 srie 
was incorporated in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 
first under Napoleon's sister lilise Baciocchi, then under 
Ferdinando III. and Leopoldo II. In April 1859, 
she became part of United Italy. 

1 Curious readers who wish to know more about this and 
other ancient Italian games are referred to a learned and 
delightful book, from which most of the foregoing account 
has been taken, Palio and Ponte, by W. Hey wood. Methuen, 
& Co., London, 1904. 



IO2 



CHAPTER VI 

The Appearance of the City ; Walls, 
Towers, Bridges, and Embankments 

"Pisa is a very great city with about 10,000 turreted 
houses for battle at time of strife. . . . The city is not sur- 
rounded by a wall." 

The Itinerary of Benjamin da Tudela, circa 1170. 
". . . Eguardateda . . . gran Torri ch'n tutto'l mondo 
non si trovan tali." 

Sixteenth century MS. 

" Within the surface of the fleeting river 
The wrinkled image of the city lay, 
Immovably unquiet, and for ever 
It trembles, but it never fades away." 

Evening : Ponte a Mare, Pisa. Shelley. 

DIS A, now a sedate and rather plain city, still 
shows traces of her former greatness. The 
wide circumference of the walls, the spacious streets 
and a certain largeness of design, remind us that 
instead of the mere capital of a province she was 
planned to be the centre of a powerful Republic. 

The city lies in a rich and fertile plain. Marshes 
have given place to rich cultivation. Corn, vines and 
pine-trees grow luxuriantly on soil that once was 
covered with pools of stagnant water which exhaled 
malaria. The situation is open, and pleasant breezes 
come from the sea, distant about six and a quarter 
miles to the west, while the mountains that girdle her 
in on three sides, the Monti Pisani on the north and 

103 



Story of Pisa 

east, the Colline Pisane on the south, ward off the 
cold winter winds and give to Pisa her reputation 
as a warm winter residence. 

Almost square in form, the city is divided into two 
irregular portions by the Arno. A Florentine in the 
fifteenth century compared the beautiful curve of the 
river to the arch of a crossbow, while to modern eyes 
it suggests an almost perfect crescent. The Arno 
is a statelier stream here than at Florence ; broad and 
full, having gathered the waters of many affluents 
it rushes swiftly through the city, eager for the sea. 
So strong is the current that from time immemorial 
it has been necessary to save the Pisan palaces from its 
fierce embraces by penning it within quays, more than 
two miles long. The Lung' Arno, finest of Pisan 
streets, though lacking the picturesque buildings on 
the Lung' Arno of Florence surpasses it in beauty of 
line. The prospect is closed to the east by hills, 
one of them crowned with the ruins of La Verruca, 
the strongest fortress of the Republic ; to the west by 
the arsenal with its stately tower, the Torre Guelfa, 
behind which the sea is divined, though invisible to 
the eye, by the peculiar brilliancy of the sunsets. 
The many stately palaces adorned with columns of 
marble that an old Florentine writer of the fifteenth 
century talks of, have vanished, save one or two, but it 
can still boast of fine sober structures of the Renais- 
sance, and of that little jewel, the church of S. Maria 
della Spina, set in its midst right on the very brink of 
the river. The northern and far larger part of the 
city is connected with the southern by four bridges ; 
from the central one, the Ponte di Mezzo, the whole 
curve of the Lung' Arno is seen to perfection. 

Of the numerous churches all but a few are small 
and architecturally plain. S. Paolo a Ripa d' Arno, 
S. Francesco, S. Caterina and S. Stefano, have open 
104 




io 5 



The Appearance of the City 

spaces or green lawns in front. The rest are hidden 
away in the ancient streets, which are wider than in 
most mediaeval cities of Italy, plain but interesting in 
architecture and singularly silent. 

At the end of Via S. Frediano is a wonderfully 
picturesque square, the Piazza de' Cavalieri. Here 
the buildings follow the irregular curve of the ancient 
forum or amphitheatre, upon whose ruins rose the 
noble palaces of the Commune, the Palazzo degP 
Anziani, the Palazzo Vecchio, and the infamous 
prison-tower of the Gualandi. These have all 
perished. Cosimo I. rebuilt them to serve the pur- 
poses of his rather mock-heroic equestrian Order of 
S. Stefano, and his statue is now the guardian of the 
place. The Piazza S. Caterina, with its pleasant 
rows of trees, forms a much-needed oasis of shade in 
the north-east corner of the city. 

The heart of the famous University is La Sapienza, 
a brown building with an ancient cloister standing 
almost in the centre of the curved Lung* Arno ; while 
her younger offshoots, the Natural History Museum, 
the Botanical Garden, the Schools of Medicine and 
Surgery, line Via Solferino. The great hospital of 
S. Chiara, whose healing work has continued unceas- 
ingly since the middle ages, occupies nearly the 
whole of the south side of the Piazza, del Duomo. 
Either Via Solferino or the winding course of Via 
S. Maria, in which is the Trovatelli or Foundling 
Hospital, lead to the famous area where the four 
great architectural treasures of Pisa are enshrined, the 
Duomo, the Campo Santo, the Baptistery and the 
Leaning Tower, all dazzling white in the sunshine, 
and bewildering to the eye with their innumerable 
columns and pinnacles. 

In building as in war Pisa was strong and original, 
and set her stamp on the architecture that surrounded 

107 



Story of Pisa 

her. She took the Tuscan- Romanesque style, and 
her splendour-loving temperament forced her to de- 
velop it in the direction of great elaboration of detail. 
The style that resulted may be studied at every stage 
from the simple form of S. Piero a Grado, to the 
intricacy of the Duomo, the Baptistery, the Leaning 
Tower, S. Michele al Borgo and S. Paolo a Ripa 
d' Arno, with their multiplication of small arcades. 
But though over-ornamented it never degenerated, 
as in Lucca, to the merely rhetorical, with frontis- 
pieces raised far above the roof of the building for the 
sole purpose of covering more space with meaningless 
ornamentation. Perhaps its most emphatic and typical 
instance in Pisa is the Leaning Tower, the whole 
structure of which is masked with row upon row of 
precisely similar arcades, which though beautiful in 
themselves, weary the eye by unnecessary reiteration. 
Far finer is the tower of S. Niccolo, where the 
arcading is temperately used, and its single row of 
arches is a delight instead of a weariness. There was 
never any progression or development in the form or 
in the proportions of the structure. The Pisans used 
the basilica form as they found it, practically a large 
oblong gabled house, with a small gabled house super- 
imposed and one or two apses at the end, supported 
inside by two rows of columns. But they paid more 
attention to the harmony of the interior and of the 
exterior than any people since the Romans, and 
covered the exterior with panelling below and with 
arcades above, elaborating the fagade to such an extent 
that it was practically covered with arcades and 
columns, each column even being sometimes fancifully 
carved. 

The great group of the Duomo, the Baptistery, the 
Leaning Tower and the Campo Santo, the most per- 
fect expression of the Pisan mind, is rather curiously 
108 




109 



The Appearance of the City 

placed in an outlying corner, beyond the reach of the 
encroaching waters of the Arno that so often spread 
themselves over the lower portion of the city, and of 
the enemies who so frequently approached it by the 
undefended suburbs on the south bank. In their 
isolation they surely present the solitary instance in 
Italy of a great cathedral surrounded with a wide 
space of greensward ; a worthy setting, although it 
was probably the intention of the builders to pave the 
whole with precious marbles. 

Any consideration of Pisan architecture would be 
incomplete without a reference to the mysterious 
Guilds of Comacine builders who spread southwards 
from Como in the early Middle Ages. It is hard to 
tell exactly how far their influence is to be seen in 
Pisa, while it is evident that they had some hand in 
most of the important buildings, and that on the 
Baptistery and the churches of SS. Cosimo and 
Damiano they have left hieroglyphs that very possibly 
are their masons' marks. 

Of the multitude of mediaeval towers that crowded 
the city many remain, but nearly all were so truncated 
by order of the Florentines after 1509 that they 
hardly rise above the houses and are difficult to 
discover. A few here and there have evaded the 
general destruction, and still rise proudly into the air 
to remind us of what the others were like. Although 
regrettable to the student of the past, Pisa has no 
doubt benefitted by their loss, for the old town with 
those great shafts closely packed together can have 
been neither sunny, airy, nor safe. 

Few traces of the Roman city now exist. On the 
site of its temples rose churches, whose columns, and 
much of the material of which they were built, were 
filched from the earlier structures. Architraves were 
made from fragments of temples, while carved stones 

in 



Story of Pisa 

and inscriptions are built into so many walls that we 
cannot go far without seeing their beautiful patterns 
and bold lettering. But all that we have to remind us 
of the many splendid imperial buildings of which we 
read, is one poor fragment of Thermae near the Porta 
Lucchese, and faint traces of an aqueduct outside it. 
Of the Circus Maximus, the Naumachia, the Forum 
and the theatres, the temple of Augustus, the arsenal 
and the great palace of Hadrian, which extended from 
the Piazza del Duomo to the Porta Lucchese, no 
traces remain. 

Sculpture was perhaps the field in which Pisa 
was greatest. Art had lagged behind trade, and 
until the middle of the thirteenth century both 
painting and sculpture were at the lowest ebb. 
Then there suddenly appeared a stranger, Niccolo, 
probably from distant Apulia, who transformed 
the latter into a living art, showing in his 
first work, the pulpit of the Baptistery, a perfect 
command over his art, a power of expressing emotion 
hitherto unknown, and of conceiving figures that had 
the grandeur of the old Romans, but were instinct 
with a new and a more vigorous life. In spirit he was 
a pagan and ignored the gentle graces of Christianity, 
but he forced his pagan spirit into the service of the 
Christian Church. His Madonna looks like a suffering 
Roman matron, and the crucified Saviour like a 
gladiator, while his devils recall the grotesque masks 
of the ancients. He was assisted and followed by his 
son Giovanni, sculptor and architect, who inherited 
his father's vigour and strength, combined with romantic 
elements derived from the French - Gothic and a 
realism that tempered, without entirely superseding, 
his classical vein. Niccolo revived the sense of form, 
his influence affected sculpture throughout all Italy, 
and was only superseded by that of Donatello. 
112 



The Appearance of the City 

Giovanni's personality is perhaps most strongly felt 
in the work of Giotto and of his contemporaries, 
but it spread all over Italy, and is very evident in 
the sculpture of Florence and of Siena. 

Except Giunta Pisano and his followers, who painted 
grim crucifixes in the first half of the thirteenth century, 
and Traini, the fourteenth century painter of the S. 
Thomas Aquinas picture in the church of S. Caterina, 
Pisa has produced few painters ; and was obliged to 
summon artists from Siena or from Florence to adorn 
her walls. 

THE WALLS OF PISA 

Few cities have preserved their mediaeval walls with 
such loving care as Pisa. The circuit is complete 
save where the traveller enters the city ; and there, 
alas, a wide breach has been made by the restless spirit 
of modernity. But once past the paltry barrier and 
the banal square, with its inevitable statue of Victor 
Emanuel, that take the place of the old Porta Romana, 
one quickly perceives that the city is a walled one. 
Glimpses of battlements close the vistas of the streets, 
and green fields peep through the open gates, marking 
that abrupt transition between town and country peculiar 
to a fortified city. 

The walls are best seen from without. An admirable 
impression of them can be had on leaving the city by 
the Porta Lucchese. Turning to the left, after passing 
a crucifix over-shadowed by cypresses, we come to the 
edge of a stretch of level marshy meadows, gaily pied 
in spring with orchises and grape hyacinths. Above our 
heads the high air vibrates with the song of larks. Before 
us is the long line of the city walls. Strong, grim and 
grey, they look with nothing to break the outline of 
square battlements against the sky, but that majestic 



Story of Pisa 

group of domes and towers for whose defence they 
were built. At the angle of the wall to the right is a 
square watch-tower, backed by groups of cypresses 
that rise into the air like dark flames. Its little windows 
command the flat plain as far as the horizon. How 
easy to imagine the warning blast of the warder's 
trumpet as he caught sight of a distant enemy, and the 
wall springing into life at the sound. Armed men 
buckling on their harness would swarm up ladders to 
the battlements, the catapult groan and squeak as its 
lever was forced backwards, and at the sharp word of 
command the first flight of arrows would be loosed. 
But the dream fades, and we pass on to the angle of 
the wall where the cypresses stand. From the 
picturesque Jews' cemetery, to which access is easy, 
the structure of the walls can be studied in detail 
because the hand of the restorer has been perforce 
withheld within its gates. The wall is some forty 
feet high, built of stone from the Pisan hills, weathered 
for the most part to a greyish hue. The masonry of 
the lower half is good. The blocks of stone are large 
and well laid. Those of the upper half are smaller 
and the masonry is in places careless and irregular. 
The red brick battlements are square. At short 
intervals there are walled-up gateways, round-headed 
or ogival in form, and the whole surface is rent and 
patched. Centuries of war and earthquakes, rain and 
fire, have given it a pleasant irregularity, the record 
of violent and troublous times. The city can be re- 
entered by the Porta Nuova, only a few yards to the 
left of the- cemetery. So venerable do these battered 
walls look that we need the full evidence of history to 
realise that they had more than one predecessor. The 
memory even of the first walls of Pisa, an ancient city 
when Rome was young, has been lost. The earliest 
of which we know anything appear on a map of the 
116 



The Appearance of the City 

ninth century drawn by one Bonanno ; l a map, we 
should rather say professing to be of the ninth century, 
for churches of the thirteenth century are marked upon 
it, so it must either have been made, or the churches 
inserted, then. The fact that the names of the build- 
ings marked on it are written in Italian gives an over- 
whelming probability to the latter view. But whether 
of the ninth or the thirteenth century, it so entirely 
agrees with allusions in early charters and with such 
early remains as exist, that failing a better, the map 
may be considered a trustworthy guide. The one 
point on which it cannot be followed is the position of 
the river Auser, or Ozzeri, which in the Middle Ages 
flowed southwards through the city and fell into the 
the Arno. Bonanno places it to the east of the 
walled city, whereas tradition and all existing docu- 
ments of the period indicate, as will be seen, that it 
flowed outside the western wall. It is suggested by 
reliable authorities that Bonanno mistook for the Auser 
the open drain which carried the water from the 
Thermae down to the Arno, and marked it on his map 
by the name of the river. 

The walls existing in the ninth century seem to 
have been rebuilt in the beginning of the eleventh 
century on the same lines, as is established by a 
document of 1027 speaking of the land lying between 
the old wall and the wall of the city. 2 But with the 
scanty remains and the few allusions in documents 
which we have to guide us, it is difficult to disentangle 

1 See Disscrtatione su la Storia di Pisa, ii., by Flaminio del 
Borgo, or reproduction in Les Monuments de Pise, G. Rohault 
de Fleury. The original is inscribed, " Lo forte di Pisa de lo 
ottogento LII1 chonforme fu liniato per Maestro Bonnano dia 
Pisa. 

2 ''Donamus Leoni filio Bonii suisque heredibus quandam 
terram sitam inter murum veterem et murum Civitatis Pisa*," 
quoted by M. Tanfani in work on S. Maria della Spina. 

II/ 



Story of Pisa 

the two. We can, however, trace their common course. 
In Bonanno's map the wall extends some three hundred 
feet westward from the Porta Aurea parallel to the 
Arno, and then turns away from it at right angles. In 
this western wall Bonanno places the Porta al Mare 
which we know was near the Church of S. Niccolo l 
then outside the walls. The positions of the two existing 
gates are still as represented on the map. The western 
wall must have been built along the banks of the Auser or 
Ozzeri, the tributary of the Serchio which fell into the 
Arno near the church of S. Clemente, and the winding 
line of Via S. Maria is believed to follow the ancient 
course of the stream. The latter was crossed by a 
bridge, and there was a gate close by called the Porta 
al Ponte. All that we know of the northern course 
of the wall is that it ran south of the churches of S. 
Caterina and S. Zeno, and that there was a gate in the 
direction of Lucca. The eastern wall just included 
the church of S. Felice (now the Cassa di Risparmio) 
whilst S. Michele in Borgo, S. Andrea, and S. Pietro 
in Vincolis, were left outside in the region known as 
Forisportge. There was a gate near S. Felice and 
another not far from S. Michele in Borgo, the Porta 
Samuele ; S. Matteo and S. Sylvestro are also men- 
tioned as being outside the walls. At the church 
of S. Clemente the wall turned southwards and 
rejoined the Porta Aurea at a spot where in 1124 a 
gigantic statue was erected, whence its name of Canto 
del Gigante. 

The tiny town, enclosed within the walls just de- 
scribed, was an irregular parallelogram lying entirely 
on the north side of the Arno, with a very short river 

1 Document of 1105 written "in Pisa in Porta Maris 
presso la chiesa di S. Niccolo." Document of 1146. Actum 
Pisa porta Maris domo uxoris quandam Gherardi Tartarii 
prope ecclesiam San Nicolai. Anteq. Muratori, Hi., 1161. 



The Appearance of the City 

frontage. The two existing gates belonging to the 
wall of the ninth century are similar in style, a style 
little removed from that of the Roman decadence, 
with finely jointed masonry, but a general carelessness 
of construction. One is the Porta Aurea at the 
junction of Vicolo della Sapienza and Via Ulivo, 
built into the right hand wall of the courtyard 
behind Palazzo Uppezinghi. 1 Only its outer wall 
remains with two ogival arched openings, the larger 
for waggons and horsemen, the smaller for foot pas- 
sengers ; while in the wall above, which was doubtless 
once crowned with battlements, 2 are two round- 
headed doors, which gave access to an exterior 
wooden gallery placed there in time of war to defend 
the approach. This was supported on beams, thrust 
into sockets in the masonry with brackets beneath to 
support them. The base of the structure is now 
buried some six feet below the present level of the 
city owing to the rise in the bed of the Arno. This 
gate was beloved by the Pisans. Standing on the Via 
Emilia, the road which connected the city with its 
port, they passed through it each time they returned 
home victorious, laden with booty from their splendid 
maritime expeditions. In course of time Porta Aurea 
came to be associated with their victories, and after 
the conquest of the Balearic Isles in 1115 they raised 
it to the rank of a triumphal arch. Some time later 
an inscription was placed on the gateway to record the 
fact, 3 which, although not contemporary, well expresses 
the Pisan spirit of pride and vainglory : 

1 It will be found in a courtyard closed by an iron gate, of 
which the key can be had by applying at the house im- 
mediately on the left. 

2 See restoration on p. 33, vol. i., in La Toscane au Moyen 
Age, by G. Rohault de Fleury. The sockets still exist, and 
in one of them is the fragment of a beam. 

3 The inscription is now in the Church of the Madonna 

119 



Story of Pisa 



" By the noble citizens this is called the Golden Gate 

Whereon the honour of their nobility expresses itself. 

See in this city which is wont to strike the neck of the 
wicked 

The main glory of the Empire. 

Most terrible was the rage of the greater Balearic, when 

She with conquered Ivica felt the power of Pisa. 

Eleven hundred and fifteen years after the Virgin con- 
ceived God, 

The valourous people of Pisa laid both low, 

The double carnage gives proof of this. 

Love justice, ye rulers of the earth." 

The other gate, whose identification with the Porta al 
Mare is almost a certainty, is a simpler building, with 
only one wide, round-headed arch. 1 

The ancient walls were practically swept away by 
the prosperity of Pisa. Besides the Balearic Islands 
she had conquered Carthage, the Lipari Islands, Elba, 
Corsica, and Palermo, and her galleys poured their 
spoils into the Pisan port. She traded with the East, 
and was successful in commerce as in war. Her 
inhabitants increased rapidly. They could no longer 
be penned within the narrow limits of the old wall, 
but overflowed in all directions beyond it. Not only 
was the Borgo thickly populated, but a whole new 
region, called Forisportae, sprang up. So masked was 
the wall by houses, built into it and huddling against 
it both on the outside and the inside, that it seems to 
have been actually invisible. So much so that con- 

de' Galletti. The identity of the above-mentioned gate 
with the Porta Aurea is disputed by some modern scholars. 
Professor Clemente Lupi, Director of Ancient Monuments 
and Keeper of the Archives in Pisa, has found reference to 
it as ad Portorium, i.e. the customs house, and supposes it 
was the landing-place for goods brought into the city. The 
two theories do not seem to be irreconcilable. 

1 In Via della Pergola under an archway leading to Piazza 
S. Giorgio, opposite the church of the same name. 

I 2O 



The Appearance of the City 

temporary chroniclers spoke of Pisa as without walls, 
and attributed her safety to the valour of her citizens 
and the multitude of her towers. The ancient wall 
was evidently so hidden and decayed that Pisa must 
be regarded as a defenceless city in the twelfth cen- 
tury. It is curious that her citizens should have 
neglected their own safety at a time when they were 
masters of fortification and defence ; when their fame 
in these arts had reached as far as Egypt and Syria, 
and when the Milanese came to them to beg for 
engineers. 

In the meantime they were filling their city with 
architectural treasures. S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno was 
rising, and the Duomo had been completed in Jii8. 
Its exterior shone with rich marbles, bronzes, and 
sculptures, while the interior was a worthy shrine for 
many holy and precious relics and noble works of 
art. It stood on high ground to the north-west of 
the city, bare and open to the enemy, outside even the 
feeble defence of suburban houses. This roused the 
Pisans. They remembered how the quarter of Chin- 
sica had been burned down by the Saracens and feared 
a like fate for this new and splendid symbol of their 
greatness. A fresh wall was begun, wide enough in 
circuit to include everything, Duomo and suburbs 
alike ; the wall that still exists. They began at 
Porta Lcgazia, the modern Porta a Mare, on the 
south bank of the river, across which they threw a 
fortified bridge, and continued the wall northwards as 
far as Porta al Leone. The date of this undertaking 
is variously stated, but there is documentary evidence 
to show that Via S. Maria was already enclosed in 
1140. Then there came a pause. The resources of 
the Republic had been drained by the wars with 
Lucca and by the crusade of 1146. Even this first 
section of the walls was left at half its intended 

121 



Story of Pisa 

height, a fact which probably explains the diversity of 
the masonry from that of the upper part. When the 
Baptistery, a splendid building worthy to stand by the 
side of the Duomo, was begun in 1155, the Pisans 
were once more reminded of the danger of leaving 
their treasures unprotected. In the same year work 
was resumed upon the walls under Bonanus or 
Bonanno, the future architect of the Campanile. A 




PORTA AL LEONE 



chronicler tells us that, " In the said year, Cocco 
being Consul of Pisa, walls were erected and 
barbicans, from the Porta Legatia to the Porta al 
Leone and further." l Rapid progress was made. 
The following year, after setting up the marble lion 
which still guards the Porta al Leone, the wall was ex- 
tended as far as the bridge over the Auser, or Ozzeri, 
and the rest of the city, including Chinsica, the 
suburb on the opposite side of the river, was defended 
by barbicans. But even this was too slow for the 



1 Cronica di Pisa. Anonymous. 



122 



The Appearance of the City 

Pisans, who were then trembling for fear of a descent 
of the terrible Barbarossa. Temporary wooden walls 
were hurriedly erected all over the city, and strength- 
ened in 1157 with wooden towers, castles, and 
breteches. 1 This was necessary to appease the fears 
of the people, for serious delay in the completion of 
the real walls was caused by the difficulty of trans- 
porting the vast masses of stone from the Pisan hills. 
Marangone writes that at last a canal was dug from the 
quarries to the church of S. Zenone, and the building- 
material brought in barges. Before the end of the 
year another great piece was added to the wall. Then 
there was a pause again, but by 1159 it had reached 
the Ponte del/a Fortezza, then called the Ponte delta 
Spina. Thus the defence of the city north of the 
Arno was completed, but Chinsica on the south was 
crying out for something more stable than barbicans to 
defend her. Her prayers were not listened to for 
three years, and then the work went on so slowly that 
the walls begun in 1162 were not finished until 1286. 
The circuit was thus completed after a hundred and 
forty years of intermittent work, and the Commune in 
that same year proceeded to make laws for the main- 
tenance of the walls, so that they should not become 
buried in houses like their predecessor. A clear space 
of eight canne or thirty-five feet, marked with white 
stones, was to surround the walls outside, and a mili- 
tary road, three canne, or thirteen feet broad, was to 
follow their circuit inside. Officials called Misuratori 
delle Canne were appointed to prevent anyone infring- 
ing on these zones, and their office was considered so 
important that they were forbidden to undertake other 
work or to leave the city for more than a month at a 

1 Circumierunt totam urbem Pisanum et kinticam ligneis 
turribus et castellis et britischio pro titnore Frederic! regis 
Roman! venientes. Cronaca Pisana, Marangone. 

I2 3 



Story of Pisa 

time. Sanitary measures were also enacted. Pro- 
prietors of land outside the gates were obliged to 
plant avenues of trees, and deep channels were dug to 
carry off the drainage of the city. 

In the main the work was well done, and the wall 
proved strong enough to defy Castruccio Castracane, 
the Lord of Lucca, who besieged the city in 1328 
together with the Emperor Louis of Bavaria. In 
spite of a complete investment, wooden towers whose 
like had never been seen in Italy, and extensive mines, 
their efforts were vain until treason within opened the 
gates. The weak points betrayed were remedied in 
1330, and six years later the Porta alle Piagge, which 
had been greatly injured during the furious faction 
fights between the Gualandi and Fazio della Gherar- 
desca, was strengthened by the construction of the 
celebrated tower, La Vittorlosa ; and at the same time 
the walls were carefully repaired. 

Alterations and additions were made from time to 
time, but the walls remained substantially the same 
until the fall of the Republic. During the long and 
savage attacks of the Florentines they suffered greatly, 
and when Cosimo I. de Medici finally became master 
of the city, one of his first acts was the restora- 
tion of the walls and of their battlements. He closed 
most of the old gates and opened or rebuilt others, the 
reconstruction being made with red brick, while he 
replaced the swallow-tailed battlements with square 
ones. His gates are still used. They are the Porta 
Nuova, an entirely new one which took the place of 
the Porta al Leone ; the Porta Lucchese, which he re- 
built ; the Porta alle Piaggc, on the north ; the Porta 
Romana-t or S. Antonio, destroyed to make room for 
the railway ; and the Porta a Mare on the south. 

Any reader wishing to study the walls carefully 
should begin on the west side, where they are oldest. 
124 



The Appearance of the City 

To the north of the Ponte di Ferro is the arsenal, or 
Cittadella, built in 1200 and jutting out beyond the 
original walls, part of which were destroyed to make 
room for it. The point where it rejoins them is 
marked by the Torre Ghibellina. Between this and 
the Porta al Leone are remains of several old gates 
walled up by Cosimo I., the Porta Vieza, probably ; 
the Porta Lecci ; the Porta Buozzi ; the Porta S. 
Chiara, and one or two nameless ones. Then comes 
Cosimo's Porta Nuova, a fine rusticated stone arch 
crowned by his arms. A little further on, after turn- 
ing for a brief tract to the north, we reach, in the 
angle where the wall again branches off to the west, 
the celebrated Porta a! Leone. It has remains of a 
tower and two walled-up gateways, one on either side 
of the angle. The famous byzantine lion instead of 
standing outside on his original bracket, which still 
exists, now looks down peacefully from the battlements 
within. Here the wall turns again to the north and 
at the angle is a tower, which defended both the 
northern and the western walls, now truncated because 
it attracted the lightning. Just underneath it, to the 
west, is the ancient Porta S. Donnino. On the 
northern side are the half-buried remains of the Porta 
Vescovado, opened according to an inscription on its 
lintel in 1211. Through it the Pisans used to pass 
in procession to the Church of S. Stefano Fuor le 
Mura, to invoke the blessings of heaven on their crops. 
Between this and the Porta Lucchese, a plain stone 
arch, the wall shows traces of various reconstructions, 
including a gate that was never finished. 

Beyond the Porta Lucchese are traces of long dis- 
used gates, the Porta Parlascio, the Porta Monetaria, 
so called from an adjacent mint, the Porta della Pace 
and the Porta Calcesana, whose names we read in the 
pages of Pisan history. Between the latter and the 



Story of Pisa 

Porta alle Piagge, which was destroyed in 1869 after 
the great flood and replaced by an iron barrier, the 
wall has been patched with zones of brickwork. It 
was formerly united to the Ponte della Fortezza by 
the Vittoriosa tower, the opposite end of the bridge 
being defended by the Porta della Spina, of which no 
trace remains. The rest of the eastern side is covered 
by the Florentine Fortezza or Fortress. At the angle 
is the Porta Fiorentina t rebuilt in the nineteenth century 
by Leopoldo II. The Porta del Giglio was near 
here, but the remains of it are scant. 

It will be remembered that the southern side of the 
wall was constructed last ; and it will be seen that it is 
much better built than the rest. Besides the Porta 
Romana or S. Agostino, there was once the Porta S. 
Paolo near the church of the same name. Turning 
again to the west the circuit is completed at the Porta 
Legazia, or a Mare, one of Cosimo's reconstructions. 

THE TOWERS OF PISA 

The external appearance of an Italian city in the 
twelfth century was so unlike anything we are accustomed 
to in modern times that a strong effort of the imagina- 
tion is needed to conceive it. Seen from a distance 
the walls enclosed, not houses, but a forest of tall square 
shafts, rising into the sky like the crowded chimney 
stacks in a manufacturing town but far more thickly 
set together. The city appeared, to use a graphic 
contemporary metaphor, like a sheaf of corn bound 
together by its walls. San Gimignano, though most 
of its towers have perished long ago, helps us to 
imagine faintly what Italian towns were like in the 
days of Frederick Barbarossa or of his grandson 
Frederick II. For most of the houses were actually 
towers, long rectangular columns, vying with each 
126 



7 be Appearance of the City 

other in height and crowded close together on either 
side of the narrow, airless, darkened streets. Some- 
times they were connected with one another by wooden 
bridges, and all were furnished with wooden balconies 
used in defensive and offensive warfare with their 
neighbours. Cities full of towers were common all 
over southern France and central Italy, but Tuscany 
had more than any other state, and those of Pisa were 




PORTION OF AN INTARS1A PANEL JN THE DUOMA, SHOWING PART 
OF THE CITY AND MEDIEVAL TOWERS 

the most famous of all. The habit of building and 
dwelling in towers rather than in houses may have 
arisen from the difficulty of expanding laterally within 
an enclosed city ; but a stronger reason may be found 
in the dangers and uncertainty of life in a period when 
a man might be attacked at any moment by his fellow- 
citizen, as well as by the enemy of the state. It was 
a distinct military advantage to overlook one's neigh- 
bour, who might be an enemy ; and towers rose higher 
and higher. 1 The spirit of emulation entered, and 
rich nobles gloried in adding tower to tower and in 
looking down on all rivals. 

1 Benjamin da Tudela. 

127 



, 



Story of Pisa 

But whatever the cause of their existence, they were 
picturesque, and must have presented a gallant sight on 
the eve of a high festival. The tall shafts were tinged 
with gold by the western sun, their battlements crowned 
with three fluttering banners the eagle of the Emperor, 
the white cross of the Commune, and the device of the 
People looking as though a cloud of many- coloured 
butterflies were hovering over the city. Again, how 
dramatic the scene when the city was rent by one of 
the perpetually recurring faction-fights. Light bridges 
with grappling-irons were thrown from tower to tower, 
doors and windows were barricaded, balconies and 
battlements lined with men in shining mail, bearing 
the fantastic device of their leader on helm and shield. 
Mangonels, or catapults, huge engines stationed on 
the roofs of the towers, sent masses of stone hurtling 
through the air, whistling arbelast bolts and clothyard 
shafts flew in thick showers, boiling oil or lead rained 
down on the heads of those who ventured down to 
attack the doors, and arrows, with greek fire attached, 
were shot with nice aim into the wooden balconies and 
bridges. Vile insults were hurled where missiles failed 
to strike. The shouts and shrieks of the combatants 
were mingled with the crash of a falling tower or with 
the hissing of a fire-arrow. Where those struck, a red 
glow arose and a thick cloud of smoke enveloped the 
defenders. 

Although it is evident that towers were very numerous 
in Pisa, it is difficult to arrive at their precise number. 
The chroniclers differ greatly in their estimates. Ben- 
jamin da Tudela, for instance, says that there were 
10,000 in the twelfth century, while Marangone puts 
the number at 15,000 and Tronci at 16,000. These 
are round numbers such as the medieval mind loved, 
but we have abundant evidence that they are not much 
exaggerated. The accompanying illustration, taken 
128 



The Appearance of the City 

from an intarsia panel in the Duomo, shows how 
closely the towers were packed together, while the 
mass of legislation relating to them was directed 
against abuses that could only have arisen if their 
number was very large. 

The Pisan towers were all of similar construction. 
The lower part of the walls was strengthened by a vast 
ogival arch of fine masonry filled in with inferior stone 
or brick- work. The different stories were supported 
by arched vaults, and there seems to have been no way 
of getting from storey to storey save by ladders. In 
the masonry were brackets, with square sockets above 
into which were thrust the beams that supported the 
projecting wooden balconies, and seven or eight feet 
higher were corbels for attaching the roof of the 
balcony. Many of the towers were crenellated and 
machicolated. They were generally built of Verruca 
stone, though sometimes of brick ; less often, however, 
than one would imagine from the existing ones which 
owe their brickwork to later restorations. The old 
writers speak of Torre Vergate, or striped towers, 
meaning that the stone or marble of which the great 
arches were built was in alternate rows of black and 
white. A good specimen of this style can be seen 
in the Lung 7 Arno Mediceo near the Banca Com- 
merciale. 

The construction was sometimes modified by the fact 
that they were dwelling-houses as well as fortresses. 
Great families had a dwelling-house with a tower 
rising from the middle of one of its walls, as in the 
Palazzo Vecchio of Florence, the tower serving for 
defence only. As a rule, however, the lower stories 
of the tower itself formed a dark and dismal dwelling, 
the only home of the owner and his family. 

Their great height, which sometimes reached 200 
feet, was always a menace to the public safety, exposed 
i 129 



Story of Pisa 

as they were to the lightning and the wind. After 
violent storms one would collapse, dragging down 
adjacent balconies and bridges in its fall. Fire would 
then break out as in 1150, when, after the destruction 
of ten towers by a terrible conflagration, the Consuls 
ordered all wooden structures, such as balconies, to 
be destroyed. But this attempt to minimise the danger 
of towers seems to have been largely disobeyed. Bal- 
conies and bridges continued to endanger the lives of 
peaceful citizens for many years to come. 

In 1174 it was forbidden, in the interests of public 
safety, to build a tower of a greater height than fifty- 
seven feet, and two sworn officials, called Captains of 
the Wall, were appointed to enforce the observance 
of the law. At a later period the Consuls allowed a 
height of ninety-five feet. Even ecclesiastical property 
was not exempt, while the tower of any noble who 
disobeyed was either pulled down or reduced to the 
legal height within a month after it was built. Some- 
times, instead of pulling down a tower, the government 
seized and garrisoned it for the purpose of maintaining 
peace and order in the city. The quarrelsome Sassetti 
family had to submit several times to such occupations. 
In the same year strict Jaws were made concerning pro- 
jectiles. It was forbidden to throw anything whatever 
from bridge or balcony, either on to another tower or 
house, or at any person. At the request of a majority 
of the neighbours the offending structure was destroyed, 
and the height of the tower to which it belonged 
diminished by one half. The materials became the 
property of the Commune, which was obliged to 
convey them to the arsenal, where the timbers were 
used for building galleys and the brick and stone for the 
construction of docks. Repressive measures were also 
enacted against the bridges connecting tower with tower, 
which had again become a danger. A perfect network 
130 



The Appearance of the City 

of them crossed and recrossed the streets at a consider- 
able height, depriving them of such light and air as the 
towers permitted them to receive. A heavy fine of 
1000 solidi was imposed on offenders, half of whose 
tower was also demolished. Projecting gargoyles, or 
balconies wider than the regulation foot and a half, 
likely to be a danger to the wayfarer, were liable to be 
destroyed. The volumes of water that poured from the 
mouths of the gargoyles were also restrained. 

The legislation concerning projectiles proved in- 
sufficient, and further laws were made in 1285, the 
punishments being made much more rigorous. In 
1286 the Commune found it necessary to forbid the 
nobles to build any more towers in the Spina quarter, 
the number being already so great as to give rise to 
constant faction-fights. Disobedience was punished 
by heavy fines. Operai were also appointed to enquire 
inco the condition of existing towers, with power to 
demolish the weak or defective ones. The necessity 
for such legislation is obvious. One shudders to think 
of the dark and airless streets with those grim shafts 
intercepting sunshine and air, to say nothing of the 
innumerable bridges and balconies crossing over, or 
projecting into the street. Then there was the danger 
from stones, arrows and other projectiles, during the 
almost incessant faction-fights, and the chance of a 
powerful noble rebelling against the state to the ex- 
treme terror and danger of his neighbours. Occasion- 
ally the Commune itself was obliged to erect towers in 
order to keep the nobles in check, thus fighting them 
with their own weapons. The danger of these lofty 
shafts was brought home anew to the Pisans by the 
terrible catastrophies that occurred during the great 
gale of 1325. Several tall towers fell, among them 
that of the Judge of Gallura at the end of the Borgo, 
burying fifty people in their ruins. Many more, adds 

131 



Story* of Pisa 

the chronicler, would have been crushed had they not 
been kept at home by torrents of rain. About ten 
years later the Torre dt Ferro, near the Piazza de* 
Priori, was riven into three pieces by a terrible storm. 
Great stones crashed through the air and many were 
killed. The survivors rushed frantically away, shriek- 
ing out that it was the judgment of God, a portent. 
During the long and bitter struggles that ended with 
the final subjugation of Pisa to Florence many great 
towers were destroyed ; but the final blow that put an 
end to the Age of Towers was struck in i 509, when 
the conquerors decreed that all the survivors should be 
reduced to the height of fifty-two feet. 

But few towers remain to show us what Pisa looked 
like before her fall. So lamentable was the condition 
of the city in the time of Pope Julius II, that he 
refused to hold a council in Pisa because it was im- 
possible to find adequate lodgings for the bishops : 
" Who can be unaware, we speak with pain, of the 
cruel siege that Pisa has endured and the desolation to 
which she has been reduced by war. Indeed but few 
houses have their walls intact, and hardly any can be 
found still furnished with floors and balconies. Where 
could the cardinals of the holy Roman Church find 
lodgings, or the patriarchs and the archbishops ? " l 

Things were but little better in the middle of the 
seventeenth century, when Lassels found grass growing 
in the streets. 2 

The bases of the towers, however, survived. As 
the city was gradually rebuilt they were put to various 
uses, disguised by modern additions or coated with 
plaster. After the great earthquake of 1846 the 
plaster cracked and disclosed the ancient forms of 

1 Dissert ; sail' Origlone delta Universita Pisana, Flaminio dal 
Borgo. 

2 Voyage of Italy, Richard Lassels, Gent., 1670. 

132 




THE TORRE DEL CAMPANA 



133 



The Appearance of the City 

doors and windows, and the great ogival arches of the 
towers. The few that evaded the general destruction 
still exist, more or less in their original condition. 1 

The Torre della Verga d'Oro, now covered with 
stucco and built into the royal palace, is connected 
with the church of S. Niccolo by two stone bridges. 
It belonged to the houses of the Gaetani, and is said to 
have been the highest dwelling-tower in Pisa. Close 
to it was the tower called Lanfrcdonia. Both are 
alluded to by Sardo as Torre vergate, so that no doubt 
alternating rows of black and white marble are hidden 
under the stucco. The Torre della Campana in Via 
S. Margherita (out of Via S. Frediano), with its 
masonry more or less in the original state, is interest- 
ing. Its great ogival arch is clearly visible, and the 
original windows, with their round-headed arches, can 
be traced. It is now a belfry, and its bell summons 
the students of the neighbouring University to their 
studies at half-past seven every morning. The Torre 
degV Uppezinghi, built into the palace of the same name, 
commonly called Alia Giornata, is difficult to see from 
the street save at a considerable distance. 2 Its base is 
of rough stonework. The upper part is the finest 
specimen of brickwork in Pisa. Divided into three 
bands by brick cornices cut into lozenges, it has 
several beautiful round-headed windows and some 
pointed ones. The summit has been rudely restored 
with stone and roofed in. The red bricks are good 
and the mortar is excellent. This part belongs to the 

1 Many of the details given above are taken from Repetti's 
Dizionario della Toscana, from La Toscane au JMoyen Age and 
Les Monuments de Pise au Moyen Age, by Georges Rohault de 
Fleury, which should be consulted for further information 
on the subject. 

2 To get a good view ring at No. 5 Vicolo della Sapienza, 
just behind the palace. Permission is readily given to enter 
the courtyard at the back, from whence the tower rises. 

135 



Story of Pisa 



thirteenth century, the lower to a much earlier one. A 
fine tower in Via degl' Orafi shows an ogival arch, 
with good masonry very 
much patched. Others 
behind the Palazzo Ago- 
stini and the Hotel Vic- 
toria, and in Via S.Martino 
near Vicolo della Pera are 
worth looking at. Several 
more rise above the roofs 
of the city, but they are 
difficult of approach. At 
the corner of Via della 
Sapienza are the remains 
of a little church, S. Maria 
della Neve, which was 
built into the base of the 
old tower of the Galletti. 
It has an interesting in- 
scription over the door- 
way. 1 The little shrine 
was desecrated long ago. 
Used by Vesalius as an anatomical theatre in i 543-45, 
1 Questa Eccletia Chiamata Santa Maria 

Vergine fue Edifichata perlo 
Commune e perjo Popolo di Pisa in dell' anno 

della Incarnacione del nostro 
Singnore Jesu Xpo MCCCXLIH. del mese d' agosto 

Stante, Essendo Domino 
Ranieri Novello Conte di Donoraticho Capitano generate 

de Pisa e di Luccha 
E del loro contado + Ceccho di Lemmo Capo Maestro 

di detto lavoro e della Piassa 
+ Giovanni Bucchia cittadino di Pisa fue operaio 

della soprascritta Ecclesia 
E della Piassa della Biada in dell detto tempo. 2 

2 The Corn market, or Piazza della Biada, was demolished by the 
Florentines in 1493 when the University building, La Sapienza* was 
built. 

36 




THE UPPEZ1NGHI TOWER 



The Appearance of the City 

as testified by an inscription, it is now a billiard saloon, 
the clicking of the balls breaking the silence of this 
quiet corner. 

Of all the towers the Torre Gualandi, better known 
as the Torre Delia Fame, or Tower of Famine, has the 
widest and most terrible renown. It stood on the 
north side of the Piazza degP Anziani, at a place 
where seven roads met ; hence it was also known as 
the Tower of the Seven Ways. Built originally for 
the Gualandi family, it seems to have passed into the 
hands of the state, and to have been used as the mew 
where the eagles of the Commune were kept, living 
representatives of the heraldic devices of their cities, 
just as the Sienese kept wolves and the Florentines 
lions. Into a " narrow hole within the mew " Count 
Ugolino della Gherardesca, together with his sons, 
Gaddo and Uggucione, and his grandsons, Nino il 
Brigata and young Anselmuccio, was thrust by the 
vindictive Ruggiero degl' Ubaldini, Archbishop of Pisa, 
and there left to die a horrible death by starvation. 
This most ghastly instance of the cruelty of the Middle 
Ages has been described by Dante in imperishable words. 
" Ah, Pisa ! " he bursts out with generous wrath at 
the end of the awful tale. " Scandal of the beauteous 
land. . . . Since thy neighbours are slow to punish 
thee, let Capraia and Gorgona move and hedge up the 
irno at its mouth, that it may drown in thee every 
living soul. For if Count Ugolino had the fame of 
having betrayed thee in thy castles, yet oughtest thou 
not to have put his sons into such torture. Their 
youthful age . . . made Ugguccione and Brigata 
innocent." * 

Leaving the great poet to tell the tale, our concern 
is with the tower. After the tragedy it remained in 
the hands of the Elders, who used it as a prison until 
1 Inferno, Canto 33 (Carlyle's translation). 

137 



Story of Pisa 

1318. Alarmed by the terrible stench that invaded 
their palace, they then discovered that the prisoners 
who died within its narrow foetid walls lay there un- 
buried. This condition of things was too horrible to 
permit. They abandoned it as a prison, and built 
another near the palace of the Podesta. Eventually 
the Tower of Famine came into the possession of the 
Knights of S. Stefano, who demolished it in 1655. 
Some years later the Palazzo dell' Orologio was built 
on the site, and any existing remains were incorporated 
in the right wing of the palace. A walled-up doorway 
in the hall, half buried in the ground, is now shown as 
the entrance of the Tower of Famine, and some of the 
masonry at the back of the palace is said to have formed 
part of it. But in the only two known representations 
of the tower in its half-ruined state 1 the door is shown 
in the right-hand wall, whereas this one is in an inner 
wall parallel to that of the front. It may possibly be 
the original doorway, but it cannot be in situ. The 
masonry at the back of the palace, on the other hand, 
may be accepted as part of the wall of the Torre della 
Fame. 

Many of the contemporary houses in Pisa were very 
similar in external structure to the towers. They had 
the same ogival arch, and the same brackets and 
corbels for balconies, but their height was considerably 
less, and they had ornate windows in the upper story. 
Some buildings even partake of the character of both 
houses and towers. A specimen of these tower-houses 
can be seen on the Lung' Arno Mediceo, near the 
Banca Commerciale. One of the best of the houses 
proper is a little to the left of the Torre Uppezinghi, 
at the corner of Via della Sapienza. From its 

1 The one here reproduced is taken from the Pisan edition 
of the Ottimo Commento of Dante, the other is in Grassi's 
Descrizione Storica ed Artistica di Pisa. 

,38 



The Appearance of the City 



proximity to the Palazzo Uppezinghi it is often mis- 
taken for the tower of that name. Gas a Minati, in 
Via S. Maria, at the corner of Via del Museo, is 
remarkably well pre- 
served. It has no fewer 
than seven ogival arches 
side by side, double 
round-headed windows, 
and its old sockets, 
brackets and corbels. 
The Via delle Belle 
Torri, in spite of its 
name, contains houses of 
this type, 1 and not the 
bases of towers as has 
hitherto been supposed. 
One of the finest is at 
the corner of Via della 
Scuola. But whether 
they be towers or houses, 
this quaint old street, 
even in its mutilated and 
restored condition, gives 
a better idea of a medi- 
aeval thoroughfare than 
any in Pisa save the 

Borgo, where the ancient houses are masked by 
arcades, giving it a peculiar air of mystery and an- 
tiquity. This intimate resemblance between towers 
and houses continued until about the end of the 
thirteenth century. So much alike were they that 
expressions such as Palatmm sive Torris often occur 
in documents of the eleventh to the thirteenth cen- 
turies, and all the municipal regulations for towers 
were binding on houses over two stories in height. 
1 According to Professor Clemente Lupi. 

139 




MEDIAEVAL HOUSE, VICOLO DELLA 
SAP1ENZA 



Story of Pisa 

Then men wearied of being pent up in such narrow, 
dark quarters, and began to spread out their houses 
and adorn them with porticos and loggias. The house 
to the left in the Borgo Stretto, attributed to Niccolo 
Pisano because one of its sculptured figures resembles 
the Hercules of his pulpit, is typical of this new de- 
parture. The ground floor is spanned by one wide 
arch, and the first floor has a fine window with four 
ornate cuspidal arches, almost Venetian in effect. It is 
built for comfort rather than for defence. 

THE PISAN BRIDGES 

Four bridges span the Arno in its course through 
the city. From the middle of the Ponte di Mezzo, 
a dignified marble structure placed just in the centre of 
the river's curve, all the other bridges can be seen. 
Above it is the Ponte della Fortezza, which is strong 
and seemly too, and below it the Ponte So/ferino, shining 
with newness and rather curiously adorned with figures 
of the hated Marzocco, the lion of Florence. Beyond 
it the ugly Ponte di Ferro is just visible, close by the 
old arsenal. 

In no wise remarkable for any particular beauty, 
these bridges are so interwoven into Pisan history as to 
be interesting. Bridges were always of special impor- 
tance to the Pisans, their city being divided by a broad 
and rapid stream, often dangerously swollen by the 
waters of innumerable mountain torrents. Perpetual 
watch and ward had to be kept over it. In the early 
middle ages men with torches patrolled the banks all 
night, to give instant warning if the waters were 
menacing for the opening of such rude flood-gates as 
then existed. Later on a special officer was appointed 
to attend to the bridges, which in one form or another 
had existed from very early, possibly from pre- Roman 
140 



The Appearance of the City 

days. They were forever being weakened by the 
water, and the office of the Pontenaro or Pontonaro, the 
bridge-warden, was no sinecure. His official dwelling 
was called the Bridge House, and must have been an 
abode of some dignity and beauty. Tronci describes 
one which included among its amenities a courtyard 
surrounded by porticoes, a well, orange trees, and a 
garden with pergolas and fruit trees. At first the 
Pontenaro only had charge of the Ponte Vecchio, then of 
the Ponte della Spina, as we see from an inscription at 
Pontedera, 1 and finally of all the bridges. His title 
then became Pontenaro del Comune di Pisa. His revenue 
at the end of the fourteenth century was 100 Libri 
Denari. The post was elective. A majority of patrons 
nominated the Pontenaro, and the election was ratified 
by the Elders and the Council of the People, and 
registered by a notary. 2 

The Ponte della Fortezza, originally called Ponte 
della Spina after the quarter of the city where it stood, 
is said by tradition to be the work of Charlemagne. 
But though that great monarch is known to have 
repaired and built many bridges in Tuscany there is 
nothing save a grain of faith to connect this bridge 
with his epoch. We have on the other hand docu- 
mentary evidence that it was not built until July 1262, 
under the Elders Vertulio and Ranieri di S. Cassiano, 
at the expense of Ugone da Faliano, archbishop of 
Nicosia. 

The year 1328 was a fatal one for the bridges 
of Pisa. Among the efforts made by the Pisans 
for the expulsion of the hated German hirelings 
of the emperor Louis of Bavaria was the destruction 

1 Hoc Opus fieri ser Andreas Francisci de Calcinaria Pon- 
tenarius veteris et novi de Spina Pisane Civitatis. ... in 
anno D. MCCXLV. 

2 Tronci, iv. 185 et seg. 



Story of Pisa 

of the bridges. "They cut the Ponte della Fortezza," 
says a chronicler, " burnt the Ponte Nuova, which was 
built of wood, and barricaded the Ponte- Vecchio." * 
Hemmed in as the Germans now were they could not 
escape. Count Bonifazio, or Fazio, Novel Jo della 
Gherardesca with his men, crossed the river somehow 
and hunted them out of Pisa, thereby lifting a weight 
of apprehension from the citizens who dreaded falling 
under the alien yoke. To prove their gratitude they 
rebuilt the bridge in stone with five arches, protecting 
its northern end with the impregnable tower called 
La Vittorwsa. This was built on the site of the old 
church of S. Barnaba, near which a fierce encounter 
had taken place between Fazio and the Germans, 
ending in the rout of the latter. There it stood, invin- 
cible and terrible, until the siege of 1509 when it 
suffered so much that Cosimo I. demolished it. Nor 
was it any longer necessary. The Ponte della Spina 
was now adequately defended by the strong fortress the 
Florentines built to the south, in a region that the 
Pisans had already begun to fortify. Giuliano di San 
Gallo was the architect, and erected a far stronger 
fortress than the Pisans had contemplated. When it 
was completed, in 1512, the name of the bridge was 
changed from Ponte della Spina to Ponte della Fortezxa, 
the name it still bears. 

The Ponte Vecchio or Ponte di Mezzo, has an older 
authentic pedigree than the other bridges. Originally 
built of wood the Pisans, in the splendid mood of the 
eleventh century, rebuilt it so strongly with stone founda- 
tions in 1046 that it endured until reduced to a ruinous 
condition by the conflicts of 1328. No longer lavish, 
the Commune patched it rudely with baulks of timber. 
It must have been a blot on the beauty of the city in 
that uncouth state, and probably unsafe. Anyhow in 

1 Tronci, iv. 136. 
I 44 



The Appearance of the City 



1382 " Messer Piero Gambacorti," as we read in the 
Annali Pisani, " with certain citizens, resolved to cause 
the Ponte Vecchio of Pisa to be destroyed for the 
greater adornment of the city," to make room for 
a new one to be built at their own cost. The old 
bridge, like the Ponte Vecchio of Florence, was 
covered with shops. Although the Pontenaro derived 
a yearly revenue from them of 300 florins and more, 
the shops offended these fastidious citizens as they 
obstructed the view of the Arno and of the houses on 
the Lung' Arno, "the fairest sight in Pisa." Funds 
were raised to buy out the shops by imposing a tax 
and "on the I4th day of April MCCCLXXXII. they 
began to destroy the Ponte Vecchio." The first 
piles of the new bridge were driven in 1388, and the 
work proceeded so rapidly that in less than three 
months the foundation-stone was laid. The ceremony 
was celebrated with great pomp. An altar was erected 
on the Chinsica side, mass was sung with splendid 
rites and the stone was blessed by the clergy. Then 
Pietro Gambacorti, the Elders, and a great crowd of 
citizens, threw coins and medals down upon it, after 
which it was covered with cement. The keystones of 
the side arches were all in their places before the end 
of July, and in order to push on the work fresh master- 
masons were called in, not only from Pisa but from 
Florence. By dint of herculean efforts the actual 
masonry was finished by August 3, and the bridge was 
completed by October i, of the same year. It survived 
the assaults of the river until the winter of 1635, when 
it was swept away by floods, 1 and again rebuilt with 
one wide arch spanning the river. The approaches 
at either end were improved by pulling down houses 
to form the Piazza del Ponte on the north, and the 

1 A seventeenth century engraving of it may be seen in the 
Museo Civico. 

K 145 



Story of Pisa 

Piazza de'Bianchi on the south. It must be this bridge 
that John Evelyn describes. " The River Arno runs 
through the middle of this stately Citye, whence the 
streete is called Lungarno. It is so ample that the 
Duke's galleys, built in the arsenal here, are easily 
conveyed to Livorno ; over the river is a bridge, the 
like of which, for its flatness, and serving for a bridge, 
is nowhere in Europe." 

This was at the end of its short existence. Less 
fortunate than its predecessor it fell into the river, 
undermined by the strong current, as early as January 
I, 1645. The present bridge was then built, from 
the designs of Francesco Nave, a Roman, and com- 
pleted in 1660, in the reign of the Grand Duke 
Ferdinand II. The famous Giuoco del Ponte 
originally played in the Piazza degl' Anziani was 
transferred to the Ponte di Mezzo about the close of 
the fifteenth century, which remained the battlefield to 
the end, except from 1637 to 1659 when the bridge 
was out of repair, and the game was temporarily trans- 
ferred to the Strada de Setaioli. 1 

The next bridge, the Ponte Solferino, a modern 
structure, spans the river near the site of the old Ponte 
JVuovo, built in 1182 to replace a still more ancient 
one which stood near the church of S. Maria della 
Spina. The inclusion of Chinsica, the southern 
suburb, within the city walls in the twelfth century, 
made a new bridge necessary, and the powerful Gualandi 
and their faction, including the Cortevecchio, the 
Gaetani, the Galli and other families, undertook to 
furnish the funds, knowing that such generosity would 
give them great power over the people. They were 
fiercely opposed by the opposite faction of the Albizzi, 
with their adherents the Uguccione, the Gentilizio, the 
Pandolfi and the rest. The Gualandi, feeling secure 
1 Camillo Borghi, quoted in Palio e Ponte, Heywood. 

, 4 6 



The Appearance of the City 

in the support of the archbishop, began the founda- 
tions of the bridge. The Albizzi immediately attacked 
the workmen and put them to flight. The Gualandi 
retorted by surrounding the labourers with a guard of 
armed men. Seeing the enemy's men-at-arms thus 
occupied, the Albizzi looted and burnt the houses and 
towers of the Gualandi. This, in the merry fashion 
of faction-fights in those sanguinary days, led to new 
deeds of violence, new retaliation. The confusion 
and rioting lasted for months, and was not quelled 
until the Great Council met and appointed twelve 
Consuls to make and to keep the peace. The Com- 
mune took the bridge into its own hands, and com- 
pensated the original builders. Even then it was only 
a low wooden structure, inconvenient for the passage 
of galleys, so that perhaps no one regretted it very 
deeply when it was burnt by the Germans in 1328. 
Rebuilt of stone four years afterwards with five arches 
and a drawbridge for the passage of shipping, in 1400 
it shared the usual fate of Pisan bridges and was swept 
away by the force of the waters, never to rise again. 

The place of the Ponte al Mare is now taken by 
a hideous iron bridge known as the Ponte di Ferro. 
Once the most beautiful bridge in Pisa, fortified with 
crenellated walls and various towers, it connected the 
city walls on the north and south banks. One of the 
intarsia panels in the Duomo thus represents it. 
Although the date of its erection is not actually 
known, the probability is overwhelming that it was 
about 1140, when the present walls were begun. 
Swept away by one of the terrible floods of the Arno 
the piles alone survived, but were forced out of the 
perpendicular. On that uncertain foundation the 
bridge rose again in the time of Arrigo Dandolo the 
Venetian, Podesta in 1331 and 1332, who also built 
the Church of S. Ranieri at the end of the bridge. 

H7 



Story of Pisa 

Hardly had it recovered from the effects of the last 
flood than another terrible inundation gave it a rough 
baptism. On the first Thursday of November 1333 
the water rose so rapidly that all Chinsica was flooded. 
The next day several houses near S. Paolo a Ripa 
d'Arno were undermined and fell, and people could 
not leave their homes except on horseback or in a 




THE OLD PONTE AL MARE FROM AN 1NTARSIA PANEL IN THE 
DUOMO 

boat. The whole town would have been under water 
if the Arno had not burst its banks in various places 
and spread its waters harmlessly over the fields. The 
little church of S. Ranieri fell when the Florentines 
sacked the quarter as far as S. Vito, but the bridge 
stood until 1 870, when it collapsed into the river. The 
foundations can still be seen at low water a few yards 
to the east of the Ponte di Ferro. The approach on 
the north was by the large arch in the old arsenal, and 
on the south by a bridge-house which is still standing. 



The Appearance of the City 

The necessity of enclosing the strong and freakish 
river within bounds will have been appreciated in 
reading the above pages. The present embankment 
is quite modern, built since the great flood of 1869. 
Fortunately it is efficient, as it cannot be called 
beautiful, and its cost was so great that the munici- 
pality has been crippled ever since. 

Embankments there have been since such early days 
that they are lost in the night of time. They were 
continually being added to and repaired, and were 
never quite adequate. They were however pictur- 
esque, which the modern one is not. Those who re- 
member them say that their loss has shorn Pisa of one 
of her greatest charms. Numerous broad flights of 
steps led down to the river, most of them dating back 
to the early middle ages, and they were varied by 
every kind of pleasant irregularity. Instead of the 
present shelf-like towing path, we see in old engravings 
men running along the top of the broad wall towing 
boats behind them. These old embankments were 
partly built of Verruca stone, with gargoyles and rings 
for mooring boats, and partly of brick, and it was 
necessary from time to time to raise the parapet owing 
to the gradual rise in the bed of the Arno. 

In Montaigne's time the Arno was full of merchant 
shipping, and was crossed by three bridges. "The 
quays on either side are of fine masonry with supports 
to the very top." 



149 



CHAPTER VII 

" There is a sacred place within her walls 
Sacred and silent, save when they that die 
Come there to rest, and they that live, to pray, 
For then are voices heard, crying to God, 
Where yet remain, apart from all things else, 
Four, such as nowhere on the earth are seen 
Assembled." 

Italy. S. Rogers. 

The Duomo, the Baptistery and the 
Leaning fo'wer 

'"THE impression received on stepping out of the 
quiet Via Solferino into the Piazza del Duomo 
is almost startling. The contrast between the cool 
street with its sober architecture and the blaze of sun- 
shine bathing the group of mighty buildings, that is in 
its way an almost unparalleled monument of human 
capacity, is not easily forgotten. A spot midway 
between Via Solferino and Via S. Maria is the best 
from which to take a first view of the scene. Con- 
siderably to the right the fairy-like Leaning Tower is 
seen, with its fret-work of arches broken into a com- 
plicated play of light and shade by the morning sun. 
Its tall shadow creeps stealthily along the ground, and 
up the imposing eastern apse of the neighbouring 
Duomo as though claiming kinship with that magni- 
ficent pile. Columns and pilasters of marble, of por- 
phyry and alabaster ; gates of wrought bronze, glitter- 
ing mosaics and lavish arcades, give it an appearance of 
150 



) Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

great splendour. The whole effect is redeemed from 
a tendency to squatness by the aspiring cupola and light 
crown of gothic arches. To the left of this again we 
catch a glimpse of the long low fa$ade of the Campo 
Santo, broken only by a gothic tabernacle and one incon- 
gruous dome. Little does this modest exterior, which 
shrinks away behind its loftier companions, tell us of 
the treasures enclosed within. Last of all, the noble 
lines of the Baptistery cleave the sky. With its air 
of great distinction, the largeness of its conception and 
the variety of its ornamental devices, the other build- 
ings pale before it. The grouping of building with 
building is very fine, though marred a little by the 
oblique lines of the Leaning Tower, which, as Dickens 
says, " certainly inclines as much as the most sanguine 
tourist could desire," and introduces a note of discord 
into the harmony of vertical lines. Once white, the 
colour of the whole group is now a pale gold or a 
delicate grey, contrasting brilliantly with the green- 
sward on which the buildings stand. In the morning 
light the picture takes on a peculiar radiance, ac- 
centuated by the diaphanous blue of its background 
of hills. During the festal seasons of the church the 
scene is enriched with gorgeous processions, that unite 
the Baptistery with the Cathedral by a long line of 
gold-clad priests and prelates. A daily feature is the 
hurrying stream of black cassocks and flying cloaks 
that pours across the green towards the Duomo at the 
hour of the offices. The faint pealing of the organ 
and the sound of many bells seem also a component 
part of the picture. So does the aromatic breath of 
incense, that emerges each time the doors are opened 
from the dim interior. 

After the first shock of delight produced by this 
union of sunlight and architecture we begin to analyse 
the source of our pleasure, and we find something lack- 

'53 



Story of Pisa 

ing in this Pisan development of the Tuscan- Roman- 
esque. It has neither the aspiration of the gothic 
style, nor the perfect proportion and balance of 
Renaissance work. There is, not to put too fine a 
point on it, something a trifle boorish about it, that 
suggests a rustic dressed up in the robes of a king. It 
appeals too much to the picturesque and not enough to 
fundamental excellence of design. Wonderful is the 
perfection and finish of its detail. Too wonderful 




THE SILHOUETTE OF PISA FROM THE NORTH 

indeed, for it suggests that the mind of the builder was 
possessed by a passion for splendid trifles, to the neglect 
of noble conceptions. In this case however we have, 
on the whole, the style at its best. Though we may 
be able to criticise individual points it is idle to deny 
that the whole effect is overwhelming. A better 
understanding of how the group of buildings dominates 
the city can be gained from afar. From whatever 
point we choose a distant view annihilates the mass of 
huddled houses and churches, and we see the Duomo, 
the Leaning Tower, and above all, the Baptistery, ris- 
ing giant-like between the mountains and the plain. 
They represent Pisa, and in a sense they are Pisa. 

'54 



Duomo^ Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

THE DUOMO 

The Duomo is a basilica of vast proportions. 
It is, on the whole, the most perfect specimen 
of Pisan- Romanesque. Indeed, it is the prototype 
of that style ; not because it was the first church to 
include local deviations from the Tuscan- Roman- 
esque, which were already common in Lucca, in Pisa, 
and in the hill-towns around them, but because 
it took all those floating deviations, crystallised them, 
and knit them into so characteristic and complete a 
form, as to give birth to a new style. So that, though 
we cannot believe, in looking at the elaborately 
worked-out architectural scheme, that it sprang spon- 
taneously out of the brain of Buschetto and his fellow 
architects, we are forced to admit that there is 
enough of genius in the selection and combination of 
the already existing material to justify the above state- 
ment. Possibly, too, the fact that its builders were 
not Pisans may have diverted the development of the 
style into a new channel. Anyhow, whether that, or a 
natural evolution consequent on the character of the 
Pisan race, was the cause, it was so different from 
anything that had gone before that we are obliged to 
consider it as an independent creation. 

Its plan is a latin cross, and it consists of a nave 
312 feet long with double aisles ; transepts, which 
also have aisles, and an apsidal choir. It is built 
almost entirely of white marble. Very little is now 
visible of the original structure owing to the ravages of 
the fire in I 595 and of the restoration which followed. 
The whole building is raised on a marble platform and 
is approached by steps, which adds much to its dignity. 
Alternating layers of black and white marble, and rich 
incrustations of mosaic, give it an air of opulent rich- 
ness. Though built of ancient materials the east end, 

155 



Story of Pisa 

with its lovely apse, probably only dates from the same 
year as the Leaning Tower (1174), the arcades in 
both being exactly alike. It is, however, more re- 
strained and simple in style, and therefore much 
more beautiful. Incorporated in it are many interesting 
fragments of antiquity placed carelessly at any angle. 
Roman inscriptions are numerous, but some are upside 
down, others slant upwards or downwards, forcibly 
suggesting that the masons of the middle ages were 
unable to read. They are jostled by Byzantine 
knotted reliefs, Roman or mediaeval carvings, the 
whole forming an irregular mosaic of great charm. 
Some of the windows are remarkably fine, and no 
doubt formed part of the original structure. Those 
on the right and left of the south door are especially 
attractive, the former with a seated Byzantine figure 
of King David with his harp against a background of 
curious inlaid marble. An early mediaeval relief set 
up on end representing two ships entering the port of 
Pisa, forms one of the jambs. The latter window is 
surrounded by splendid slabs of green marble. A 
classic frieze and cornice form the architrave of the 
south door, and among the small shafts in the colonnade 
some are of rich porphyry or alabaster. Both in 
detail and in design the east end is much the most 
beautiful part of the Duomo. The transepts are 
among the longest in Europe (237 feet). They and 
the nave have the same fine arched colonnade as the 
apse and the campanile, with two panelled stories 
above. At the junction of the four arms is the 
elliptical dome with a delicate corona of gothic 
arches. Something in the character of its lines, 
together with the bulb on the top, suggests the east, 
and it may well, with other details, have been suggested 
by oriental models. 

The culminating feature of the whole is the 



Duomo^ Baptistery and Leaning c lo e wer 

dating from 1250, on which every kind of decoration 
has been lavished. A colonnade of seven great arches 
with three doors dignifies the lower story, and above 
are four orders of small arcades, the first and the third 
of which follow the lines of the gable. Each arch is 
gracefully adorned with mouldings, while sculptured 
figures crown the angles. On the central pinnacle is a 
Madonna, a work of 1 346, made to replace another 
which fell in a great earthquake a few years before. 
The two exquisite columns of the central door, 
wreathed all over with symmetrical flower designs in 
high relief, are certainly antique. Various interesting 
fragments and inscriptions are built into the fa9ade. 
The tomb of Buschetto, formed by a sarcophagus let 
into the wall, is in the first arcade to the left. The 
first lines of the inscription on it having been mis- 
understood by Vasari gave rise to the erroneous belief 
that he was a Greek. 1 Between the first and the 
second door an inscription tells us that the first stone 
was laid in 1063, and above the central door is another 
commemorating the architect Rainaldo, sculptured in 
large letters. The epitaph of the Queen of Majorca 

1 Buschetto lies here who, in nimbleness of wit, is said to 
have surpassed the Dulichian 2 chief. The one craftily procured 
the downfall of the wails of Ilium ; the wondrous walls you see 
come from the skill of the other. The clever chief harmed 
by his cleverness ; the other was of service by his. A dark 
mansion was the Labyrinth ; 'tis your claim to praise, 
Daedalus. But 'tis his own gleaming Temple that approves 
Buschetto. Without a parallel is the Temple of snow-white 
marble that is raised wholly by Buschetto's genius. When 
the enemy of the Temple tried to injure the things in his 
charge, he, by his own skill and forethought, was stronger 
than the enemy. The fame of the pillars of huge bulk which 
he dragged from the bottom of the sea raises him to the 
stars. When ten days remained before the end of September 
he joyfully quit his place of exile. 

2 i.e. Ulysses. 

157 



Story of Pisa 

is interesting too. She and her son, it tells us, were 
brought here as prisoners after the conquest of the 
Balearic Islands, here she was baptised and here she 
died. Other inscriptions record victories gained over 
the Saracens in Palermo, in Sardinia, and in Africa. 
The Pisans, being vainglorious, loved to record their 
triumphs and, being pious, they made the front of 
their cathedral the chronicle of their prowess. 

The dexterously uninteresting bronze doors were 
designed in 1602 by Gian Bologna, and carried out 
by his pupils Mocchi, Tacca, and Francavilla, to 
replace the ancient ones by Bonanno that perished in 
the fire. The brazen gates of the south entrance 
attributed to Bonanno, but possibly even earlier in 
date, fortunately escaped. They are primitive but 
fine and decorative works, with twenty-four panels 
representing stories from the gospel in an archaic but 
very successful and pleasant way. By this door the 
cathedral is usually entered, and the first impression 
of majestic vastness is most imposing. The dim 
mysterious light, the forest of pillars, the ever- 
changing perspective, the mass of colour, the mosaics, 
the paintings and the sculpture, form a rich picture, and 
make one understand the love the Pisans have always 
felt for their Duomo. 

A longer examination reveals a number of interest- 
ing works of art though so many perished, or were 
damaged, by the fall of the roof during the fire. 
Among them, alas, was the pulpit, in which Giovanni 
Pisano competed, and not unsuccessfully, with his 
father Niccolo ; the greatest masterpiece probably of 
the Pisan school of sculpture. 1 Of the four hundred 
and fifty columns scattered all over the interior, some 
date back to Roman Pisa, while many others formed 
part of the booty brought from Sardinia, Giglio, and 
1 The fragments are in the Museo Civico. 

-58 



Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

Elba. Twenty-four huge and impressive monoliths of 
red granite support the roof. Above the round arches 
that they sustain is another story of smaller ones 
which forms the triforium, intended originally for the 
women's gallery. This is continued across the tran- 
septs, an unusual arrangement that is probably eastern 
in origin. The cupola is solidly planted on four great 
pointed arches that rest on piers at the intersection of 
the nave and the transepts. Most of the capitals are 
antique, but some have been stuccoed over ; the others 
are mediaeval and are decorated with the animals and 
intrecci, or plaited patterns, identified by some authorities 
with the Comacine Builders. Although incongruous, 
the blue and gold coffered roof is very beautiful. It 
dates from the restoration, and is the work of Benedetto 
Cioli of Florence. The great mosaic Majestas in the 
vaulting of the apse, which represents, on a vast scale, 
the Saviour enthroned between the Virgin and S. John 
the Evangelist, is usually pointed out as the one 
authentic work of Cimabue, the father of Tuscan 
painting, but this is true to a limited extent only. 
It appears that Francesco di Simone di Porta a Mare, 
a Pisan painter, began the Majestas, but for some 
reason was unable to complete it. He ceased work on 
July 8, 1301, and Cimabue took his place, beginning 
work on August 30 of the same year, and continuing 
until January 20, 1302. Of Francesco's numerous 
assistants he only employed two, a certain Turretto, 
and later Vanne da Firenze. During that time he 
produced the greater part, if not the whole of the 
figure of the Evangelist, for which he received five 
lire and ten soldi. A careful examination of the 
figure bears out the documentary evidence. It differs 
considerably from those of Christ and the Virgin, is 
nobler in conception and much less Byzantine in 
manner. Some years elapsed before the work was 



Story of Pisa 

finally completed, if we may believe a lost inscription 
quoted by Vasari, according to which Vicino, or 
Vincino, began and finished the Madonna and finished 
the figures of Christ and S. John, begun by others, 
bringing the whole to a close in September 1321. 
Restored as it was by Domenico Ghirlandaio in 1493, 
and again after the fire of 1595, to say nothing of more 
recent patching, so little of the original remains that 
it is impossible to speak with greater exactitude as to 
the limits of the work of the different masters em- 
ployed. As a whole, the Majestas is perhaps more 
big than great, the excessively large scale being 
destructive of illusion, but in spite of the inflated look 
of the figure, the Christ-type shows some signs of 
regeneration, being without the haggard, scowling 
expression so usual at that time. 1 

The mosaics of the south transept, a Madonna and 
saints, and those in the north transept, an Annunciation, 
are by some follower of Cimabue, and have both 
suffered greatly from restoration. 

Greatness has been thrust upon the twelve altars of 
the nave and transept by the tradition that attributes 
them to Michelangelo. In reality they are the 
work of Stagi of Pietrasanta, and of good but not 
remarkable design. The high altar, a magnificent 
mass of Japis-lazuli, pink marble and gilding, is taste- 
less and overloaded, for all its wealth of rich material. 

The Nave. Beginning from the entrance, 2 the two 
fine holy-water stoups on the right and left, with bronze 
statues of Christ and S. John the Baptist, are the 
work of Baccio Bandinelli. 

On the three faces of a pilaster to the immediate 

1 See Notizie di Artisti Pisani, L. Tan fan i Centofanti, for 
the documents relating to the Majestas. 

2 The entrance always means the west door, right and 
left the right and left of the spectator. 

1 60 



) Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

right of the entrance is a fairly well-preserved fresco 
attributed to the Pisan painter Bernardo Nello di 
Giovanni Falconi, a work of the fourteenth century. 
The left face of the pilaster has a nearly full-length 
figure of AS". John the Baptist ; the front, a Crucifixion, 
with the Virgin, S. John the Evangelist and S. Mary 
Magdalene, who clasps the foot of the Cross in 
frantic grief. Out of the summit of the Cross springs 
the tree of life among whose branches rests the Holy 
Ghost in the form of a dove. Two angels hover 
near. The figure of the crucified Christ is feeble, the 
hands and feet are badly drawn. The right face of 
the pilaster has full-length figures of SS. Cosimo and 
Damiano. The whole work is a mediocre one, but is 
interesting as indicating how the walls were decorated 
before the fire. A fine bronze candelabrum stands 
close by, the gift of a certain Alessandro Tibanteo, a 
Pisan, as is stated in the inscription. 

After the fire most of the tombs were removed into 
the Campo Santo. Some of the few that were left in 
the Duomo are still on the west wall, that of Arch- 
bishop Rinuccini (d. 1582), with a bronze Christ, is 
on the right of the entrance, together with that of 
Archbishop Frosini ; that of Archbishop Giuliano de' 
Medici (d. 1660) on the left. The great bronze 
lamp with its circle of putti, at the junction of the 
nave and the dome, is a beautiful and characteristic 
Florentine work by Vincenzo Possenti. It is usually 
said that in watching its oscillations the youthful 
Galileo evolved the theory of the pendulum. But the 
date of his discovery was 1581, while Possenti's lamp 
was not hung in the cathedral until December 20, 
1587. Either, then, we must conclude that the story 
is a pretty fable, or the lamp referred to was an 
earlier one. 

Most of the altarpieces are works of the sixteenth 
L 161 



Story of Pisa 

century of small value, while the walls between the 
altars are covered with immense and worthless his- 
torical pictures of the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries, which do much to spoil the general effect 
of the interior, with their gloomy or garish, and un- 
decorative colour. Many of them represent scenes 
from the life of S. Torpe and other Pisan worthies. 
Above the third altar on the right is a Madonna 
Enthroned with SS. Francis, Bartholemew, and 
Jerome, the infant S. John the Baptist, and a putto, 
attributed to Andrea del Sarto, but really the work of 
Sogliani, a weak and poor picture with a kind of faded 
charm. The Madonna, seated on a very high throne 
in a pink dress, is relieved against the blue sky, and a 
landscape with a hill-village. The little S. John 
holds out a long cross to S. Jerome kneeling in the 
foreground. Over the fourth altar on the right is a 
marble sarcophagus, containing the bodies of SS. 
Gamaliel, Nicodemus, and Abibo, brought to Pisa in 
1 100 after the conquest of Jerusalem. "No words 
can express," writes the chronicler, "the joy with 
which the victors hailed their native land, and that 
with which the Pisans received them. Hardly had 
their unfurled banners caught the breeze as they 
approached the banks of the Arno, than all was 
merriment. The spoil taken from the enemy was 
displayed in seemly order on the deck of a ship. 
Much precious treasure was there, among it the bodies 
of the saints Nicodemus, prince of the Pharisees ; 
Gamaliel, the schoolmaster of S. Paul ; and Abibo, 
one of the seventy disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
sent to Pisa by Archbishop Daimbert and Godfrey, 
king of Jerusalem." The relief above the altar re- 
presenting the Trinity is the first work of Ammanati. 
On the pier to the left is a Madonna and Child, 
almost certainly by Sogliani, of graceful design, but of 
162 



Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

heavy and opaque workmanship. The corresponding 
pier has a S. Agnes, attributed to Andrea del Sarto, 
and undoubtedly designed but not painted by him. 
The figure is almost identical with that of his 
Madonna at Poppi. It represents a graceful, rather 
meaningless young girl, clasping a lamb, and belongs to 
the very end of Andrea's career. On another face 
of the same pier is a fourteenth-century fresco of 
S. Jerome. 

Among the chief beauties of the nave are the 
exquisite intarsia panels, by Giovanni Battista Cervel- 
lieri. He was born in Pisa in 1489, and records 
exist of payments made to him for intarsia work in the 
Duomo from 1522 to 1542. Among his many 
assistants were Bartolommeo da Ruosina ; Maestro 
Michele di Giovanni delle Spagnole ; Francione, 
and his assistants Baccio Pontelli, another Spaniard, 
and Giuliano da Majano. In all there are forty-seven 
panels, but many of them are not by Cervellieri. 
His work suffered greatly during the fire, and the 
surviving panels were eked out by others adorned with 
conventional foliage, the monogram of the Opera del 
Duomo, the Cross of the Commune, and the date 
1616, which no doubt indicates the year when the 
reconstruction was made. The following are by 
Cervellieri: On the right, No. 3, a Patriarch in a 
niche, with a scroll inscribed Ve qui condunt Leg. ; 
No. 6, a Patriarch, with a scroll inscribed Benedicam 
Benedicat ; No. II, Mathematics, an allegorical figure 
with an angular nimbus, holding a tablet with numbers ; 
No. 1 4, a young Deacon, seated ; No. 1 9, a Landscape 
representing the walls of Pisa and numeious mediaeval 
towers, an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of 
the ancient city; and No. 22, a Street in Pisa. On 
the left, No. 27, Medicine, an allegorical female figure, 
holding a scorpion and a book in one hand and an 

163 



Story of Pisa 

olive branch in the other ; No. 30, Astronomy, an 
allegorical figure, pointing to the sky with the right 
hand and holding an orrery in the left; No. 35, an 
allegorical figure of Geometry, with compasses in one 
hand; No. 38, an allegorical figure with a tower, one 
hand on the head of a kneeling child, perhaps Archi- 
tecture or Fortification ; No. 43, David, with psaltery 
and crown, holding a scroll inscribed Laudete Put 
Dominus ; No. 45, the Decollation of S. John the 
Baptist, with the Holy Ghost above, a spacious 
composition with a number of small figures, the 
executioner dressed like a German lanzknecht ; the 
technique is quite different, and it is obviously by 
another hand. 

The bishop's throne opposite to the pulpit is Cervel- 
lieri's greatest triumph, and one of the most beautiful 
productions of the art of intarsia. In the central panel 
is a Presepio and Adoration of the Magi, a fine composi- 
tion with a great expanse of sky and ruins. To the 
right and left of this are smaller panels representing a 
chalice, a landscape seen through a loggia, a parrot, a 
bunch of grapes and another landscape seen through a 
loggia, and a bishop's mitre. The seat that surrounds 
the square pier on the left is also by Cervellieri. In 
front and at the back are two lovely heads of boys 
reading, and a landscape with an old battlemented house 
and loggie. The similar seat round the right pier has 
two exquisitely graceful figures, Charity, a burning 
heart in her right hand, clasping a child to her breast 
with the other ; and Faith, a woman praying. These 
are undoubtedly by Cervellieri, but the Assumption is 
by another hand. The technique of Cervellieri's work 
is simple and noble, faces and drapery being represented 
by incised lines on comparatively large pieces of wood, 
patterns and detail inlaid with tiny pieces. The designs, 
whether his or not, are graceful and accomplished. 
164 






Duomo^ Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

In the right transept, over the first altar to the right, 
is a Madonna by Sogliani, and three groups of graceful 
putt't higher up on the same wall painted by Pierin del 
Vaga as an experiment in fresco. 

The gorgeous chapel of S. Ranieri, Protector of 
Pisa, extends across the end of the right transept. 
Originally built from the designs of Ugolino or Lino 
da Siena, a pupil of Giovanni Pisano, it was afterwards 
altered. Its splendour testifies to the veneration in 
which S. Ranieri was held by the Pisans. Some of 
the bas-reliefs are by Ugolino, but Mosca da Settig- 
nano is the author of the statues of the Virgin, of the 
Almighty, and of the Saviour. That of S. Potitus is 
said somewhat doubtfully to be an antique statue of 
Mars adapted ; that of S. Ephesus is by Lorenzi. The 
relics of S. Ranieri lie in a sarcophagus of serpentine, 
placed on a base of red granite. The saint's body is 
clad in a dress that is penitential in form, but woven of 
cloth -of-gold, and on his head is a rich crown. The 
Duomo is crowded on his feast-day, June 17, when 
the body is exposed to the veneration of the faithful. 

Born of the noble family of the Scaccieri about the 
year noo, Ranieri grew up with little thought for 
anything but self-indulgence. Vain, dissolute and 
material, he hurried from feast to feast, enslaved by the 
pleasures of the world. At last there came a day when 
the things of the spirit were revealed to him. Gor- 
geously dressed and flushed with feasting, he was roaming 
through the city, playing his psaltery and singing loose 
songs to the light and beautiful damsels who accom- 
panied him. As he sang a holy man passed by, all 
unheeded by Ranieri, and turning looked on him with 
pity. One of the damsels, more sober-minded than 
the rest, plucked Ranieri by the sleeve saying : " did'st 
thou not see that angel of the Lord who passed but 
now ? It was the man of God, Alberto, who speaks 

,6 5 



Story of Pisa 

the words of eternal life, for which sake many follow 
him. Leave all these vanities, even thou, and follow 
him likewise." Struck with sudden shame the young 
man threw down his psaltery and followed swiftly after 
the saint, tears pouring from his eyes. His easy, 
pleasant life now seemed horrible to him, his sins un- 
pardonable. Falling at the feet of the holy hermit he 
bewailed himself, crying out : " Father, father, what 
shall I do." His penitence was passionate and abiding, 
and so many were the hot tears he shed that in a little 
while he became quite blind. Seeing their erstwhile 
comely son thus afflicted his parents were inconsolable. 
His mother cried aloud refusing to be comforted ; his 
father in a frenzy of grief rent his garments. For 
their sakes did Ranieri put up a humble petition to 
heaven that his sight might be restored, which thing by 
a miracle instantly came to pass. 

Calmed by the consolations of Alberto, Ranieri 
earnestly desired to offer to God the rest of a life 
whose beginning had been so grievous. In doubt as 
to the best way of doing so he was walking one day 
near the church of S. Pietro in Vincolis. Suddenly 
it seemed to him that he beheld an eagle in the east- 
ward sky bearing a flaming torch in its beak. The 
bird flew towards him and hovering over his head 
cried out : " I come from Jerusalem to bring thee this 
light by whose power thou shalt enlighten many men 
and lead those in distant lands to the holy faith. Take 
it." Then Ranieri saw a vision of multitudes of 
people sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. 

After this intimation of the Divine will he hesitated 
no longer but took ship for the Holy Land, his heart 
burning to become one of the spiritual knights of God 
by assuming the hair shirt of the pilgrim, only given to 
those who visit the holy Hill of Calvary. Landing in 
Joppa he went on to Jerusalem, When he visited the 
166 



) Baptistery and Leaning To*wer 

church of the Holy Sepulchre it grieved him sorely 
that he could not understand the language in which the 
Holy Office was being celebrated ; Greek or Syrian. 
So ardently did he long for understanding that it came 
to him miraculously, and he joined the others in the 
prayers. 

Ever haunted by his evil past he wandered into the 
desert places of Palestine and abode there twenty years, 
leading an austere and charitable life. He ate bread 
mingled with ashes and drank only pure water, fasting 
often, and performing arduous and frequent pilgrimages. 
And yet all these mortifications were in vain. His 
heart was ever filled with heaviness. But comfort 
came at last to his humble soul. He seemed, in a 
vision, to see the bodily presence of the Saviour and to 
hear His voice. His Lord bade him deliver his soul 
from worldly cares, sell all his goods and follow only 
Him. Then at last Ranieri understood. With joy 
in his heart he distributed his possessions to the poor 
and wrote to his sister in Pisa, endowing her with the 
patrimonial estates which had descended to him on his 
father's death. At last he was free and happy, and 
glorified God with a pure heart. 

Now it was nigh unto the season of the Nativity 
when Ranieri went into the city of Tyre to keep the 
feast in the church of S. Mary the Virgin, and there a 
seal was set on his happiness. Absorbed in contem- 
plation, after receiving the Holy Mysteries, he noted 
two angels of grave aspect clad in white raiment. 
Holding out their hands they led him into the presence 
of the Queen of Heaven, who sat enthroned in the 
midst of a numberless band of maidens. In a gentle 
voice she spoke to him, bidding him not to fear : " Be 
happy, Ranieri, thou shalt rest in my bosom " ; meaning 
thereby the great church which the Pisaw had built 
in her honour. 



Story of Pisa 

He still, however, longed for the hair shirt of the 
pilgrim and so he returned to Jerusalem, and on Good 
Friday assumed the much-desired habit which he 
never afterwards laid aside. After that a desire seized 
him to see his native land and he went home to Pisa in 
1154. A great reception awaited him. "He was 
visited," writes Tronci, " by all the citizens, even by 
the Archbishop, who was very desirous to see him." 
His first act was to return thanks in the Duomo for his 
voyage. The Canons received him with much honour 
and reverence, entertaining him at a splendid banquet. 
Thence he went to S. Andrea di Chinsica to visit the 
grave of his mother Mingarda. After praying at her 
tomb with many tears, he preached to the people, 
recounting all that had befallen him since he had left 
Pisa and bidding them turn to God. Then he with- 
drew to the monastery of S. Vito, where he spent the 
remaining years of his life in humble thanksgiving and 
gentle deeds. His early biographers record the many 
miracles performed by him. He healed the sick, gave 
sight to the blind, caused the lame to walk and cast 
out devils, so that even the most obstinate were con- 
verted. " At last," writes Tronci again, " in the year 
of our salvation, 1161, Ranieri obtained that crown of 
glory in Paradise the blest to which his goodness had 
entitled him." He died quietly on the night of Friday, 
June 17, and at the moment of his passing the bells of 
S. Vito rang out without the touch of mortal man, and 
were answered by all the bells of Pisa in like manner. 
Then the people, rising in alarm, took everyone his way 
to S. Vito. Finding their beloved saint dead they 
were filled with passionate sorrow, taking his dead 
corpse often in their arms and kissing it with reverence. 
On the following Sunday they bore him to the Duomo 
with pomp and lamentation, and there laid him in a 
marble tomb. On the day of his death Archbishop 
168 



Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

Villano, who had lain sick and bedridden for two years, 
was miraculously cured. To the astonishment of all 
he rose and went to the Duomo to say mass, when, 
instead of chanting the Requiem, he sang the mass 
of the Nativity of Our Lord, with the Gloria in 
Excelsis. 

Many and great were the miracles performed at the 
sepulchre of Ranieri, and therefore he v/as approved a 
saint by Holy Church. 

Passing the east door we arrive at the altar of S. 
Biagio, or Blasius, which has a graceful statue of the 
saint by Tribolo. In front of it stands a holy water stoup, 
which, though not in the finest Florentine manner, is 
yet a very pleasant work. The little Madonna in the 
centre is obviously not by Michelangelo as the cicerones 
persist in saying. It is by Stagi. 

The Choir and Tribune suffered less from the fire 
than any other part of the cathedral. On the great 
arch are frescoes representing Groups of angels. Origin- 
ally painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio, they have lost 
all traces of his touch by repeated repaintings. To the 
right and left of the high altar are four of the most 
attractive pictures in the Duomo, SS. John the Baptist, 
Peter, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret. They 
are attributed to Andrea del Sarto and are obviously 
designed, though not painted, by him. Indeed the 
Uffizi possesses a study by his hand for the legs and 
hands of the Baptist, a drawing belonging to his latest 
period. The painting, by one of his pupils, is light 
and transparent, the colouring of the female saints 
beautiful, particularly the glowing venetian-red robe of 
S. Margaret. Behind the high altar on either side 
are the four Evangelists in separate panels, larger than 
life, hard and opaque in manner, and like the suc- 
ceeding panels the undoubted work of Beccafumi. 
These are the Destruction of Sodom, Moses breaking the 

169 



Story of Pisa 

Tables of the L,aw, the Death of Dathan and Abiram, 
two half-length panels of Saints, and Moses striking the 
rock. His manner in these, which were painted in 
1536, 1538, and 1539, has a curious affinity to that 
of Tintoretto, though without his genius and splendid 
swiftness. In the midst of these is the Deposition 
from the Cross by Sodoma, which, although consider- 
ably darkened, is a very fine work. The composi- 
tion, containing nine life-size figures, is carefully 
studied, remarkably free from exaggeration, and full 
of feeling. None of the poses are at all academic, 
none of the faces empty. Those of Christ and of the 
fainting Virgin are particularly fine, and the red glow 
on the horizon is very effective. It dates from about 
the same time as his picture in the Museo Civico and 
was finished on May 5, I 54O. 1 To the left of it is 
his Sacrifice of Isaac. 2 Here the figure of Abraham 
is exaggerated and that of Isaac carelessly drawn. 
But in spite of this the picture as a whole is delightful, 
especially the landscape with its soft haze. It has a 
singular likeness to the work of Burne-Jones. Taken 
to Paris in 1811 by Napoleon, it was returned three 
years later unharmed. On the right of the Descent 
from the Cross is a panel by Sogliani, the Sacrifice of 
Noah, painted in 1531. It is a third-rate decadent 
picture and suggests Fra Bartolommeo in the technique. 
The same remarks apply to his Sacrifice of Cain and 
Sacrifice of Abel, which are close by. 

In front of the Cantorie, or singing galleries, on each 
side of the high altar, are six marble reliefs, four of 
which are by a follower of Giovanni Pisano, the 

1 It cost the Opera del Duomo 80 ducats, and 50 lire and 
12 soldi in addition, because ultramarine blue had risen in 
value. Notizie l etc. Tanfani, p. 272. 

2 On July 23, 1541, it was agreed that he was to have 274 
lire for his work and 74 for ultramarine. Ibid. 

I 7 



) Baptistery and Leaning 

Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, the Presentation 
in the Temple , and the Flight into Egypt. They follow 
Giovanni's method and the Nativity and Adoration 
are weak, but almost exact, copies of the correspond- 
ing subjects in his pulpit. The two centre panels, one 
representing the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, 
and the naming of S. John the Baptist, the other 
the Damned at the Last Judgment, are portions of 
Giovanni's wonderful pulpit. Treated with intense 
passion and movement, and with strong touches of 
romanticism, they are intricate but extraordinarily 
fascinating. The great crucifix over the high altar is 
by Gian Bologna, as are the two bronze angels on the 
parapet of the choir that form the candelabra (1600). 
An interesting relic of the booty brought home by the 
Pisan crusaders from Jerusalem is the porphyry column 
supporting a vase of the same stone, that stands on the 
right side of the high altar. " It is said," we read in 
an old Pisan chronicle, " that this vase is one of those 
in which water was converted into wine at the marriage 
feast of Cana by our Saviour." Opposite to it is 
another porphyry column on which is a bronze angel 
by Stoldi Lorenzi, pupil of Gian Bologna. 

The intarsia work of the choir stalls is almost as 
beautiful as that in the nave. It is chiefly the work of 
Guido da Serravallina, Domenico di Mariotto, and 
Lorenzo di Michele Spagnolo, who worked here from 
1478 to 1545, but the series of Patriarchs, Evangelists, 
Apostles, minor Prophets and Saints, in the outer row 
of stalls seems to be by Cervellieri, as is the archbishop's 
throne. The rest of the outer row is decorated with 
still-life and landscape panels, one of the latter repre- 
senting the old Ponte a Mare with its crenellated walls, 
and another the same bridge with the old arsenal and 
the Torre Guelfa. The inner row has panels with 
animals, musical instruments, birds and architecture, 

171 



Story of Pisa 

including a view of the Baptistery and the Porta al 
Leone with its lost tower ; the Duomo, its eastern 
gable still crowned with the bronze hippogrif ; and the 
Leaning Tower. 

Over the altar in the chapel to the left of the high 
altar is the famous Madonna Sotto gli Organi, a miracle- 
working Byzantine icon which was carried in pro- 
cession when Charles VIII. declared the freedom of 
Pisa from the Florentine yoke. It is only unveiled 
when the city is in grave danger or distress. 

The Sacristy contains one of the most precious 
objects in Pisa, a small ivory statue of the Virgin 
and Child by Giovanni Pisano. The tiny work is 
extremely beautiful. Our Blessed Lady leans back 
to support the weight of the Christ-child on her arm, 
and gazes at Him in rapture, her dress caught up in 
simple lovely folds. The Child holds out the orb of 
the universe with a royal gesture. It is full of large 
and noble qualities. But apart from its beauty, the 
statuette has an independent value in the history of art 
as an important link in the chain of evidence connect- 
ing the art of Tuscany with that of France. So close 
is the imitation, though without a trace of servility, of 
some French ivory Madonna, that we are no longer 
in doubt through what channel the Tuscan sculptors 
obtained their Gothic inspiration. It must have been 
from these ivory statuettes imported into Italy together 
with French costumes and Provengal songs. 1 Gio- 
vanni's great Madonna in the Campo Santo is as closely 
related to this ivory statuette as the statuette itself to 
some unknown French original. The Sacristy also 
possesses two extremely fine gilt-copper and enamel 
Byzantine Reliquaries of the eleventh century, and the 
Croce dei Pisani, a small crucifix which the Pisans 
took to the first crusade. 

1 Crowe and Cavalcaselle, new edition, i. 34, n. 2*, 
172 



) Baptistery and Leaning Toiver 

The North Transept. In the wall to the right is the 
fine modern tomb of Archbishop d'Elci, with cheru- 
bims and statues by Vacca. The chapel of the Blessed 
Sacrament at the end has a curious life-size relief of 
Adam and Eve by Mosca of Settignano. The sim- 
plicity of the early treatment is conspicuously absent 
in this self-conscious work, but it is well composed and 
decorative. The serpent in the tree has the head of a 
beautiful woman, in accordance with the rabbinical 
traditions adopted by the Tuscan painters. The altar, 
with its silver monstrance designed by Foggino, was 
the gift of Cosimo III., and was twice redeemed at 
great cost from the French during their occupation of 
the city. Near the meeting of the transept and the 
nave are two white marble fluted columns, said to have 
belonged to the palace of Hadrian on the site of which 
the Duomo was supposed to have been built, thus 
bringing us back in the end, as in the beginning, to a 
remote antiquity. 

The Duomo is as characteristic in its history as in 
its architecture. With their concrete minds the Pisans 
naturally expressed their glory in terms of stone and 
marble. The eleventh century raised them to the rank 
of one of the greatest maritime powers in the world. 
The spoils of conquered lands poured into their city 
and, being pious as well as material they resolved that the 
great temple they intended to adorn with them should be 
dedicated to the glory of God, as well as to the glory of 
Pisa. Ready to their hand lay the nucleus of a cathedral 
that had been begun as early as 1006 but had languished 
in its growth, beset with difficulties from the outset. 
Although the highest ground near the city the spot 
chosen for its site was practically a swamp, but it was 
hallowed to the citizens as the site of the ancient 
church of S. Reparata in Palude, in the swamp, and 
by their belief that here had stood a great palace or 

173 



Story of Pisa 

temple in the time of the Emperor Hadrian. So, 
undaunted by the difficulties of making a solid founda- 
tion in the moist and shifting soil, they struggled on 
year after year until 1032, when the work came 
almost to a standstill. 

This was the position when in 1063, after the 
conquest of Palermo, the Pisans deliberately set to 
work to raise a Mother-Church that should be worthy 
of them and outshine any other in the world. The 
half-achieved plans were enlarged, the languid progress 
quickened. Buschetto was appointed architect of the 
new building. As already stated he was long believed 
to be a Greek, but we now know he was an Italian. 
An existing document, written in Ripafratta, December 
2, 1105, mentions Buschetto, "son of Giovanni the 
late judge," among the four Operai of the Duomo of 
Pisa. He was not a Pisan, and it would seem as if 
at that time the mother-city could claim no architects 
of her own. Associated with him was one Rainaldo 
as we read on the fa$ade, and a certain Ildebrando. 
Buschetto was probably the author of the body of the 
church and of the lower part of the fa$ade, Rainaldo 
of nearly all the rest. 

The first stone was solemnly laid on Lady Day 
1063, and six ship-loads of columns, bronzes, gold 
and precious stones were set aside for the adornment 
of the new cathedral. Generous gifts came from the 
Emperor Henry IV. and from the great Countess 
Matilda, while Pope Urban II. contributed to its 
glory by creating the See an archbishopric. The 
work was so vigorously pushed on that the cathedral, 
dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption, Magnificent 
Queen of the Universe, Ever Virgin, Most Worthy 
Mother of God, Advocate of sinners, was ready for 
consecration as early as 1118. Fortunately for the 
Pisans a Sovereign Pontiff was present in their city 

174 



Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

at that moment. FJeeing from the wrath of the 
Frangipani and his other rebellious subjects in Rome, 
Gelasius II., with a following of six cardinals and 
many nobles and clerics, reached Pisa on September 2. 
The citizens vied with each other in lavishing tokens 
of welcome upon him, and resolved that no lesser 
hand than his should perform the consecrating office 
for their glorious church. Preparations on the vastest 
scale were made for the solemn rite. On Sep- 
tember 26, says the chronicler, Pisa was a sea of 
people. The Pope was supported by the cardinals 
and bishops in his train, by the bishops and clergy of 
Tuscany, the greater part of the bishops of Sardinia, 
and by a goodly throng of canons, priors, priests and 
deacons, from Lucca. " Not only were there great 
numbers of laymen present but multitudes of women," 
says a chronicler. " With such splendour did Pope 
Gelasius offer the new temple to Him, who with His 
own hands did make Him a temple, to wit the 
Universe." 

After this outburst of enthusiasm the popular interest 
in the Duomo diminished, and the great structure was 
not completed until the thirteenth century, when the 
cupola was added. 

Held in high honour from the beginning, the 
Duomo has been the scene of innumerable noble and 
stately ceremonies connected with the life of the 
city. The footsteps of popes and emperors, saints 
and poets, have echoed within its walls. Among the 
great dead laid to rest under its roof was Gregory 
VIII., whose short pontificate ended in Pisa. After 
assuming the triple crown at Ferrara he set forth with 
the intention of healing the discords of the Christian 
princes and turning their hearts towards the liberation 
of Jerusalem. Genoa and Pisa were of special im- 
portance, because of their maritime power, to his 

175 



Story of Pisa 

projected crusade. Once reconciled there would be 
no difficulty in persuading them to send a great united 
fleet of galleys to the east. So to Pisa he went, and 
had all but attained his desired object when he sud- 
denly fell ill and died within a week of his arrival. 
" Truly mournful was the day," writes a chronicler, 
" on which magistrates and patricians, citizens and 
people, all clad in sad-coloured raiment and drowned 
in tears, accompanied the venerable corpse to its 
resting-place in a tomb within the Mother-Church." 
Hard upon this sombre scene followed the election of 
the new pope in the Duomo. The conclave was held 
on January 6, 1187, the feast of the Epiphany. Its 
deliberations were short, for the coronation of Clement 
III. took place the very next day. 

The greater festivals of the church were celebrated 
with unusual pomp and splendour, especially the feast 
of the Assumption. Tronci describes the festival of 
the year 1293. "The Elders," he says, "were 
wont to announce it in this wise : Twenty horses, 
covered with scarlet cloth worked with the device 
of the Commune, went forth bearing twenty youths 
clad in rich and curious raiment. The two first 
carried banners, one being of the Commune, the other 
of the People. Two had silver lances inlaid with 
gold with the Imperial eagle on the points, while two 
more bore living eagles with golden crowns on their 
wrists. The others followed in a company decked 
out in most rich liveries. The trumpeters of the 
Commune followed after with their silver drums, 
flutes and instruments of divers sounds, and pro- 
claimed the Pain that were to be contested on land 
and on water. The first prize on land was a great 
palio or banner of red velvet lined with vair and em- 
broidered with an eagle of silver, and this was given 
to the barb that first reached the goal. The second 



Duomo^ Baptistery and Leaning lower 

received a silken banner of the value of thirty golden 
florins, but to the third was given in jest a pair of 
geese and a bunch of garlic. On the water the race 
was rowed in small galiots, or in brigantines, and he 
who first reached the goal won a bull covered with 
scarlet cloth and fifty scudi, the second a piece of silk 
worth twenty golden florins, while the third had 
nothing but geese and garlic. 

" On the first day of August banners were placed 
upon each tower in the city, on everyone three. The 
first banner had the Imperial eagle, the second the 
device of the Commune, the third that of the People. 
The like was done on the cupola, frontispiece and 
angles of the Duomo, on S. Giovanni, on the Campo 
Santo and on the campanile, banners flying not only 
on the summit, but from all the colonnades. Others 
were to be seen on all the churches of the city, and on 
all the palaces, to wit the Palazzo Publico, the Palazzo 
del Podesta, the palace of the Capitano del Conserva- 
tore, of the Pacifico Stato, of the Consuls of the Sea, 
and of the merchants and the seven guilds. The 
contado followed the example of the city, and thus it 
continued throughout the month of August. All the 
people of every condition made great rejoicings and 
banquets, to which foreigners were especially invited. 

" At the first vespers of the feast the Elders went to 
the Duomo in state, having before them damsels 
dressed in new finery, followed by the trumpeters, by 
the captain and his troop and the lesser magistrates. 
The Duomo reached, the archbishop, vested in his 
pontificals, began to sing the solemn vespers. When 
they were ended a young man mounted the pulpit and 
recited a prayer in praise of the most glorious 
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Then were 
matins sung, and these finished the procession walked 
round the church, being joined by all the com- 

M 1/7 



Story of Pisa 

panics and the regulars, every man carrying in his 
hand a lighted candle of wax weighing half a pound. 
The clergy, canons and archbishop, followed bearing 
lighted tapers of greater weight, and last of all came 
the Elders, the Podesta, the Captain, the other 
magistrates, the representatives of the guilds and all 
the people, also holding lighted candles in their hands. 
The procession over every man went his own way to 
see the illuminations, bonfires and feasts, that were 
made in every part of the city. 

" On the morning of the feast wax torches were 
placed on trabacche, of which there were more than 
sixty, borne with great pomp by young lads dressed 
in livery. Close behind followed the Elders, the 
Podesta, the Captain, the other magistrates, the 
officers and the people; the troop of horse, richly 
dressed, and the companies of foot. After a little 
space came the guilds, each man bearing a great, 
gaily painted torch, accompanied by the wind instru- 
ments. A thing sweet to hear and most fair to see. 
The offering of the torches made, they came forth 
and accompanied the silver girdle borne with great 
pomp on a car ; all the clergy walking in procession, 
with exquisite music both of voices and of instru- 
ments. The accustomed ceremonies being ended 
they girded the whole Duomo, fastening the girdle to 
the iron hooks fixed in the walls to this end. This 
girdle was of great price and of such beauty that 
men spake of it throughout the whole world, so 
that the people came to see it from many a city of 
Italy." i 

Another old writer says that it was " a great girdle 
of silver-gilt having figures in relief, with stones and 
pearls worked upon scarlet, and a round clasp of 
silver with precious stones and pearls, of the weight of 

1 Annali Pisani, Tronci, iii. p. 45 et seq. 

178 



Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

eight pounds and four ounces, on which is carved the 
Coronation of the Virgin." l 

Again in 1315 the gates of the Duomo opened to 
receive the dust of kings. The Pisans were plunged 
into mourning by the sudden death, in 1313, of the 
Emperor Henry VII., on whom, as the representative 
of the ghibelline cause, all their hopes had been 
centred. By the might of his arm they had hoped to 
be exalted above all other Tuscan states, and had 
aided him with vast contributions of men and money. 
When by his death all their sacrifices were thrown 
away and all their hopes proved vain, "they made 
piteous moan," writes Villani, " while the Florentines, 
Sienese, Lucchesi and those of the league, rejoiced 
exceedingly." Another chronicler says, " their grief 
was such that, being unable to wreak their revenge on 
others, they fell on the inhabitants of Buonconvento 
and ravaged and destroyed all their castles. Then taking 
possession of Henry's body they embalmed it, placed 
it in a coffin, and, following the road through the 
Maremma, bore it to Pisa. Most solemn and magni- 
ficent obsequies were performed for the dead Emperor, 
whose body was then placed in a splendid tomb of 
marble, which can even now be seen in our Mother- 
Church on the left hand of the chapel of the most holy 
Coronation of the Virgin Mary." : This account 
omits to explain that the Emperor's body lay for two 
years in the church of Suvereto, awaiting the com- 
pletion of his tomb. 

Another side of mediaeval life was often seen in the 

1 Mcmorie inedite inturno la Vita e i dipinti di Francesco Traini, 
Bonaini. This description tallies perfectly with the frag- 
ment of the girdle preserved in the Museo Civico, Sala i, 
No. 4. 

2 Cronica di Pisa, Muratori xv, 986 The tomb now stands 
in the Campo Santo. 

179 



Story of Pisa 

Duomo. Every misfortune, such as plague and flood, 
called forth an outburst of passionate devotion and 
penitence, one of whose most important manifestations 
was the formation of companies of discipline. That 
these were numerous in Pisa is testified by the inscrip- 
tions on their burial-places in the Campo Santo. 
Often and often they must have passed through the 
Duomo with covered faces singing their mournful 
hymns, the scourge ready in their hand for the self- 
inflicted discipline. But some companies had gentler 
ways of showing their repentance, the Bianchi of 
Lucca for instance who visited the Duomo in 1389. 
The plague had again broken out, and a wave of 
religious enthusiasm swept over Tuscany. Men and 
women, high and low, dressed in long white linen 
robes (hence their name of Bianchi} and hoods with 
holes for their eyes went from town to town in proces- 
sions which lasted nine days, singing lauds and crying 
out pact f, pacie, misericordia. Lucca was one of the 
chief centres of enthusiasm, and on August 23 many 
hundreds started from thence for Nozzano, where 
they were met by five hundred other devotees. In 
pouring rain they proceeded to Pisa and were wel- 
comed by the friars minor, who helped them to dry 
their clothes. Next day they went in procession 
through Pisa to the Duomo where they heard mass, 
at which the archbishop assisted, and to him was 
given six doppioni. Having received his benediction 
and kissed the blood of S. Clemente, everyone, male 
and female, offered to the said blood two doppioni, and 
again they went in procession. 1 On the Piazza of 
Pisa they met the Pisan procession which ended that 
day ; the crucifix of Lucca passing through the Borgo 
on one side until it reached the Ponte Vecchio, where 
it stopped until the people of Pisa and their proces- 
1 For an account of the blood of S. Clemente, see p. 380. 
I 80 



Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

sion had passed, they going to the Duomo by the 
other side of the street. That the honour paid by the 
Pisans to the crucifix may be known, I relate how all 
the Pisans carrying crucifixes and crosses in their 
procession came and embraced those who carried the 
crucifix of Lucca. And the joy and fervent love was 
such that all wept. Thus the people of Pisa with 
devotion witnessed the procession of the Lucchesi, 
and likewise those of Lucca saw that of the Pisans, of 
whom more than 10,000 were in the white habit. 
They having passed the Lucchesi visited S. Pietro 
a Grado, and then returning to Pisa went to the 
abbey of S. Donnino, where bread and wine and 
other eatables were sent in such abundance by the 
Commune of Pisa that the whole company was 
satisfied." l 

Equally magnificent or interesting were countless 
other ceremonies performed in the Duomo, but all 
were brought to an abrupt close by the great fire in 
1591 that threatened its very existence. Caused by 
the carelessness of a workman, it did serious damage 
to the roof and to the interior. Steps were immediately 
taken by the Grand Duke Ferdinando I. to restore 
the Duomo as far as possible to its original splendour. 
The works were begun in 1602, and on their completion 
the cathedral assumed its present aspect. 

THE BAPTISTERY 

"... quei die son nel mio bel San Giovanni 
Fatti per luogo de' battezzatori." 

Inferno, Dante, xix. 1 6, 17, 1 8. 

When Dante talked of "my beauteous San Gio- 
vanni " he meant, of course, the Baptistery of 
Florence, but his words apply with equal or greater 

1 Le Croniche de Giovanni Sercambi, ii. 361 et sey. 

181 



Story of Pisa 

force to the superb structure raised by the Pisans. 
The Duomo had been designed to surpass any other 
in the world, and they determined that the Baptistery 
should be worthy to stand by its side. Surely it may 
be said that they succeeded in their aim. Certainly 
the most beautiful of the "four fabrics" of Pisa, it is 
perhaps the most beautiful Baptistery in Christendom. 
Its great bell-like form rises proudly into the air 
dwarfing the mighty city walls and spurning, as it 
were, the lawn from which it springs. A little isolated 
from the other buildings it yet belongs to the same 
group and gains additional beauty from the mingling 
of its lines with theirs. Very simple in form, it is 
almost riotous in the luxuriance of its ornamentation. 
Not quite, however, because of the refinement and 
perfection of every detail. Neither form nor decora- 
tion are as they were first conceived. Both are the 
work of two minds, two periods and two styles. 

Diotisalvi, the builder of S. Sepolcro, designed it. 1 
He intended to encircle it with three plain arcades, 
and to crown it, not with a dome, but with an angular 
pyramid, not unlike the one he had placed upon 
S. Sepolcro. He began to build in H53- 2 The 
great conception filled his mind, and he was im- 
patient to translate it into enduring marble. But death 
overtook him before more than the lower story had 
arisen. After that the work advanced slowly, con- 
stantly delayed for want of funds. King Robert of 
Sicily, the new ally of Pisa, gave vast donations, but 
in spite of that it came to a standstill. In 11643 
great effort was made to raise funds by taxing every 
family in Pisa to the number of 34,000, but, strangely 

1 See inscription on the first pilaster to the left : Deotisalvi 
Magister Hujus Operis. 

2 See inscription on the other face of the same pilaster : 

MCLUI . MENSE . AUG . FUNDATA . FU1T . HEC . ECCLESJA. 
182 



) Baptistery and Leaning Toiver 



enough, little or nothing seems to have been done with 

the money so raised. The unfinished walls stood decay- 

ing for more than a century, and 

when work was resumed in 1278, 

the Gothic style being in vogue, 

Diotisalvi's plan was greatly 

modified. A dome was sub- 

stituted for the pyramidal roof, 

the lower of the two arcades 

was tricked out with gables and 

pinnacles, and the upper one was 

replaced by a wall with windows 

and more pinnacles. Even then 

the builders lingered and the 

Baptistery was not completed until 

some time in the fourteenth 

century. In spite of the changed 

design and the mixture of the two 

styles, Pisan - Romanesque and 

Gothic, the exterior, by force of 

fine proportion and imaginative 

decoration, is very beautiful. 

Every form and structural detail 

in the Duomo appears here in a 

simplified and nobler version. 

The lower story has a grand 

arcade with four entrances, all 

more or less adorned with 

sculptures that recall Byzantine 

ivory carvings. The Eastern one 

is a perfect specimen of the Pisan 

doorway. Its stilted arch has 

richly adorned mouldings. Within 

it are three large figures ; the Madonna and Child with 

S. John the Evangelist and S. John the Baptist who 

presents a kneeling patron to her. This fine work is 

183 




DETAIL OF COLUMN AT 
THE EAST DOOR OF 
THE BAPTISTERY 



Story of Pisa 

by Giovanni Pisano. The Virgin's figure is full of 
stately dignity and of that intense appreciation of 
significant movement peculiar to the Pisani. In this 
work Giovanni appears to be equally under the spell 
of the classical and the French-Gothic influences. 
The frieze, by Bonamico (1180), has half-length 
figures of Christ 9 the Virgin, apostles, and angels ; 
the architrave, scenes from the life of the Baptist ; 
the pilasters on the one hand have pictures of the 
Seasons, on the other figures of the Redeemer, the 
Virgin, and of saints. These date from the middle 
of the thirteenth century or later, and show a great 
advance on the work of Bonamico. The figures are 
slender, graceful, and animated, the representation of 
the Saviour conceived with a certain dignity. There 
are two enchantingly beautiful pillars on either side of 
the door, covered with rich and intricate vine patterns, 
into which are woven exquisite little beings, nymphs, 
dryads, and birds, informed with the spirit of the old 
world. The architrave of the north door is carved with 
pre-Pisanesque figures representing the Annunciation 
with divers saints. 

The second story has a beautiful arcade formed of 
small arches, round-headed like those of the lower 
story, finished with crocketted Gothic gables con- 
taining half-length saintly figures and surmounted by 
small statues. Each gable encloses two arches and is 
separated from the next by a lofty pinnacle. Similar 
gables occur in the story above, surmounting the 
round-headed windows. From the hemispherical 
dome with its crocketted ribs rises a polygon, sur- 
mounted by a statue of S. John the Baptist. He 
dominates the whole country round from his giddy 
height of some hundred and ninety feet from the 
ground. The diameter of the Baptistery is ninety- 
nine feet within the walls, which are eight feet nine 

84 



Duomo^ Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

inches thick. The interior is simple but stately and 
forever filled with the resonance of a singularly musical 
echo. Its noble circle of columns enclose the sanctuary 
and form a peristyle beyond. Above them is another 
circle of pilasters which support the aerial-looking 
dome. The capitals are all interesting, particularly 
those on the first pier on the left and the following 
column. The octagonal font is in the centre, raised 
three steps above the mosaic pavement. Intended for 
total immersion, its proportions are ample. This fine 
work, with its delicate inlay of marble and mosaic, 
was sculptured by Guido Bigarelli da Como in 1246. 

To its left is the treasured pulpit, the first great work 
with which Niccolo Pisano astonished the Pisans after 
his appearance in their city. He finished it in 1266, 
and from the first it was considered so precious as to be 
placed under the special guardianship of the law. 
During holy week it was surrounded by an armed 
guard to protect it alike from worshipper and thief. 
Whether this step was taken out of regard to the then 
unparalleled beauty of the sculpture, or because of the 
value of the rare marbles used in its construction, we 
have no means of judging. 

Hexagonal in form, the pulpit 1 is supported by nine 
columns of various marbles. The central one rests on 
a curious group composed of a man, a griffin, a lion, 
and an ape ; three rest on lions and lionesses ; the 
others on simple bases. Six trefoil arches repose on 
these pillars and in their turn support the body of the 
pulpit, at each of whose angles is a pilaster upheld by 
figures emblematic of Virtues. Among them Fortitude, 
personated by Hercules holding a lion's cub, a finely 

1 Beneath the panel of the Last Judgment is inscribed : 

ANiNO MILLENO BIS CENTUM BISQUE TRICENO 
HOC OPUS INSIGNE SCULPS1T NICOLA PISANUS 
LAUDETUR D1GNE TAM B^E DOCTA MANUS. 



Story of Pisa 

conceived figure ; Fidelity, by a woman with a dog ; 
Charity , by a woman holding a young child in her 
arms. The five panels of the upper part, divided by cl us- 
tered pillars of coloured marble, contain reliefs of which 
The Nativity is the first, the Virgin, leaning on her 
elbow, gazing coldly out into the world with an air 
much more Etruscan or Roman than Christian. The 
Purification is the second, with rather stunted figures in 
classical drapery, the priests looking at Our Lady with 
prophetic tragedy. The Adoration of the Magi follows, 
extremely beautiful and better composed than the 
others, though the Virgin is a perfect Juno in her 
ample classicism. The Last Judgment, passionate and 
full of vitality, is the finest of the series. The crowds 
of squirming, nude figures are executed, if not con- 
ceived, entirely in the classical vein, while the grotesque 
devils wear the masks of the ancient theatre. Last of 
this strange series is The Crucifixion. The sculptor has 
been so taken up with the muscular development of 
the crucified Christ as to have omitted all trace of feeling 
in the figure. Nor do the spectators evince more 
emotion than supers in a stage scene, taught to fall into 
certain attitudes supposed to represent grief or horror. 
The style of the panels is that of the Roman decadence, 
the scale is uncertain, the heads are too big. All the 
figures are in very high relief and finished with a fine 
polish, and a free use of the drill especially characteristic 
of the period. The sculptor's knowledge of composi- 
tion, though not great, is inconceivably greater than 
that of his immediate predecessors. His forcible and 
dramatic way of seeing was entirely original. However 
traditional his method, however much his angels resemble 
victories, his devils satyrs, his nudes Roman gladiators, 
it is impossible not to admit that with him a new force 
came into the world. Though unable to throw off the 
worn-out, lifeless garments of debased classicism, he 
186 




THE PULPIT OF NICCOLO PISANO, BAPTISTERY, PISA 

187 



Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

wears them with such a fiery vigour, such passion, 
such vitality, that their hampering influence is almost 
forgotten. 

THE LEANING TOWER, OR CAMPANILE PENDENTE 

The Leaning Tower is probably the best known of 
the " four fabrics." Famous in the most distant lands, 
its image in alabaster is found in every town, its photo- 
graphs are legion. Not because of any inherent beauty 
or architectural merit, but simply because it leans out 
of the perpendicular. To many eyes a tower that leans 
is an unpleasant object. Composing badly with the 
surrounding buildings, it introduces discord into the 
harmony of straight lines. But the oddity of its in- 
clination has fascinated the majority of mankind. Even 
Dante did not escape from this curious passion. He 
uses the Garisenda tower in Bologna as an image, 
merely because it leans : 

" . . . As appears 

The tower of Carisenda, from beneath 
Where it doth lean, if chance a passing cloud 
So sail across, that opposite it hangs." 1 

To the student of architecture this is an annoying 
attitude. He would fix his mind on the structure and 
ornamentation of the tower, but when he turns to his 
authorities it is only to find them so absorbed in trying 
to account for its crookedness, that they have but little 
space left for mere architecture or history. 

Until recently, it has been supposed that the inclina- 
tion was intended by the builders to show their skill, 
though it is impossible to believe that anyone should 
have so absurd and futile a purpose. Every writer 
explains elaborately how and why this was done. 
One would imagine that the supporters of this theory 

1 Inferno, xxxi. 136 to 139, Gary's translation. 

189 



Story of Pisa 

had never looked at the tower, or given a moment's 
thought to the swampy ground on which it was built. 
Even the learned and accurate John Evelyn, who 
visited Pisa in 1644, falls into this error. " It stands 
alone," he writes, " strangely remarkable for this, that 
the beholder would expect it to fall, being built ex- 
ceedingly decliningly, by a rare address of the architect ; 
that and how it is supported from falling I think would 
puzzle a good geometrician." With him agree the 
majority of learned travellers who have given their 
opinion to the world, but even stranger theories were 
advanced by other writers; a learned Frenchman of 
the eighteenth century, for instance, explaining that the 
architect was a hunchback and made the tower crooked 
to resemble himself, while Tronci declares that the 
inclination was symbolic of the declining condition of 
the Republic, whose glorious days were over. And 
yet it appears evident to the meanest understanding 
that the inclination was fortuitous, and that before the 
tower had risen above the first storey the builders began 
making efforts to rectify it. It is obvious too that the 
cause was a sinking of the unstable soil under the weight 
imposed upon it, a phenomenon so common in Pisa that 
hardly any of the towers are absolutely perpendicular. 
The only good result of this curious defect in the 
campanile is that it enabled Galileo to work out his 
experiments in gravitation. 

The twelfth century was an age of towers. Besides 
the innumerable shafts that crowded the cities of 
northern and central Italy, the Asinella and Garisenda 
towers of Bologna had risen, and the great campanile 
of S. Mark was successfully completed by the Vene- 
tians in 1155. Not to be outdone, the Pisans re- 
solved to raise the campanile for which their cathedral 
had waited so long in so splendid a style that the 
tower of the rival city of Venice should pale before it. 
190 



Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

Foundations were dug to a vast depth, innumerable 
piles were driven, and after a year of labour the first 
stone was laid in August H74 1 and Bonanus, or 
Bonanno, the first architect, began to build. Hardly 
had he reached the height of forty feet from the ground 
than it was discovered that the campanile was sinking 
down on one side, and was considerably out of the 
perpendicular. Bonanno at once tried to remedy the 
defect, which was so great as to threaten the very exist- 
ence of the tower. It was necessary to keep the centre 
of gravity within the building, and for this purpose he 
placed the first, second and third storeys successively 
nearer the perpendicular. But the subsidence continued, 
and when Bonanno ceased to be the architect he left 
the tower still far from upright. The task of carrying 
it on was evidently considered a difficult one, and no 
one was found to undertake it for sixty years. In 
1234 Benenato, Operaio of the Duomo, having taken a 
solemn oath that he would not neglect the work in 
progress there while he raised the campanile, set to 
work. During the long interval of neglect the tower 
had sunk still further and the difficulty of righting it 
was greater than ever. All that Benenato accom- 
plished was the addition of the fourth storey, and then 
he disappears from our ken and was succeeded by 
William of Innsbruck, who attacked the problem with 
great boldness, and again restored the structure to the 
perpendicular by the simple device of making the pillars 
of the fifth and sixth storeys longer on one side than 
on the other. Then finding that it was impossible to 
prevent the sinking of the foundations he, in his turn, 
lost courage and abandoned the unfinished structure to 
its fate. After the lapse of nearly a hundred years, the 
difficulties having been partially forgotten, Tommaso 

1 See inscription to the right of the entrance door: A.D. 
MCLXX1V. Campanile hoc full fundatum mensi augusti. 

191 



Story of Pisa 

Pisano, son and pupil of Andrea, undertook to com- 
plete the unfortunate enterprise, which he did by 
erecting the bell-house on the summit with a further 
inclination towards the perpendicular. It was well 
that he made no attempt to raise the tower yet farther. 
A few feet higher and the centre of gravity would 
have been outside the building, in which case the whole 
structure must have fallen. Besides leaning thirteen 
feet to the south the tower has now sunk some seven 
feet below its original level, which was that of the 
Duomo. 

The campanile is 179 feet high and 51 feet 8 inches 
in diameter, cylindrical in form, the exterior entirely 
built of white marble, the interior of Verruca stone. 
The massive basement is panelled with half-columns 
and supports six open arcades of round arches with 
slender shafts and varied and beautiful capitals, antique 
and mediaeval. Above them rises the structure for 
the bells, which are so hung that their weight counter- 
acts the inclination of the tower, the heavier ones being 
on the higher side. A careful eye will detect slight 
differences in the technique and decoration of the 
different zones, especially in those due to William of 
Innsbruck. No building ever was more characteristic 
of the Pisan style. In the lowest storey its simpler 
and more massive form is seen, while the six arcades 
with their columns and frippery are an excellent ex- 
ample of the over-ornateness of its zenith, fatiguing to 
eye and mind from the multiplicity of identical details. 
Burckhardt however expresses a warm admiration for 
the innumerable arches which he says " hover round 
the tower like an ideal clothing." Their detail, he 
adds, is delicate and well-proportioned. 

Above the entrance door is a sculptured Madonna 
and Child with SS. Peter and John of the early Pisan 
school : a somewhat poor work. Near it is a curious 
192 




THE LEANING TOWER AND APSE OF THE DUOMO 



Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower 

representation of dragons and other animals, with an 
inscription recording the foundation of the tower 
beneath. Not far off is a delightful primitive relief 
representing two ships entering Porto Pisano, almost 
identical with one on the apse of the Duomo. The 
summit is reached by an easy staircase and commands 
a complete view of the city and its walls, the royal 
domains of S. Rossore and II Gombo beyond, and 
the sea stretching far away into the dibtance ; Corsica 
even being visible on a clear day. Leghorn, with its 
crowded harbour, and Montenero rising behind it, lie in 
the same direction. To the east, above the wandering 
Arno, lies Asciano on the slopts of the Pisan hills, 
behind which rise the glittering summits of the Apuan 
Alps. From Asciano can be traced the long line of 
the aqueduct, built in the seventeenth century by the 
Grand Dukes Ferdinando I. and Cosimo III., that 
brings pure water to Pisa. 

The seven bells in the campanile are fine in tone, 
and very constantly lift up their voices. The largest 
of them is called L'Assunta, in reference to the dedi- 
cation of the Duomo to the Virgin of the Assumption, 
and is decorated with an image of Our Lady, and with 
the arms of the Medici and of the Operaio, Francesco 
della Seta. It weighs nearly 3^ tons and was cast in 
1655 by Giovanni Pietro Orlandi. The next one is 
known as the Crocifisso, and has an image of Our 
Saviour on the Cross ; it belongs to the early nineteenth 
century and weighs 2 tons. S. Ranieri is the name 
of the thiid, cast by Francesco Berti of Lucca in 
1735. The fourth is the oldest, dating back to 1262. 
Originally called La Giustizia, because it hung in the 
Torre del Giudice whence its solemn and beautiful note 
proclaimed the death of criminals and traitors, it after- 
wards was rechristened by the pretty name of La 
Pasquareccia, or the Poor Sinner's Bell. The fifth 

'95 



Story of Pisa 

took ts name of Del Pozzo from the famous Arch- 
bishop Carlo Antonio del Pozzo, in whose episcopate it 
was cast in the year 1606. The two remaining bells 
are small. One of them is called La Terza, the other 
Vespruccio, or the Vesper bell. 1 

1 Pisa Illustrata, Morrona, vol. ii. p. 108. 



196 



CHAPTER VIII 

" its called the Campo Santo because therein is conserved 
the Holy Earth brought from Hierusalem in fifty Gallies of 
this Republic. These Gallies were sent by ... Pisa to 
succour the Emperor ^Enobarbe . . . and they returned 
home again laden with the earth of the Holy Land, of which 
they made this Campo Santo." Voyage of Italy, 229. Richard 
Lassels Gent. 1670. 

The Campo Santo, its Frescoes and its 
Sculpture 

'"THE exterior simplicity of the Campo Santo, the 
pride of Pisa, enhances the wonderful beauty of 
the interior. No people ever had a happier inspiration 
than the Pisans when they prepared this cloistered 
garden for their dead. Within these dignified white 
walls, amid the painted presentments of life, of love, 
of judgment and dismay, kingly death may fitly hold 
his court. Here he puts on no semblance of grisly 
horror, but is rather great and beneficent. The 
echoing steps of those who pass round the broad 
ambulatory hardly seem to break the extraordinary 
sense of peace that reigns in the little enclosure. In 
that sense too it is a fit abode of death, for life seems 
so infinitely far away from it. It is a monument, not 
only to the energy, but to the imagination of the old 
Pisans. Surely, they urged, there lies a magic virtue 
in the soil of that Holy Hill where the Redeemer 
accomplished His great sacrifice. And they resolved 
that the Pisan dead should share its benefits, and with 



Story of Pisa 

infinite patience and diligence they conveyed to the 
coast enough of the sacred soil to fill a fleet of fifty- 
three galleys so that they rode deep in the water. 
Then they sailed home triumphantly, Archbishop 
Ubaldo Lanfranchi being assured in his heart that, 
though his mission to Saladin had failed, he was 
bringing his countrymen something more precious than 
political success. His was the moving spirit in this 
enterprise, " who out of the love he bore to his city 
determined to erect a cemetery the like of which was 
not in the world. He caused enough Holy Earth to 
be brought from Mount Calvary to cover the whole 
space. Some of this earth had been taken to Rome 
before, when it was found that in three days corpses 
buried therein were entirely consumed, which is a 
most marvellous thing. It is believed to have this 
virtue because Our Lord suffered at the place from 
which it was taken. This is why the cemetery was 
called II Campo Santo, or the Holy Field." So 
wrote an old chronicler, and Tronci adds that "it 
was made near the Duomo at such great expense and 
with such magnificence, that for the burial of the dead 
I do not believe there is such a sumptuous fabric in 
all the world, or one so much admired by all who see 
it. I have heard the old men of the city say that 
before the fleet with its load entered into Pisa it put 
in near the church of S. Giovanni al Gaetano on the 
banks of the Arno, and that either at the prayer of 
the Gaetani, its patrons, or by the good-will of the 
captain, many baskets-full of the said earth were 
carried ashore and set down outside the door of the 
church. I have heard too that this spot, which 
though narrow still serves as a burial place, shares in 
the miraculous properties of the earth of the Campo 
Santo." 1 

1 Annali Pisani, Tronci, ii. 6i-6z. 

198 




199 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

The fleet with its precious burden reached Pisa in 
1 1 88 according to some authorities, and according to 
others in 1 192, and some sort of enclosure was pro- 
bably erected in 1 200, very possibly the outer walls of 
the existing fabric. But not until 1278 was the 
great structure completed, in the archiepiscopate of 
Federigho Visconti, by no less a man than Giovanni 
Pisano himself. A contemporary inscription on the 
outside of the building to the left of the main entrance 
clearly states these facts. 

The legend of the holy earth went on increasing 
in wonder. It was repeated by writer after writer, 
and towards the end of the sixteenth century, when 
Montaigne tells it, many details of a rather gruesome 
nature had been added. " In the midst of the enclo- 
sure," he says, " is an open space where the dead are 
still buried. I was told positively by everyone that 
any corpse interred there swells so greatly some eight 
hours afterwards that the ground may be seen to rise, 
in the next eight it subsides, and in eight hours more 
it is entirely consumed, so that in four and twenty 
hours after the burial nothing is left but bare bones." 1 
Evelyn refers to the story, and Smollett in 1766 tells 
it in almost the same words. The belief is persistent 
and probably survives even now. 

The dim fading colour of the frescoes with which 
the walls of the ambulatory are clothed, makes us 
mourn over the ignorance or the carelessness of its 
founders who placed the Holy Field so near the sea 
that the salt air and marshy exhalations have worked 
havoc among them, the walls having been so ill- 
plastered as to attract rather than to repel damp. We 
must therefore bear in mind that what we see are but 
dim shadows of what once existed, shadows that have, 

1 The Journal of Montaigne's Travels in Italy. Translated 
and edited by W. G. Waters, iii. 115 

201 



Story of Pisa 



moreover, been restored again and again. Splendid 

ghosts, or meretricious reconstructions. 

The long, low, rectangular building, whose height, 

length, and breadth, a chronicler tells us are those 

of Noah's ark, is clothed all round the marble walls 

with flat arched panelling. 
At the junction of arch 
with arch is a series of 
grotesque sculptured 
heads. The only two en- 
trances are on the south 
side, that on the left, from 
its vicinity to the Porta 
al Leone, was formerly 
considered the principal 
one. It was surmounted 

b y a crucifix > now in 

the church of S - Michele 
al Borgo. Over the 
other is a pinnacled, 
gothic tabernacle, con- 
taining figures of the 
Virgin and Child with 
saints, S. John presenting 
a kneeling figure to the 




THE TABERNACiE OVER THE ENTRANCE , 

TO THE CAMPO SANTO figures resemble those on 

the Gherardesca monu- 

ment in the Campo Santo, and are probably by the 
same hand. 

The round, arched windows of the interior cloister, 
now filled with rich gothic tracery of the latter half 
of the fifteenth century, were originally plain, and the 
intention was to have closed them with painted glass. 

1 All writers, from Vasari downwards, have confused this 
tabernacle with the one above the east door of the Baptistery. 

202 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

Four doors open onto the central garden, which in 
May is carpeted with a lovely mass of wild bee 
orchises and blue forget-me-nots, and in January with 
fragrant narcissus. Out of the cloisters, with their 
ancient sculpture, open three chapels. The Capella 
Maggiore, in the centre of the east side, is a small, 
domed, Renaissance building, erected as a mortuary 
chapel in 1593, on the site of an earlier one, by Arch- 
bishop Antonio del Pozzo. The altarpiece, with a 
kneeling S. Jerome, is by Aurelio Lomi, a Pisan 
painter of the first half ot the seventeenth century. 
Till recently a crucifix of the Pisan school of the 
early thirteenth century, but often attributed to Giunta 
Pisano, hung here. 1 

On the north side are the Ammanati and the Aulla 
chapels. The former contains, among other interesting 
things, six fragments of frescoes from the church of 
the Carmine in Florence, of which a small piece is in 
the National Gallery in London, and three in the 
Liverpool Gallery. Though persistently attributed to 
Giotto, they are evidently by some unknown follower. 
The best is a group of angels ; the others represent a 
harper, S. John the Baptist, S. Anna, and a youth. 
The recumbent figure by Cellino di Nese of Ligo 
degPAmmanati, professor of medicine and philosophy, 
who died in 1359, is dignified and simple. In the 
pinnacle above we see him lecturing to his students. 
The stone altarpiece by Tino di Camaino, with 
S. Ranieri in the gabled top presenting the Operaio 
and probable donor, Burgundio Tadi, to the Virgin, 
is a fine work. In the centre panel below is S. Ranieri 
enthroned, to the right is Burgundio Tadi again with 
S. Ranieri, to the left a Miracle of the Saint. 

The Aulla chapel has an elaborate coloured relief, 
more gorgeous than beautiful, the Assumption of the 
1 Now in the Museo Civico. Sala, ii. 19. 

203 



Story of Pisa 

Virgin, by Giovanni della Robbia, in which a large 
proportion of the work can only be attributed to 
assistants. The greater part is painted in oil ; the 
frame only, with its columns and statuettes, is glazed. 
Giovanni has here broken away from the traditional 
della Robbia presentations of his subject by introducing 
figures that are detached in sentiment from the main 
scene: it is this, rather than any merit of its own, 
that gives importance to the work. 1 

Of the frescoes that clothe the walls with splendid 
colour and momentous dramas, Vasari, in his " Life 
of Giotto," tells us that "this magnificent edifice 
being encrusted with rich marbles and sculptures 
executed at immense cost, the roof being covered 
with lead and the interior filled with antique 
monuments and sepulchral urns of Pagan times, it was 
determined that the inner walls should be adorned 
with the noblest paintings." 

Beginning with the North 'wall we find four 
frescoes, ascribed by Vasari to his mythical Buffal- 
macco, but really by Pietro di Puccio of Orvieto, a 
mediocre painter of the Sienese school who worked 
under Ugolino di Prete Ilario in the choir of the 
cathedral of Orvieto in 1370, and on the mosaics on 
the front in 1387. Puccio came to Pisa at the in- 
vitation of Parasone Grassi, who was in charge of the 
works, and painted four scenes from the Book of 
Genesis. 

The first is // Mappamondo. At a distance it looks 
more like a huge target than a picture. The con- 
centric circles are intended to portray the Universe, 
the earth in the centre being surrounded by the ele- 
mentary and planetary spheres and the celestial 
hierachy, according to the cosmographers of that age. 

1 Luca and Andrea della Robbia and their successors. 
Maud Cruttwell, p. 237, Dent & Co. 

204 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

The whole is grasped in the hand of a colossal figure 
of the Almighty. In the lower corners are figures of 
S. Augustine and S. Thomas Aquinas. The various 
subjects are indicated in gothic lettering. 

The next is the Creation, with seven episodes : the 
creation of Adam ; God leading Adam into the 
Garden of Eden ; the creation of Eve ; Adam and 
Eve eating the forbidden fruit ; God speaking to 
them ; the expulsion from the Garden of Eden ; and, 
lastly, Adam digging while Eve suckles her child. 

This is followed by the Death of Abel. From the 
two sacrifices ascend strange, substantial-looking rays 
of fire, those from Abel's altar mounting up to God, 
who appears among the cherubim ; Cain killing Abel ; 
Cain accidently shot in a thicket by Lamech ; 
Lamech slaying the servant who tempted him to shoot 
Cain. 

Noah and the Flood is the last of this series. Here 
we see the building of the ark ; the return of the dove ; 
and the sacrifice of Noah. These frescoes are but little 
removed in style from a picture drawn by a child. 
The Creation is the best. Its nudes are treated with a 
certain vigorous if rather coarse realism. The Garden 
of Eden, enclosed in crenellated walls with fortified 
gates very like the actual gates of Pisa of that time, is 
the usual mediaeval pleasance, a tangle of shady trees 
with a fountain set in the midst. There are graceful 
borders round the frescoes, in one of which Vasari 
says is a portrait of BufFalmacco. 1 

1 The book of the Opera of the Campo Santo for 1390 
leaves no doubt as to the authorship of these frescoes. 
" Magister Petrus olim Pucci de Urbe veteri pictor qui 
dudum pinxit in Campo Sancto ystoriam Genesis habuit et 
recepit," &c. And, '-Anno i $yz de lib M. Mag. Pierus 
Pictor de Urbe-veteri habuit et recepit a.d. Operario pro 
una libra azurri de la Magna pro ystoria Genesis de Campo 
Sancto," &c., cited by Morrona in Pisa Illustrata. ii., 208. 

205 



Story of Pisa 

From these crude works we pass on to the graceful 
but mannered series by Benozzo Gozzoli, which 
covers the rest of the wall, with the exception of a 
fresco by Pietro di Puccio over the door of the Aulla 
chapel. They were the culminating works of the long 
career that began at Montefalco in 1449, after Benozzo 
had left his master Fra Angelico, with the frescoes in 
S. Fortunate and S. Francesco, and continued in Rome, 
Viterbo, Florence, S. Gimignano and Castel Floren- 
tine. In Montefalco and in the Riccardi chapel in 
Florence Benozzo produced his most attractive works, 
full of charm, facile invention, life-like portraiture, 
beauty of movement, and love of gorgeous details, of 
costume, and of background. He was in no sense a 
great or an original master, but rather an imitator; 
first of Fra Angelico, and later of the Florentine 
realists. In Pisa he worked from 1469-1484, pro- 
ducing in that time twenty-four frescoes of Old Testa- 
ment scenes, as well as the Louvre Glorification of 
S. Thomas Aquinas, painted for the Duomo, and more 
than one picture for the Pisan churches. That he 
executed commissions outside Pisa during the same 
period is proved by his signature with the date 1 484 
on the frescoes of the tabernacle near Meleto. No 
later mention of Benozzo can be found, and it is there- 
fore assumed that he died the same year, probably in 
Pisa. He was buried in the Campo Santo beneath 
his own fresco of Joseph interpreting Pharaoh's dream, 
in a tomb presented to him by the citizens in I478. 1 

The first and best of the series is The Cultivation of 
the Vine and 7 he Drunkenness of Noah, a well-known 
composition, very characteristic of the master, and which 

1 The inscription on his tomb : Hie Tumulus Est Benotii 
Florentine Qui Proxime Has Pinxit Historias Hunc Sibi Pisanorum 
Donavit Humanitas. MCCCCLXXVI1I, is concealed by a 
piece^of sculpture. 

* 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

has some very beautiful passages. On the left side are 
various vintage scenes. A youth on a ladder hands a 
basket of grapes down from the pergola to a girl, while 
another graceful maiden carries away a laden basket on 
her head, and a third empties her load into the vat. A 
man is treading the grapts exactly as is done at the 
present day in Italy. On the right lies the Patriarch 
overcome with wine, a very different person from the 
spruce, well-dressed, and curled old gentleman in the 
other part of the composition. In the group beside 
him is the girl who pretends to hide her face with her 
hand, but peeps through her fingers with malicious joy 
at such a spectacle, thus giving rise to the proverb 
applied to mock-modest women who are said to be 
come la vergognosa di Pisa* Landscape, architecture 
and accessories, are painted, as in the whole series, with 
the loving care of a man who delights in detail. The 
lower right corner is in very bad condition, indeed the 
Patriarch's head has entirely disappeared ; but this 
matters the less, because all this part was repainted 
in 1 469.! 

The Curse of Ham is the next. To the left, Noah 
and his wife are sitting in a magnificent Renaissance 
loggia, and Noah curses his son Ham. The rest of 
the fresco represents quiet episodes in a charming 
landscape, suggesting the country round Florence. 
Graceful groups surround a fountain to the right, and 
there are two smart pages and some quaint children in 
the foreground. The main group is in a deplorable state. 

1 Benozzo's signature is on the collar of the figure that 
points with both hands at the Patriarch : . . . us Renoti de 
Flonntla^ MCCCCL. . . . The account-book of the Opera del 
Campo Santo has this entry : " E di avere a di primo Gennaio 
1469 fiorini 66 e due terzi larghi sono per la prima storia ch'a 
fatto quando Noe fa cogliere 1'uva per infino che e inebriato e 
sono . . . lire 373 sol. 6." Ciampi. Ste Pisa Illustrata, Mor- 
rona, ii. 21 3. 

207 



Story of Pisa 

In the third, The Building of the Tower of Babel, 
Benozzo gives a striking picture of the costume and 
architecture of his day. " The proud building of the 
Tower of Babel," as Vasari calls it, is going on in the 
centre of a long composition. Many masons are at 
work on the unfinished structure, which is surrounded 
by scaffolding. It is an ordinary mediaeval tower of 
the period, and throws light on the methods used in 
their construction. The lower part of the fresco is 
filled from end to end with a crowd of spectators, 
nearly all typical fifteenth century Florentines. To 
the right may be recognised Cosimo Pater Patriae, 
his son Piero il Gottoso, his grandsons Lorenzo the 
Magnificent and Giuliano, and their tutor Poliziano 
wearing a berretta. The city of Babylon, in the 
upper half of the composition, might be labelled 
Florence or Rome. Within the crenellated walls 
with machicolated gates is a fantastic medley of 
buildings, among them the tower of the Palazzo 
Vecchio in Florence, and the Pantheon and the 
Pyramid of Caius Cestius at Rome. 

Over the door of the Ammanati chapel is a pleasing 
Adoration of the Magi, the scene taking place in a 
beautiful landscape. The Magi are attended by many 
followers riding very fat horses ; a figure high up on 
the extreme left is supposed to represent Benozzo him- 
self, on a brown horse, wearing a blue cap, and looking 
towards the Virgin, whose head and part of whose figure 
have disappeared. Below is a graceful Annunciation, 
the Madonna seated in a richly-furnished room. 1 

A double row of frescoes now follows. Abraham 

1 E di avere fiorini ducento larghi sono per tre storie fatte 
in Campo Santo sequitando la prima di sopra e venendo verso 
la Cappella di Santo . . . ove e 1'ultima storia de Magi, e dell 
Annunsiata a di 5 Nov. 1471. Libro dell' Opera del 1469, 
num. 3. 

208 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

and the Worship of Be/us in the upper one represents 
a story inspired by the rabbinical traditions so widely 
circulated in the middle ages. Ninus, King of Babylon, 
sets up an image of his father, Belus, and issues a pro- 
clamation that all criminals who worship it shall be 
pardoned. In a pretty little round temple with fine 
buildings behind is the image of Belus, with votaries 
kneeling before it. Towards the right is Abraham, 
coming unharmed from the fiery pyre upon which he 
had been cast for refusing to worship the idol, while 
his brother Nahor is consumed. Ninus, on the left, is 
remitting the punishment of the two Baal worshippers. 
The background is crowded with fighting figures : 
emblematic, perhaps, of bad government. 

Below is Abraham and Lot in Egypt, a crowded 
composition, with episodes out of the histories of the 
two patriarchs. On the right is the strife between 
their servants. In the centre, Abraham kneels before 
the Lord, who tells him that he is to be the head of 
the Chosen People. To the left, he and Lot go forth 
from Babylon to the Promised Land, with their wives 
and servants, in two great cavalcades. The hand of 
Benozzo's assistant, Zanobi Machiavelli, is plainly 
recognisable in this fresco, particularly in the two 
combatants who grasp each other by the hair. 

In the top row follows The Victory of Abraham. 
To the left is the slaughter of the Assyrians and the 
rescue of Lot by Abraham ; in the centre, the slaughter 
of the Sodomites ; on the extreme right, Melchizedec 
is offering bread and wine to Abraham. The two 
chief equestrian figures are fine. 

Below, is Abraham and Hagar. Sarah chastises 
Hagar, who is seen again in the distance escorted by 
two angels. In the episode of Abraham and the 
Angels, the angel attending Hagar is reminiscent of 
Fra Angelico. 

o 209 



- 



Story of Pisa 

Next, on the upper row, is the Destruction of Sodom 
and the Escape of Lot. In the foreground, to the right, 
is Lot with his family, Lot's wife as the pillar of salt 
suggesting a classical statue. The rest of the fresco 
represents the burning of Sodom and the terror and 
despair of the people. The composition is crowded and 
confused, and the work is as a whole very unequal, 
showing Benozzo at his best and at his worst. 

The Sacrifice of Isaac is below. A poor work. On 
the left of the composition, which is divided by a tree, 
are several groups representing the strife of Isaac and 
Ishmael, the sending forth of Hagar, and the angel 
appearing to her. On the right is the sacrifice. 

On the upper row, the The Marriage of Jacob and 
Rebecca is a good composition. To the left, Abraham 
sends forth Eleazer. In the centre is the meeting at 
the well, the espousals, and the marriage feast to the 
right. Round the well is a remarkably graceful group 
of women with pitchers. 

The Birth of Jacob and Esau below is in a very bad 
state. On the left is the birth of the twins, and Esau 
selling his birthright to Jacob. On the right Isaac 
blesses Jacob, and Esau returns from the chase. The 
whole is overladen with architectural details and useless 
figures. 

The upper fresco represents The Marriage of Jacob 
and Rachel, and Jacob's Dream. This contains some 
of Benozzo's best work, and is one of his most attrac- 
tive compositions. Beginning from the right is Jacob's 
struggle with the angel, the alliance sworn between 
Laban and Jacob, the marriage of Jacob and Rachel, 
whom Jacob embraces, Jacob on the road to Charan, 
Rebecca embracing Jacob, Jacob kneeling before his 
father. The angels in Jacob's dream, and the dancers 
and spectators at the wedding feast, are especially 
noteworthy for grace and beauty. 
210 



Campo Santo: Frescoes and Sculpture 

Below is The Meeting of Jacob and Esau, and the 
Rape of Dinah. The splendour of the architecture 
and of the landscape in the background of this fresco 
are remarkable. There are three groups of contem- 
porary portraits, among them Lorenzo de' Medici in 
profile as one of the sons of Jacob. The group of 
Jacob and Rachel with the little Benjamin is very 
beautiful. 

Over the door of the Aulla Chapel the series is 
interrupted by a Coronation of the Virgin, by Pietro di 
Puccio which shows traces of greater beauty than one 
would have given him credit for, judging by his other 
frescoes. 

Returning to Benozzo The Innocence of Joseph in the 
upper row is a confused composition, with numerous 
figures huddled together. It tells Joseph's story from 
the time heMeft his father's house until he was delivered 
from prison. The recognition of Benjamin's clothes by 
Jacob is the best part. 

Below is Joseph made known to his Brethren. The 
whole background is exceedingly rich in architecture ; 
one of the buildings represented is a cathedral, which 
is a curious blend of the Duomos of Florence and of 
Pisa. The main episodes are Pharaoh declaring his 
dream to the magicians, the appointment of Joseph as 
Viceroy of Egypt, and his making himself known to 
his brothers. Above are two angels with a scroll, on 
which verses laudatory of Benozzo's work are in- 
scribed. 1 He is buried just beiieath this fresco. 

1 Quid spectas volucres, pisces, et monstra ferrarum, 

Et virides silvas aethereasque domos ? 
Et pueros, juvenes, matres, canosque parentes, 

Queis semper virum spirat in oredecus? 
Non haec tarn variis finxit simulacra figuris 

Natura, ingenio fastibus apta suo : 
Est opus artificis : pinxit viva ora Benoxus : 

O superi vivos fundite in ora sonos. 

21 I 



Story of P Is a 

The succeeding frescoes deal with the life of Moses. 
The Infancy and First Miracle of Moses, which follows 
above, is a very architectural work with various 
episodes. In the first the child Moses is in the arms 
of Pharoah, whose crown he throws down upon the 
ground. In the centre the child, still in Pharoah's 
arms, stretches out his hand over the chafing-dish of 
hot coals after rejecting the dish of fruit which had 
been offered to him. This ordeal was to prove that 
the casting down of the crown was intentional. 
Moses, now a man, appeals to Pharoah to let the 
children of Israel go, and finally, on the extreme 
right, the rod is changed into a dragon-like serpent to 
the terror of a youth standing near. 

In the Passage of the Red Sea, beneath it, some of 
the intonaco has fallen off. The original drawing in 
red is visible on the lower layer of plaster. The 
landscape background is fine. 

The Tables of the Law and the Golden Calf, also 
below, is in a very bad condition. What can be seen 
bears some resemblance to Cosimo Rosselli's paintings 
in the Sixtine Chapel. 

Above, in Karons Rod, which has also suffered 
considerably, the Brazen Serpent is represented as a 
winged dragon. Here also the resemblance to Cosimo 
Rosselli is strong. 

The Fall of Jericho and David Slaying Goliath is a 
long composition with varied episodes and extravagant 
figures. The two frescoes beneath, The Destruction of 
Dathan and Abiram, and The Death of Aaron, are 
entirely obliterated. 

The last of the series, The Visit of the Queen of 
Sheba to Solomon, is almost obliterated. Only the 
upper parts of some of the figures are visible; the 
intonaco has fallen off and laid bare the first outline. 
An old drawing of this fresco exists, which was 
212 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

formerly thought to be the original design, but is really 
a copy. Vasari says that Marsilio Ficino, Argyro- 
poulos, the learned Greek, Battista Platina, and 
Benozzo himself, were portrayed in this fresco, 
Benozzo as a clean-shaven old man on horseback, 
with a black berretta on his head in whose folds is 
a white paper, either as a mark or in order to write 
his name upon it. Portraits of members of the 
Visconti and Gambacorti families are also introduced 
on the right. 1 

At the East end of the Campo Santo, to the left of 
the Capella Maggiore, is a totally uninteresting picture 
representing The History of King Josiah and Bel" 
shazzar's Feast, by Zaccaria Rondinosi, an indifferent 
Pisan painter of the seventeenth century, who would 
not be worth mentioning were it not for the fact that he 
was the restorer of the frescoes of Benozzo Gozzoli, 
and of others in the Campo Santo : receiving a large 
sum of money for doing incalculable harm. 

To the right of the chapel are four frescoes with a 
strange and arresting dignity and passion, but sadly 
marred by the daubing brush of the officious Rondi- 
nosi. Attributed in turn to BufFalmacco, to a follower 
of Giotto, and to Francesco Traini, it is evident that 
they are by the same unknown hand that traced the 
noble lines of the Triumph of Death, the Last 
Judgment, and the Life of the Holy Hermits. 

First comes The Ascension, a beautifully ordered 
composition in whose upper part ranks of exquisite 
angels flank the grand figure of their ascended Lord. 
Below on either side of the mount is a kneeling group 
of yearning disciples, straining eye and mind in the 
effort to follow their Master even into the kingdom of 

1 From the books of the Opera del Duomo we learn that 
Benozzo received 9533 lire Pisani for the series. Begun in 
1469, they were finished in May 1484. 

213 



Story of Pisa 

heaven. Some of the panic-stricken are consoled by 
the grave and stately angel who reveals to them the 
hidden meaning of the dread event. 

The Disbelief of Thomas includes one of the noblest 
and yet gentlest figures of Christ in all the history of 
art, and worthy of it is the group of disciples who 
bow before Him, every shade of emotion, from doubt 
to recognition and adoration, being depicted on their 
faces. 

The chief beauty of The Resurrection lies in its 
gravity of conception, and in the groups of angels who 
lift the ponderous cover from the sepulchre, or adore 
the risen Saviour. 

A wild and passionate Crucifixion ends the series. 
In it the two thieves writhe in rapture or in agony, S. 
John wrings his hands in the fiercest of anguish and the 
angels, true birds of God, flutter to and fro like a flight 
of startled swallows. Only the central figure on the 
Cross is still, and that with the stillness of death. 

The South wall is decorated by The Triumph of 
Death, The Last Judgement, and The Life of the Holy 
Hermits. The authorship of these frescoes has been 
much disputed. Vasari attributes the two first to 
Andrea and Bernardo Orcagna ; Burckhardt to the 
school of Giotto ; others to Bernardo Daddi, or to 
Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti. Signer Supino, a 
patriotic Pisan, boldly asserts that they are by Traini, 
the Pisan painter, although the style in which they are 
painted bears no resemblance to his. The Holy Hermits 
is usually ascribed to Pietro Lorenzetti. There is no 
certainty in the matter, but the attribution of all three 
to some unknown follower of the Lorenzetti seems 
most probable. 

The Triumph of Death is a splendidly dramatic 
picture. In a pleasant grove to the right are the great 
ones of the earth. They are full of the joy of life, 
214 




:* 

II 

-! C. 



1 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

young and beautiful, clad in magnificent robes. Wrapt 
in the warm, still air they sit making love, and toying 
with their lap dogs or with their falcons. Soft music 
lulls them and cupids hover near to protect them. But 
all unknown to them comes furious Death with poisM 
scythe, seeking to cut them off in their youth and 
delight. The gay company clearly consists of people 
known to the painter, but Vasari can only identify one, 
Castruccio Castracane, Lord of Lucca. He is the 
gallant young man with the strong profile and a blue 
cap on his head, sitting erect, falcon on wrist, and gaz- 
ing at the lady who is playing the psaltery. Not so 
eager is envious Death to end the sufferings of the old, 
the weary, the lame and the blind, who are seen in the 
centre of the picture, and who cry out to her * to 
come and release them from their pain. 2 She takes 
kings and beggars, the young and the strong, but passes 
by these poor wretches. The air is thick with flying 
souls, borne by angel 3 or demon to heaven or to the 
burning mouths of hell that gape on the top of the great 
mountain projecting into the middle of the picture. On 
its slopes are pleasant trees and wild animals all fearless 
of the holy hermits who dwell amongst them. An 

1 Death is here represented as a woman. 

2 They hold out a scroll to her on which is written : 

Dacche prosperitade ci ha lasciate 

O Morte medicina di ogni pena 

O viene a darne ormai 1'ultima cena. 

3 The angels above hold" a scroll with the following in- 
scription : 

Ischerno di savere e di richezza 
Di nobilitate ancora e di prodezza 
Vale niente ai colpi di costei 
Ed ancor non si truova contra lei 
O lettore niuno argomento 
Eh ! non avere lo'ntelletto spento 
Di stare sempre in apparecchiato 
C,he non ti giungo in mortale peccato. 

215 



Story of Pisa 

anchorite sits reading on the steps of a small church, 
while another, supported on crutches, is listening. One 
prays, and yet another milks a hind. All are aged 
men, and solitude and peace surround them. S. 
Macarius has decended the steep path to the plain 
below and calls the attention of a company of kings, 
lords, and ladies to the miserable end of mankind, as 
exhibited in the corpses of three monarchs, lying each 
in his coffin in all the horrors of decay. 1 In the fore- 
most lord one recognises Castruccio again by his profile 
and splendid bearing. He calls the attention of the 
second king to the horrible spectacle. Facinated, in 
spite of himself, the king leans forward, holding his 
nose in disgust ; his horse too stretches out his neck 
and whinnies in fear. Vasari identifies him as 
Uguccione della Faggiuola. Between the two rides a 
lady who is overcome with pity at the sight. The 
third horseman urges his horse forward, curiosity as 
well as awe depicted in his youthful face. The 
bearded king behind Uguccione is said to be either 
Louis of Bavaria or the Emperor Henry VII., and the 
pitiful lady the daughter of Ernando, Count Palatine. 
The lady on the left of Castruccio, with a lapdog in 
her arms, has been identified as his daughter Sancia, 
wife of Bonifazio Novello della Gherardesca, the 
young horseman. 2 

1 Macarius's scroll has these words : 

Se vostra mente sia bene accorta 
Tenendo fiso qui la vista afitta 
La Vanagloria vi sara sconfitta 
La Superbia, come vedete morta, 
V'accorgerete ancor di questa sorta 
Se osservate la legge che v'e scritta. 

2 Another explanation is suggested by Troya in his in- 
teresting book Del Veltro Allegorica dei Ghibellini (Naples, 
1856). Like others he sees Castruccio in the first horseman, 
and Uguccione della Faggiuola in the second, but he takes 
the third to be Gaddo della Gherardesca, if not Dante 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

The Last Judgement. After Death the Judgement. 
We are led naturally from the Triumph of Death to 
this great ordered scene. The first impression it makes 
is of symmetry, the second of awe. In its general 
arrangement it follows the traditions that had already 
crystallised round the subject, but differs from them in 
its conception of the Judge. He is here represented 
as an individual personality, while in the earlier pictures 
He was little more than a type. 

He and the Blessed Virgin sit side by side in 
mandorla glories. She is not even a step lower, but 
though her attitude is His, line for line, a certain 
shrinking humility indicates the difference of the parts 
they play. Christ is the terrible Judge ; Our Lady 
the tender pleader. Christ tears open His garment 
with one hand to disclose His wounded side, while the 
other is raised above His head in splendid denouncia- 
tion. " Not even My passion has availed ! Depart 
ye evil ones into everlasting fire," he seems to say. 
Mary's hand is on her throbbing heart. She is filled 
with pity and terror, and longs, yet fears, tq intercede. 
The Apostles sit on either side in a straight row gaz- 
ing " with awful eye " at the remorseless Judge, or hang- 
ing their heads in despair. " Who shall stand in this day 
of wrath ? " Even one of the denouncing angels who 
blow the trumpets of doom cowers in a forlorn heap, 
hiding his face in his hands, yet unable to tear his eyes 
from the rending of the tombs below. The archangels 
alone are free from this paralysing emotion. Guided by 

Alighieri. The bearded king remains Louis of Bavaria or 
Henry VII., but the weeping maiden to the left of Cas- 
truccio, wearing a ducal crown, he believes to be the 
daughter, or the daughter-in-law, of Uguccione. If the 
latter, she was a daughter of Corso Donato, and came as a 
bride to the Castle of Faggiuola at the very time, according 
to Boccaccio, that Dante took refuge there. The dogs are 
greyhounds, the Veltri of the ghibellines. 

217 



Story of Pisa 

Michael they do their work jocundly, hustling back the 
damned who try to break their ranks, haling a monk 
out from among the blessed, and with remorseless 
hands urging him towards the lost. One of them is 
kind, and gently leads a humble soul away from the 
despairing company to which he had taken it for 
granted that he belonged. Exactly midway between 
the blessed and the lost Solomon is rising from his 
grave ; he seems in an anguish of uncertainty as to his 
destiny. The ranks of the blessed are calm. All 
eyes are raised, all hands are clasped. The feeling is 
intense but quiet. The lost, on the other hand, 
struggle and complain, wring their hands with shame 
and despair, make wild efforts to escape their doom. 
Among them are men and women of every rank ; 
queens, kings, priests, and monks, Benedictines and 
Dominicans. Even a pope is found in the sorrowful 
company. Adam, on his knees, heads the first rank of 
the blessed, John the Baptist the second. The monk's 
cowl, the bishop's mitre, the king's crown figure here 
too, and the nun's wimple. Angels with the instru- 
ments of the Passion, like celestial standard-bearers, 
hover in the sky on either side. 

The types are strong. The dramatic passion and 
play of expression are rendered with simple intensity, 
and the demons have the permanent beauty of true 
grotesques. Pity it is that the painter of these great 
works, for it is by the same hand as the Triumph of 
Death and the two following frescoes, one of the 
greatest illustrators of the middle ages, should not 
have been content to let his pictures plead for them- 
selves by legitimate artistic means, but should have 
been so anxious to enforce the moral that he must 
needs deface his works by scrolls inscribed with 
didactic verses. 

The Inferno, a grizzly scene of grotesque misery, is 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

based no doubt on Dante's Hell. Only the upper 
zone of the picture is original, and from it alone it 
should be judged. The second zone and the two 
figures by the side of Lucifer are inferior, and are 
probably the work of Cecco di Pietro, a Pisan 
employed to restore the fresco in 1379. Lucifer, "the 
emperor of the dolorous realm," a gigantic figure with 
three faces, sits in the middle, 

" At six eyes he wept : the tears 

Adown three chins distill'd with bloody foam, 
At every mouth his teeth a sinner champ'd, 
Bruised as with ponderous engine ; so that three 
Were in this guise tormented," 1 

and behind him the divers places of torment are full 
of accursed spirits and serpents of various sizes, as 
the poet has it. The lower part was repainted in 
1530 by Sollazino, who departed considerably from 
the original design, as is seen in an early engraving. 2 
From this ugly scene " we issue out, again to see the 
stars." 

The Life of the Holy Hermits, which fol- 
lows, is an apotheosis of the solitary life. Thirty 
episodes from the lives of hermit saints are scattered 
over the great surface without any attempt at com- 
position. It is so like the preceding frescoes in 
manner as to be almost certainly by the same hand, 
although generally given to Pietro Lorenzetti, who 
painted a somewhat similar picture on a much smaller 
scale. 3 

The various episodes are full of vehement energy, 
knowledge of the nude, and masterly animal drawing. 
The drapery is simple, as is the light and shade, and 
the forms are finely rendered. Beginning at the left 

1 Inferno, Canto xxxiv. 49-53, Gary's translation 

2 Published in Pisa I/lttstrata, by Morrona, vol. ii. 
plate 12. 

3 Now in the Uffizi. 

2I 9 



Story of Pisa 

of the top row two figures kneel at the mouth of a 
cave, S. Paul the hermit and S. Anthony. Further 
on is the death of S. Paul, S. Anthony mournfully 
kissing the hand of his dying friend. In the distance 
the two lions scrape out his shallow grave with their 
paws. Then S. Anthony repels a demon in the shape 
of a woman, he is beaten by two demons, and is 
comforted by a vision of the Redeemer. At the 
mouth of a cave a hermit sits working, and S. 
Anthony chases away two demons with the sign of 
the Cross. Further to the right Abbot Hilarion, 
mounted on a mule, puts a dragon to flight with the 
same sign, the intense terror of his companion being 
finely rendered. 

In the second row to the left, is S. Mary of Egypt, 
shrouded in her long hair, receiving the sacrament 
from Bishop Zosimus : a very fine group. A hermit 
at the grating of his cell is tempted by the demon in 
the shape of an aged anchorite. Near him a solitary 
prays peacefully between two lions, and the evil one, 
in the form of a fair pilgrim, tempts an anchorite. 
Then follow various hermits at work, meditating, read- 
ing, conversing, one of them ensconced in an oak tree, 
while at the end of the row S. Pannuzio buries the 
dead body of S. Onofrio. 

In the third and lowest row is a monk leading a 
loaded ass into a city gate, and hard by S. Marina, in 
the monastic habit, with a child in her arms, is sitting 
in front of a small church. Various anchorites are 
fishing or carrying on other occupations while they are 
tempted by devils in divers disguises. Two more are 
working near a church, others are at rest, and one 
brings them a barrel of wine. S. Pannuzio is tempted 
in his cell by a woman, and only saves himself from 
her wiles by plunging his hands into a fire. Further 
on the same woman, struck down by a bolt from 
220 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

heaven, lies dying on the ground. S. Pannuzio saves 
her by his prayers, when she kneels in penitence and 
dedicates herself to the service of God. 

Damp and repeated restorations have injured this 
fine work as well as the others. All the frescoes are 
enclosed in a painted frame with medallions repainted 
in part by Antonio Veneziano. 

Fragments of a fresco are visible between the lower 
border of the Life of the Holy Hermits and a Roman 
sarcophagus imbedded in the wall beneath it, whose 
front surface only is visible. The recumbent figure of 
an aged saint can be made out without difficulty, the 
head surrounded by rays. Two angels that hover above 
his head and his feet, with thuribles in their hands, 
are even better preserved, as are the two half-length 
angelic figures in the border above. 1 The four angels 
and the recumbent figure are by Antonio Veneziano, 
who was working in the Campo Santo in 1 386. He 
is known to have restored the lower portion of the 
fresco of the Holy Hermits, including the row of five 
anchorites, one of whom is seated among the branches 
of a tree, the lower border and the " painting 
beneath." 2 The " painting beneath " obviously 
means the recumbent figure representing the Blessed 
Giovanni Cini (and not, as is often said, the Blessed 
Giovanni Gambacorti, or, as the modern inscription 
below the fresco states, the Blessed Giovanni de Pace). 
Cini was a Pisan religious, and the founder of the 
Company of Discipline of S. John the Evangelist. He 
died in the first half of the fourteenth century, and was 
buried here in the wall, his coffin, an antique sarco- 
phagus, being, as we see, inserted into it. 

1 In their hands are scrolls inscribed with Psalm ii. 
12-13, Vulgate, and Psalm xxxvi. 11-12, Vulgate. 

2 Notizie inedite. . . . del Campo Santo, &C., pp. IOI-IO2, 
and document xxxiii. n. 3. Ciampi, Florence, 1810. 

221 



Story of Pisa 

Above the door is an Assumption of the Virgin, attri- 
buted by Vasari to Simone Martini, an attribution which 
has clung to it in spite of the inferiority of the work. 
Though lately given to Traini, it is no doubt by some 
unknown Sienese painter. The fresco has been so 
ruthlessly repainted as to have lost much of its original 
aspect. The Blessed Virgin, seated on a Gothic 
throne in an elliptical glory, is borne to heaven by 
angels. Her hands, folded in prayer, were originally 
crossed on her breast, as may be seen through the 
repainting. Some of the angels on the right are 
practically new. 

Beyond the door is a series of frescoes illustrating 
the life of S. Ranieri. By Vasari these also are 
attributed to Simone Martini, but the three upper ones 
are by Andrea da Firenze (1377), the three lower by 
Antonio Veneziano ( 1 386). 

S. Ranier't' s Call comes first in the upper row. To 
the left the saint, still in the thrall of the world, is re- 
presented as a gaily dressed youth playing his psaltery 
while a circle of pretty ladies dance round him. A 
well-dressed crowd surround the dancers, and look out 
from the loggie of palaces behind. The moment 
chosen is that when a lady pulis him by the cloak, 
saying, "Wilt thou not follow this angel?" meaning 
the Blessed Alberto Leccapecore, a holy hermit who 
had just passed by. We next see Ranieri (to the 
right) kneeling before the Blessed Alberto, while the 
Holy Ghost descends on him in the shape of a dove. 
The scene is in the porch of a church very like S. 
Pierino, but probably meant for S. Vito. In the 
interior Ranieri, blind, kneels between his father and 
mother before the Redeemer, who restores his sight. 
The whole gives a most accurate picture of the 
costumes, architecture, and manners of the time. 
The style of this and the two following frescoes is 
222 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

distinctly Sienese, although Andrea, whom we know 
to be the author from entries in the books of the 
Campo Santo, is described as di Florentia. 1 The 
fresco has been badly repainted by the Brothers 
Melani. 

Ranieri embarks for the Holy Land in a high-pooped 
vessel on the left. One of the passengers opens a chest 
to take out money, whereupon an unbearable stench 
rises from it. Ranieri explains to the others that 
worldly goods stink in the nostrils of God. The 
action of the saint, and of the men who hold their 
noses and turn away, is very naive and natural. 
According to Vasari, this scene includes portraits of 
Count Gaddo Gherardesca and of Ranieri, his uncle. 
When Ranieri lands at Joppa and enters a church he 
is again comforted by a vision of the Saviour. He 
distributes alms, and receives the hair-shirt of the 
pilgrim at Jerusalem. The Virgin, surrounded by 
angels, appears to him in the chief church of Tyre. 
Her figure is majestic, but ill-preserved ; some of the 
attendant angels are in far better condition. 

1 Andrea was commissioned to paint these frescoes by 
Piero Gambacorti, who paid him on Oct. 3, 1377. He bore 
the title of " pictor opere," and lived near the Campo Santo. 

i. " Maestro An tone di Franciescho dipintore da Fiorensa lo 
quale dipingie in Chapo santo la storia di Santo Ranieri de' 
dare a di Y di Dicienbre 1385 fiorinidodici d'oro li quali diei 
per lui ad Aldrodandino spesiale per uncie Vij d'azurro por- 
toleli Ser Giovanni fattore delPopraa bottegha sua." Arch, 
di Stato, Pisa, Arch, del? opera del Duomo di Parasone Grasso, 
reg. 60, c. 1 8. 

z. " Maestro Antone di Franciescho dipintore da Fiorensia 
lo quali dipingie in Chapo santo la storia di Santo Ranieri 
de' dare a di Vij di Giugno 1386 fiorini tre d' oro li quali li 
prestai soprascritto di in fiorini nuovi porto Checco suo 
figluolo." Memorie, etc., Bonaini, c. 35. 

Another entry in the Libra d'Entrate e Uscita of the Opera 
del Duomo proves that he was helped by two assistants. 

Quoted by Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 281, new edition. 

223 



Story of Pisa 

The Miracles of S. Ranieri is the last of Andrea's 
frescoes. On the left the saint praying in the choir 
is disturbed by Lucifer, who, on being repulsed 
appears in the air holding a false image of Ranieri in 
his arms. Then, defeated, he revenges himself by 
pelting the saint with stones. 

In the next scene Ranieri is taming two very 
heraldic-looking lionesses, afterwards he is on his 
knees before a vision of Christ between Enoch and 
Elias. In the last scene he asks for shelter at the 
door of a monastery, where he satisfies the hunger of 
many with one loaf, miraculously multiplied. Though 
the compositions recall Simone Martini's method, the 
drawing is feeble and monotonous and the painting 
poor. 

Three years after these frescoes were painted, Bar- 
naba da Modena was commissioned to finish the series, 
but some obstacle occurred. Though he came to 
Pisa he did no work in the Campo Santo; and it was not 
until 1386 that it was finally completed by Antonio 
Veneziano. 

Antonio was possibly a pupil of Agnolo Gaddi, and 
a not unworthy rival of Giovanni da Milano and of 
Giottino. As an early student of nature in an age of 
convention, he forms a rather important link in the 
chain connecting Giotto with Massaccio. Vasari's 
remark that he was a close student of emotional move- 
ment is true ; besides this he was a master of technique, 
and deserves more attention than has hitherto been 
bestowed on him. Only one of his frescoes here, The 
Return of S. Ranieri, has survived in anything like a 
complete state, and even that has suffered greatly. 
It is much more vigorous than anything of Andrea da 
Firenze's. To the left is the departure of the saint 
from the Holy Land. Only the heads remain and 
the upper part of a walled city, with a vision of Christ 
224 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

in the sky blessing the saint. We next see Ranieri in 
the stern of a ship, which is scudding along with 
bellying sails. The figure of an angler on the shore 
separates this episode from the next, in which S. 
Ranieri rebukes the fraudulent innkeeper of Messina, 
and renders a demon visible on a cask of his diluted wine. 
He further proves the man's false dealing by pouring 
the liquid into a fold of his garment, when the wine 
filters through and the water remains. Further to the 
right he is seated at table, entertained by the Canons 
of the Duomo of Pisa. In the distance is the city with 
many fine buildings. Antonio was a master in repre- 
senting architecture, as we see in the second of this 
series, where S. Vito, the Duomo, and the Campanile 
appear. In the third is the Baptistery. His per- 
spective and foreshortening are wonderfully accurate for 
an age when the exact rules of the science were 
unknown. 

The Death of S. Ranieri is in a deplorable condition, 
The saint's followers mourn over his body, kissing his 
hands ; among them is the famous figure of a dropsical 
woman. Above the roof of the church of S. Vito his 
spirit hovers in the air. The Funeral, with the body 
of the saint carried by canons and clergy, has almost 
disappeared, owing to the falling of the intonaco. The 
Campanile can still be seen to the right. 

The Miracles of S. Ranieri is also nearly obliterated. 
It showed the saint's body exposed to public worship 
under a dais in the Duomo. In the crowd sur- 
rounding it was a woman possessed by a devil and a 
mother with her sick child. The walls of Pisa sepa- 
rated this episode from the next, in which a sinking 
ship is saved by the intervention of S. Ranieri, and 
which is full of dramatic action and well-drawn 
figures. 

The next six compartments contain a series of 
p 225 



Story of Pisa 

frescoes by Spinelli Aretino, 1 three above and three 
below, of which the latter are practically obliterated. 
The remaining ones are scenes from the lives of SS. 
Ephesus and Potitus, who are peculiarly Pisan saints. 
Ephesus was an officer in the service of the Emperor 
Diocletian, and was sent by him to destroy the Chris- 
tians in Sardinia. A vision, in which the Saviour 
commanded him to cease persecuting the faithful, ended 
in his conversion to Christianity. He turned his arms 
against the pagans, and with his friend S. Potitus, a 
native of Cagliari, he suffered martyrdom. After the 
subjugation of Sardinia by the Pisans the relics of the 
two saints were borne in triumph to Pisa, where they 
are still preserved in the Duomo. 

First in the upper row is S. Ephesus before Dio- 
cletian and The Appearance of Christ to the Saint. The 
three episodes can be distinguished, although the fresco 
is in a fragmentary condition. First comes the pre- 
sentation of young Ephesus to the Emperor by the 
mother of the latter, then the Emperor giving a com- 
mander's staff to Ephesus on his starting to fight the 
Christians in Sardinia, and thirdly the apparition of 
the Saviour. 

The second fresco, S. Ephesus Jighting the Pagans 
in Sardinia, is a bold and spirited composition, and 
better preserved. In the left corner the apparition of 
Our Lord to S. Ephesus, who is on horseback and 
listens with folded hands to His commands, is some- 
what obliterated. Then S. Ephesus is seen, kneeling 
before the archangel Michael, a splendid winged 
figure presenting a banner to the saint. Strengthened 
by these heavenly favours Ephesus routs the heathen. 

1 Summoned to Pisa by Parasone Grassi in 1 39 1 , he received 
from him, and from Como de Calmulus, his successor, 150 
gold florins for the frescoes of S. Ephesus; 120 for those of 
S. Potitus, which he finished in March, 1392. 

226 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

The battle is on the right, the Christians are aided by 
the archangel himself and by the banner which is 
borne behind him. 

The Martyrdom of S. Ephesus follows. The saint, 
his conversion to Christianity having been discovered, 
is brought before the Praetor of Sardinia and is con- 
demned to be burnt in a fiery furnace. The flames 
refuse to touch him but slay the executioners, and 
finally the saint is beheaded. 

The three vanished frescoes of the lower row repre- 
sented the Martyrdom of S. Potitus and the Translation 
of SS. Ephesus and Potitus from Sardinia to Pisa. 
Spinelli is at his best in scenes of action such as these. 
His broad, dashing style is full of movement, his 
drawing, though careless and generalised, regardless of 
proportion and of the details of the human body, is 
free and bold. His colouring is gay and transparent. 

Beyond the entrance door is a series of frescoes 
attributed by Vasari to Giotto, representing The Trials 
of Job. From internal evidence it is quite clear that 
they are not by Giotto, and on the strength of certain 
entries in the records of the Campo Santo it has 
recently been thought that Daniele da Volterra painted 
them. One entry is, " the Story of Job in the Campo 
Santo was begun on August 4, 1371," others state 
that Francesco da Volterra received important pay- 
ments in 1372 for materials used in painting and in 
restoring paintings in Pisa, others again that he was 
employed in the Campo Santo, together with Neruccio 
and a certain Berto. It has therefore been generally 
assumed that the frescoes were his. The best authori- 
ties, however, interpret these entries to mean that, in 
the Campo Santo at anyrate, Francesco and his 
assistants were merely entrusted with the restoration 
of some existing frescoes, and pronounce that at least 
one of the series, the Temptation of Job, is by Taddeo 

227 



Story of Pisa 

Gaddi. Of the six, two only have survived in any- 
thing like perfect condition. 

Job giving Alms and feasting his Friends is the first 
in the upper row. The left corner with the alms- 
giving is obliterated, but the feast in the centre is 
plainly visible, as is the episode of the Sabeans driving 
off Job's cattle on the right. Some of the heads and 
figures in this work are very graceful. 

The Temptation of Job by Taddeo Gaddi is a fine 
creation, and the best preserved of all. To the left 
Satan stands before the Lord, who appears in an 
elliptical glory supported by six angels, and obtains 
His permission to tempt Job. Below is a wonderfully 
beautiful sunset landscape with rocky islands in a calm 
sea. 

In the middle is the Invasion of the Sabeans, Satan 
hovering on bat's wings above the slaughter. Herds- 
men hurriedly drive off their flocks, and to the right 
the survivors are destroyed by fire thrown by the 
demon. The various scenes are here portrayed with a 
simple and attractive realism. 

Job and his Friends, under it, is the other decipher- 
able fresco. It is divided into several episodes. The 
friends of Job kneel on the ground, or stand by the 
side of the reclining Patriarch who is naked and 
covered with boils, their numerous train of men and 
horses remaining outside ; Job kneels before the Lord ; 
the Lord appears to Job's friends and rebukes them. 
To the right is a group of men driving camels and 
elephants. 

Nothing but the kneeling figure of Job receiving 
the news of his misfortunes (beyond the monument of 
Algarotti), is visible in the other frescoes. The com- 
position of these works is animated, and they betray a 
detailed study of form. 

The West end has two huge late frescoes, repre- 
228 






Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

senting The Story of Esther, by Agostino Ghirlanda. 
They have a certain decorative charm, but are 
chiefly interesting from the number of portraits they 
contain, including those of Cosimo I., Grand Duke of 
Tuscany, the Duke of Urbino (in a turban), the 
Emperor Charles V., who is on horseback near the 
Duke of Urbino, and Amerigo, Prince of Carrara. 

The rest of the wall is covered with the totally 
uninteresting Story of Judith by Paolo Guidotto of 
Lucca. 

Besides being the resting-place of many famous sons 
of Pisa, the Campo Santo is a museum of sculpture 
Etruscan, Roman, and Mediaeval. The collection is 
an ancient one. The many Etruscan and Roman 
sarcophagi ranged round the outside of the Duomo 
during the eleventh and twelfth centuries were removed 
and placed in here when the marble platform that 
surrounds the cathedral was built in 1293. By the 
addition of numerous tombs from the Duomo after the 
fire and during the restorations of 1 602, the gallery of 
sculpture assumed considerable dimensions. It became 
a recognised sight for tourists, and is mentioned by 
many of the old travellers, including John Evelyn and 
Queen Christina of Sweden, who called it " the Noble 
Museum." Large numbers of statues and relics were 
added in the early nineteenth century, collected from 
every part of the city and province by the indefatigable 
Cavaliere Carlo Lasinio, conservator of the Campo 
Santo. 

On the South side, to the left of the entrance, is a 
pretty little Madonna and Child on a column, of the 
Pisan school. Beyond is the rather vapid monument 
by Thorwaldsen, who was then living in Rome, of 
the oculist Andrea Vacca, who died in 1826, with a 
relief of Tobias anointing his father's eyes. Nos. g 
and < are headless late-Roman statues of senators. 

229 



Story of Pisa 

Opposite the door are various ancient sarcophagi, 
notably No. j| L with a boar hunt, and No. j^v! shaped 
like a house with tragic masks at the angles. The 
tomb of Count Algarotti, the Venetian philosopher, 
who was chamberlain to Frederick the Great and 
died in 1764, is near the corner. It is the work of 
Tesi and Branconi, and though not beautiful is inter- 
esting because erected by command of his royal master, 
who characteristically enough forgot to pay for it. 
The inscription compares Algarotti, who by his own 
desire is styled Newton's disciple, to Ovid. 

The first thing that arrests the eye at the West end 
is No. 44, a lovely classic frieze, the decorative pattern 
which runs along it being woven of dolphins, tridents, 
and seaweed. This exquisite work was evidently con- 
sidered mere raw material in the middle ages, for the 
back is carved and inlaid in panels with rosettes very 
like those round the font in the Baptistery. No. XI. 
is a fine sarcophagus with full-length figures of senators, 
and No. J| is a seated Madonna and Child, headless, 
alas, but beautiful, attributed to Giovanni Pisnno, but 
more likely by one of his followers. No. CCC. is a 
tombstone with an early medieval inscription, and 
beyond is a tablet recording the names of the Pisans 
who fell in 1 848 in the War of Independence. " They 
went to the war for Pisa, they died for Italy," says 
the inscription. No. 46 is the monument of Count 
Bonifazio della Gherardesca de' Conti de Donoratico, 
il Vecchio ; of Gherardo, or Gaddo, his son, and of 
Bonifazio Novello, his grandson, Lords of Pisa. 
What we see is a fragment only of the original monu- 
ment erected over their graves in the church of S. 
Francesco, the greater part of which was the work of 
Tommaso Pisano. The sarcophagus, with the effigy 
of the portly Count Bonifazio il Vecchio, executed 
with pitiless realism, was formerly surmounted by two 
230 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

rows of Gothic canopies containing statues. 1 The 
effigies of Gaddo and of Bonifazio Novello are carved 
in low relief on the sarcophagus, which is further 
adorned with reliefs of Christ, the Virgin, and saints. 
Count Bonifazio il Vecchio, it will be remembered, 
was taken prisoner by the Genoese at the battle of 
Meloria in 1384. By his surrender, and by the 
treachery and tragic death of Count Ugolino, the 
prestige of the Gherardesca family suffered a terrible 
blow. Bonifazio survived his disgrace for twenty 
years, retrieving some portion of his lost popularity by 
his munificent legacies to the Misericordia of Pisa in 
1313. His son Gherardo, or Gaddo, made himself 
extremely popular with the Pisans by expelling the 
tyrant Uguccione della Faggiuola, and revived the 
fallen glories of his race. Count Bonifazio Novello, 
commonly called Fazio, his son, ' Friend of the 
People, Pacifier of every discord," founded the Uni- 
versity, improved the walls, and conferred innumerable 
other benefits on the city. Near the Gherardesca 
monument is that of Dante's ideal Emperor, Henry of 
Luxemburg. " This new Moses, This most clement 
Henry, Divus Augustus Caesar,' ' as he called him. 
Henry died at Buonconvento, near Siena, poisoned 
according to German authorities by a Dominican friar 
while receiving the sacrament. His remains were 
temporarily deposited in the church of Suvereto in the 
Maremma, from whence they were translated to Pisa 
by a concourse of more than three thousand persons. 
Remembering his ambitions his is a pathetic figure. 
His attempts to exalt the imperial dignity were doomed 
to failure, for the ideal he represented was a dead one. 
" One would think," says a French writer, " when look- 
ing on his effigy, that he was still exhausted by his ill- 

1 See plate at end of Difesa De Conti della Gherardesca^ etc. , 
Maccione. Lucca, 1771. 

231 



Story of Pisa 

fated enterprise ; he looks as if he slept badly and 
were not at his ease, even in death. Fragments of a 
mantle of cloth of gold were found when his coffin 
was opened which crumbled into dust immediately ; fit 
emblem of his fate. The dust of the imperial mantle 
is all that was destined to survive of the projects of 
Henry VII., and of the hopes of Dante." 1 The simple 
and pathetic if rather clumsy figure of the Emperor, 
wrapped in a robe decoiated with the eagles and the 
lions of the guelphs and ghibellines, lies on a white 
marble sarcophagus. His hands are crossed, his head 
rests uneasily on a pillow. The sarcophagus is 
decorated in front with eleven mediocre figures of 
apostles, and a mournful saint guards either end. The 
whole was originally coloured. Below is the inscrip- 
tion recording the translation of his remains. Tino 
di Camaino, a pupil of Giovanni Pisano, began the 
monument in 1315, but it was finished by Lupo di 
Francesco, Capo Maestro of the Duomo. It stood 
originally behind the high altar of the Duomo, and 
later in the chapel of S. Ranieri. No. 51 is a modern 
statue of Giovanni Pisano by Salvini. Tribolo's 
monument to Bartolommeo Medici, a well-known 
warrior who died in 1556, occupies the whole height 
of the wall near here. The effigy of Bartolommeo is 
very fine. Near it stands a terribly prosaic bust of 
Cavour. Above hang the ancient chains that once 
closed the entrance of Porto Pisano, taken by the 
Genoese in 1362. One piece was then hung in 
triumph on the Porta Vacca at Genoa, and in 1860 
was given back to Pisa ; the other, presented by the 
Genoese to the Florentines who suspended it over the 
door of their Baptistery, was restored by them to the 
Pisans in 1848. No. XII. is a Roman sarcophagus 
with genii representing the four seasons, portraits of a 

1 Voyage Dantesque^ J. J. Ampere. 
232 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

husband and his wife, and theatrical masks. On it 
stands a small Roman relief of a banquet. No. XIII., 
the sarcophagus of G. Bellicus Natalis Tebanianus 
Cos., one of the quindecem viri Flaviali, is interesting. 
No. LL. is the tomb of Pietro Ricci, Archbishop of 
Pisa (d. 1418), with a good recumbent figure; No. 
36, a short porphyry column bearing an Ionic marble 
vase with a fine bacchanalian relief. From it Niccolo 
Pisano is said to have taken the figures of the high 
priest and of the boy for his pulpit in the Baptistery. 
No. 55 is a small Madonna of the Pisano school, 
placed upon a mediaeval capital, and 13 bis a huge 
striped sarcophagus with jutting-out heads. 

On the North slde^ one of the most attractive things, 
No. 57, is a little Roman relief of the Three Graces. 
Beyond it, No. 60, is an interesting Greek stele of the 
post-Phidian age. It represents a seated matron with a 
nurse standing behind her holding a swaddled child in 
her arms, which Grassi says was brought from Greece 
by a Pasha. 1 It is much injured. Close to it, No. g, 
is a sculptured architrave of the eleventh century, with 
the story of S. Silvestro and the baptism of Constantine, 
in two rows of rude and primitive reliefs. No. XV., a 
large sarcophagus, with male and female figures in high 
relief, has been made to serve as a table for various 
charming fragments of mediaeval sculpture. Near this 
is No. g, the relief from a mediaeval tomb, by Bona- 
mico, Christ surrounded by the Emblems of the 
Evangelists, with the_ inscription OPUS QUOD VIDETUS 
BONAMICUS FECIT. P. Eo. ORATE. The style is 
Byzantine, with the usual low-browed scowling Christ 
in a mandorla glory. The composition is better than 
the execution, and the whole effect is decorative. 
No. 32 indicates five separate Byzantine figures, David 
in the centre with harp and crown ; and No. ^, early 
1 Pisa, e le Sue Adiacenze, Grassi, Pisa 1851. 

233 



Story of Pisa 

inscriptions taken from the exterior of the Duomo, 
should be interesting to historians. No. XVI., a 
sarcophagus with a relief of the deceased upheld by 
genii, has been converted to Christian uses, as witness 
an inscription of the time of the Emperor Frederick 
III., with the date 1452 and the imperial eagles. No. 
62, the Madonna and Child by Giovanni Pisano, is 
one of the finest things in the Campo Santo. The 
Virgin, a life-size, half-length figure, is gazing at the 
child, who sits on her arm. Her veil falls from under 
the crown in simple, dignified folds, framing her face. 
The peculiarly vivid sense of gravity conveyed by 
Giovanni's work is present here, causing us to feel the 
weight of the Child on His mother's arm and the 
push-back of her body to balance it. Calmer and less 
passionate than most of his work it has more of the 
classical inspiration and less of the French-Gothic. 
It stood originally over the door of the church of S. 
Ranieri in a lunette-shaped space, which accounts for 
its general outline. Near it are several interesting 
fragments of sculpture, No. 72 for instance, a very 
quaint Romanesque capital on a serpentine column. No. 
XVII., a sarcophagus with centaurs, deserves attention. 
No. ^, a Madonna of the school of the Delia Robbia, 
brings us to the door of the Ammanati chapel. On 
the further side of it is a rather nice relief of the 
Madonna and Child, No. 77. Of the numerous 
interesting sarcophagi that follow, No. LX., with a 
mediaeval inscription, is worth noting; as are No. 
LXI., with a relief of Christ as the Good Shepherd; 
No. XVIII., with a rude Pisanoesque relief of the 
Nativity; No. XIX., with a bacchanalian relief and a 
mediaeval inscription. One of the most beautiful 
objects in the whole collection stands upon it, the 
exquisite bust of Isotta Malatesta, wife of Sigismondo 
Malatesta of Rimini, by Mino da Fiesole, a clear-cut, 
234 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

refined portrait of a lady, with the little cap and shaven 
brow of the fifteenth century, large prominent eyes with 
finely curved brows, high cheek-bones, and a shrewd 
humorous mouth. The lean neck and bosom are 
tactfully treated ; and the pattern of the brocaded 
gown is exquisitely indicated. Beyond it is No. 
C., a rude sarcophagus, and No. ^, a Pisanoesque 
half-length saint. Vasari writes with his usual in- 
accuracy of the sarcophagus No. XXI., " Among the 
many spoils of marble," he says, "brought by the 
armaments of Pisa to their city were several antique 
sarcophagi, now in the Campo Santo of that town : 
one of these, on which the Chase of Meleagar and the 
Calydonian boar was cut with great truth and beauty, 
surpassed all the others. . . . This sarcophagus, 
having been placed for its beauty by the Pisans in the 
facade of the cathedral opposite to S. Rocco, and 
beside the principal doors of that front, was used as 
a tomb for the mother of the Countess Matilda, if we 
may credit the following words inscribed on the 
marble. . . . Niccolo was attracted by the excel- 
lence of this work, in which he greatly delighted and 
which he studied diligently." In reality the Chase 
of Meleagar is not represented on this sarcophagus, but 
Phaedra and Hippolytus. The aforesaid subject is to 
be found on a sarcophagus, No. XXX., further down 
on this side, and Vasari, apparently writing from 
memory, has probably confused the two, although 
No. XXI. is as feeble as No. XXX. is fine. The 
former was the tomb of the Countess Beatrice, in that 
Vasari did not err, and it was placed, as he describes, 
on the south side of the Duomo. It bears the in- 
scription : 

Quamvis peccatrix sum Domna vocata Beatrix 

In tumulo miss a jaceo que Comitissa. A.D. MLXXVI. 

235 



Story of Pisa 

The choice of an antique sarcophagus as the resting- 
place of the mother of Countess Matilda is only one 
instance of a habit which dated back almost to the 
beginning of the Christian era, and was inaugurated by 
the Emperor Constantine, who caused his mother 
Helena and his daughter Constantia to be buried in 
fine antique sarcophagi of porphyry. It is amusing to 
read that Pisa was considered by the admirers of the 
Countess Beatrice to be unworthy of the honour of 
preserving her remains. Donizone, her contemporary 
biographer, called the city sordid and abominable, 
lamenting that she was not buried in Canossa, a pure 
place and worthier of so high an honour. After this 
we have more sarcophagi, No. XXI II., a striped one ; 
No. XXIV., with the story of Cupid and Psyche and a 
mediaeval inscription ; No. XXV. has amoretti ; No. 
XXVI., a wedding ; No. XXVIII., sea deities ; No. 
XXIX., dancing gods. The sarcophagi in this part of 
the Campo Santo are all more or less interesting, but 
too numerous to mention individually. Most of them 
have been adapted as mediaeval sepulchres, as can be 
seen by the Christian emblems, the mediaeval coats of 
arms, and the Gothic inscriptions which have been 
rudely carved upon them. No. g, and No. 92, small 
once-coloured reliefs, should not be missed, nor No. 96, 
a small relief of a man's profile. No. ^, is a small 
Pisanoesque Madonna on a column, No. \*, a Roman 
altar with a mediaeval inscription. Nos. 105, 106, and 
107 are interesting Roman reliefs. No. 1 16, an Etruscan 
urn, represents a contest with a monster. No. 125, a 
work of the Pisan school of the fourteenth century, is 
a life-size group of the Emperor Henry III. between 
two councillors, who stand on either side, a rather rude 
work. No. 1 20 is another Etruscan urn with the death 
of Priam ; and No. XXX. is the Roman sarcophagus 
with the hunt of Meleagar, referred to above. No, 

236 



Campo Santo : Frescoes ana Sculpture 

XXXI. is a sarcophagus on which stands what is his- 
torically one of the most interesting objects in the Campo 
Santo, a small marble relief of the old Port of Pisa with 
its towers and fortifications, probably one of the most 
authentic representations in existence. No. 133 is 




THE H1PPOGR1FF, CAMPO SANTO 

the ancient Pisan heraldic cross of 1157, and No. 
XXXI 1. is a Roman sarcophagus with a battle of 
barbarians carved on it in high relief and of a better 
style than most of the sarcophagi here. No. 127 is 
a statue of a bishop. 

At the East end is a huge Etruscan sarcophagus, 
No. XXXII I., with a representation of the Muses and 
reclining statues of a husband and wife, and near it is 
the famous bronze Hippogrif, or Griffin, which once 

237 



Story of Pisa 

stood on the pinnacle of the Duomo. The work of 
Arabian artists, it was part of the booty brought back 
from the Balearic Islands in 1114, and is covered with 
fine patterns and inscriptions in Cufic, which have 
been interpreted thus : 

" Perfect blessings and graces 
Perfect beatitude and perennial peace 
Perfect health, felicity and strength 
To him who possesses it." 

The sarcophagus of Filippo Dezio (d. 1535), by 
Stagio Stagi, is the only object in the Campo Santo 
mentioned by John Evelyn, who, when telling the 
story of the miraculous properties of its soil, continues : 
" 'Tis cloistered with marble arches, and here lies 
buried the learned Philip Decius, who taught in this 
University/' No. CC. is the tomb of Bishop Juliano 
Antonio ; No. XXXIV., a Roman tomb. An 
Etruscan altar, No. 128, with rams' heads at the corner 
is fine. No. EE follows : the tomb of Matteo Curtio ; 
and the modern statues of Leonardo Fibonacci (1863) 
and of Paolo Savi, the ornithologist (1887), with 
various other modern statues, one of Niccolo Pisano, by 
Salvini, among them. 

On the South side, near the corner, are two most 
interesting inscriptions of the times of the Colonia Julia 
Pisana, decreeing that the municipium should hold a 
solemn sacrifice to the dead every year in honour of 
Caius and Lucius Caesar, the nephews of Augustus. 
The first was found when the foundations of the 
Duomo were restored after the fire of 1596. The 
other was discovered about the same time in S. Maria 
della Spina, where it served as an altar, the inscription 
having been placed face downwards. Several other 
Roman inscriptions follow, and three Roman mile- 
stones. Opposite are several interesting sarcophagi ; 
No. L XX VI I., with garlands and genii and an inscrip- 
. 238 



Campo Santo : Frescoes and Sculpture 

tion of 1443 > No. LXXVIII., a mediaeval one ; and 
No. LXXXIX., striped. Returning to the other side, 
we find, near the tomb of Morrona, the historian of 
Pisa, Nos. 169 and 170, two cinerary urns. No. 
XXXVIII., a sarcophagus with garlands and genii, 
supports two Roman busts. Various fragments of 
Pisanoesque sculpture appear under the Nos. 165 and 
175 ; while Nos. 171 and 166 are more cinerary urns. 
On the cover of No. XXXIX., a fine sarcophagus 
with the Rape of Proserpine, stand busts of Julius 
Caesar and Vitellius. No. XL. is a graceful female 
head of Roman work ; No. XL I., part of a Roman 
mosaic pavement found near the Duomo. Opposite is 
No. LXXXI., a sarcophagus with rude figures of 
gods; No. XXXII. , with a mediaeval inscription; 
and No. LXXXIII., with a shield of the same period. 
A number of Etruscan cinerary urns, with reclining 
figures of the deceased, are at present temporarily 
placed together in the ambulatory, their ultimate 
destination being as yet unknown. No. 1 86 is a fine 
capital; No. XLII., a mediaeval sarcophagus with 
foliage, and an inscription stating that it was the burial- 
place of the nobles of Porcari. No. LLIII. is the 
sarcophagus which serves as the tomb of the Beato 
Giovanni Cini, as already stated ; beyond it is 
No. & a bust of Hadrian ; No. LXXXIV., opposite, 
is a striped sarcophagus with lions at the corners ; 
No. 6 is a bust of Julius Brutus ; No. 3, a sarcophagus 
with marine gods and genii, and a mediaeval inscrip- 
tion ; and No. II., a sarcophagus with a combat of 
Romans and barbarians. Opposite is A, a small 
pyramidal urn, in which the bones of Vanni and Jacopo 
d'Appiano were placed in 1557. Near it is No. 
XL VI 1 1., an early Christian sarcophagus with Christ 
as the Good Shepherd ; No. XLIX., another, with 
lions; No. 16 is a fourteenth century relief from the 

239 



Story of Pisa 

tombs of the Uppezinghi, representing their reconcilia- 
tion with the Donoratico by means of a marriage, 
attributed to Tommaso Pisano. No. J v.' is a fine sarco- 
phagus with naiads and marine gods ; No. V. a 
striped sarcophagus with lions eating horses, a 
mediaeval imitation of a Roman sarcophagus by 
Biduino, the twelfth century sculptor of the reliefs at 
S. Casciano, with an inscription that is one of the oldest 
in the Italian language. No. VI. is a sarcophagus with 
naiads ; No. LXXIII., another with the open door of 
a tomb; No. IX., a sarcophagus converted into a 
mediaeval tomb. Next to the door of entrance is an 
Etruscan sarcophagus with reclining figures of a man 
and his wife. 1 

1 The numbering of the sculpture in the Campo Santo can- 
not be commended. Three different kinds of indication 
are used, Roman and Arabic figures, and capital letters. 
Some objects have two numbers, some none at all. As 
we go to press a re-arrangement is going on, so that it 
is possible that the above numbers will no longer be 
accurate. 



240 



CHAPTER IX 

"The labour of an age in piled stones." On Shakespeare, 
Milton. 

" Portaron i Pisani con altra preda 
Da Majorca le colonne e porte." 
Dittamondo, Book II., chap. xxiv. p. 174. 
Fazio degli Uberti. 

"How beautiful do columns become when they support a 
roof! how superior to their effect as an idle decoration! 
What variety in these, still changing their combinations as 
you pace along the aisles ! how finely do their shafts of 
oriental granite harmonise with the grandeur of the pile, 
while their tone of colour deepens the sombre which prevails 
here in spite of a hundred windows." Italy, p. 9, J. Forsyth. 

Hoc fuit antiquum festum 

Sancti Sisti nobile 
Qui sunt semper Pisanorum 

De celo victorie. 

Medieval Carmen. 



Churches 



The Churches in Chinsica : S. Paolo a Ripa d' Arno, 
S. Agata, S. Maria della Spina, SS. Cosimo and 
Damiano, S. Cristina, S. Sepolcro, S. Martini in 
Chinsica, S. Andrea in Chinsica, S. Domenico and 
the Ricovero per Mendicita, and S. Maria delle 
Carmine. Churches north of the River : S. 
Silvestro, S. Marta, S. Matteo, La Madonna di 
S. Matteo, S. Pietro in Vincolis, S. Andrea Forts- 
portcE, S. Michele in Sorgo, S. Paolo al Orto, 
S. Francesco, S. Caterina, S. Anna, S. Torpe, 
SS. Ranieri and Leonardo, S. Eufrasia, S. Sisto, 
S. Stefano dei Cavalieri, S. Frediano, S. Salvadore 
Q 241 






Story of Pisa 

or the Madonna de Galletti, S. Niccolo, and 

s. 



/^\F the numerous Pisan churches some few only 
^ are architecturally beautiful, but many are his- 
torically interesting. After the Duomo, S. Paolo a 
Ripa d' ' Arno bears the palm for architecture, and may, 
therefore, fitly be considered first. The noble pile is a 
conspicuous object on the south bank of the river. 
Its beautiful fagade and little red-tiled dome gleam 
through the green tracery of the lime-trees that shade 
the Lung' Arno, and the large lawns that surround it 
on two sides isolate it into the position of importance 
to which it is fully entitled. After the Duomo, it is, 
in fact, the most important church in Pisa, and has a 
fagade which outdoes even that in the delicacy of its 
fancy and the beauty of its detail. Divided, as the 
Pisan- Romanesque fagades always were, into two parts 
by a rich projecting cornice, it has three tiers of 
arcades above with exquisite slender shafts, some of 
them fluted or twisted, and one of them encircled by a 
serpent. In Lucca, the churches were frequently 
ornamented with carven shafts, but this is the only 
instance in Pisa. The lower half has the usual five 
great panelled arches and three doors ; but with a 
delightful oddity the two arches on the right are 
ogival, with rich zigzag mouldings, while the other 
three are round and have delicate foliate mouldings. 
This seems to point to gradual and piecemeal building, 
but who can account for the capricious fancy of the 
mediaeval church-builders ? The central arch springs 
from two projecting lions, a possible indication that 
this part at least of the church was the work of the 
Comacine builders, the combination of arch and lion 
being one of their chief symbols. Panelling of the 
most exquisite proportions clothes the walls all round. 
242 




H3 



Churches 

In the upper story it has round half-columns, but 
square pilasters below, and the workmanship of the 
whole exterior is superior to that of almost any other 
church of the style. The first ten feet or so of the 
walls are built of massive blocks of stone, which give 
place higher up to blue and white marble in alternate 
stripes. Time has laid a mellowing hand on its crude 
surface, welding the blue and white together with rosy 
and russet stains. 

Quite as lovely is the interior, though instead of 
elaboration and fancy its dominant note is a stern 
simplicity. The restorer's hand, which has not 
spared the exterior, has dealt even greater destruction 
here, and the dim light filtered through the narrow 
lancet windows falls on naked stone walls and a bare 
timber roof. This matters the less that the propor- 
tions are very beautiful and the columns grandly 
massive. Well worth examining are their capitals, 
especially the second on the left with its archaic 
figures of S. Paul and the Redeemer. They are 
coeval with the church, an unusual circumstance in 
Pisa where so many were stolen from Roman 
temples. But however fine this effect of religious 
and dignified austerity, when we remember that these 
walls once glowed with the brilliant colours of frescoes 
by the hands of the great masters of the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries we cannot but lament the vandal- 
ism that has swept them away. Vasari admired 
them greatly, and has a great deal to say about them. 
According to him they represented stories from the 
Old Testament and from the life of S. Anastasia, and 
were the work of Cimabue, of Buffalmacco, Simone 
Martini, Lippo Memmi, and Bruno di Giovanni, 
and he asserts that the church became famous because 
of their beauty. The high altar was surmounted, he 
adds, by a picture which was the joint work of the 

245 






Story of Pisa 

two Sienese painters, while the altar of S. Ursula had 
a panel by Bruno of S. Ursula saving the City of Pisa 
from ajlood. Of all these works the last is the only 
survivor ; which after many vicissitudes has drifted 
into the Museo Civico. 1 The frescoes were probably 
injured by the inundations which time after time filled 
the church with water, and finally perished in the 
seventeenth century. The "restorers," who were 
then at work, saw no beauty in these childish bar- 
barisms, and whitewashed them with such destructive 
zeal that when, in 1850, efforts were made to recover 
them, practically nothing was saved. Two frag- 
mentary figures of S. John the Evangelist and S. 
Francis, on the pilaster to the left of the high altar, 
are all that remain to suggest the past glories, except 
a morsel of fifteenth-century fresco on the right wall. 
Some treasures the church still retains, among them 
one picture of interest, an altarpiece by Turino Vanni 
over the altar on the left, Madonna Enthroned ivith 
SS. Ranieri and Torpe. The workmanship is careful 
and detailed, and recalls the manner of Taddeo di 
Bartolo. It is inscribed Tur'mno f^annis de Rigule, 
Depenxit., A.D. MCCCLxxxxvn. 2 On the right of the 
entrance is the Roman sarcophagus which formed 
the tomb of Burgundio, the famous twelfth century 
jurist and commentator of the Pandects, with a very 
laudatory inscription which records his many acquire- 
ments and gives the date of his death as 1194. For 
many years it stood outside the church and has only 
lately been restored to its original position. 

More than a thousand years have passed over the 
head of the church of S. Paolo, if we may believe the 
persistent tradition which attributes its foundation to 

1 Sala iii. No 39. See p. 313 for description of it. 

2 Morrona discovered this picture in the suppressed church 
of S. Cassiano in Pisa in 1793, and had it brought here. 






Churches 

Charlemagne in 805. There is no contradictory 
evidence, while some indirectly supports the legend, 
so we may fairly allow ourselves to dream of paladins 
in connection with it. No stone remains to witness 
corporeally to so remote an antiquity, and the church 
we see belongs to the second half of the twelfth cen- 
tury and the beginning of the thirteenth. But the 
existence of an earlier church is well established. 
Not only have we the statement by a biographer of 
S. Giovanni Gualberto, who died in 1074, that the 
church of S. Paolo was presented to him by the 
Countess Beatrice for the use of his Vallombrosian 
monks, but there is also the positive evidence of a bull 
of Pope Paschal II., dated 1115, bestowing the 
church and the monastery on the same Order. As 
regards the Countess Beatrice, we have no means of 
judging whether the former story be true ; it seems, 
however, to indicate that in 1115 the Vallombrosian 
monks had for some time been in possession of S. 
Paolo. She is known to have borne a most special 
veneration to S. Giovanni Gualberto, and whether or no 
she was the giver of the church to his Order, we may 
in any case believe that she bestowed upon it some of 
the vast donations which, towards the end of the 
twelfth century, made it one of the richest of monastic 
houses. In 1483 the Vallombrosians left S. Paolo, and 
after an interval, during which it was in the hands of 
lay patrons, it passed into the possession of the Order 
of S. Stefano. Cosimo I. conferred the patronage on 
Ugolino Grifoni 1 in 1565, whose family held it until 
the eighteenth century. In 1615 one of them, a 
certain Cavaliere Giovanni, made what contemporary 
writers call "grandiose restorations." To our ideas 
he seems to have obliterated every trace of beauty and 

1 Grifoni was a Florentine, and is said to have been the 
author of the statutes of the Order of S. Stefano. 

H7 



Story of Pisa 

individuality the church possessed, and to have trans- 
formed it into a stuccoed horror. In that state it 
remained until, in 1850, it was restored with great 
difficulty to something approaching to its original 
condition. 

After the fire that so seriously injured the Duomo 
in 1595, the canons officiated for some years in S. 
Paolo, a fact that has earned for it the name of the 
Duomo Vecchio, or old cathedral, by which the people 
still call it. A legend has consequently arisen that it 
existed in its present form before the Duomo, of which 
it was said to be the model. But the Duomo was 
begun in 1063, and S. Paolo, as we have seen, not 
until the second half of the twelfth century. So the 
story falls to the ground. 

Hidden away behind S. Paolo, in a courtyard which 
formerly belonged to the monastery, lies S. Agata, a 
pretty little octagonal chapel in the Romanesque style. 
It has a pyramidal roof which recalls S. Sepolcro, 
and, like it, has a northern look. Each of the eight 
sides has a triple window, save the one pierced by the 
door. The whole effect is simple and symmetrical, 
and is enhanced by the mellow red brick of which it is 
built. Now part of a Benedictine convent whose rule 
discourages the admission of visitors, it is a little diffi- 
cult of access. A good view of it can, however, be 
obtained from the windows of the canonica of S. Paolo, 
by the courtesy of the prior of that church. Little is 
known of its history with any certainty. It probably 
dates from the twelfth or thirteenth century, and its 
position and general appearance suggest that it was the 
chapter house of the monks of S. Paolo. On the other 
hand, an inscription on the reliquary containing the skull 
of S. Agata, which is preserved in the church of S. 
Paolo, states that the chapel in the cloister of the abbey 
of S. Paolo was built to enshrine the holy relics of the 
248 



Churches 

Catanian martyr, S. Agata. It was restored in the 
eighteenth century by Michele Grifoni. 

Via S. Paolo and Via Fibonacci lead from hence to 
the Lung* Arno Gambacorti, near to S. Maria della 
Spina. This lovely token of mediaeval piety is a 
familiar object in Pisa, and dominates the southern 
Lung'Arno, whose lines it interrupts very pleasantly. 
It is a tiny black and white marble church, embroidered, 
one is inclined to say, with strange intricate arches, 
pinnacles, and tabernacles. Standing on the very edge 
of the river, a few yards east of the Ponte Solferino, 
it is dimly reflected in the rushing waters. Marred 
now by the neatness consequent on its recent recon- 
struction, it must always have suffered from over- 
elaboration. 

The credit of imagining the fantastic beauty of the 
wonderful little shrine is usually given to Giovanni 
Pisano, and it is said that the talent he then displayed 
obtained for him the privilege of designing the Campo 
Santo. This pretty story crumbles away in the sober 
light of fact. He may have contributed some statues, 
but, as we shall see, had no other connection with 
the church, originally built in 1230, at the joint 
expense probably of the Gualandi family and the 
Senate, in order that the Pisan mariners might place 
themselves under the protection of Our Lady before 
setting sail. How easy, as they dropped down the 
river with the swift flood, to moor their boat a moment 
to the Ponte Nuovo, while their bonnet was doffed for 
an Ave Maria. From this bridge the little church 
took its first name, S. Maria di Ponte Nuovo. Merely 
an open oratory consisting of the three arches 
that now form the choir, by 1323 it had become 
too small for the worshippers who thronged the narrow 
floor. The Senate then ordered its enlargement, and 
caused a river wall to be built in order to sustain the 

249 



Story of Pisa 

augmented edifice. 1 There is some reason to believe 
that Andrea Pisano was employed on this work, which 
may account for the idea that Giovanni was the first 
architect. After the destruction of the Ponte Nuovo 
in 1400, it became the repository of a small piece of 
the Crown of Thorns, and took the name of Our 
Lady, of the Thorn. Brought from over seas by a 
Pisan merchant, the thorns were preserved with loving 
care in a little urn. Before faring again to distant 
lands he entrusted the precious relic to the care of his 
family. He never was heard of more, and one of his 
descendants, a Longhi, presented it to the church. 

Centuries of peaceful existence passed, and S. Maria 
della Spina, mellowed by the sun and the sea breezes, 
assumed a perfection of colour and picturesqueness. 
Then, in 1 869, an evil fate befel it. One of the great 
floods came down, the imperfect river-walls were 
powerless to control it, and the poor little church 
suffered grievous harm. So much so, that it was found 
necessary to reconstruct it altogether. In 1871 it was 
taken to pieces stone by stone and re-erected on a 
higher and safer foundation, so that it should be beyond 
the power of the waters. Under this drastic treatment 
it unavoidably lost much of its charm, but one cannot 
help thinking that more might have survived, had it not 
been for the restorer's zeal in making all things new. 2 

A mixture of the round and pointed styles, S. Maria 
della Spina is, together with S. Caterina, the most 
important late Gothic church in Pisa. The east end 
has the three original pinnacled arches and three little 
pyramidal spires, the west end three more ornate arches 
and six most gorgeous tabernacles. Comparatively 

1 Provvisioni e consigli degli Anziani di Pisa dal 1304 al 
1336. Cav. 267. 

2 The original parts for which new ones were substituted 
are in the Museo Civico, and their number and condition 
bear out this remark. 

250 




251 



Churches 

simple on the river side, an almost inconceivable wealth 
of decoration has been lavished upon the land side in 
the shape of a pinnacled arcade with many statues and 
tabernacles. The eastern door has a richly-carved 
architrave and two wheel windows, and, indeed, orna- 
ment of every kind is spread profusely over the whole 
of its surface, the workmanship of which is most 
delicate. Mere words can give little idea of the rich- 
ness of the effect. The statues under the canopies are 
the originals, and, some of them at least, the work of 
Giovanni Pisano, or one of his pupils, and Vasari tells 
us that among them is a portrait of his father, Niccolo. 
One of the virgins of the pinnacles is by Nino or by 
Andrea Pisano. The interior is light and beautiful, 
architecturally much simpler, and contains some very 
interesting sculpture. The Madonna della Rosa, in a 
niche on the high altar, between statues of SS. John 
and Peter, is the work of Nino Pisano. Nino's work 
for polish and perfection was beyond that of all others 
of the school, but he grafted a mixture of realism 
and affectation on to the grandeur and dignity of the 
older masters. These contradictory qualities are to be 
seen in this exquisite statue. The Madonna, her face 
and gesture irradiated with mother love, holds out a 
rose, which the Child grasps at with infantine eager- 
ness. Though the proportions are far from flawless, 
the carving is admirable. Traces of colour and gild- 
ing seem to indicate that these statues were orginally 
painted and gilt. Some marble panels behind the 
altar have graceful representations of the Cardinal 
Virtues, the work of Leonardo of Pisa, an Operaio of 
the church in 1462. On the side walls are the 
Madonna and Angel of Annunciation, by Mosca of 
Settignano, and the shrine that formerly contained the 
Holy Thorns, long since removed to the chapel of 
the hospital of S. Chiara. But the Madonna del 

253 



Story of Pisa 

Latte, a half-figure of the Virgin suckling the Child, 
by Nino Pisano, is better than all ; it is inserted as the 
centre-piece into a sixteenth-century marble altar-piece, 
and the gilding of the hair and drapery is still quite 
fresh. Maternal feeling could not be more sweetly 
or more realistically represented. Both the joy and 
the pain of motherhood are written on her bent face, 
and the animal content of the Child is wonderfully 
rendered. The drapery and forms are Giotto's, but 
the spirit is more realistic and less religious than his. 

SS. Coslmo and Damiano, in the Via S. Antonio, 
is not far off. Founded in the ninth century, this 
little old church of the Pisan-Romanesque style, 
which has been much modernised, has no history of 
importance, but is worth visiting because of two early 
inscriptions of great interest on the door-posts, to the 
effect that the Operarii Giovanni and Vernaccio built it 
at their own expense. Under the inscription, on the 
right, are the following symbols three times repeated : 



k< 







v v 



These, together with similar ones to the left of the 
east door of the Baptistery on the facade of S. Frediano 
in Pistoja, on the Duomo of Barga, and on the church 
of Loppia, have long exercised the minds of anti- 
quaries. That the symbols of which they are com- 
posed occur frequently among the mediaeval masons' 
254 



Churches 

marks of nearly all countries there can be no doubt, 
and the inscriptions are supposed by some authorities 
to be the signatures of the workmen and Operat. The 
similarity of the symbols used in all known cases is 
against this theory, and it is further pointed out that in 
every inscription occur the letters M, H, and A, in 
the same relation to each other. It is suggested that 
they should read Malum h'mc averto ( I avert evil from 
this place), and that it was a deprecatory sentence or 
charm to protect the person who entered the building 
on which they appear. The invariable proximity of 
the inscription to the entrance supports this view. Its 
advocates interpret the triangles which separate the 
letters as marks of punctuation merely. 

Returning to the Lung'Arno, a very few minutes' 
walk brings us to S. Cristina, the ugly, modern- 
looking church, that forms an island in the roadway a 
few paces west of the Ponte di Mezzo. Those only 
who know its story are tempted to enter, and to them 
it is a holy place. They take no heed of the tedious 
1816 architecture, but push open the door with rever- 
ence. For there, in the dim interior, was enacted a 
strange spiritual drama which has but one parallel in 
all history. The flaming seraph of Mount la Verna 
left the impress of his Lord's Wounds in the hands 
and feet of Francis, and here gentle Catherine of Siena 
believed that she was sought by a yet more awful 
visitant, Six centuries ago, and more, this happened, 
and even then S. Cristina was an ancient church. 
Its foundation takes us back to the days when pious 
Charlemagne sat on his throne, tall and straight- 
haired, and commanded that throughout the world he 
ruled over, churches should be raised to God and to 
His Mother and that ruined shrines should be restored. 
Then his paladins rode forth on their high war- 
horses to obey his behests, jingling and clattering 

2 55 



Story of Pisa 



along in their golden harness and scarlet mantles. 
S. Bartholomew was the saint to whom they dedi- 
cated this church, which some say was among those 
they raised up from their ruins, while others assert that 
it was one of the new fanes. 

Two uneventful centuries passed and then, in 1028, 
there came a great year for the church, when the 
relics of S. Cristina were brought from Bolsena and 
deposited here with clanging of bells and songs of 
thanksgiving. The church was re-dedicated to the 
holy virgin-martyr whose earthly part lay within its 
walls and drew so many worshippers to it. Among 
them came S. Catherine of Siena in 1375. The fame 
of the seraphic maid having been spread through the 
city by Fra Bartolommeo and Fra Tommaso CarTarini, 
her disciples, the Pisans ardently desired her presence. 
Repeated invitatioqs were sent to her, certain nuns in 
particular constantly imploring her to come and win 
many souls to God. Even Pietro Gambacorti, then 
Captain of the People, wrote with his own hand be- 
seeching her to come. But to all she answered in the 
negative, pleading, in reply to Pietro's letter, her ill- 
health and the risk that her presence might cause a 
scandal, owing to the strained relations between Gamba- 
corti and the Sienese, because of the refusal of Pisa to 
support Siena against the rebellious Salimbeni. Her 
well-known modesty and shrinking from publicity must 
also be taken into account as important factors in her 
decision. This was towards the end of 1374, but 
before the new year was many weeks old she changed 
her mind, believing herself to have received a divine 
command to go to Pisa. To Pisa she went, accom- 
panied as usual by some of her faithful disciples. 
Among the band were Monna Lapa, her simple, loving 
old mother, who refused to be left behind ; Alessia 
Saracini, a noble widow, " first in perfection, and 
25 6 



Churches 

Catherine's most faithful imitator " ; Lisa, " my sister- 
in-law according to the flesh, but my sister in Christ" ; 
and Cecca, or Francesca Gori, who, together with her 
three sons, wore the black and white habit of S 
Dominic. Besides these constant companions of her 
own sex, Fra Raimondo delle Vigne of Capua, who 
came of the same race as the unfortunate Chancellor 
of Frederick II., and was now her confessor and 
director, was of the party, together with Fra Barto- 
lommeo di Domenico, and Fra Tommaso della Fonte, 
an old priest, who was her kinsman and first confessor. 

The notoriety feared by Catherine was not to be 
avoided. As the little band of Sienese religious ap- 
proached Pisa they found that the whole town had 
come out to greet them, headed by Pietro Gambacorti 
with his young daughter Tora. Archbishop Moricotto 
da Vico was there, and all the leading ecclesiastics and 
statesmen, besides large numbers of the Mantellate, or 
Sisters of Penance, who belonged to the Third Order 
of S. Dominic, which numbered Catherine herself in 
its ranks. The reception was a royal cine ; the entry 
into the city a triumph. 

Catherine was entertained in the house of Gherardo 
Buonconti, near the Church of S. Cristina. 1 Here she 
stayed some six months, working unceasingly to keep 
Pisa faithful to the Holy See. Concerning this matter 
she writes to the Pope soon after her arrival : " I beg 
of you to send the inhabitants of Lucca and Pisa what- 
ever paternal words God may inspire you to utter. 
Help them as much as you can and encourage them 
to stand firm and faithful." 2 With equal ardour she 

1 Juxta Cappellam S. Christinz. Baronio di Str Data. 

2 A recent writer throws doubt on this statement, and 
thinks that Catherine's letter and work for the Holy See 
belong to a later period. S. Catherine of Siena. Edmund G. 
Gardner. London: Dent, 1907. 

R 257 



Story of Pisa 

worked for the crusade that she so passionately desired, 
but which never took place. She appealed alike to 
the great and to the humble, and many were the letters 
she sent forth into the world dated from the house of 
the Buonconti. One of the first was addressed to 
Giovanna, Queen of Naples, whose wild and irregular 
character called forth all Catherine's pity. To her 
she wrote : " Rise up then manfully, sweetest sister. 
It is no longer time to sleep, for time sleeps not, but 
ever passes like the wind. For love's sake lift up the 
Standard of the most Holy Cross in your heart." She 
wrote to the Genoese, to Mariano d'Oristano, Judge 
of Arborea, to Bartolommeo di Smeduccio, tyrant of 
S. Severino in the Marches. Elizabeth of Poland, 
Queen-mother of Hungary, was implored to use all 
her influence in persuading her son King Louis to 
take the cross. Enthusiastic promises of support 
poured in from every side, and vast numbers of 
Pisans were persuaded to join the crusade. But more 
remarkable still was the fact that she succeeded in 
extorting a promise from hard-headed Sir John 
Hawkwood to transport his marauding bands to the 
Holy Land, to fight for God instead of for the devil. 
At this time his fierce Company was terrorising 
Tuscany. He levied enormous sums in blackmail, 
first from Florence, then from Pisa and Siena, 
threatening in case of non-payment to sack the 
cities. This was more than Catherine could bear 
and she sent Fra Raimondo, armed with a letter from 
her to the great condottiere, into Sir John's camp. 
" I pray you sweetly in Christ Jesus," ran the letter, 
" that since God and our Holy Father have ordered 
the expedition against the infidels, and you delight so 
much in making war and fighting, you war no more 
upon Christians, because it offends God, but go 
against those others. How cruel it is that we who 
258 



Churches 

are Christians, members bound in the body of Holy 
Church, should persecute one another. I am amazed 
that, after having promised (as I have heard) to go 
and die for Christ in this holy enterprise, you should 
now be making war here. This is not the holy dis- 
position God demands from you." Either these 
words, or the persuasions of Fra Raimondo, so moved 
Hawkwood and his captains that, before Catherine's 
confessor left the camp, they all took a solemn oath 
to join the crusade whenever it should start. Her 
time was, however, not so completely taken up with 
these great matters that she did not find constant 
opportunities for refuting unbelievers, exhorting sinners, 
and strengthening the faith of the weak. " I heard 
her speak to certain sinners, and her words," says the 
blessed Giovanni Dominici, " were so profound, so 
fiery and potent, that they straightway transformed 
these vessels of contumely into pure vessels of crystal, 
as we sing in the hymn of S. Mary Magdalene that 
our Lord Jesus did to her." She won the hearts of 
two young girls, Gambacorti's daughter Tora and 
Catherine Munguto, gathered them into the Dominican 
fold, and supported their trembling faith with the 
strength of her enthusiasm. Many, indeed, were the 
occupations of this passionate but fragile woman. 
Although barely twenty-nine, her health was already 
broken by the ardour of her prayers and the rigour of 
her discipline. Never, however, were her business or 
her health allowed to interfere with her devotions. 
Sometimes she prayed in the church of S. Caterina, 
but more often in S. Cristina. 

One Sunday, the fourth in Lent, she there received 
the Communion with her friends at the hands of Fra 
Raimondo. Her soul seemed afterwards as if it would 
leave her body in its ardent sighing after its Creator. 
We waited," says Raimondo, "until she recovered. 

259 



Story of Pisa 

. . . hoping to receive some spiritual consolation from 
her : when suddenly we beheld her, who till then had 
been lying prostrate on the ground, rise a little, and then 
kneel and extend her hands and arms. Her counten- 
ance was all on fire, and thus she remained for a long 
time, perfectly motionless. Then, as though she had 
received a deadly wound, we saw her fall suddenly, 
and a few minutes later she came to herself. She 
immediately sent for me, and said in a low tone : ' Father, 
I have to make known to you that by the mercy of our 
Lord Jesus Christ I now bear His Sacred Stigmas in 
my body.' I replied that I had guessed as much from 
what I had observed during her ecstasy, and asked her 
in what manner it had come to pass. She replied, 
saying : ' I saw the crucified Lord coming down to me 
in a great light, and for this, by the impetus of the mind 
that would fain go forth to meet its Creator, the body 
was constrained to rise. Then from the marks of the 
most Sacred Wounds I saw five blood-red rays coming 
down upon me, which were directed towards the hands 
and feet and heart of my body. Wherefore, perceiving 
the mystery, I straightway exclaimed : "Ah, Lord my 
God, I beseech Thee, let not the marks appear out- 
wardly on my body." Then, whilst I was yet speaking, 
before the rays reached me, they changed their blood- 
red colour to splendour, and in the semblance of pure 
light they came to the five places of my body, that is, 
to the hands, the feet, and the heart. So great is the 
pain that I endure sensibly in all those five places, but 
especially in this my heart, that, unless the Lord works 
a new miracle, it seems not possible to me that the life 
of my body can stay with such agony, and that it will 
not end in a few days.' ' 

She lay for a week in terrible pain, and apparently 
at the point of death, but on the following Sunday it 
seemed to her that the new miracle she had spoken of 
260 



Churches 

was performed. After once more receiving the Blessed 
Sacrament at the hands of Fra Raimondo, her strength 
suddenly came back. " I asked her,'* says the faithful 
confessor, who tells the tale, " saying : ' Mother, does 
the pain still last of the wounds that were made in thy 
body ? ' And she answered : * The Lord has heard 
your prayers, albeit to the affliction of my soul, and 
these wounds not only do not afflict my body, but even 
fortify it ; so that instead of receiving torment from 
them, albeit I feel them still, they bring me strength. 
... I see that our Lord at your entreaty has given 
me a longer time of affliction in this life, which I am 
glad of for the love I bear you.' " l Though invisible 
during her life, several witnesses testify that after her 
death the stigmas were distinctly visible. 2 

During Catherine's stay in Pisa it happened that the 
Giuoco del Ponte was played, and caused her some 
alarm. ** One day in the church of S. Caterine she 
held loving communion with her and our crucified Lord ; 
when on a sudden she was startled by the noise of 
trumpets and drums. But the Saviour bade her not 
fear, telling her that the sounds which she heard pro- 
ceeded from no other cause than a game which was 
commonly played among the Pisans. And she, being 
moved thereto by lively charity, effectually besought 
Him that never for all time to come might any evil 
happen, by reason of that game, to him that played 

1 fit a del la Serafica Sposa di Gesu Cristo, 8. Catcrina dl Siena, 
translated from the Latin of Fra Raimondo by Bernardino 
Pecci. The English translation is chiefly taken from S. 
Catherine of Siena, by Edmund Gardner. London : Dent, 1907. 

2 An inscription on a fragment of one of the columns of 
the older church runs : "Here the Lord signed his servant 
Caterina with the sign of our redemption." Another inscrip- 
tion on the altar, close by, has the correct date 1375, but 
erroneously states that the miracle took place when she was on 
her way to Avignon, whither she only went the following year. 

261 



Story of Pisa 

therein. Which thing was granted to her by the divine 
mercy." So says the legend. The influence of her 
prayers did not grow cold for centuries. The first and 
only fatal accident caused by the game did not happen 
until 1765. 

A few hundred yards beyond the Ponte di Mezzo 
can be seen S. Sepolcro. Its tall tower, octagonal 
body and pyramidal roof, were built close to the river 
to remind the passing wayfarer of the sepulchre of his 
Lord. It ought to be one of the most interesting 
churches in Pisa, and still appears so in the distance. 
A nearer view discloses the fact that long neglect and 
a recent ruthless restoration have destroyed all its 
charm, and, indeed, everything but its mere form. The 
level of the church is considerably below that of the 
modern street, and it consequently stands in a melan- 
choly sort of basement or area. Nothing really can be 
said about the architectural details, so modernised are 
they, except that the signature of Diotisalvi, the archi- 
tect, has survived. Cut in the base of the campanile, 
it runs thus : Hujus Operis Fabricator Ds. te safoet 
Nominatur. It was originally the chapel of a hospice 
of the Knights Templars, founded by the Pisan 
crusaders about 1140 or 1150, therefore before Dioti- 
salvi built the Baptistery. As the Order of the Knights 
Templars only dates from the beginning of the twelfth 
century, S. Sepolcro must have been one of the earliest 
of its seven Italian hospices. On the suppression of 
the Order, in 1312, under Clement V., its possessions 
were divided between the Teutonic Knights and the 
the Knights of Malta. S. Sepolcro fell to the share 
of the latter, and remained its property until that Order 
also was suppressed in 1808. 

The old-world Via S. Martino is close at hand. 
At the end of it S. Martino in Chinsica will be seen 
standing isolated in a little piazza. It is a vast red- 
262 



Churches 

brick Gothic church, of the usual Franciscan type. 
On the way to it the many noteworthy houses and 
towers in Via S. Martino should not be missed. 
No. 3 2 has a rude sculptured figure on the front, to 
which the name of Madonna del Chinsica has been 
given by the Pisans, in allusion to the legend that 
a lady of the Sismondi family, Donna Chinsica, saved 
the quarter from an attack of barbarous enemies by her 
cries. The legend, however, cannot be traced further 
back than the fifteenth century, and the statue is 
probably a fragment of a late- Roman sarcophagus. 

Built on the site of an older foundation, S. Martino 
in Chinsica was erected by Count Bonifazio Novello 
della Gherardesco, in 1332, for Franciscan nuns. The 
seventeenth century saw its pointed Gothic windows 
replaced by incongruous square ones, and its fa$ade 
defaced by rococo additions. The lovely relief over 
the west door is attributed rather uncertainly to Nino 
Pisano. A masterpiece of sentiment, the arrangement 
of the figures to suit the curved space is extremely 
dexterous. The half-naked beggar shows a careful 
study of the nude. There are some fourteenth-century 
frescoes in the interior. Two are in the chapel of the 
Sacrament, the first on the right, Zachariah recovering 
his Speech and The Annunciation ; they are very 
architectural and rather Spinellesque in colour, and 
suggest the work of some remote follower of Giotto. 
The chapel has a much-restored painted ceiling of the 
same period, and some old pictures on the wall. Two 
fragments of a polyptych, each containing two figures 
on panel with gold backgrounds, are by Taddeo di 
Bartolo. The first represents SS. Christopher and 
Augustine, the second SS. Andrew and Bartholemew. 
A very large and elaborate Byzantine crucifix, with 
small scenes surrounding the figure of Christ, is a 
good specimen of its kind ; another, made up in 

263 



Story of Pisa 

modern times, incorporates five pleasant little pictures 
belonging to an ancient armadio. A lunette of Christ 
and the Madonna is rather Cimabuesque in type. Over 
the choir gallery, at the west end of the church, are 
several fourteenth-century frescoes from the Life of 
the Virgin : the Birth of the Virgin, the Annuncia- 
tion, Visitation, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, and 
the Presentation in the Temple. An altar to the left 
of the side door has an ancient crucifix imbedded in a 
garish mass of modern gilding. 

The entrance to the old Fortezza, or fortress, is at 
the end of the street, and not far off will be found 
S. Andrea in Chinsica, a very humble and dilapidated 
little church in Via della Fortezza. It stands close 
under the city wall that formed the river boundary of 
the great Florentine fortress of 1515. Associated as 
it is with the most glorious period of Pisan history, 
the church deserves better treatment, and one longs to 
see the shattered windows mended and the mud wiped 
from its defiled walls. 

Tronci's quaint account of the* return of the Pisans 
from the Balearic Islands, and the foundation of 
S. Andrea, is that "the Pisans collected the corpses 
of their dead soldiers, among whom were many 
captains and gentlemen, and covering them with salt 
and divers other preservatives to prevent corruption 
they placed them on board a ship, with the intention of 
carrying them to Pisa for burial. Seeing, however, 
that this would greatly diminish the joy of the troops, 
they changed their minds and took them to Marseilles, 
where they buried them with great pomp and ceremony 
in the abbey of S. Vittore, bestowing large sums of 
money on the said monks for the benefit of their souls, 
and placing verses over their sepulchre. Having per- 
formed this pious action, they left the affairs of the 
conquered island in good order and set sail for their 

264 



Churches 

much-desired mother country, into which they entered 
with inconceivable triumph. . . . l Not content with 
giving honourable burial at Marseilles to those who 
had fallen in the war in Majorca, the Pisans deter- 
mined to build a church with a monastery attached in 
Pisa, for the monks of S. Vittore of the said city of 
Marseilles, where they might say masses aud prayers 
for the souls of the dead soldiers. The church was 
built in the Chinsica quarter, where the fortress now 
is, and was dedicated to the glorious apostle S. Andrea ; 
the monks were brought hither and sufficient money 
was given to them for their maintenance, and all this 
was done with the universal approval and content of 
the city." 2 This was in 1117, and the monks of 
S. Vittore remained there until 1405, when Giuliano, 
Archbishop of Tarsus, gave the church and the 
monastery to the Servants of the Blessed Virgin, who 
occupied them until driven out by the building of the 
Florentine fortress in 151 5. The church, which 
stood in the way of the projected walls, was then 
reduced to its present modest proportions, and such 
remains of the monastery as had not already perished 
at the fall of the city were demolished. Ermingarda 
Buzzaccherini, the mother of S. Ranieri, was buried 
here, and some of the stories say that when the saint 
returned from the Holy Land he came straight to S. 
Andrea to pray at her grave, and that he abode there for 
a year. Others have it that he only stayed long enough 
to preach to the people, and then went on to S. Vito, 
where he died. 

Via Brixio leads from the Porta Fiorentina to the 
Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele. Just out of it, in Via 
Vittorio Emmanuele, is S. Domentco. A church without 
architectural pretensions in its present modernised form, 
it keeps alive the memory of the blessed Chiara of 

1 Annali Pisani, i. 88. Tronci. 2 Of. cit., i. 90. 

2 6 5 



Story of Pisa 

Pisa, daughter of Pietro Gambacorti, the great captain 
and protector of the city. This holy woman, the 
destined reformer of the Dominican Order, was born 
in 1362. Her name was Tora. After the fashion 
of those days, she was betrothed while still a child 
to Simone di Massa, but when she was in her seventh 
year he went off to the wars and was slain on some 
nameless battlefield. Always a pious child, she then 
resolved to dedicate herself to God. The influence 
of S. Catherine of Siena, who came to Pisa when 
Tora was thirteen, had much to do with her decision. 
She was present with her father at the public reception 
of the saint, and no doubt instantly, like so many others, 
fell under her almost hypnotic influence. At any rate, 
a great intimacy sprang up between them, and con- 
tinued even after the departure of S. Catherine. 
Evidently afraid that the young girl would succumb 
to the opposition of her family, the saint encouraged 
her by letter to stand fast in her holy purpose. She 
counselled her " to enter the bark of holy obedience ; 
it is the safest way and makes a soul advance, not in 
her own strength only, but aided by that of the Order." l 
Again, she sets before her the nothingness of the world 
and the infinite treasures we possess in God : "If our 
heart be stripped of the world it will be full of God, 
but if it is empty of God it will be full of the world. 
We cannot serve two masters." 2 What wonder if 
such words from such a teacher conformed Tora in 
her resolution. When she was just fifteen, resisting 
the entreaties and even the violence of her father and 
brothers, she fled to the Franciscan convent of S. 
Martino, taking the name of Sister Chiara. But 
before she could make her profession her father, not 
unnaturally, dragged her home, where he kept her a 
prisoner for five months. Alphonsus di Vadaterra, 

1 Letter 322. 2 Letter 323. 

266 






Churches 

Bishop of Jaen, her former confessor, who was her 
father's companion on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 
then interceded with him, and Pietro Gambacorti not 
only consented to her taking the veil, but endowed 
this Dominican church and convent for her. Mean- 
time she had become a sister of the Order at Fossa- 
banda, but, with the consent of Urban IV., she 
migrated with four of her sister-nuns to the new 
foundation. From 1382 to 1420 she remained at its 
head, establishing such strict observance of the rule 
that her house became the cradle of a reform of the 
whole Order. After thirty-eight years she died, and 
the Pisans have never forgotten her. When her 
father was betrayed by the ungrateful Jacopo d'Appiano 
and lured to his death, together with his sons Bene- 
detto and Lorenzo, the latter managed to break away 
from the murderers. Though wounded in the thigh 
he corftrived to drag himself to the convent and take 
refuge with his sister. This was the moment, say her 
chroniclers, when the greatness of her faith and the 
sweetness of her nature were put to their severest test. 
She had but little space in which to comfort and fortify 
her brother before the murderers broke in and dragged 
him away to a secret death. Other writers say that 
out of mistaken respect to the sanctity of the cloister 
she refused him admission, and left him at the mercy 
of the murderers. 

The finest work of art associated with the church 
is the banner painted for it by Fra Angelico, with a 
figure of the Redeemer. Lost sight of for a long 
time, it was found in a corner of the monastic buildings 
in the last century much injured by damp, after which 
it was transferred to the Museo Civico. But there is 
still one remarkable picture in the church, a Crucifixion, 
over the altar on the left, which was perhaps laid in by 
Benozzo Gozzoli, but evidently finished by some painter 

26- 



Story of Pisa 

who was strongly influenced by Domenico Ghirlandaio. 
The forty martyrs appear (martyred in early Christian 
days by being forced to stand up to the neck in icy 
water), filling the composition with a mass of heads and 
figures, while below is a very fine portrait of the donor 
by a different and greatly superior hand. 

The skeleton of the blessed Chiara Gambacorti, 
dressed in the robes of her Order, is exhibited in a 
kind of opera box near the high altar, a somewhat 
gratuitously painful spectacle. 

The greater part of the monastic buildings have 
been converted into the Ricovero per Mendicita, or 
workhouse, and there, in the former refectory of the 
nuns, will be found two frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli, 
both belonging to his latest period. A Crucifixion 
occupies the whole width of the wall, which, although 
superficial in feeling and very mannered in technique, 
forms a pleasant wall decoration. On the left are 
the Madonna, SS. Mary Magdalene, Peter Martyr, 
Dominic, Catherine and two mantellate, while on the 
right are SS. John the Evangelist, Thomas Aquinas, 
Vincent, Martha and two more mantellate. In the 
background is a city, possibly meant for Pisa, in the 
midst of a woolley landscape. In the sky appear the 
sun and the moon and some very busy-body angels. 
The whole picture is the work of a tired, feeble man, 

To the right of it is a very much injured figure of 
Silence, a Dominican monk with his finger on his lip 
and a scourge in his hand. Two angels hold up a 
curtain in the background. 

Further along Via Vittorio Emmanuele is S. Maria 
delle Carmine, standing shyly back from Via Vittorio 
Emmanuele in its own little piazza. Having been 
recently restored, it presents an appearance of mono- 
tonous neatness that is far from interesting. The 
interior is in the like case, but possesses a Madonna 
268 



Churches 

Enthroned^ attributed to Sogliani. The only part of 
all the building that gives any pleasure to the eye is a 
pretty early Renaissance cloister, with an upper ambu- 
latory on one side. Even that is neglected and forlorn- 
looking, but is a very picturesque combination of orange 
trees and architecture. An inscription in the church 
records the migration thither of the Carmelite fathers 
of Caifagio, or Barbaricina, in 1328. 

Crossing the river by the Ponte della Fortezza a 
few steps bring us to S. Sifoestro in the Piazza S. 
Silvestro, near the Porta alle Piagge, whose long range 
of monastic buildings, with a mediaeval campanile, is now 
used by the Government as a reformatory school. In 
the refectory is a large and attractive fourteenth- 
century fresco of the Crucifixion. Benedictine nuns 
from Monte Cassino were in possession of the church 
and the convent in 1 1 1 8, since when they have passed 
from one Order of nuns to another. 

The Via S. Marta leads straight to S. Marta, a quite 
uninteresting church as we now see it, but which con- 
tains an ancient Crucifix of the Pisan school in a 
little chapel to the right of the entrance. It was 
founded in 1342, when the nuns of various Orders were 
concentrated there. Retracing our steps to the Lung' 
Arno Mediceo, S. Matteo will be seen on the right, 
turning its flank to the river just beyond the Palazzo 
Vecchio, and thus disclosing a beautiful fragment of 
black and white Pisan- Romanesque work incorporated 
in a mass of Renaissance rubbish. This, one of the 
most beautiful buildings on the Lung' Arno, is best 
seen from the opposite side of the river. The interior 
belongs wholly to the Medicean reconstruction, and is 
ugly and featureless, save for the elaborately-painted 
ceiling by the brothers Melani, who flourished in the 
first half of the eighteenth century. It is impossible to 
imagine anything more gorgeously tasteless. The 

269 



Story of Pisa 

extraordinary medley of figures and architecture is 
intended to represent the celestial glories of S. 
Matteo, and is a very tour- de-force of deceptive 
perspective. A triptych by Pierin del Vaga, 
brought here from the convent connected with the 
church, hung until a year and a half ago on the left 
wall. It was then mysteriously stolen, was taken to 
Germany, and has only recently been recovered by the 
authorities of the Museo Civico, who are at present 
unable to exhibit it owing to a dispute concerning the 
ownership. The convent, now used as a prison, is 
unfortunately quite inaccessible, as it has a fine Gothic 
cloister with pointed arches, and is also said to possess 
frescoes. Under the date of June 1027, a document, 
formerly in the archives of the convent, relates the 
foundation of the church. It runs thus : " Donna 
Teuta, the wife of Idelberto, called Albitone, and 
daughter of Omici, commanded that a convent for 
women should be erected under the Benedictine rule, 
with the consent of her said consort, on his own land 
outside the city near the Arno." The next year 
another tells us that Albitone, her husband, "for the 
souls of the Emperors Henry II. and Conrad II., and 
for the salvation of that of Teuta, his wife, offers to 
God, to S. Benedict Abbot, to S. Matteo, etc., the 
church of S. Matteo," and further endows the new 
foundation with two dairies, farms and other lands. 
Ermingarda was appointed the first abbess, but the 
choice of all succeeding mothers was left to the nuns. 
Ermingarda's successors never allowed the Pope of their 
day to forget the claims of the house, as is proved by 
the numerous papal decrees in their archives confer- 
ing privileges upon the nuns. There is one of Paschal 
II., 1 1 16; of English Adrian IV., 1 1 56; of Innocent 
III., 1198; Honorius III., i 218 ; and Gregory IX., 
1516; which latter conferred on the convent the 
270 



Churches 

church of Villarada in the Val di Calci. Cosimo I. 
rebuilt the whole church in 1610, showing scant mercy 
on the old structure, which must have been very 
beautiful, sparing nothing but part of the river front, a 
characteristic piece of early twelth-century work. A 
little church called La Madonna di S. Matteo stands 
quite close to S. Matteo on the Lung' Arno, which, 
though desecrated and used as a warehouse, shows 
traces internally of its original purpose. 

About five minutes' walk along the Lung' Arno 
stands S. Pietro in Vincolis^ commonly called S. 
Pierino, which lifts its brown gable at the junction of 
Via Palestro and Via Cavour. Characteristically Pisan, 
the facade is particularly interesting, as showing the 
modifications of the style when applied to smaller 
churches. The lower part is of the usual type, but all 
frippery of multiplied arcades falls away above and is 
replaced by one row of simple panelled arches. The 
old church makes a pretty picture when approached 
from the north, grouped with the graceful column of 
the Piazza Cairoli and the campanile and pyramidal 
roof of S. Sepolcro on the opposite side of the river. 
Each of its three doors is surmounted by a double 
window, the central one with a good piece of classical 
sculpture for its architrave. These old Pisan churches 
remind us that they are the lineal descendants of 
Roman temples by thus incorporating fragments of 
them. In this case we probably see one of the last 
remains of the temple of Apollo, which seems to have 
stood on this spot. The neighbouring houses have 
crept boldly up and entirely hidden the east and south 
sides of the church, but on the north it displays the 
usual flat arcades. Its campanile is a very workman- 
like tower, whose dinted walls must have seen many a 
fight before they served to house the bells of holy 
church, Immediately inside the door a steep flight of 



Story of Pisa 

steps leads up into the church, an unusual arrangement 
possibly necessitated by successive changes in the bed 
of the Arno, and consequently of the level of the 
city, or perhaps by the need of lighting the crypt 
beneath. Anyhow, it gives a touch of the unexpected 
and the charming to the interior, which is borne out by 
a more complete view. While in no way different in its 
component parts from a dozen other churches, it has a 
mysteriously lovable quality that is hard to define. So 
clearly is this felt that it seems to affect even the 
resident beggar. Instead of sleeping and muttering 
prayers, as is the usual custom of such gentry, this old 
man enjoys life. He is always alert and smiling, and 
sits admiring, now the floor, now the columns of the 
warm interior, giving frequent vent to his pleasure with 
exclamations such as Madonna mia, what a church ! 
Stupendous ! Magnificent ! and so on. At any hour of 
any day he may be found in this happy mood, and is 
so vivid a creature that he tinges one's recollections of 
the place. He does right to admire the floor, which 
has some very mellow Opus Alexandrinum of the 
twelfth or thirteenth centuries. The antique columns 
and capitals are well worth looking at, but capriciously 
wedded, a tiny capital perhaps crowning a huge shaft. 
Evidently, to the old builders a column was a column 
and a capital a capital. If the apse ever existed it has 
been squeezed out of life by the encroaching houses. 
A grim crucifix of the pre-Giunta school scowls down 
from the wall on the right, well preserved, and a good 
specimen of its dreary kind. The crypt, which dates 
from the eleventh century, if not earlier, is not ac- 
cessible. Its low massive arches were once covered 
with frescoes representing figures of saints mingled 
with Arabesques. This gloomy vault, faintly lighted 
by lancet windows, was long used as a charnel house. 
Until recently a place of burial, it has a fine Roman 
272 



Churches 

sarcophagus of the time of Diocletian built into one of 
the walls. 

We have only fragmentary knowledge of the history 
of S. Pierino. The temple of Apollo, that ancient 
house of idols, as Tronci calls it, gave place to a Chris- 
tian church in 107 2, founded by Bishop Guido Pavese, 
together with a house for Canons Regular. 1 The 
church, no doubt a rude structure, was enlarged and 
practically rebuilt forty-six years later in the form it 
still retains. Even then it was a country church, and 
was not included in the city until fairly late in the 
twelfth century. It was near to S. Pierino, as we 
have seen, that young Ranieri went roystering by one 
day with his wild companions. As he passed, a word 
from one of his kinswomen changed his whole outlook 
on the world, and the next time he appeared there it 
was as Ranieri the penitent, as represented in one of 
Andrea da Firenze's frescoes in the Campo Santo, in 
which appears S. Pierino, or a church extremely like it. 

Having turned to the east, along Via Palestro, we 
shortly reach S. Andrea Forisporta in the Piazza 
S. Andrea, a plain little church of the Pisan- Roman- 
esque style, with a fa9ade of the twelfth or thirteenth 
century. A brick tower behind it, which serves for its 
campanile, is of much earlier date, in part at least, and 
was, no doubt, originally a fighting tower. Except for 
some good granite columns and ancient capitals, the in- 
terior is uninteresting. Built about the year noo on 
the ruins of a temple of Venus, S. Andrea is one of 
the directest links we have with Roman Pisa, and it 
is interesting as one of the churches whose names help 
to reconstruct the course of the ancient city walls. 2 

1 According to a document in the archives of the Olivetan 
monks of S. Agnano, quoted by Tronci in his MS. 
Memoirs. 

" See Chap. vi. p. 118. 

s 273 



Story of Pisa 

Memories of the unfortunate poet-statesman Pier della 
Vigna linger here, where his self-slain body was buried. 
A poor lad, born in Capua of humble parents towards 
the end of the twelfth century, he was driven by love 
of learning to trudge on foot to the University of 
Bologna. His studies there were so successful, his 
disputations so brilliant, that he attracted the attention 
of the Emperor Frederick II., who made him secretary, 
protonotary and chancellor, and held him in the highest 
honour. All the Emperor's most important and secret 
business was entrusted to him, and there does not appear 
to be the slightest reason to suppose he was unfaithful 
to the charge. His whole nature seems to have been 
generous and noble. Tn his high estate he remembered 
the humble mother who had given him birth, and his 
simple sisters. Trouble came to him nevertheless. 
After the Council of Lyons, in 1245, a cloud of 
universal suspicion darkened the mind of Stupor Mundi, 
and he accused Pier falsely of treachery. Arrested at 
S. Miniato de' Tedeschi, he was brought bound on a 
mule to the church of S. Paolo a Ripa d' Arno, or, as 
some have it, to S. Andrea. So outraged and in- 
dignant was he at the injustice dealt to him, that rather 
than live humiliated he dashed out his brains against 
his prison walls. 

This action was approved by Dante. Wandering 
in the horrid wood of the second circle of the Inferno 
he "plucked a branchlet from a great thorn ; " and the 
trunk of it cried : " Why dost thou rend me ? ... 
Why dost thou tear me ? Hast thou no breath of 
pity ? " It was poor Pier della Vigna who spoke in 
this sad guise. " 6 wounded Spirit," says the Mantuan, 
"tell him who thou wast, that to make thee some 
amends he may refresh thy fame in the world above." 
" I am he," says the trunk, " who kept both keys 
of Frederick's heart, and turned them, locking and 
274 



Churches 

unlocking so softly, that from his secrets I excluded 
almost every other man. So great fidelity I bore to 
the glorious office, that I lost thereby both sleep and 
life. The Harlot " (envy he meant) "... inflamed 
all minds against me ; and these so inflamed Augustus 
that my joyous honours were changed to dismal sorrows. 
My soul in its disdainful mood, thinking to escape dis- 
dain by death, made me, though just, unjust against 
myself. By the new roots of this tree, I swear to you, 
never did I break faith to my lord, who was so worthy 
of honour." l Then Dante felt such pity in his heart 
that he could not speak. 

The tomb of this victim of envy has perished, but 
the poets keep his memory alive Dante, and our 
English Chaucer after him. Envy, says he : 

" Envie ys lavendere of the Court alway 
For she no parteth nyther night ne day 
Out of the house of Coesar, thus saith Daunte." 2 

The Borgo Stretto, quite near S. Andrea Forisportae, 
is one of the most ancient streets in Pisa, its narrow 
roadway obscured by tall deserted-looking houses, 
and the dark mysterious arcades thronged with figures 
that steal furtively along. They are good citizens no 
doubt, and bent on some quite normal errand, but the 
genius of the place imparts a strange and weird air to 
them. 

S. Michele in Borgo stands like a guardian at the 
entrance of the street, its venerable grey fa9ade rising 
above the mass of ancient houses and towers that huddle 
round its feet. Pagan and Christian, it has stood there 
for a long time ; probably since the days of Augustus. 
It was dedicated to Mars then, and even when the time 
came for its transformation into the temple of a gentler 
cult, Michael, the warrior archangel, was chosen as its 

1 Inferno, Canto xiii. 30-80 (Carlyle's translation). 

2 Legende of goode ivomene. 

275 



Story oj Pisa 

patron. Hemmed in by big houses, the fa9<ide is the 
only visible part of the church. The upper part is a 
Gothic variant of the usual Pisan style, with trefoil arches 
instead of round ones, while the lower part, with its 
severely-plain masonry and round-headed doors, belongs 
to an earlier period. A Gothic tabernacle on the archi- 
trave of the central door contains statues of the Madonna 
and Child, with three saints, the kneeling one said to 
be the blessed Buono. Too large for the place, its 
crocketted pinnacles contrast rather unpleasantly with 
the delicate round arch beneath. It has been attributed 
to Fra Guglielmo, the builder of the faade, but is pro- 
bably the work of some humbler sculptor of the Pisan 
school. The interior is basilican in form, and has fine 
antique columns and capitals. Rebuilt after a great 
earthquake in 1846, the roof is totally uninteresting. 
Above the second altar on the right is a Madonna 'with 
SS. Catherine, Julian, and Peter, by Taddeo di Bartolo, 
and over an altar on the left a beautiful carved crucifix 
of the school of the Pisani, which was removed from 
over the left door of the Campo Santo at the end of the 
eighteenth century. Some fragments of a pulpit of the 
same school, built into various parts of the church, are 
the only other objects of artistic interest. 

The crypt is coeval with the lower part of the 
faade, and both belong to the eleventh century, though 
some authorities consider the former much older and 
assert that it shows traces of Roman origin. The 
massive vaulted chamber is supported by granite columns 
sunk to half their height in accumulated rubbish. 
Faint traces of Byzantine frescoes remain, with grot- 
esque figures of hippogrifs, winged lions, sea-horses 
and eagles. It has been used as a wine cellar, and 
maltreated in various ways. 

Suetonius tells us that Augustus, after his victory 
over Mark Antony, caused temples dedicated to Mars 

276 



Churches 

to be erected not only in Rome but in her colonies. 
Among them was probably the temple that preceded 
the church of S. Michele. Ruinous and decayed, it 
survived to the early middle ages, serving for who 
knows what base uses. About the year 1000 the cloud 
that veils its history is lifted for a moment and we see 
it in the hands of a certain Stefano, a man of note 
among the citizens. Part of the temple had already 
been transformed into a church, and we learn that he 
had a pious longing to make it worthier of its purpose, 
and to that end he appealed to the famous Camaldo- 
lesian monastery of Nonantula for help. In answer to 
his prayer two monks were sent him in I o 1 8, the blessed 
Buono and Pietro, his uncle. Buono belonged to the 
great Visconti family, and was born in Pisa in 990. 
He took up his abode in a little house with a tower 
close to the temple-church, which he dedicated to 
S. Michael and placed under the Benedictine rule ; 
the monks he gathered together living at first in miser- 
able little wooden sheds hastily run up against the walls 
of the church. He appealed to the pious, and their 
gifts poured in so quickly that before five years had 
passed he had rebuilt the church and added a campanile 
to it. So great was his zeal for its beauty that he 
wandered as far as Rome to dig antique columns out 
of the ruins for the adornment of its interior. He 
visited Luni and the Isle of Elba for the same 
purpose, and indeed was for ever eager in its service, 
even gathering together numerous precious manuscripts, 
which formed the nucleus of its library. As long as 
he lived he went on beautifying and enlarging his 
beloved church and monastery, replacing the first simple 
campanile by a splendid one with seven bells. When, 
in 1040, all was complete and in fair order, Opizo 
Uppezinghi, Bishop of Pisa, consecrated the new 
buildings and rewarded Buono for his toil by appointing 

2 77 



Story of Pisa 

him their first abbot. The church was further enlarged 
in 1219 and in 1262, and the facade was added in 
1304 by Guglielmo Agnello, the chief pupil of Niccolo 
Pisano. 

At the top of Borgo Stretto, Via S. Francesco, on 
the right, should be followed, pausing for a moment on 
the left at S. Cecilia, an ancient foundation of the 
Camaldolesian Order, which dates back to 1103, anc ^ 
has a picturesque campanile supported by a column in 
the interior of the church. 

A little further along, on the right, is S. Paolo al Orto 
in the Piazza S. Paolo, an attractive-looking church, 
with a truncated but exquisite fa9ade and a gaunt 
Renaissance campanile. The faade ceases to be 
interesting immediately above the five arches of the 
lower story, but there is enough left to show us that it 
is one of the oldest in Pisa and must have been one 
of the most perfect. The interior is entirely modern- 
ised, but has an interesting old crucifix over the high 
altar. The latter also has an interesting gradino of 
brocatello. The church is now in the possession of the 
lay Confraternity of S. Barnaba, whose function it is 
to carry the dead to their graves, and the adjoining 
monastery is full of its elaborate paraphernalia of banners, 
palls, crucifixes, and robes. Banners and palls there 
are of differing degrees of magnificence, and the custode 
discourses with a nice knowledge of the social status of 
corpses, and knows these that should be honoured with 
the best and those that can be put off with a simpler pall. 

Marangone is the first writer to mention the church. 
He says : " There was but one garden in the city, where 
is now S. Pavolo al Orto." There are other gardens 
in Pisa now, but S. Paolo still preserves the memory 
of the oldest of them, in its name Al Orto. It is said 
to have been founded in uoo, from which period its 
fa$ade dates. 



Churches 

At the end of the street is S. Francesco^ one of those 
great gaunt churches by which the followers of the 
little poor man of Assisi tried to express his ideal of 
poverty. Its tall red campanile can be seen from every 
side, and would almost serve for a guide as we walk up 
the Borgo and turn into Via S. Francesco. This takes 
us to the piazza of the same name, where rises the lofty 
church with its very incongruous Renaissance stone 
fa$ade. To the left is the outer cloister where the 
Museo Civico is now housed. 

S. Francis visited Pisa, it is said, in 1211, preaching 
the word of eternal life to the people, and among the 
disciples that he won was a young man called Agnello 
degli Agnelli, and another named Alberto, whose sur- 
name is unknown. Having assumed the grey frock of 
the Franciscans, these youths made rapid progress in the 
path of holiness, says their chronicler, so much so that 
in the same year S. Francis laid upon them the task of 
preaching the gospel in distant France and England. 
With prompt obedience they set out to obey his behest, 
but some obstacle delayed them, and in the interval they 
employed their zeal in founding a humble house of the 
Order in their native town. 1 Their small shrine was 
replaced in the fourteenth century by this enormous 
brick structure, not unlike S. Croce of Florence in its 
general lines. In common with many Franciscan 
churches, it consists of one single vaulted nave and a 
choir with three chapels on either side. Wandering 
in the dark interior, with footsteps echoing in the great 

1 The blessed Alberto passed into England and there 
preached the doctrine of holy poverty. Regarding Oxford 
as the fittest place from whence to propagate the faith, he 
settled there and won the favour of Henry III., who gave him 
land near the city walls on which to build a church and 
monastery. Later, he founded a school for the study of theo- 
logy, providing it with learned masters. In 1232 he died, 
and was buried at Oxford in the church of his Order. 

2 79 



Story of Pisa 

empty space, the fitness of the architectural style to 
house an order of preachers impresses itself upon the 
mind. Out of the gloom dim forms gradually detach 
themselves from the chapel walls. They prove to be 
frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi and the whole roof of 
the choir is covered with them. We have a letter of 
Taddeo's to Marco Strozzi, 1 in which he tells us that 
he painted them by the order of Gherardo and Bonac- 
corso Gambacorti for the glory of the Franciscan 
Order. S. Francis in Ecstasy, with Faith and Hope 
hovering in the air beside him, occupies a prominent 
place. In the next compartments, saints are seen in 
pairs ; S. Dominic is opposite S. Augustine ; S. 
Francis, who carries a book with these words : TRES 

ORDINES HIC ORDINAT, Opposite S. Louis of TouloUSC ; 

S. Benedict opposite S. Basil. Obedience occupies 
one angle, in the others are figures typifying Temper- 
ance ; Wisdom, laden with books ; Humility ; Chas- 
tity, bearing a lily and a vial ; Fortitude, with a pillar 
and a shield ; and Penitence, with an instrument of 
flagellation in her hand. There is elegance and simple 
grace in the figures, and the draperies are beautiful. 
The space is arranged in the manner of Giotto, to 
which Taddeo was ever faithful. Save a small frag- 
ment the frescoes on the walls of the choir have dis- 
appeared, and so has the signature recorded by Vasari. 2 
The high altar has a fine sculptured reredos by 
Tommaso Pisano, only lately replaced here after a 
long sojourn in the Campo Santo. The Madonna 
and Child, supported by angels, form the canopied 
centre piece, with three saints on either side under 

1 See La Scrittura di Artisti Italiani, riprodotto con la 
fotografia. Florence. Carlo Pini, 1871. 

2 Magister Taddeus Gaddus de Florentia pinxit hanc 
historiam Sancti Francisci et Sancti Andrae et Sancti Nicolai 
A.D. MCCCXLII. de mense Augusti. 

280 



Churches 

crocketted Gothic niches. The predella has scenes 
from the life of Christ. The effect of the whole is 
picturesque and decorative, but the sculptor was evi- 
dently an artist of second-rate power. 

The second chapel on the right has no pictures now, 
but must once have been frescoed all over. Known 
as the Gherardesca chapel, it was the burial place of 
the family for some centuries, and their tombs and 
shields are to be seen on every side. On the right is 
a plain rude slab of stone set upright in the wall. 
Although without any image or superscription to re- 
cord the fact, it marks the spot where the bones of 
the five poor victims of the tower of famine, Ugolino 
della Gherardesca, his sons, and his grandsons were 
buried some ten years ago when they were removed 
from the tomb in the cloisters where they had lain 
so long. 

In the first chapel to the left of the high altar are 
some frescoes that were discovered in 1902, but in 
such deplorable condition that it is very difficult to 
decipher them in the dimly-lighted chapel. A careful 
examination, however, seems to reveal the manner of 
Taddeo Gaddi, although the ascription is made with 
great tentativeness. To the left is an Assumption in a 
ruined state, above the windows Christ in Judgement, 
and to the right a Presepio, while the four evangelists 
are in the lunettes above. 

The third chapel on the left has more ruined 
frescoes gleaming through the rococo abominations 
with which it is covered. Though even in a worse 
case than these in the last chapel, they are very sug- 
gestive of Spinelli Aretino. The picture to the left is 
difficult of interpretation, but has some fine standing 
figures of apostles. Over the windows practically 
nothing is visible, but to the right, on the upper part 
of the wall, is a fine Battle of Angels , the rebel angels 

281 



Story of Pisa 

being cast out of heaven. In this the hand of Spinelli 
is very evident. Below it is a weird scene, the Dream 
of a Bishop, with a quaint hilly landscape in which 
every peak is crowned with a castle. 

From thence the sacristy is easily reached. Part of 
it is the former chapel of the Sardi Campigli, and is 
frescoed by Taddeo di Bartolo. These frescoes have 
not long been uncovered, and are in a most ruinous 
condition. First of the series is The Apostles visiting 
the Virgin, a singular and attractive composition, with 
some of the apostles floating down from heaven 
and flying in through the window with a wonder- 
ful swirl and sense of movement. The Death of 
the Virgin follows, Christ receiving her soul in the 
likeness of a little child ; on either side of the window 
is an Annunciation, with figures of S. John the Baptist 
and S. Peter beneath. The Funeral of the Virgin 
follows, and The Assumption is the last of this series. 
There are other subjects and various single figures, the 
whole enclosed with a border in which the Sienese 
shield occurs. 1 S. Francis in Ecstasy appears again 
above the arch, while the ceiling has groups of saints, 
perhaps the work of Barnaba da Modena. 

The sunny inner cloister that still belongs to the 
monks is a spacious and pleasant place, its sixteenth- 
century arches upheld by peculiarly graceful columns. 
A few steps lead to the chapter-house, a large room 
with a vaulted ceiling opening out of the cloister, 
known as the Capitolo di S. Bonaventura, because, 
while general of the Franciscans, the seraphic doctor 
here presided over a general chapter of the Order in 
1266. So tradition says, and an inscription on the 
outer wall repeats the story. The walls were painted 
in 1392 with frescoes of the Passion, by Niccolo di 

1 Taddeo's signature is on the left of the arch : Taddeo. 
Earth. Olim. D. Senis. Pinxit. Hoc. Opus., An. Dni. 1397. 



Churches 

Pietro Gerini, a follower of Giotto, who was probably 
taught in the school of Taddeo Gaddi. The series 
begins on the left wall with the Last Supper, Christ 
washing the feet of the Disciples , Gethsemane, and the 
Betrayal, all of which are in such bad condition that 
thay can hardly be said to exist any longer. On the 
front wall we see the Flagellation, Christ Bearing the 
Cross, the Crucifixion, a large and crowded scene, the 
Deposition from the Cross, and the Entombment, the 
latter an almost exact repetition of that by Taddeo 
Gaddi in the Accademiaat Florence. These are also 
much injured. On the right wall the story comes to 
an end with the Resurrection, which has a noble figure 
of Christ stepping out of the tomb; Christ in the 
Garden, a Giottesque scene in a charmingly pretty gar- 
den ; and, finally, the Ascension, again very Giottesque. 
On the entrance wall there are some badly defaced 
fragments, one of which, Pentecost, includes the figure 
of a Chinaman or Tartar with a pigtail. The forms 
are Giottesque throughout, and the hands and feet 
better drawn than those by Taddeo Gaddi, but there 
is a want of life and originality in the whole series. 
The nearly obliterated signature on the end of a beam 
should read : 

NICOLAUS PETRI PICTOR DE FLOREKTIA 
DEPINSIT AN. D. MCCCLXXXXII. DE MAR. 

From the opposite side of the cloister there is a 
delightful view of the tall campanile and the church 
with its Gothic arcades. The campanile is partly 
supported on two brackets springing out of the side of 
the church, a very unusual plan. It is elegant and 
slender, and, indeed, is reckoned one of the finest of 
its type. In returning to the church, on the right of 
the door leading directly into it is the tomb in which 
the remains of the ill-fated Gherardesca were buried 

283 



Story of Pisa 

after their awful death in the Tower of Famine. 
When eight days had passed, it is said, the tower was 
broken open, and the bodies were found in attitudes of 
anguish. They were wrapped in mats and taken 
secretly to the church of the Friars Minor at S. 
Francesco and buried, with the irons still on their legs, 
in the monument which is near the steps going into 
the church at the door of the cloister. 1 Except for 
some alteration in the doorway the place is as it was 
then, and lately a corner of the original arch has been 
laid bare, so that it is easy to picture the secrecy, 
the furtive haste, of the hugger-mugger burial that 
ended the gruesome tragedy. With one's mind full 
of it one passes into the dim church again out of the 
sunshine. 

From here it will be necessary to strike northward 
to find S- Caterina, finely situated in the north-east 
corner of the great piazza of the same name, which 
forms a dignified approach to the late-Gothic church. 
Of some size and importance, its facade is a Gothic 
adaptation of that of the Duomo, tier rising above tier 
of trefoil arches. The windows have curious borders 
of heads carved, like the rest of the front, in white 
marble. The interior has the form that was usual 
with the preaching Orders, a spacious nave without 
aisles, and a vaulted chapel on each side of the square 
choir. On the left is a single transept, a late addition, 
which formed no part of the original plan. 

Before describing its treasures it will be necessary 
to explain them by a brief account of the history of the 
church. Dominican now, it was Dominican from 
the beginning, and takes us back in its origin to the 
great founder of the Order himself. One of the dis- 
ciples who received the habit from his hands, in 1215, 

1 Boccaccio, The comment of, on the Comedia, with 
annotations by *\. M. Salvini, Florence, 1353. 



Churches 

was Uguccione Sardi, a noble Pisan, and the task that 
was laid upon him was the founding of a house of the 
Order in his native town. Alone and without means, 
he returned thither. By persuasion alone he hoped 
to raise the necessary funds, and indeed his exhortations 
greatly moved the Pisans. So much so, that they gave 
him the little church of S. Anthony Abbot and S. 
Catherine of Alexandria, which stood on the site of 
the sacristy of the existing church, an appropriate gift, 
as Uguccione's own mother, Maria Sardi, had endowed 
it. Many gifts were brought to him by pious citizens, 
the Vacca family foremost in generosity, while the 
Gualandi gave the rich marbles for the front. In a 
short time the means and material for building were in 
his hands, and by the year 1253 a fair new church and 
convent had arisen. It has been usual to ascribe them 
to Fra Guglielmo Agnello, builder of the fa9ade of S. 
Michele in Borgo, but as he was not born until 1243 
the idea is untenable, and as he died before the fagade 
was begun, some time after 1320, he cannot have 
designed that either. It is, however, probable that the 
cloisters and cells of the monks were his work. Indeed, 
evidence in the records of the monastery points that way. 

Before the fagade was built one of the greatest sons 
of Dominic became associated with the monastery. 
S. Thomas Aquinas was its reader and preacher for 
some time in 1274, and one of the most valued 
possessions of the church is the cathedra from which, 
says an old writer, he diffused the light of his exceeding 
great doctrine. He also preached the Lenten sermons 
in the Duomo that same year. 

A century later another great Dominican saint 
honoured the church with her presence. During her 
first visit to Pisa, in 1375, S. Catherine often glided 
quietly into some side chapel to pray. Not unnoted, 
however, by the adoring eyes of a little novice, Baronto 

285 



Story of Pisa 

di Ser Dato, who afterwards deposed to having seen 
the saint in an ecstasy both in the church of S. Cristina 
and likewise in that of S. Caterina, and that many 
times. Her companion was sometimes another Cathe- 
rine, daughter of Bartolommeo Munguto, afterwards 
known in religion as the blessed Mary Mancini. On 
Easter Day the two were together in prayer in the 
chapel of the Annunciation in S. Caterina. In the 
sight of the vast congregation that crowded the church 
for the Easter functions, the two saints were suddenly 
hidden by a beautiful and brilliant cloud out of which 
a white dove rose and flew upwards. Another time, 
Baronto tells us that when she was crossing the piazza 
in front of the church a great crowd of rich and poor, 
of young and old, thronged closely round her. The 
press was so great that the half-grown lad could not 
see his worshipped lady, and bethought him to 
clamber on to the wall of an old tomb hard by. Just 
as he was about to do so Catherine spiritually divined 
his purpose, though she could not see him, and calling 
out in a loud voice, she begged the bystanders to 
prevent the young religious from climbing the wall, 
as it was unsafe. On examination this proved to be 
the .case, and the whole city was soon talking of the 
marvel. Hallowed as it was by the presence of these 
great children of the Order, the sons of Dominic have 
never left the church except for a short time after 
1785, when they were forcibly expelled, the cloisters 
demolished, and the seminary built in their stead. 

After the cathedra of S. Thomas, one of the most 
interesting possessions of the church is Traini's picture 
of the Glorification of S. Thomas Aquinas, which will be 
found over the third altar on the left. Both artistically 
and historically this is a very important picture. Traini 
was a Pisan, and, although Vasari persistently calls him 
the pupil of Orcagna, he was really a follower of Simone 
286 



Churches 

Martini or the Lorenzetti, In this, his masterpiece, 
he shows, as in all his work, a curious mixture of Flor- 
entine and Sienese influences, the latter predominating. 
Originally a gabled altarpiece, it was enlarged to make 
it rectangular when the altars were rebuilt in the 
Renaissance style. The composition is symmetrical, the 
execution very delicate and finished, if rather flat. A 
heroic figure of S. Thomas is seated on a round sphere 
representing the world, his head relieved against the 
band of gold which separates heaven and earth. The 
curve of the sphere is repeated above in the line formed 
by the four Evangelists, S. Paul, and Moses. On 
either side of the saint stand Aristotle and Plato, 
holding their open books towards him as if to inspire 
him with their philosophy. Below, on a smaller scale, 
are two groups of saints and doctors of the church. 
The figure in the foreground to the right, bearing a 
scroll inscribed Urbanus Sex Pisanum, is a later addition. 
Beneath S. Thomas' feet lies Averroes, the great 
Spanish Moslem Aristotelian. He is prone, vanquished 
by a conquering ray from the writings of the saint that 
strikes his book, and from which shrinks with averted 
face. At the top of the picture Christ, with a mandorla 
glory, appears floating in the starry firmament, his figure 
recalling the Christ of the Last Judgement in the Campo 
Santo. Golden rays go forth from his mouth. Some 
strike the heads of S. Paul and Moses and the Evan- 
gelists, while three go straight into that of S. Thomas. 
Other rays are sent down upon the saint from the 
books of the six figures above, which are held out 
eagerly towards him, 1 Having thus received the light 
1 The open books of the six figures above are inscribed as 
follows : 

M^oses, Non adorabis deos atienos, 

Honor a Pat r em et Mat r em, 

Non Ocldes. Nun furtus faclet. 

Deut. v. 7, ii, 1 6, 17, .9. 
287 




THE GLORIFICATION OF S. THOMAS AQUINAS, BY FRANCESCO TRAIN1, 
IN THE CHURCH OF S. CATERINA 



Churches 

Paul by Fra Bartolommeo and Albert! nelli. The 
cartoon is probably by Fra Bartolommeo, but the 
painting is by Albertinelli, except, perhaps, the Child, 
which may be by the hand of the former. On the 
right of the entrance is the tomb of Gherardo di 
Bartolommeo di Simone di Campagno, a work of the 
school of Nino Pisano, and on the left the beautiful 
monument of Simone Salterelli, Archbishop of Pisa 
(1342), by Nino himself. The recumbent figure and 
the angels are beautiful. 

S. Anna, which lies a little west of S. Caterina, in 
a street of the same name, was built, in 1407, by Bene- 
dictine nuns, after the destruction of their house in the 
outskirts during the siege of 1405. Almost entirely 
rebuilt in 1640, it was adorned with horrible stucco 
ornaments a hundred years later by the brothers 
Melani. No longer the guardian of the two Ghir- 
landaio pictures, which have lately been removed to 
the Museo Civico, S. Anna is chiefly interesting 
because of its connection with Shelley. It will be 
remembered that Epipsychidion is dedicated to Emilia 
Viviani, " now imprisoned in the convent of S. Anne 
in Pisa," and the passionate interest which she and her 
misfortunes aroused in the poet's heart was one of the 
most vivid influences of his life in Pisa. The Con- 
tessina Emilia Viviani had been shut up in the convent 
of S. Anna by her father until it pleased him to find 
a husband for her. She had spent four weary and 
monotonous years in what was virtually a prison when 
Shelley heard her story. His generous spirit was 
roused at once by the hint of tyranny, he insisted on 
visiting the captive and was immediately "struck by 
her amazing beauty, by the highly cultivated grace of 
her mind, and by the misery which she suffered in 
being debarred from all sympathy." He took Mary 
to see her, and after that they went constantly, 
T 289 



Story of Pisa 

brightening her captivity with gifts of books and 
flowers and by frequent letters. The outcome of the 
friendship was the publication of Epipsychidion, a poem 
in which Shelley expresses his theory of love, and in 
which he addresses Emilia Viviani as : 

" Seraph of Heaven, too gentle to be human 
Veiling beneath that radiant form of woman 
All that is insupportable in thee 
Of light, and love, and immortality," 

suggesting that she and Mary, who shall henceforth, 
like sun and moon, rule the world of love within him, 
should fly with him to a distant ^Egean island, 

"an isle under Ionian skies, 
Beautiful as a wreck of Paradise." 

But the mood in which he wrote was short-lived. 
In spite of its great beauty the poem was received 
with absolute silence by the critics, and not long after- 
wards Shelley spoke of it to Leigh Hunt as " a 
portion of myself that is already dead " ; and in a 
letter of June, 1822, he says: "The Eplpsychidion I 
cannot look at ; the person whom it celebrates was a 
cloud instead of Juno ; and poor Ixion starts from 
the Centaur that was the offspring of his own embrace. 
If you are curious, however, to hear what I have been, 
it will tell you something thereof. It is an idealised 
history of my life and feelings. I think one is always 
in love with something or another ; the error, and I 
confess it is not easy for spirits cased in flesh and blood 
to avoid it consists in seeking in a mortal image the 
likeness of what is, perhaps, eternal." 

The fate of Emilia Viviani was not a happy one. 
She was subsequently married to an uncongenial 
husband of her father's choice, and after pining in his 
society in the marshy solitudes of the Maremma for 
six years, she left him only to die of consumption in a 
dilapidated old palace in Florence, 
290 



Churches 

A few yards north of S. Anna is S. Torpc, close to 
the Porta Lucchese and a trifle to the east of the 
so-called baths of Nero. It is said to stand on the 
site of the Pretoria n palace where S. Torpetus, or 
Torpe, patron of the city until S. Ranieii took his 
place, was beheaded. He was a noble Roman serving 
in Nero's guards when, according to the legend, he 
was converted by the Apostle Paul. Summoned to 
Pisa by his military duties, he was discovered to 
be a Christian, and was taken before the Emperor, 
who commanded him to worship the statue of Diana 
in a magnificent temple which he had recently dedi- 
cated to that goddess. Torpetus steadfastly refused, 
and prayed, instead, that the great house of idols might 
be destroyed. Hardly had the words left his lips 
than with a mighty rending the temple collapsed, and 
the statue of the goddess was broken into innumerable 
pieces. When Nero heard of this portentous event 
his wrath was terrible, and by his orders Torpetus was 
haled before the tormentors, and after suffering cruel 
tortures was beheaded. His head was preserved as a 
most precious relic and worked many miracles, once 
saving Pisa from a terrible drought. Borne in solemn 
state round the city by the clergy, its intercession 
caused a great cloud to burst, and the torrents of rain 
not only filled the dry bed of the Arno but caused it 
to overflow its banks, and carried away part of the 
procession and the precious head itself. Great was the 
terror and dismay; but while the people wept and 
prayed two angels appeared, dived under the water, 
and biinging up the head placed it in the arms of the 
astonished archbishop. 

SS. Ramer'i and Leonardo, better known as S. 
Ranierino, in Via Torretti, near the Leaning Tower, 
is but a few paces away. A very plain and humble- 
looking church, in spite of its Michelangelesque door- 

291 



Story of Pisa 

way, it seems rather inadequate for the shrine dedi- 
cated to the patron and protector of the city. The 
one and only object of interest it possesses is the signed 
crucifix by Giunta Pisano over the altar on the left, 
in which the languid figure of Christ shows a certain 
realism of modelling that marks Giunta's departure 
from Byzantine methods. 

Thence we must make our way by Via Arcives- 
covado and Via Faggiola to S. Eufrasia, in Via S. 
Sisto, which has but little left of the original fabric, 
built, it is said, in 1124, by Cardinal Crisogono 
Malchidome. The patronage was afterwards held 
by the GrifH and the Sancasciani families, and the 
monastery was enlarged by pious donations. The 
Vigna family gave largely, as the following inscription 
in the interior testifies : Rinnovo Domenico d'Ercole 
del Vigna A. S. In 1691 it became the property of 
the Order of S. Stefano, and remained so until 1729, 
when given by Cosimo III. to the Carmelites. A 
further transition took place in 1810, when the Con- 
fraternity of the Sacred Stigmata of S. Francis came 
into possession of the Church, which they have 
retained ever since. 

Close by is S. Sisto, in Via della Carita. All archi- 
tectural distinction has long since gone from its facade, 
but the interior possesses unusually good columns of 
granite and of marble, ravished from some antique 
temple on a distant shore. If these and the other 
stolen columns of the Pisan churches could speak, and 
speaking tell us whence they came, what temple they 
upheld, what was the cult of the people who flitted 
past them to the sanctuary, how thrilling would the 
tale be. They would tell us forgotten stories of far- 
off things, of the ancient glories of Carthage and the 
mysterious African deserts, of the hellenised shores of 
Sicily, of volcanic islands where the Roman might was 
292 



Churches 

upheld in defiance of the upheavals of nature. Eastern 
races and eastern cults would be within their ken, while 
the fair viking of the north must have wandered 
beneath their shadow in that restless and pathetic 
search of his for Asgaard, the city of the gods. After 
long centuries of sunny peace they would remember the 
coming of the Pisan buccaneers in their great galleys, 
the sweep of long oars, and the cry of the sweating 
slaves who pulled them. Then fighting and slaughter, 
lust and red ruin. In the midst of it all the patriotic 
Pisan never forgot to save any object that could minister 
to the glory of his homeland, the beauty of his 
churches. Conspicuous among the booty that loaded 
the homing galleys till they rode perilously deep in the 
water were columns of porphyry and of marble, fluted 
columns, Greek or Roman columns. Always columns. 
Hardly a church in Pisa but shared the stolen treasure. 
Fashions in architecture have come and gone, and every 
feature of a church has changed, every beauty has been 
blotted out, and yet the old columns stand there strong 
and unchanged, giving an ineradicable touch of romance 
to it. 

Except for her columns, and the ancient capitals that 
came with them, S. Sisto makes but a poor artistic 
show. The wall beside the entrance has two rather 
good early Pisan reliefs that once formed part of the 
pulpit, and the holy-water stoups are worth a glance. 
But she has other glories. Never was church more 
closely bound up with the history of a people than 
this. The 6th of August, the feast-day of S. Sixtus 
(or Sisto, as the Italians call him) had always proved 
auspicious to the Pisan fortunes. A long roll of 
victories belongs to it. On August 6, 1006, the first 
great triumph over the Saracens had been gained in 
Calabria, and a second on August 6, 1063, at Palermo. 
On August 6, 1072, the Genoese were defeated utterly ; 

293 



Story of Pisa 

in 1089, the Moors in Africa. Again, in 1114, the 
successful and glorious expedition against the Balearic 
Isles put to sea on August 6, and the Genoese were once 
more defeated that same day at Porto Venere, in 1119. 
It was no wonder that in the face of such repeated 
triumphs the citizens resolved to build a church in 
honour of the saint who had so often proved himself 
their friend. It was still hidden in the womb of time 
that another 6th of August was to come that should 
smirch all the glories of the preceding ones, and leave 
Pisa crouching at the feet of Genoa. With no sadden- 
ing fore-knowledge of the fatal battle of Meloria, they 
set to work on this church of S. Sisto as early as 1070, 
and after each successive victory enlarged or enriched 
it with a share of the booty. At one time it must have 
possessed considerable architectural splendour and great 
wealth. From the beginning it was in every sense 
the people's church. Built by the will of the people, 
with the hard-won spoils taken by the people, the 
patronage was vested in the hands of their repre- 
sentatives, who hold it still ; and, furthermore, the 
deliberations of the great Council of the Republic were 
held for many years within its walls. 

Among the dead buried there was a certain professor 
of the Pisan University, Giovanni Battista Buonaparte, 
who died in 1774, and whose chief title to remembrance 
is that he came of the same family that gave the great 
Napoleon to the world. 

Two steps lead us into the Piazza, de' Cavalieri, at 
the far end of which is the splendid knightly church of 
S. Stefano de Cavalieri. It stands between the Palazzo 
Conventuale and Via del Monte, with a mellow richly- 
coloured marble fa9ade and fine columns that contri- 
bute greatly to the picturesqueness of the piazza. In 
the year 1561, Cosimo I. founded the Order of 
S. Stefano, not, as is often supposed, from a mere 
294 



Churches 

freakish desire of restoring the mediaeval Orders of 
knighthood, but for a good and statesmanlike reason. 
The shores of Tuscany lay at the mercy of the Moorish 
and Ottoman pirates who infested the Mediterranean, 
and Cosimo could not afford to equip and maintain the 
galleys that were necessary to keep them at bay. An 
appeal to the King of Spain had resulted in his refusal 
to co-operate in the enterprise ; and then it was that 
the wise Grand Duke determined upon the foundation 
of an Order whose object was to defend the Mediter- 
ranean from pirates, an Order that should be both 
military and ecclesiastical, and thus command the 
support both of the nobles and of the Church. The 
Order was placed under the Benedictine rule, Cosimo 
and his successors were appointed grand masters, and 
the statutes were modelled on those of the Order of 
S. John of Jerusalem. S. Stephen, pope and martyr, 
was chosen as the patron, out of gratitude for the 
victories of Montemurlo and of Marcia, both of which 
had been won upon his feast-day. The Pisans were 
greatly delighted that Cosimo fixed its headquarters in 
their city, after having first chosen Porto Ferraio in 
Elba for the purpose, and loudly applauded him for 
thus bringing prosperity to them. Later on, it may be 
hinted, their ardour cooled. The aristocratic institu- 
tion was unsympathetic to their republican sympathies, 
and they discovered that by harrying the Turks the 
knights drove away their eastern trade. 1 

A seventeenth-century Englishman gives this account 
of the Order and its church a hundred years after its 

1 The Order remained in existence until 1809, when it was 
dissolved by the French. It was revived after they evacuated 
the city, but finally came to an end in 1859. Interesting 
particulars concerning it can be gleaned from "In Tuscany," 
by Montgomery Carmichael, which, among other things, 

fives a list of Englishmen who have been knights of S. 
tefano. 

295 



Story of Pisa 

institution : '* This is the only order of Knighthood 
that I perceived in the State of Florence; and it's very 
common. They wear a Red Cross of Satin upon their 
Cloaks, and profess to fight against the Turks. For 
this purpose they have a good House (The Palazzo 
Conventuale) and Maintenance. Their church is 
beautified without with a handsome Faciata of White 
Marble, and within with Turkish Ensigns and divers 
Lanterns of Capitanesse Gallies. In this house the 
Knights live in common, and are well maintained. In 
their Treasury they show you a great Buckler all of 
Pearl and Diamond, won in the battle against the Turks. 
Indeed Bucklers of Diamonds do but show our Enemies 
where we are, and what they may hope for by killing 
us. They have in their Cancelleria a Catalogue of those 
Knights who have done notable service against the 
Turks; which serves for a powerful exhortation to 
their successors, to do, and die bravely. In fine, these 
Knights may marry if they will, and live in their own 
particular houses : but many of them choose Celibate, 
as more convenient for brave soldiers : wives and chil- 
dren being the true impedimenta exercitus." * 

Meantime, Cosimo was bent on housing his knights 
magnificently. The ancient palaces in the Piazza 
degl'Anziani were adapted for their use by the versatile 
Giorgio Vasari, and Cosimo entrusted him with the 
commission of raising a church fit for the august Order. 
This he did in 1565, placing it on the site of the 
earlier church of S. Sebastiano delle fabbriche maggiori. 
He left it incomplete, however, and it was not finished 
until 1594-5, the fasade being designed by Bernardo 
Buontalenti. In 1607 the ceiling was added, and in 
1680 the side aisles, which were not included in 
Vasari's plan. 

Though effective, the fa9ade is a little florid. The 
1 "The Voyage of Italy," Richard Lassels, gent., 1670. 
296 



Churches 

interior, with its wide and spacious nave, is well pro- 
portioned and impressive, though more suitable for a 



<j 




TROPHY OF TURKISH STANDARDS AND A GALLEY-POOP, 
CHURCH OF S. STEFANO 

ballroom or a hall of justice than for a church. Most 
of the architectural details are good, but the ornate painted 
and gilded ceiling is the most important feature. The 
walls are effectively decorated with trophies of Turkish 

297 



Story of Pisa 

and Arabian banners, taken in fight by the knights, and 
with the gilded lanterns and richly-carved and coloured 
poops and ornaments of their great galleys. The genial 
President de Brosses, wandering in the church in 1714, 
remarks caustically : "The Church of the Knights of 
S. Stephen, which is the Grand-duke's order, is all 
hung with Standards taken from the Turks ; these 
make a gallant show, but I wonder whether the Turks 
have not also got some of the flags belonging to the 
Knights, in their mosques." One sympathises with 
the comment, in the presence of such obvious self- 
glorification as this. 

The six ceiling-paintings add to the rich effect of 
the interior, without having any great value of their 
own, though painted by the better masters of the late 
Tuscan school. Beginning with the high altar, we 
have, first, the Installation of Cosimo /. as Grand 
Master of the Order, by Cristoforo Allori, which con- 
tains numerous portraits ; second, the Return from the 
Battle of Lepanto, by Cigolo ; third, Maria de Medici 
leaving Leghorn for France, to be married to Henry IV., 
by Allori, the rich galley Capitano di S. Stefano, 
in which she sailed, the most prominent object ; fourth 
is the Capture of four Turkish Ships in 1607, by Jacopo 
da Empoli ; fifth, the Conquest of Nicopolis in 1605, by 
Ligozzi ; sixth, with the Taking of Bona, in Africa, also 
by Ligozzi, the series is brought to an end. The high 
altar is gorgeous with richly-coloured marbles, porphyry, 
jasper and gold, but heavy and overloaded, and the 
ashes of the patron saint are contained in a marble urn 
forming part of it. In a niche at the back there is a 
bust of S. Lussorio, or Rossore, in gilded bronze. 
Opinions have differed greatly as to its authorship, but 
it seems now to be established as the work of Dona- 
tello. Every part of it is characteristic of him, the 
shape of the head particularly, high and broad over 
298 



Churches 

the ears, which resembles that of his S. John in the 
Louvre. 

At the first altar on the left is a Nativity, by 
Bronzino, dated 1564, with masses of muscular half- 
nude saints tossing about in the air over the Christ 
Child and the Madonna. The scene takes place in a 
huge cave. As a whole it shows great decadence, 
but some of the faces are beautiful, especially that of 
the woman in blue on the extreme right. Much of 
the work suggests the hands of pupils, for in places the 
type is not quite that of Bronzino, nor are the forms or 
the colouring his. Vasari had a great love for this 
picture, which, he said, was painted " with so much 
art, diligence, drawing, invention, and beauty of 
colouring, that it could not be excelled." The first 
altar on the right has a Stoning of S. Stephen, by Vasari 
himself, which is dry in treatment and heavy in colour. 
Christ and the Almighty look down from heaven as if 
at a race or spectacle. Besides this there is a series of 
monochrome paintings on the walls by Vasari and 
others, representing the life of the patron saint in a 
cold and academic manner. 

S. Fredwno stands where Via S. Frediano expands 
into a little piazza. Closely akin in architecture to S. 
Pierino, it must belong more or less to the same period. 
There are seven instead of five arches in the lower 
storey of the facade, but the general design is the same, 
and the sunk lozenge-shaped ornaments, the window, 
the gable, are identical. On the whole this is the 
finer facade of the two, with better finished workman- 
ship and greater elaboration. The architrave of the 
main door, here as there, is composed of a classic 
frieze, but has the additional charm of bearing the 
traces of yet another age. One of its surfaces is 
covered with a curious pattern of runic-looking knots, 
the token possibly of the Comacine guilds. The 

299 



Story of Pisa 

usual basilica form, with antique columns and capitals 
fitted to them at random, is here debased by ugly 
stucco additions of '675. The first chapel to the left 
has a Byzantine crucifix of the usual type, with small 
scenes from the Passion surrounding the margin. 

This is one of the many churches locally dedicated 
to S. Frediano, otherwise known as S. Finnian of 
Moville. He was the son of an Irish king, born at 
the close of the fifth century. After working many 
miracles in Ireland, he made a pilgrimage to certain 
shrines in Lucca, and became its bishop. At the 
close of a long career of good works and miracles, he 
was buried in the splendid basilica dedicated to him in 
Lucca, and he belongs to Lucca rather than to Pisa. 
All that can be claimed for the latter city are the years 
that he spent as an anchorite on the Pisan mountains. 
He loved the solitary life, and when he had finished 
his devotions at the graves of the martyrs in S. Paolino 
at Lucca, he drifted to the neighbouring hills, already 
hallowed by the memory of the many hermits who had 
dwelt there since the first beginnings of Christianity. 
There he sat him down in some rocky cavern, and for a 
space enjoyed the peace he sighed for. But the fame 
of his holiness and great learning reached the city of 
Lucca, and he was reluctantly persuaded to leave his 
cell and mount its episcopal throne. 

The Buzzacherini-Sigismondi, a noble Pisan family, 
is credited with the foundation of S. Frediano. The 
date is variously stated as 1007 and 1061, and it was 
originally intended as a hospice for poor pilgrims. 
The existing fabric probably belongs to the beginning 
of the twelfth century, so there must have been some 
kind of reconstruction. The founder's family re- 
mained its patrons until Cosimo I. gave it to the 
knights of S. Stefano. In 1595, it was transferred by 
Ferdinand I. to the Barnabite fathers, who opened 
300 



Churches 

schools, and did good work in the cause of 
education. 

S. Sa/vadore, or La Madonna de Galletti^ is on the 
Lung' Arno Regio, between Via S. Frediano and Via 
della Sapienza, very near to the ancient Porta Aurea. 
It was originally known as S. Salvadore, but in 1640 
the dedication was changed. During the demolition 
of a palace belonging to the Galletti family a picture of a 
Madonna and Child ^ by a good early master, was found 
beneath a staircase, and was deposited in the church 
which has ever since been known as the Madonna de' 
Galletti. Above the main door is the inscription 
believed to have been taken from the Porta Aurea. 1 

CIV1BUS EGREGI13 HEC AVREA PORTA VOCATUR 

IN QUA SIC DICTAT NOB1L1TATIS HONOR 
HANC URBEM DECUS IMPERII GUNERALE PUTETJS 

QUE FERA PRAVORUM COLLA FERIRE SOLET. 
MAJOR1S BALEE RABIES ERAT l.MPROBA MULTUM 

ILLA QUID HEC POSSET VICTAQUE SENS1T EBUS. 
AN MILLENIS DFCEM CENTUM CUM QUINQ. PERACTIS 

EX QUO CONCEP1T VIRGO MARIA DEUM. 
PJSANUS POPULUS VICTOR PROSTRAVIT UTRUMQUE, 

BISQUE FACIT STRAGES 1NGEM1NATA F1DEM 
DILIGITE JUST1TIAM, QUI JUDICATIS TERRAM. 

S. Niccolo lies between Via S. Maria and the Piazza 
S. Niccolo, a little further west. Its ruined facade, 
with some beautiful remains of black and white marble 
work, and the famous campanile are in the former street. 
Never did the Pisan-Romanesque produce anything 
more perfect than this campanile, which is a landmark 
all over Pisa. Its reticence and simplicity are very 
attractive to the eye, wearied by the lavishness of so 
many productions of the style. Instead of the multi- 
tudinous arcades of the Leaning Tower it has one 
simple circle, every line of which has its value. The 
octagonal panelled tower is built into the left side of 
the church. Above the panelling is the ring of arches, 

301 



Story of Pisa 

and above that a pyramidal roof. The interior has a 
finely-conceived winding staircase, thus described by 
Vasari : " Its form within," he says, " is circular, with 
a spiral staircase ascending to the summit ; within the 
stairs a free space is left, in the manner of a well, whilst 
on every fourth stair are 
placed columns, supporting 
arches which follow the 
spiral line. The roof of 
the staircase being supported 
on these arches the ascent 
is of such sort that the 
spectator at the foot sees 
all who go up ; those who 
are ascending see those 
below; while he who stands 
in the midway can see both 
those above and those 
below. This remarkable 
invention was afterwards 

applied by 

Bramante in Rome to the 
Belvedere of Pope Julius 
II., and by Antonio di 
San Gallo in Orvieto for 
Pope Clement VII." 
Vasari attributes the cam- 
panile to Niccolo Pisano, 
and has been followed by 
every authority until quite 
lately a doubt has been thrown upon the ascription. 
The campanile bears every trace of a monastic origin, 
and is extremely like those of the Badia a Settimo and 
the Badia of Florence. Both of these were built by 
the Benedictines, and point to a similar origin for S. 
Niccolo. This campanile, like several others in Pisa 
302 




CAMPANILE OF S. NICCOLO 



Churches 

besides the official one, is a leaning tower, and has a 
decided list towards the north. The interior is rich 
in marbles, but not interesting. Once more, in con- 
sidering the history of S. Niccolo, we are taken back 
to Roman days, when a temple to Ceres stood on its 
site. How long the smoke of its sacrifices ascended 
is unknown. But about the year icoo, a Christian 
church and monastery were founded on the spot by 
Hugh, the great Marquess of Tuscany, for the con- 
venience of the monks of S. Michele della Verruca, 
one of the seven Benedictine abbeys that he built as an 
expiation of his sins after a horrible vision he had near 
Florence. The story is told by Villani, who, speaking 
of the Marquess Hugh, says : " It came to pass as it 
pleased God that as he rode out to the chace in the 
country of Buonsollazo, he strayed away from his men 
in the forest and as it seemed to him came to a smithy 
where iron was wont to be wrought. Finding there 
black and deformed men who instead of iron seemed 
to be tormenting men with fire and with hammers, he 
asked what this might mean. They said unto him 
that these were lost souls, and that the soul of the 
Marquess Hugh was condemned to similar pains by 
reason of his worldly life unless he should swiftly 
turn to repentance. Then he with great fear com- 
mended him to the Virgin Mary, and when the vision 
left him he remained with such compunction in his 
spirit that on his return to Florence he sold his whole 
patrimony in Germany, and commanded that seven 
abbeys should be built. The first was the Badia of 
Florence in honour of the Lady Mary ; the second 
that of Buonsollazo where he beheld the vision ; the 
third he caused to be erected at Arezzo ; the fourth at 
Poggibonsi ; the fifth at Verruca di Pisa ; the sixth 
at Citta di Castello ; and the last was the abbey of 
Settimo. All these abbeys he endowed richly and 



Story of Pisa 

ever after with his wife led a holy life and had no 
children ; he died in the city of Florence on the day of 
S. Thomas in the year of Christ 1006, and was buried 
with great honour in the Badia at Florence." l Tronci 
says that, besides the Badia of S. Michele di Verruca 
outside Pisa, " this most pious Marquess founded also 
the church of S. Niccolo," for the use of the monks 
of S. Michele fuori. 2 The Augustinians came into 
possession of it in 1292, in exchange for one of the 
four monasteries they had in the diocese. The church 
was very small at that time, and has been several times 
enlarged and restored, notably in 1572. 

S. Vito is at the extreme west of the city, next 
door to the Medicean cales, or arsenal. The student of 
history will look in vain for the ancient church of S. 
Vito, where S. Ranieri spent his last years, and 
where he died. It was a magnificent pile, built in 
the manner of S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, just across 
the river, and dating back to 1078. Neither 
its associations, however, nor the splendour of its 
architecture were sufficient to protect it against the 
eighteenth-century hatred of the " Gothick " in archi- 
tecture, It was ruthlessly torn down in 1787, and its 
present miserably prosaic successor run up over part of 
the site. The walls were hastily patched together, 
rich marbles, columns, and capitals being incorporated 
as mere building materials, and a poor fresco of the 
period is all that recalls the connection of the church 
with S. Ranieri. 

Standing, as we do, on the Lung' Arno, with a wide 
sweep of the river before us, the scene recalls a custom 
that until lately formed an important part of the cele- 
bration of S. Ranieri's festival. Every three years the 
whole city was brilliantly illuminated. "The devotion 

1 Chronache Fiorentini, Giovanni Villani, Book iv. 2. 

2 Annali Pisani, Tronci, i. 9. 

304. 



Churches 

of the people for S. Ranieri, patron and protector of 
the city, is such," says a Milanese writer about the 
beginning of the nineteenth century, " that even the 
most wretched willingly go without bread that day, 
enduring the pangs of hunger in order to be able to 
light at least a poor dozen of tapers in their windows. 
There is no corner, no remote alley, where the win- 
dows are not festooned with lights." 

The busy Marianna Stark, who was in Pisa during the 
last decade of the eighteenth century, gives her account 
of it : " There is likewise a singular and most beautiful 
illumination here in honour of S. Ranieri. On this 
night (June 16) the whole Lung'Arno appears like one 
immense crescent of magnificent and regularly built 
palaces, studded over with innumerable quantities of 
diamonds, some in the Tuscan, others in the Gothic, 
and others in the grotesque, or Chinese style of archi- 
tecture. . . . Add to this the three bridges with 
temples, palaces, and arabesques, all blazing with 
jewels, and such is the scene which Pisa presents to 
the view at this general illumination. No wonder, 
then, that Ariosto is said to have borrowed images 
from so splendid and so singular an exhibition, which 
can only be compared to an enchanted city." 1 

The Milanese writer already quoted, on entering 
the city by the Porta Nuova at twenty-four o'clock, 
after an excursion to the Cascine, was " astonished at 
the marvellous effect of this illumination. Suddenly 
I saw the magnificent Duomo, Baptistery, Campo 
Santo and Leaning Tower, rise like magic from the 
immense Piazza. ... I stopped in ecstasy to admire 
the splendid and indescribable spectacle and then with 
slow steps " he wandered all over the city, noting the 
brilliant spectacle in every corner. Finally, he says 

1 " Letters from Italy, 1792-1798," Mariana Starke, 1800, 
London, i. 239 

u 305 



Story of Pisa 

that " the Gondolas of the Court, all resplendent with 
golden and velvet hangings, preceded by two large 
barges with triumphal arches, and an infinite number 
of boats from Leghorn and Florence, the greater part 
of them gaily decked with festoons, garlands and 
banners, and filled by festive crowds partaking of 
joyous suppers to the sound of music and singing, 
glide up and down the Arno, all gaily illuminated, 
adding to the vivacity of the festival." 

The Luminaria, as this gay scene was called, 
lingered on after all the other specifically Pisan 
customs, but it, too, has died out of late. 



306 



CHAPTER X 



Pictures and Sculpture in the Museo 
Civico, the Archiepiscopal Semi- 
nary, the University, the Univer- 
sity Library, the Natural History 
Museum and Botanical Gardens, 
the Archivio di Stato, the Opera 
del Duomo, the Universita 
dei Cappellani, the Arcbivio 
Arcivescovile. 

THE MUSEO 
CIVICO, a 

well-arranged museum 
with an excellent cata- 
logue, is housed in the 
outer cloister of S. 
Francesco. The 

ambulatory is filled 
with fragments of Pisan 
sculpture of the four- 
teenth and fifteenth 
centuries. Immediately 
to the left of the en- 
trance is the Sala del Pulpito, where the remains of 
the great pulpit that Giovanni Pisano made for the 

307 




THE THIRTEENTH-CENTURY SEAL 
OF THE COMMUNE, MUSEO C1VICO 



Story of Pisa 

Duomo between 1 302 and 1 3 i 1 , are collected. Injured 
by the great fire of 1595, it was taken to pieces and 
scattered. Some idea of its general appearance can be 
gained from the small conjectural restoration of it in 
the same room. From this we see that its body was 
surrounded by nine panels and that it was supported 
by seven columns, four of which were composed of 
sculptured groups of figures. 

Turning to the remaining portions, we find the 
central support, a graceful pillar encircled by the three 
Christian Graces, erect and lithe women's figures, with 
small reliefs of the Arts and Philosophy below. One 
of the other columns represents the City of Pisa as a 
crowned woman with two sucklings at her breast. 
Justice, Strength, Temperance, and Prudence gather 
round her. The third column is formed by an alle- 
gorical figure of Imperial Government, with the four 
Evangelists at its feet. Two single figures of Hercules 
and S. Michael seem to have been parts of another, 
and represent the greatest pagan and the greatest 
Christian warriors. 

Besides these are the seven panels, which, with the 
two in the Duomo, surrounded the upper part of the 
pulpit. So beautiful are these, with such a combina- 
tion of the fiercest dramatic passion and romantic 
loveliness, that words fail to describe them. The 
development from Niccolo's stern conceptions of the 
same scenes is marvellous. In the Nativity here, 
Madonna is no queenly Roman, but a tender young 
mother timidly lifting the coverlet to gaze at her babe. 
The nurse dips her hand into the water to test its 
temperature before bathing the Child, an action that 
betrays a new appreciation and study of nature. The 
landscape, too, with the shepherds and their flocks, 
is romantic to a wonderful degree, considering the 
simplicity of the means by which the impression is 
308 



Pictures and Sculpture 

conveyed. The group formed by the Madonna and 
Child and the kneeling king in the Adoration of the 
Magi, expresses the same union of grace, realism, and 
passion. The whole being of the king is thrilled by 
passionate reverence as he kisses the foot that the 
merry Babe thrusts out playfully towards him. 

A panel representing the Presentation in the Temple 
and the Flight into Egypt follows, and then the 
Massacre of the Innocents. Herod sits above, his 
simple gesture the last word of kingliness. Below 
him is the seething crowd of soldiers wresting the 
babes from women who are turned to furies by 
outraged mother-love. Others clasp dead babies 
frantically to their bosom, or gaze with half-crazy, 
incredulous amazement at the impossible, which has 
become possible. The beauty, the tragedy, and the 
fury of all this, in spite of an overcrowded composition, 
is one of the miracles of art ; most of all in its power 
of conveying these sensations to the spectator. The 
Betrayal, Condemnation, and Scourging of Christ follows. 
It is divided in interest, but the figure of Christ, blind- 
foldedand bound,is theimageof tragedy personified. The 
climax of passion reached in the Massacre of the Innocents 
is almost equalled by the Crucifixion, with the writhing 
thief, the brutal executioners, the anguished, fainting 
virgin. Then comes a vision of the Elect, that half of 
the Last Judgement, whose complementary panel with 
the Damned is in the Duomo. But how vividly the 
scene is visualised. What love and worship is in Our 
Lady's face, as with joined hands she turns to her 
divine Son who does all things well. What startling 
flash of a greater day lights up the faces of the newly 
risen. 

So vividly did Giovanni express the essential sig- 
nificance of action, that he created types which were 
almost imperishable and became the common heritage 

39 



Story of Pisa 

of Italian artists for many a generation. They were 
the types of common life. His was not the tempera- 
ment to enter into the mysteries of religion ; he used 
his faculty of creation for the pure aesthetic joy of it. 

The staircase, hung with portraits of the grand 
dukes, leads up to the Sala degl* Anuuu, It contains 
good Flemish and Florentine tapestries of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries, interesting choir-books, and 
the gay banners that were carried by the various 
squadrons in the Giuoco del Ponte. Here are the 
white folds of the Mattacino squadron, a mountebank 
in the centre driving a dragon and a lion. The red 
and white of S. Michele is here too, with its flaming 
star, the blue and yellow of S. Marco, and the blue 
and white of S. Maria. The squadron of the Dolphin 
has a blue banner with the device of a yellow dolphin. 
S. Martino is red, white, and black, and the boar of 
S. Antonio ramps upon a red field. S. Michele 
bears the balance and the sword, and all the others 
have their appropriate devices. Even here, with no 
air to stir their ample folds, how gay they look. When 
they were borne through the city all fluttering and 
bellying, the streets must have looked like flower-gardens. 

Sala I. has early Pisan illuminations and needlework ; 
among the former is an interesting fourteenth-century 
genealogical tree of Christ, painted on parchment. 
No. 4 is a fragment of the great girdle with which the 
Duomo was decked on festal days. On a crimson 
damask ground it has five plaques of silver-gilt, twelve 
small Pisan crosses, four enamelled disks, and it con- 
tains eighty-four precious stones. The plaques repre- 
sent S. John the Evangelist, SS. Peter and Paul, 
Christ in the Garden, S. Luke, and the Decollation 
of S. John the Baptist. On the largest of the disks is 
a figure of a saint, perhaps S. Augustine. 

The disappearance and the destruction of this in- 



Pictures and Sculpture 

teresting girdle is wrapped in obscurity. All we know 
for certain is that it was the habit of the Commune 
to pawn it when in straits for money ; and it is possible 
that an occasion came when it was not redeemed, and 
that, consequently, it was broken up and sold. But 
one of the mediaeval chroniclers declares that Pietro 
Gambacorti and his family were the culprits. " They 
broke faith and took it," he writes, "those thievish 
traitors the Gambacorti, whom we may compare unto 
Gano. But by a miracle of God all who put their 
hands to the evil work ended badly, many dying violent 
deaths. They confessed how they destroyed it, and 
then they were put to the torture of the strappado in the 
sacristy of the Duomo, because they would not give 
back the girdle, the chalices, the silver, and other rich 
and noble things belonging to the church. . . . And 
when they broke up the girdle, tearing it all to pieces, 
the little nails alone were worth more than 300 florins, 
and the buckle and its tongue were each 2 feet 8 inches 
in length. The said traitors made among themselves 
a computation of the girdle, and said it was worth 
more than 10,000 florins; but it was really worth 
much more. And so it went ill with those hounds, 
enemies of God and of men. If they could work such 
treachery and betrayal against the things of God, what 
would they not have found in their hearts to do against 
men."* 

Nos. 5-7 is the mass-purse of Pope Gelasius II., 
who consecrated the Duomo, embroidered in silk 
and gold, with the representation of a pope in full 
pontificals. No. 8 is an altar-frontal of 1325, worked 
with a very lovely Byzantine coronation of the Virgin ; 
No. 14, the pluvial of Pope Gelasius, a wonderful 
piece of embroidery on crimson damask. 

1 MS. Storie di Pisa, Anon., Magliabech, class xxv., codex 
366. 



Story of Pisa 

The following rooms contain pictures of the thirteenth 
to the eighteenth centuries : Sala II. has a number of 
crucifixes of the Byzantine and of the Pisan schools of 
the thirteenth century. No. 17 is by Giunta Pisano 
himself, and only serves to show that instead of giving 
a new impulse to these gloomy works, he left them 
more decadent than before. It is, however, so changed 
by ill-treatment and neglect, and by subsequent igno- 
rant restoration, that very little of the original work 
remains, and Giunta is better judged from the crucifix 
that formerly belonged to the convent of S. Anna, 
and now preserved in the church of S. Ranieri. 
No. 9, a Crucifixion belonging to the Pisan school of 
the fourteenth century, is said to have belonged to 
Pietro Gambacorti, and the nearly obliterated kneeling 
figure at the foot of the cross is supposed to be his 
portrait. The arms of the family appear on a shield, 
the walls of Pisa are represented in the background, 
and over them appear the Duomo, the Leaning Tower, 
the Torre Guelfa, etc. 

Sala III. has some more early Pisan works, including 
two Madonnas by Deodato Orlandi, a pupil of Ber- 
linghieri, with whom the Pisan Guild of Painters surely 
reached the lowest possible ebb. One of them, No. 4, 
is signed : A.D. MCCCI DEODATUS ORLANDI ME PINXIT. 
Having thus followed the retrogression of this school 
to its dregs, it is an enlivening contrast to turn to some 
exquisite works by one of the greatest painters of the 
Sienese school, Nos. 16 to 19 and 21 to 23 namely, 
seven panels by Simone Martini, which formed the pre- 
della of the S. Caterina polyptych, of which the larger 
portions are in the Seminario Arcivescovile. Each of 
them contain two half-figures of saints : S. Stephen and 
S. Apollonia, S. Gregory the Great with S. Luke, 
S. Ursula with S. Laurence, S. Agnes and S. Am- 
brose, S. Thomas Aquinas and S. Augustine, S. 
312 



Pictures and Sculpture 

Nicholas and S. Mary Magdalene. The seventh has 
a dead Christ between S. Mark and Mary Virgin. 
They have gold backgrounds, and are thoroughly 
Sienese in character, particularly in the colouring, 
dainty and firm in drawing, and full of feeling. No. 
20, S. John Baptist with SS. James and Paul, and a 
prophet in the gable, is one of the larger panels of the 
same altar piece. No. 39, S. Ursula in the act of Saving 
the City of Pisa, by Bruno di Giovanni, was painted 
for S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno. The saint appears as 
protector of the city. She is clad in a royal mantle 
emblazoned all over with the ghibelline eagle, and leans 
forward, supporting herself on a staff with the banner 
of the Commune, to draw Pisa out of a raging river 
full of most lively fish. Pisa is a slight girlish figure, 
her dress covered with the imperial eagles. The 
Almighty above stretches out His hand to stay the 
flood. On the right are Ursula's maidens, grave 
stately creatures in wimples. Though not a strong pic- 
ture, it is graceful and lovable, besides being extremely 
decorative. Nos. 41, 45, and 46 are small fourteenth- 
century Florentine pictures of the school of Giotto, 
with scenes from the Life of S. Galgano, delicately 
finished in the style of miniatures. The rest of the 
pictures in this room are Florentine and Sienese of the 
fourteenth century. No. 43 is a Nativity, perhaps by 
Traini, but a rather inferior work, in which God the 
Father appears above, angels and monk -shepherds 
standing on a rock to the right. Between Salas III. 
and IV. is a rather attractive, but not remarkable, 
Madonna Enthroned, signed, Andrea de Pisas me 
pinsit 1490. 

Sala IV. has more Pisan, Sienese, and Tuscan 
pictures of the fourteenth century. No. 1 8, S. Romu- 
aldo and S. Boniface, is of the Sienese school of the 
fourteenth century, and though crude in treatment is 






Story of Pisa 

full of expression and feeling. No. 20, S. Dominic, 
by Traini, is the central panel of a triptych whose two 
wings are in the Seminario Arcivescovile. The saint, 
in the habit of the Order, is represented with his 
emblems, the book and the lily; his figure not wanting 
in dignity. In the pinnacle is the Redeemer in the act 
of benediction. The work, with its fine firm outlines 
and good draperies, is very like his S. Thomas Aquinas 
in technique, and like that, also, more Sienese than 
Florentine. No. 33, a polyptych with the Madonna 
and Child, is by Giovanni di Niccola, a fourteenth- 
century Pisan painter. 

In Sala V. the pictures are chiefly of the fourteenth 
and fifteenth centuries. No. 6, Madonna and Child, 
by Barnaba da Modena, one of his best and most 
important works, is signed, rather indistinctly, Barnabas 
de Mut'ina Pinxit . . . Gives et Mercatores Pisani Pro 
Salute. ... It was one of four pictures he painted in 
Pisa when summoned to finish the series of S. Ranieri 
frescoes in the Campo Santo, a work which for some 
unknown reason he never executed. No. 8, a Madonna, 
also signed by Barnaba, was painted at the same time 
for the church of S. Francesco ; it recalls in composi- 
tion his picture in the church of S. Giovanni Battista 
at Alba, and another in the gallery at Turin. He has 
returned to Byzantine methods in this picture, though 
without conviction, which gives it an archaistic appear- 
ance. No. 8 bis, is a Madonna and Child, by Spinelli 
Aretino, probably contemporary with his frescoes in 
the Campo Santo. In No. 17, S. Anthony, S. James, 
and S. John the Baptist, Lorenzo di Niccolo Gerini 
carries on the traditions of his father, Niccolo di Pietro 
Gerini. No. 22 is a S. Donnino, by Taddeo di Bar- 
tolo, with a very charming crucifixion on the back. 
No. 26 is a Madonna, by Gentile da Fabriano, one of 
the greatest treasures of the museum. Seated on a 

314 



Pictures and Sculpture 

cushion, with the Babe on her lap, the sweet young 
mother looks down on him with musing delight and 
wonder. The gold work is exquisite, and there is a 
dainty grace and finish in every detail which makes 
Burckhardt say that in this picture Gentile shows him- 
self the Fra Angelico of Umbria. No. 27, The 
Mystical Marriage of S. Catherine of Siena, by a 
Pisan painter of the fifteenth century, is an originally- 
composed picture. 

The first picture in Sala VI. deserves attention : a 
S. Ursula, in a Gothic frame, possibly by Bernardino 
di Mariotto. The saint is standing against a gold 
background in a red and gold brocade mantle ; at her 
feet is the inscription, Sea Orsula Regina di Bretagna. 
Above is the Trinity, and below are small scenes from 
her life. Originally the left wing of a triptych, its 
naive and sweet central panel is No. 19 in Sala VII., 
and the right wing is No. 28 in this same Sala VI., 
representing S. Eulalia di Barcelona. No. 7 is by 
Fra Angelico, a painted banner, representing the 
Redeemer, executed for the church of S. Domenico. 
The full-length figure is simple and majestic, and one 
of the most beautiful that Fra Angelico ever painted. 
No. 8 is the Raising of Lazarus, of the school of the 
Lorenzetti, a remarkable composition for the fourteenth 
century. No. 13, S. Sebastian, of the Umbro-Floren- 
tine school of the fifteenth century, with the saint 
relieved against the sky, is interesting. Zanobi Machia- 
velli, the pupil of Benozzo Gozzoli, is represented by 
No. 20, the Madonna Enthroned, with SS. Francis, 
Ranieri, Vincent, and Zanobius ; it is signed, Opus. 
Zanobii . . . de Machiavellis. It is much in the manner 
of Benozzo. Close by is No. 21, SS. Sebastian and 
Roch, attributed to Domenico Ghirlandaio. His hand 
is apparent in part of the picture, but the larger portion 
is the work of his assistants. Sebastian leans against a 



Story of Pisa 

column with red drapery, a smart angel bearing his 
martyr's palm. S. Roch is tall and splendidly built ; 
his tunic is greenish-blue, his mantle grey-purple. Both 
figures are relieved against a parapet through which a 
characteristic landscape is visible. It is an early work, 
and Pollaiuolesque in manner. According to Vasari it 
belonged to the Jesuates of S. Girolamo, to whom it 
was given by Leo X., whose arms appear on shields. 
At a later period it hung for a time in the church of 
S. Anna. Two other pictures by Domenico Ghir- 
landaio have been recently acquired, but are not ex- 
hibited in the Museo Civico. Both, also, come from 
the church of S. Anna, where they hung until recently. 
A Madonna Enthroned, in a niche, is the first, with 
S. Jerome and another saint on the left, and S. Anthony 
and another on the right, besides the kneeling Tobias 
and his angel. A sweet, rather timid, picture, it was 
entirely repainted, together with the following picture, 
about seventy years ago, and is not in very good 
condition. The second is another Madonna Enthroned, 
with SS. Lawrence and Dorothea on the right, and 
SS. Stephen and Catherine on the left. With all the 
sweetness of the first picture, it is much better preserved. 
These appear to be the pictures mentioned by Vasari as 
painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio for the church of 
S. Girolamo, belonging to the Jesuates. 

No 23 is a Madonna Enthroned, with SS. Benedict, 
Scholastica, Ursula, and John Capristrana, by Benozzo 
Gozzoli. In spite of the dulled colour this is one of 
his most important panels, with a Virgin rather of 
Beltraffio's type. It was painted for the nuns of S. 
Benedetto a Ripa d'Arno. No. 24, S. Anna 'with the 
Virgin and Child on her knees, is also certainly by 
Benozzo. In the gable above is God the Father, on 
the right a tiny kneeling nun, on the left are two young 
women with a good deal of charm and ease of pose. 



Pictures and Scu/pture 

The background is a diapered curtain, and the whole 
is a little precious. Its provenance is uncertain. 
Polloni and Grassi say that it came from S. Marta, 
the inventory of the gallery from S. Domenico. No. 
27, S. Paul, is an early work by Masaccio. The 
saint, in a yellow dress relieved against a gold back- 
ground, holds a drawn sword in his right hand, a book 
in his left. Not a very characteristic work. 

In a corner room is S. Catherine of Alexandria, a 
sixteenth- century Dutch picture, attributed somewhat 
doubtfully to Lucas van Leyden. 

This leads us to Sola VII. Here note No. 6, the 
Madonna Enthroned, probably by RafTaellino di Carli. 
The Madonna is between four saints, with an angel on 
either side, against a background of elaborate open 
arches. It was originally in the inner oratory of the 
nuns at S. Matteo, and the predella that formerly hung 
in that church almost certainly belonged to it. The 
latter has come into the possession of the Museo Civico, 
together with the triptych by Pierin del Vaga, above 
which it hung in the church of S. Matteo. Neither 
are as yet placed in the gallery, but this seems a con- 
venient moment to describe them. The predella by 
Raffaellino di Carli includes two small scenes, The 
Adoration of the Magi and The Massacre of the 
Innocents, with many charming and gracefully-arranged 
little figures, some of which have a certain suggestion 
of the Ferrara-Bolognese school, although the work in 
general is distinctly Umbrian in type. The triptych 
by Pierin del Vaga has on the left a bishop in green 
vestments, in the centre the Madonna seated on the 
ground at a low table, on which the Child lies asleep, 
with sewing things in her hand. S. Joseph is asleep. 
The painting is curiously Venetian, particularly in the 
saint on the right. 

Among the many sixteenth and seventeenth-century 



Story of Pisa 

pictures, No. 19, the Madonna and Saints, is a large 
work by Sodoma. The Madonna is enthroned between 
SS. Sebastian and Joseph on one side, SS. Peter and 
John the Baptist on the other. SS. Mary Magdalen 
and Catherine are in the foreground. The life-size 
figures disposed in a rich landscape are of the same 
type as those in the picture of the chapel in the Palazzo 
Pubblico at Siena. It was painted for S. Maria della 
Spina in 1542, and is somewhat ruined and very 
unequal. No. 22 is a fragment of a fresco by Domenico 
Ghirlandaio. 

Sala f^III. contains mediocre portraits and Guido 
Reni's unpleasant Sacred and Profane Love. 

Sala IX. has various portraits of some historical 
interest, including those of the Grand Duke Leopoldo I., 
Maria Luisa, his wife, and Anna Maria de' Medici, 
wife of John William, Elector Palatine. 

A room to the left has a collection of Pisan seals 
and coins. The first seal of the city bore the imperial 
eagle, with the legend, URBIS ME DIGNUM PISAN E NOSCITE 
SIGNUM. A seal with the Virgin and Child and the 

mOttO, VIRGINIS ANCILLA SUM PISA QUIETA SUB ILLE, 

appears to have been used at the same time alternatively. 
Both may be seen here ; the latter is so fine in design 
as to be attributed to Nino or to Andrea Pisano. The 
seal of the Consuls of the Merchants, with the device 
of an eagle grasping a bale of merchandise and the 
inscription, s. CONSULUM MERCATORUM PISANE CIVITATIS, 
is of great interest, as being the oldest of its kind 
known to exist. The seals of the Guild of Wool 
Merchants (Arte della Lana) and the Office of Roads 
(Curia delle Vie) should also be noted, as well as that 
of the Pisan Jews. The seal of the Consuls of the 
Sea is represented by an impression from the original 
in the Museo Nazionale of Florence. Of the religious 
seals, that of S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno is noteworthy 
318 



Pictures and Sculpture 

as the record of one of the oldest monasteries in Pisa. 
It bears the seated effigy of S. Paul and the inscription, 

S MONASTtRII SANCTI PAULI AD RIPAM ARNI. A Collection 

of Roman and Byzantine coins found in and near the 
Piazza del Duomo, and the church of S. Pietro a 
Grado, bear interesting testimony to the Roman epoch 
in Pisa. 

Pisan coins are well represented. Money was pro- 
bably coined in the city from an earlier period, but the 
first exact information we have concerning the mint 
is of the eighth century. The privilege of coining 
money was confirmed by Frederick I. in 1155, and 
again by Charles VIII. in 1495, after the first 
Florentine occupation. The mint perished with the 
independence of Pisa in i 509, but was re-opened for a 
short time by Ferdinando I. in 1595. 

The collection begins with a Republican coin of 
Byzantine design, followed by coins of Frederick I., 
Frederick II., Henry VII., and Charles VIII. 
Among the rare pieces are a golden coin of the 
Lombard epoch, with the motto, GLORIOSA PISA ; a 
gold sequin of Charles VII I. ; various eagles, with the 
legend, HERICUS( Henry VI I.); and grossoni of Frederick 
II. The coins of several other Tuscan towns are 
represented, including, of course, those of Florence, 
which became current in Pisa after I 509. 

Sola X. has fragments of sculpture of the fourteenth 
century from the Baptistery, of eleventh and twelfth- 
century sculpture from the fa9ade of the Duomo, 
and some remains of the fourteenth century from S. 
Maria della Spina. The famous inscription from the 
fortress of La Verruca, hitherto regarded as the earliest 
in the vernacular, the date being interpreted to mean 
1 103, is now considered by some authorities to read 
1503. It runs thus: A. DI. DODICI. DI. GUGNO. MCoin. 

Through this room is the Saletta del Giuoco del 



Story of Pisa 

Ponte, where the relics of this much-loved pastime are 
preserved. Here we see prints of the game as played 
at different epochs. One of them is dedicated to the 
sublime merit of the most illustrious Mr George King 
and the most illustrious lady, Isabella, Countess of 
Lanesborough, and in it Milord and Milady are seen 
honouring the game with their presence, their boat in 
the foreground sheltered beneath the aegis of the 
British flag. There is also a model of the Ponte di 
Mezzo, with little dolls disposed like the squadrons in 
order of battle. Here, too, are remains of the quaint 
armour worn by the combatants, and several of the 
Targoni, or shields, which were their only offensive or 
defensive weapons. These are gaily painted, and each 
of them bears its own vain-glorious motto. Senza 
temer tempeste, " I fear no tempests," says one. Num- 
quam retrorsum^ " Never behind ! " another boasts. 
A third says very quaintly : 

Decrepito e Vecchio Sono 
Portatemi nspetto o vi bastono ! 

" I am old and decrepit, treat me with respect or I will 
beat you." Yet another has this ardent motto over 
the device of a flaming heart : M'arde d y onor lajlamma^ 
" The flame of honour consumes me." Another 
charming feature of the room is the amusing collection 
of sonnets and allocutions connected with the game, 
on such subjects, to take one at random, as : 
"Applause of the incomparable valour of the troop 
" called the Guastatori, armed by Sebastiano Jacopo 
" Parenti and Ranieri Lucchini, for the most glorious, 
" most complete and most singular victory gained by the 
" valorous cavaliers of the South over those of the North 
"with an equal number of combatants, on the 2yth of 
"April in the year 1776." 

Sala XI. has Florentine tapestry of the sixteenth 
320 



Pictures and Sculpture 

and seventeenth centuries, and some sixteenth-century 
costumes, which were formerly used to clothe wooden 
statues of the Madonna and saints at the religious fes- 
tivals, and Sala XII. a most interesting collection of 
early Pisan and other sculpture. There are many 
noteworthy pieces. Most important among them is No. 
25, The Annunciation, by Nino Pisano. The Virgin 
and the announcing angel are life-size wooden figures, 
reminiscent both in conception and feeling of his repre- 
sentation of the same subject in the church of S. 
Francesco. Another Annunciation, Nos. 3 and n, a 
fourteenth- century work of the Pisan school, has a 
painted wooden figure of the Virgin, with a dress that is 
now red, but shows traces of different colouring beneath. 
The angel's robe is white, dotted with red flowers, his 
mantle blue. It belonged to the convent of S. 
Domenico. No. 5 is a fifteenth-century Florentine 
terra-cotta bust of the Redeemer, painted to imitate life. 
Nos. 8 and 9 are fragments of wood carving from the 
Baptistery and the choir of the Duomo. No. 13, a 
majolica tondo of the Madonna and Child, is a fifteenth- 
century work of the school of the Delia Robbia, as is 
also No. I 5, The Virgin Adoring the Child. Next to 
it, No. 1 6, is a quaint fifteenth-century painted wooden 
statue of S. Ubaldesca, a Pisan saint, and No. 20 is a 
somewhat similar work of the fourteenth century, 
representing an Unknown Female Saint. No. 2 1 
belongs to another school, that of Matteo Civitale of 
Lucca ; it formed the central part of a Confessional and 
has finely carved panels. The Florentine school of 
the sixteenth century claims No. 23, a beautiful 
Ciborium, with adoring angels and a bust of God the 
Father. Nos. 17 and 24 are portions of the row of 
decorative heads on the outside of the Campo 
Santo. 

Sala XIII. has rather a dreary collection of 
x 321 



Story of Pisa 

pictures of the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and 
nineteenth centuries. 

THE ARCHIEPISCOPAL SEMINARY 

near S. Caterina, contains some of the most precious 
pictures in Pisa, six tempera panels by Simone Martini. 
These formed the greater part of the polyptych of 
which one panel and seven small predella are in the 
Museo Civico. Painted sometime after 132O 1 for the 
church of S. Caterina, at the commission of Frate 
Pietro of the monastery connected with the church, it 
was removed thence after a fire in 1651, and broken 
up. Nowhere is Simone's passionate love of beauty 
better seen, or his exquisite colour and almost Japanese 
precision of line. Nowhere does he charm us more. The 
first panel has a half-length figure of a portentously- 
grave S. Peter Martyr, whose cowl forms a beautiful 
line round his neck ; the second, of S. Dominic, with the 
lily. These two solemn faces loom out from a simple 
mass of dark draperies. Then comes S. Mary Mag- 
dalene, a peculiarly lovely figure. She holds the pot 
of ointment in very dainty fingers, and has an exquisite 
green veil, lined with red. S. Catherine of Alexandria 
is, perhaps, the most lovable of all. The grace of her 
attitude is poignantly felt, and the harmony of colour 
made by her brown eyes, 'exquisite peach-like com- 
plexion, veiled reddish-blonde hair, and gold-brocaded 
dress is quite entrancing. Not least among her charms 
are the hands, whose perfection of line is memorable, 
in spite of the fact that the one with the book is re- 
painted. Except for that, this panel, more fortunate 
than the others, is in an excellent condition. The next 
in order, which has suffered terribly, is S. John the 

1 He also executed the picture on the high altar in the 
church of Santa Caterina at Pisa, for the preaching friars, 
Vasari, Life of Simone and Lif>j>o Memmi, 

322 



Pictures and Sculpture 

Evangelist, a perfect presentment of the disciple that 
Jesus loved. His young beardless manhood is gentle and 
sweet, well calculated to win the affection of all men. 
Last of the series is a panel with the Virgin and Child. 
This has been even more repainted than the others, 
but the grace of the design is still delightfully evident, 
while Simone's old bondage to Duccio, his master, is 
obvious in the type of Our Lady's countenance. On a 
border beneath is the inscription, Symon de Senis m . . . 
pinxit. The S. John the Baptist is merely a copy of 
the original in the Museo Civico. The panels are 
pointed, and two small figures occupy each gable. 
All are beautiful, but most of all the figures of the 
archangels Michael and Gabriel, which have an in- 
comparable incisiveness of line and jewel-like quality 
of colour. Gabriel is clad in the same gold robes 
as in Simone's great Annunciation in the Uffizi, and, 
like that announcing angel, bears a beautifully-drawn 
olive-branch. 

Eight small panels by Traini hang in the same room. 
Originally the side pieces of a polyptych, they have 
long been divorced from the central panel, a full-length 
figure of S. Dominic in the Museo Civico. According 
to Vasari the altarpiece was executed for a member of 
the house of Coscia, who lies buried in the chapel 
of S. Domenico in S. Cuterina. But the inscription 
on the side-wings states that it was painted in the time 
of John Cocus, one of the Operarii of the church of 
S. Maria of Pisa, by Francesco Traini, for the repose 
of the soul of Albizzo della Statere. 1 In Albizzo's 
will, dated January 25, 1336, which still exists, there 
is a clause relating to the erection of an altar in S. 

1 Hoc Opus factum fuit Tempore Domini Johannis Coci 
Operarii Opere Majoris Ecclesie Sancte Marie pro Comuni 
Pisano, pro anima Domini Albisi de Staterus de Pe . . . 
supradicte, Franciscus Traini Pin. 

3 2 3 



Story of Pisa 

Caterina of Pisa, for which a picture was commissioned 
from Traini. Part of it was finished in April, 1345, 
it seems, on the authority of records that are still 
preserved, and the rest in the following January. 1 

Scenes from the Legend of S. Dominic are represented 
in the side panels. His birth is the first episode. 
Giovanna Aza, his mother, lies asleep, and two nurses 
watch over the babe, who seems to have come into the 
world with a nimbus round his tiny head. Next 
comes the Vision of Pope Innocent III., in which he 
sees the church upheld by the two hands of S. Dominic. 
The third panel has the Apparition of SS. Peter and 
Paul to the Saint, at the gate of the Lateran, and the 
fourth shows him in the act of burning heretical 
books, while the gospel lies unhurt in the heart of the 
fire. A second series begins with the double scene of 
the Death and Resurrection of Napoleone, nephew of 
Cardinal Fossanuova, S. Dominic by his prayers 
recalling him to life. After that, S. Dominic saves a 
boatload of pilgrims from drowning in the Garonne, 
during his residence in Toulouse. The third scene 
shows the miraculous dream of Guala, prior of Brescia. 
S. Dominic is seen lying on the ground with two 
ladders, supported by Christ and the Virgin, resting on 
his body, while angels carry his soul up their steps. 
With the Burial of the Saint the series ends. All the 
panels are collected in two frames, each of which is 
pinnacled, with figures of Daniel and Isaiah in the one 
gable, and Jeremiah and Ezekial in the other. There 
is a certain sweetness of feeling combined with a 
smooth monotony of execution throughout. The land- 
scape backgrounds are naively charming, the finish 
careful, and the action lively. More Sienese than 
Florentine, the prevailing character of these pleasant 
little pictures is that of Traini's other works. 
1 Memorie, Bonaini, pp. ij, iz, and 109. 

3H 



Pictures and Sculpture 

THE UNIVERSITY 

In this ancient seat of learning the university must 
not be forgotten. La Sapienza, the original building, 
has its entrance in Via S. Frediano, and nothing could 
be more typically Pisan than its sober brown walls. 
The gateway is surmounted by ancient shields display- 
ing the eagle of the emperor and the cross of the 
Commune, the shield of the Gherardesca, which once 
stood beside it, being now defaced. But these, and a 
Medicean coat-of-arms on the side facing Via della 
Sapienza, are all that break the monotony of the solid 
rectangular structure. Within is a large cloistered 
court. It is good, but simple, early Renaissance, in two 
Ionic Orders, with a delicate cornice. Lecture rooms 
surround it on the ground floor, while the former 
lodgings of the students above are occupied by the 
library and various offices. A good modern statue of 
Galileo, most famous son of the university, is in the 
great hall. 

Law has been studied in Pisa since the twelfth 
century, when lectures on jurisprudence were given by 
the renowned Burgundio. 1 He is referred to in the 
very laudatory inscription on his tomb as the " doctor 
of doctors, the jewel of praiseworthy and eternal 
masters." After his day the study of law was kept 
alive, but the university proper seems to owe its 
foundation to Count Fazio della Gherardesca, in 1338. 
"He caused the Piazza degF Anziani to be enlarged 
so that the nobility could walk there with the greater 
ease, and to increase the consequence of the city he 
proposed, with the full concurrence of the Elders and 
the Senate, to found a University. His intention was 

1 A document of 1 1 94 speaks of the study of jurisprudence 
and of the Pisan scholars, so that it must have been in 
existence for some time before that date. 

325 



Story of Pisa 

to invita the most learned doctors to lecture, and 
having rebuilt the Lecture Theatre of the Schools, he 
sent an ambassador to Pope Benedict XII., supplicating 
him of his clemency to authorize the imposition of 
tithes on all ecclesiastics for the maintenance of the 
professors. His Holiness refused the request, but the 
Pisans, who were determined to carry out their idea, 
proceeded to invite famous men of letters to Pisa. 
From the Acts of the Commune it appears that, in 
1340, Bartoli da Sassoferata was appointed at a salary 
of 150 florins of the value of three lire, and Messer 
Guido of Prato, a skilled physician and surgeon, at 
230 gold florins of the value of three lire of Pisan 
money." l 

The papal favour refused by Benedict XII. was 
accorded by Clement VI., who, in 1343, conferred 
the desired rights and privileges on the university. 2 
After that it increased and flourished until the reverses 
of the Republic, in 1407, caused a similar decline in its 
fortunes. Even the influence of Lorenzo the Magnifi- 
cent, who came to its aid in 1479, could not effect 
more than a partial recovery, during which the uni- 
versity building was begun, " in order that the 
Schools of all the faculties might be united in one 
suitable building." 3 But the plague broke out soon 
afterwards, devastating the city again and again. The 
survivors fled in dismay, Pisa was almost deserted, and 
the fortunes of the struggling university reached their 
lowest ebb. An appeal to Charles VIII. of France, 
in whom the Pisans had such touching faith, resulted 
in nothing but disappointment. Nor did a brighter day 

1 Annali di Pisa, Tronci, Hi. 160. 

2 The Bull, dated from Avignon on iii. non. Septem. con- 
ferring them, is still in the Archivio delle Riformazioni in 
Florence. 

3 Annali di Pisa, Tronci, ii. 252. 

3*6 






Pictures and Sculpture 

dawn until i 542, when Cosimo I. breathed new life 
into the moribund institution. He endowed it afresh 
with ecclesiastical tithes, and, after completing the 
university building, La Sapienza, he summoned the 
most famous professors from every land and founded 
several new chairs. But the city, being surrounded by 
stagnant marshes, was still at the mercy of fever and of 
plague, whose ravages were not to be stayed. Repeated 
outbursts occurred during the succeeding century, and 
even as late as the middle of the seventeenth century 
La Sapienza was so forsaken that grass grew all round 
it and the colleges were empty, " none," says an old 
writer, " running faster from the Plague than the 
Scholars, especially when it comes near the Schools." 
Supported by the succeeding grand-dukes, the uni- 
versity has had a prosperous career, with a period of 
meteoric brilliancy under Napoleon I., who interested 
himself greatly in it. It is still considered one of the 
best of the Italian universities. There are now about 
i ooo students and six faculties : Theology, Juris- 
prudence, Philosophy and Philology, Medicine and 
Surgery, Mathematics, and Natural Science. 

After Galileo, the brightest star that ever shone in 
the Pisan constellation, Andrea Vesalio, or Vesalius, 
the great anatomist, is perhaps the most widely-known 
light of the university. Born in Brussels, in 1514, he 
is considered the creator of the study of human 
anatomy, for which he had a passionate love. As a 
youth his days were spent in Paris, in the cemetery 
of the Innocents and on the hill of Montfaucon, 
quarrelling with other students for the corpses of 
malefactors to make skeletons of. Later he went to 
Italy, and was professor of anatomy at Padua from 
1540 to 1544, then at Bologna, and finally at Pisa. 
The first edition of his great book appeared at Basle 
in 1545, and brought him immediate fame. Students 

327 



Story of Pisa 

and teachers flocked from all parts to hear him lecture ; 
he was appointed physician to Charles V., and 
accompanied his royal master everywhere. He sub- 
sequently entered the service of Philip II., and while 
in Spain fell into the hands of the Inquisition, was 
accused of vivisecting a Spanish nobleman, and con- 
demned to death. Rescued with difficulty from the 
inquisitors, he was compelled to go on a pilgrimage to 
the Holy Sepulchre. On his way back to Italy he was 
wrecked off the coast of Zante, and perished of hunger, 
in 1564. 

The University Library is housed in La Sapienza, 
and occupies fourteen large rooms in the upper storey. 
In 1742, when first opened, it was of very modest 
proportions, consisting solely of books bequeathed to 
the university by two of its professors. From that 
time onwards it has grown steadily. The first large 
purchase was made about 1762, with funds provided 
by the State, of some 6000 volumes, and soon after- 
wards two important libraries were acquired. When 
the Grand-Duke Pietro Leopoldo broke up the 
Cesareo-Lotaringio-Palatina Library, many precious 
volumes fell to the share of Pisa, and are still dis- 
tinguished from the rest of the books by their calf 
binding stamped with the arms of the city of Nancy, 
the former seat of the Dukes of Lorraine to whom the 
library belonged. With the suppression of the 
monastery of S. Michele in 1788, of the colleges La 
Sapienza a residential house for students founded by 
Cosimo I. in the upper storey of the university build- 
ing Collegio Ferdinando, and, later, of the regular 
monastic Orders, many valuable books and manuscripts 
found their way into the library. Its greatest bene- 
factor, however, was Giuseppe Piazzini, who became 
librarian in 1823, when he transferred the library from 
its first inconvenient quarters in Via S. Maria to its 
328 



Pictures and Sculpture 

present roomy position, augmented it by large gifts of 
books, and bequeathed to it a considerable sum of 
money. His example has been largely followed, and 
the library has received many recent legacies and 
bequests. All branches of literature are represented 
on its shelves, which now contain more than 100,000 
books. Among the manuscripts of interest are a 
twelfth-century codex of the Latin Gospel of S. Luke, 
with notes and commentaries, a beautiful piece of 
workmanship, and a Liber Psalmorum of the same 
century. Of Incunabila, the most remarkable are 
Lactantius Firmanus, 1468 ; Tortellius Johannes, 
Aretinus, 1471 ; Dathus Augustinus, 1471 ; and 
Valturius Robertus, 1472. The celebrated Statuto 
di Pisa, the laws of the State which were drawn up 
during the government of the ill-fated Ugolino della 
Gherardesca, formerly belonged to the library, but 
was transferred to the Archivio di Stato some eighty 
years ago. 

The entrance to the library is through the main 
gateway of La Sapienza, in Via S. Frediano, and up 
the staircase to the left. Strangers are received with 
the utmost courtesy, and allowed to use the library 
without any troublesome formalities. 

Off-shoots of the university are numerous, the 
oldest of them being the Botanical Garden and the 
Natural History Museum, both in Via Solferino, 
the latter within the former. It is with a gasp of 
pleasure that one leaves the arid street for this cool 
green pleasance where there is shade in abundance, 
and rare and noble trees, besides palms, magnolias, 
mimosas, and many tropical rarities. But of form 
there is very little, and the heart of the lover of 
historic gardens sinks when it sees how carefully 
every trace of the past has been eliminated. The 
Natural History Museum stands opposite the garden 

329 



Story of Pisa 

gate, a plain building with a rocaille grotto in its 



Once, as we have seen, there was no room within 
the walls of Pisa for gardens. Since then the city has 
shrunk like a dry kernel, and many deserted corners 
have blossomed into green oases. Quite the most 
important of these is the Botanical Garden, or Garden 
of Simples, as it was once called. It was one of 
Cosimo I.'s innumerable foundations, instituted in 
1 544, and it claims two years' seniority over the 
Paduan garden, usually reputed the oldest in Italy. 
First planted on the Lung' Arno, between the arsenal 
and the church of S. Vito, it became known as the 
Orto Navale. Luca Ghino da Imola, a famous 
scientist, was summoned from Bologna to watch over 
it, and Cosimo caused Americi and the East Indies to 
be ransacked for rare trees and plants, which he 
lavished upon it. 

In 1563, however, another of his hobbies being in 
the ascendant, he abolished the garden to make room 
for a covered dock to house the huge galleys of the 
knights of S. Stefano, the so-called cales, which still 
exists. The plants were moved to temporary quarters 
near the old church of S. Viviani, where they re- 
mained for nearly thirty years. '["hen, in 1592, 
Grand-Duke Ferdinand I. moved the garden into its 
present position, buying land for the purpose from the 
widow of Alessandro Venerosi. Laid out on a much 
grander scale than before, by Guiseppe Benincasa, it is 
said to have been very beautiful. At the same time 
Ferdinand founded the Museum of Natural History, 
building it on part of the newly-acquired land. It 
contains fine collections of Tuscan ornithology and 
geology, the collection of rocks and fossil organic 
remains being perhaps the most complete in Italy. 

The old travellers often included a visit to the 

330 



Pictures and Sculpture 

museum and garden in their giro of the city. John 
Evelyn was there in 1644. He says: "Hence we 
went to the Coliedge to which joins a gallery so 
furnish'd with natural rarities, stones, minerals, shells, 
dry'd animals, skeletons, etc., as is hardly to be seen 
in Italy. To this the Physiq Garden lies, where is a 
noble palm tree and very fine water works." 

Hard upon his heels followed Richard Lassels. 
He was not interested in the garden, and frankly said 
so. " The Garden of Simples may be rare," is his 
verdict, "but we not understanding this Hearb 
Language hastened to the house of the Knights of 
S. Stephen." 

Further additions to the garden were made by 
Grand-Dukes Pietro Leopoldo and Leopoldo II. 
As late as 1836, of which date we have an engraving 
representing it, the water works admired by Evelyn 
survived, together with the formal parterres and clipped 
hedges. But now all these glories have departed. 

THE ARCHIVIO Di STATO, OR CITY ARCHIVES 

The lover of old books, bygone days, and the 
intricate paths of literature could wish for no greater 
happiness than to spend his days in one of the muni- 
cipal archives of Italy. They are to be found in 
every city ; they are nearly always housed in historic 
palaces. A singular silence and a sensation of busy 
leisure pervades them, while room after room, shelf 
after shelf, hold out the promise of delightful reve- 
lations. No livery suits books so well as the old 
vellum coats that are almost universal on their shelves, 
with here and there the gleam of faded gold and russet 
calf, and no titles charm the eye like those written in 
pale monkish script. But as we advance further into 
the penetralia of the archives even this antique garb 

331 



Story of Pisa 

gives place to a yet older one, or rather the books 
themselves give place to rolls of parchment with leaden 
or waxen seals attached, that crackle deliciously as 
they are unrolled and reveal the signature of an em- 
peror, a pope, a great artist, or a captain of the people. 
Here a document tells of the sale of a female slave in 
the tenth century, speaking with horrible minuteness 
of the number of her teeth and her every physical 
charm, there the elaborate signature of a twelfth- 
century tyrant sprawls across the broad page. Un- 
rolling another, a splendid genealogical tree displays 
itself. Springing out of Adam and Eve, its ramifica- 
tions include all the legendary and real heroes of the 
world, and culminate in the richly-blazoned and many- 
quartered shield of some noble nobody. 

The whole history of the city lies hidden in these 
dusty rolls for the student to extract. Here he may 
see the first gift of lands to the Church, the accounts 
of the building of the great mediaeval cathedral, and 
the privileges conferred on it by successive popes. 
He will note, too, the growth of the city, and read 
how it outgrew its cincture of walls, and perhaps im- 
posed a tax to enable them to be enlarged. The 
conflicts of the nobles with the people will fill many 
a sheet, while others record the statutes of a young 
and struggling community. 

But there is joy for the lover of beauty as well as 
for the student on these shelves. In the leisurely 
middle ages men found time to make even their legal 
documents beautiful, and one may spend a morning 
of tranquil happiness over the initial letters of one 
manuscript alone. It often proves a very epitome of 
its age, and shows in little how the knights looked 
when they were armed cap-a-pie and sat so upright on 
their high-peaked saddles. We see their sharp spurs 
and the cruel bits that torment their heavy thick- 

332 



Pictures and Sculpture 

necked steeds, and almost hear the trumpeter blow a 
gay flourish from that long trumpet of his with its 
beautifully-embroidered banner. On another page we 
see the same knights and squires seated at a banquet. 
Now they are sleek-haired, and instead of morion or 
helm wear the peaceful wreath round their well-oiled 
locks. They are clad in scarlet bravery, long gowns 
perchance, with scalloped edges and sleeves fully as 
fantastic as those of an angel in the old pictures, or of 
a fashionable lady of to-day. The minstrel in his 
striped cloak stands humbly in a corner twanging 
psaltery or lute. The door of the banqueting hall is 
set ajar, and there is revealed a vision of sleepy turn- 
spits lazily twirling the roast boar or peacock before a 
great fire, while Beppo the scullion stealthily extracts 
a sly morsel from my lord's pasty. Or the poor 
peasants dig and plough, sow their seed broadcast, and 
pull queer little harrows over their fields ; their tools 
and methods, their aprons and little wooden barrels for 
wine, nay, their very faces, the same as to-day. In 
the merry greenwood lords and ladies ride a-hawking 
on tall horses, hooded falcon on wrist, and there is 
amusement for some of us in noting that madonna is 
as mannish in her attire as any dress-refo*rmer of our 
generation. He and she ride hand in hand and eye in 
eye, but a little black devil lurks behind a tree, grin- 
ning with delight at all this innocent dalliance, because 
he knows how it will end. A whole world is en- 
closed within the covers, full of colour, sound, and 
delight. 

Upon the ancient walls of these old palaces, white- 
washed very likely, some faded picture may be seen, a 
dark portrait, perhaps, of some long-dead ruler of the 
city, or a presentment of her ancient walls and towers. 
The traveller is welcomed with the kindliest hospitality. 
He is given the freedom of shelf and cupboard, to 

333 



Story of Pisa 

which his path is made straight and easy by willing 
hands. 

Pisa is more than usually fortunate in the home of 
her archives. The Palazzo Gambacorti, notable both 
for architecture and for history, has long Gothic 
windows that let in the sun, and at the same time look 
down upon the rushing river, the beautiful sweep of 
the Lung' Arno, and the Ponte di Mezzo, on which 
the last echoes of the Battle of the Bridge have 
hardly yet died away. A long range of lofty halls, 
illuminated above with the recognizances of the great 
Pisan families, contain the ancient archives nearest to 
all scholarly hearts, while less noble chambers house 
the commercial papers of the city of to-day. Not 
content, however, with such spacious quarters, the 
papers and documents have leapt right across the street 
and installed themselves at their ease in the big square 
hall over the Loggie di Banchi. 

Beginning in order, we pass through an ante-room 
in which hangs a fine full-length portrait by Bronzino, 
perhaps, or by one of his scholars, of the Grand-Duke 
Cosimo I., grand-ducal robes and all, wearing the pretty 
Tuscan crown with its scarlet fleur-de-lis which also 
tips the summit of his sceptre with its little flame. 
Cosimo's gaze is fixed, appropriately enough, on the 
opposite side of the room. There stands a model of 
one of those knightly galleys of the Order of S. 
Stefano that he fought so hard to institute, and that 
did such stout service against the infidel corsairs. 

The actual archives, arranged in their present order 
between 1 860 and 1865, begin in the next room. 
Here are stored the voluminous records of all the 
suppressed monastic houses of Pisa and her subject 
villages. There are the papers of some sixty of them. 
It is an imposing sight, and the serried ranks of stout 
volumes reaching from floor to ceiling help us to 

334- 



Pictures and Sculpture 

realise better than anything else the number and the 
importance of the monasteries in an old-world Italian 
city. Under the dry form of leases and inventories, 
of transfers of land, and of privileges bestowed, what 
dramas must be concealed between these covers to him 
who knows how to read. Faith and credulity, 
generosity and avarice, simplicity and cunning, jostle 
one another. 

The papers of the hospitals follow, ancient and 
venerable foundations dating back to the early middle 
ages, of the Misericordia, the Jay Confraternities, and 
the Companies of Discipline. 

The University records fill many shelves, as do 
those of the Opera del Duomo, a collection of the 
greatest interest to the art historian ; and the municipal 
records of the Republic are finally reached. These 
form a goodly company. Of parchment charters alone 
there are some fifteen thousand nine hundred and 
ninety-five, of which the oldest goes back to 780, a 
collection considered one of the most remarkable in 
Italy, although its greatest treasures, the Pisan Codex 
and the Codex of Justinian, were Jong ago carried off 
by the Florentines to enrich the Laurentian Library. 
There is a document signed by Frederick Barbarossa, 
dated from Pavia on April 6, 1162, referring to the 
military service to be rendered to him by the city of 
Pisa. Another, purporting to bear the signature of 
Richard Cceur-de-Lion, and the date 1192, is merely 
a late copy. There is a great array of statute 
books, solid volumes with vellum pages and stout 
wooden boards, adorned within by many beautiful 
miniatures. One of the most important, historically as 
well as artistically, is the Judicial Statutes of 1161, 
with additions showing that they remained in force at 
least until 1559. Written for the most part in the 
clear and delicate hand of the early fourteenth century 

335 



Story of Pisa 

(1307), it has some very good initial letters. The 
Breve Pisani Communis, also of the fourteenth 
century, includes a beautiful Madonna, the heraldic 
device and protector of the city, and other illumina- 
tions. Another fine book is the Statute di Pisa, of 
October n and of July 26, written about 1312. The 
so-called Statute of Ugolino, written during the life- 
time of that unfortunate ruler, contains more Breve 
Pisani Communis, the Breve Popoli et Compagniarum, 
and dates back to 1286. Altogether there are forty- 
eight thousand volumes of manuscripts and old prints. 

The modern archives, containing the commercial 
and judicial records of later days, are less interesting, 
save to the specialist ; but the Loggie di Banchi, 
reached by a bridge over the street, contains not only 
the complete archives of the Order of S. Stefano, but 
the very interesting and curious records of the Consuls 
of the Sea, of the Office of Fiumi e Fossi, and of the 
brief Kingdom of Etruria, of Napoleonic origin. 

THE OPERA DEL DUOMO, on the north side of the 
Piazza del Duomo, carries on the long, low line of the 
Campo Santo eastward of the dal Pozzo chapel. Its 
simple Gothic exterior has no ornament to boast of, but 
the form of the windows and the general structure seem 
to belong to the thirteenth century. The ground floor 
has a charming open loggia, painted with RarTaelesque 
arabesques of the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
by Stefano Maruscelli, it is said. On the upper floor 
is the large hall, with a fine timbered roof and painted 
frieze of the early Renaissance. To the right of the 
door is a ruined fresco, the Madonna Enthroned, with 
SS. John the Baptist and Luke, belonging to the 
Pisan school of the thirteenth century ; a poor work, 
but rich in colour. Opposite the door is a very 
badly-repainted panel, another Madonna Enthroned, 
this time with SS. John the Baptist and Peter. The 






Pictures and Sculpture 

heads are the work of a Tuscan painter of the early 
sixteenth century ; the rest is a modern pasticcio. 

Inscriptions on the wall record the visit of the 
Emperor Charles IV., in 1356, and of Charles VIII. 
of France, in 1494. The former event is historical, 
and took place the second time that the Emperor 
was in Pisa, on his way back from his coronation in 
Rome. The Palazzo degl' Anziani was his first 
resting-place, but driven out by a fire that partly 
destroyed it he took refuge here in the lodgings of the 
canons. As to the visit of Charles VIII., although 
the majority of writers state that he actually lodged 
here, it seems to have been limited to a banquet at 
which he was entertained by the canons. There can 
be no doubt that he spent the whole of his time at 
Pisa at the Palazzo Pieracchi, known afterwards as 
Palazzo Medici. 

The Chapter Library is also housed in the palace of 
the Opera, and includes a collection of documents 
relating to the privileges and immunities conferred on 
the canons by various popes and emperors. Besides 
these are the records of payments made to the crafts- 
men employed at the Duomo, and the account-books 
belonging to the building of the Baptistery. The 
stately signature of the Countess Matilda appears on 
two parchments. In the first, dated June 7, 1 100, she 
promises her protection to the cathedral body, and con- 
firms their tenure of lands and of various possessions ; 
in the second, dated August 27, 1078, she confers 
lands upon the bishops and canons. An interesting 
note from Giovanni, a Pisan priest, deals with the 
imprisonment and death of Ugolino della Gherardesca. 
Besides these are some fine graduals and antiphonaries 
of the fifteenth century, whose glowing pages are 
adorned with exquisite miniatures by Pisan, Sienese, 
and French artists. But the gem of the whole collec- 

Y 337 



Story of Pisa 

tion is a fine picture by Lorenzo di Niccolo Gerini, 
son and pupil of Niccolo di Pietro Gerini, and one of 
the ablest of the later Giottesques. It will be found 
in the Sala delle Adunanze Capitolare, and represents 
three almost life-sized Saints. S. Ranieri is on the 
left, a pope or bishop in the centre, and S. Michael the 
archangel on the right. It originally formed one wing 
of a triptych that Lorenzo painted for the Duomo, of 
which the central panel, with the Madonna and Child, 
has disappeared ; the other wing, No. 1 7 in Sala V. in 
the Museo Civico, has already been mentioned. The 
portion we have before us was preserved for many 
years in the capitular church, S. Spirito, which formed 
part of the lodgings of the canons, and stood between 
the palace of the Opera and the Duomo. When S. 
Spirito was demolished it was transported hither. The 
figures are strong and stately in character, the colour 
rich. The central figure wears a chasuble of the 
Greek form, that was also adopted by the English 
Church. It is of an exquisite mulberry colour, en- 
riched with some wonderfully fine and delicate gold 
work. S. Ranieri seems to wear the schiavina, or 
slave shirt, which he assumed as a token of humility, 
and in his right hand holds a pilgrim's staff, in his 
left a slave's iron collar. The splendid archangel, as 
is fitting, wears a gold-embroidered mantle of vivid 
scarlet, while his armour and shield gleam with gold. 

THE UNIVERSITA DEI CAPPELLANI, on the south side of 
the Piazza del Duomo, at the corner of Via S. Maria, 
has one picture by Benozzo Gozzoli that is worth see- 
ing, in the Sala delle Adunanze. 1 It is one of the 
panel pictures he produced so freely during the years 

1 The Universita dei Cappellani is usually shut, but the 
chaplains are to be found in the Duomo after high mass, about 
ten o'clock, and are most courteous in granting admission to 
strangers. 

338 



Pictures and Sculpture 

that he was working at the frescoes in the Campo 
Santo. Belonging to his latest period, the colour is 
rather bright and garish, and it has been crudely 
restored in places. The Madonna is seated against 
a red brocade curtain, with SS. Lorenzo and Lazzaro 
on the left, and SS. Anthony Abbot and Bernardino 
on the right, while below kneel the male and female 
donors. The frame is old and beautiful, though the 
frieze of cherubs holding garlands at the top is 
quite modern. It is inscribed: Gianpiero Da Porta 
Venere e Mona Michaela Dalla Spetie Feciono Fare 
Questa Tavola MCCCCLXX. The predella has a 
dead Christ and saints. 

A visit to the ARCHIVIO ARCIVESCOVILE, in the arch- 
bishop's palace, reveals an astonishing number of ecclesi- 
astical documents indispensable to the historian of the 
Church in Pisa. The first series begins with a docu- 
ment dated 720, and relates entirely to donations 
made to the Duomo and the archbishop's palace. 
The parchments number altogether two thousand 
eight hundred and twenty-five. The second and 
third series relate entirely to the Pisan churches, 
while a supplementary series is not yet arranged. 
Previous to the time of the present cardinal-arch- 
bishop, these precious parchments were thrown in a 
corner, rudely tied together in bundles. Under his 
scholarly rule they have been carefully and lovingly 
ranged in cupboards, deciphered, and are about to be 
catalogued. A fine private collection of books is also 
in process of formation. 



339 



i 




THE IMPERIAL EAGLE AND THE CROSS OF THE COMMUNE 



CHAPTER XI 
The Palaces of Pisa 

' There is a street alongside the river Arno which is arched 
almost after the fashion of a crossbow, and fully as long as 
the city ; at a glance the eye takes in the sweep with its 
stately palaces and houses all built of a great she, or 1 should 
say height, their beautiful windows adorned with columns 
of marble. No lovelier street can be seen in the whole 
world." Florentine Orafo of 1425. 

Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Uppezinghi, Palazzo Agostini, 
Palazzo Lanfranch'i) Palazzo Vecchio, or Medici, 
Palazzo Scotto, the Tre Palazzi, Palazzo Ciam- 
polim, the Prefettura, Loggie di Banchi, Palazzo 
Gambacorti, Palazzo del f^eg/io, Alfieri s House, 
TrovateUi, Collegio Ferdinando, Hospital of S. 
Chiara, Palazzo Arcivescoijile^ Palazzo Con- 
ventuale, Collegio Puteano, Palazzo del Consig/io, 
Leopard's House in Via Fagiuola, Cassa di Rispar- 
miOf Palazzo Scorzi, Palazzo Rosselmini. 

\JO W, as in the time of the old Florentine, the finest 
^ palaces in Pisa are to be found on the Lung' 
Arno, though only two or three of those seen by him 
340 



The Palaces of Pisa 

have survived. Their successors, with a very few excep- 
tions, are plain and unpretentious, but their good propor- 
tions and workmanship, and the beauty of the situation, 
cannot fail to convey an impression of dignity, if not of 
beauty. Another great centre for palaces was the Piazza 
de' Cavalieri, Piazza degP Anziani as it was called in 
its days of glory. Probably the forum of classic Pisa, 
it was ever the centre of political life in the mediaeval 
city, and the public buildings of the Commune and the 
Republic stood clustered round the official palace of the 
Elders. The fame of the ancient square and the 
splendour of its palaces not unnaturally suggested it 
to Cosimo I. as a suitable spot on which to plant his 
new Order of S. Stefano. With the help of the 
genial Giorgio Vasari, painter, writer and architect, 
he transformed the venerable palaces to new uses. 
The old walls were hidden away under a thin veneer 
of the pseudo-chivalry of the sixteenth century, every 
one of their stones thrilling with the memory of the 
great and terrible events they had witnessed. 

Via S. Maria still retains several imposing buildings 
of the early and middle Renaissance, and there are 
palaces of an earlier date under the dark arcades of the 
Borgo, in the ancient Via S. Martino, and scattered 
here and there in the labyrinth of mediaeval streets. 

Beginning with the palaces on the north side of the 
Lung' Arno, we find the Palazzo Rea/e, or Gran- 
ducale as it was originally called, between Via S. 
Maria and Piazza S. Niccolo. So modest is its ex- 
terior that it is easily passed over as the eye roams 
down the line of buildings that border the river. Even 
when identified the stranger wonders that so featureless 
a building, with so plain a white fasade, should be 
worth mentioning. Indeed, from the architectural point 
of view it has little to commend it, and it is difficult to 
understand that Baccio Bandinelli, who built it at the 

34' 



Story of Pisa 

command of Cosimo I., in I 550, should not have had a 
nobler ideal of a royal residence. When it left his hands 
the palace was even more insignificant than it is now, 
and has since been greatly enlarged by Francesco I., 
and by Pietro Leopoldo. But the Palazzo Reale has 
seen so much of the later history of Pisa, and has 
opened its gates to so many distinguished strangers, 
that it cannot be passed over in silence. It has wit- 
nessed what can almost be called the new birth of Pisa. 
Built in the middle of the sixteenth century upon the 
ruins of one old palace, the Curia del Podesta, it was 
surrounded by the decaying remains of many others. 
War, pestilence, and famine had reduced the once 
glorious city to a condition of depopulation so terrible, 
that about this time its inhabitants are said to have 
barely numbered eight thousand. The streets were 
grass-grown, the towers truncated, and palace after 
palace had been abandoned or destroyed. Hardly was 
the new palace habitable than it was the scene of one 
of the most memorable functions that ever took place 
within its walls. Duke Cosimo I., in the heyday of his 
popularity, had just instituted his knightly Order of 
S. Stefano. He received the newly-devised insignia 
in the Duomo with great solemnity from the papal 
Legate, and on March 15, 1561, the first assembly of 
the Order took place in the Palazzo Reale. Clad in 
their new bravery the knights enthusiastically acclaimed 
Cosimo Grand-master of his new creation. Then, 
wearing the splendid mantle of the Order with its red 
cross and accompanied by the Nuncio, he led them in 
procession from the palace to the Piazza degl' Anziani, 
henceforth to be known as the Piazza de' Cavalieri. 
There, with his own hands, he laid the first stone of the 
church of S. Stefano. The people followed him in 
their thousands, blessing him, and hailing him as their 
deliverer from poverty and neglect, A few years 

ft* 



The Palaces of Pisa 

later, in 1570, Cosimo was created Grand Duke of 
Tuscany by the Pope, and continued to exert his in- 
fluence on behalf of the unfortunate city of Pisa. By 
spending the winters there he encouraged the great 
Pisan families to return to their abandoned homes, and 
to rebuild their ruined palaces. Towards the end of 
his life Cosimo became more and more attached to 
Pisa. He brought with him the wife of his old age, 
Cammilla Martelli, and contemporary writers note how 
often they were seen driving about the city and the 
surrounding country, Cosimo's infirmities preventing 
him from any longer mounting a horse. 

When Ferdinando I. succeeded his brother Fran- 
cesco as Grand Duke, he showed his love of Pisa by 
making a solemn entry into the city soon after the 
similar ceremony at Florence. So glorious and mag- 
nificent, says his chronicler, was this festival, that it 
recalled to the minds of the spectators an antique 
Roman triumph. On March 31, 1588, Ferdinando 
arrived within a mile of the city gate, sprang out of 
his coach, and lightly leapt upon a splendid ambling 
palfrey. Then a little regiment of Pisan youths of 
noble birth, richly clad in white silk with cloaks of 
red silk-damask, came and bowed to the earth with 
cries of Palle, Palle. Each bore an olive branch in 
his hand, interwoven in which was a white streamer 
with the motto, Recordatus est Dominus misericordia 
su. At that moment a squadron of thirty noble 
youths made its appearance, in black velvet suits with 
trimmings and sleeves of red silk, and white shoes. In 
a trice they unfolded a great canopy over the head of 
the Grand Duke, and so accompanied him towards the 
city. Out streamed the priors, the knights of S. 
Stefano, the Consuls of the Sea, and other officials of 
the city to meet him, and one thousand five hundred 
soldiers of the Pisan militia were on duty near the 

343 



Story of Pisa 

gate to fall in behind him. It was about four o'clock 
when his Grand Ducal Highness passed under the 
first of many triumphal arches that spanned his path. 
Around it was a vast throng of his rejoicing subjects, 
who followed him through the closely-packed streets, 
gaily decked with arras hangings and complimentary 
mottoes. As the procession passed along the Lung* 
Arno the rector of the university stood at the door of 
La Sapienza surrounded by his professors, and delayed 
the impatient ruler while he delivered what he termed 
a brief allocution, but whose tedious brevity made 
Ferdinando yawn. Placing a golden olive-branch in 
the Grand Ducal hand the rector bowed himself out 
backwards, and the long procession got under way. 
Nothing occurred to delay it further, and the palace 
being reached, the Grand Duke dismounted. Then 
the merry boys who bore the canopy seized not 
only upon that, but also upon the Duke's palfrey, 
in the name of ancient custom. Ferdinando was 
aghast. He loved the beast, and begged the rogues to 
accept instead two hundred scudi as a ransom. So 
the Grand Duke kept his palfrey, and the youths, loyal 
though mischievous, added three hundred scudi to the 
two hundred and caused Ferdinando's statue to be 
carved by Francavilla and set up in the piazza near 
the palace, where it stands to this day. Of the balls, 
the deputations, the embassy from Lucca, and the rest 
of the festivities in honour of Ferdinando's accession, 
we have no space to speak. 

Having discarded the cardinal's hat in favour of the 
Tuscan crown, it behoved the Grand Duke to marry. 
An alliance was arranged with Cristina, daughter of 
the Duke of Lorraine and granddaughter of Henry II. 
of France and Catherine de' Medici, and the young 
bride started for her new home. Ferdinando despatched 
his galley, gorgeously adorned with gold and gems, to 

344 



The Palaces of Pisa 

Marseilles to meet her, under the command of Don 
Pietro, his cousin. A noble company of Italian gentle- 
men accompanied him on four more galleys, and the 
convoy was made up to sixteen sail by galleys belong- 
ing to the Pope, the knights of Malta and Genoa. 
By a happy chance they anchored at Marseilles the 
very day Cristina arrived there. The contemporary 
chronicler of these events describes her as gifted 
with high and noble ideas, and as truly religious. 
He also says that she was radiantly beautiful, and con- 
tinues in so high a strain of extatic laudation of her, 
of her attendants, and of the festivities in her honour, 
that we can only cull here and there one of his calmer 
phrases. Cristina embarked on April n, 1589, with 
her whole train, and touching at Monaco and at 
Genoa, after a serene voyage landed at Leghorn, when 
such was her impatience to reach Pisa that she almost 
immediately started for that city. 

It is impossible to follow all the steps of her 
enthusiastic reception, which began at the church of 
S. Pietro a Grado, where by order of the Grand 
Duke she was met and complimented by the archbishop 
at the head of all his clergy. Enormous crowds 
flocked in from the neighbouring cities and villages to 
see their new sovereign, and the noise in the streets, 
the pealing of beils, salvoes of artillery, and shouts of 
joy must have almost deafened the French princess. 
After seeing a play in the palace that same evening, 
she was led out on to the balcony, where, says the 
chronicler, " she had the sweet surprise and infinite 
delight " of seeing the Lung' Arno brilliantly illumi- 
nated. She u as at mass betimes in the morning, and 
the day passed in dancing and other diversions, horse- 
races, sports in the Arno, and so on. Towards evening 
a galleon slowly sailed down the river all painted with 
the arms and devices of Lorraine and Medici, while 

345 



Story of Pisa 

above it floated a great standard and twenty smaller 
banners. The vessel stopped in front of the palace, 
and with much waving of banners and shouts acclaimed 
the princess, repeatedly firing off its ordnance to the 
accompaniment of gay military music. Then it was 
assailed by four Turkish galleys, against which it 
defended itself bravely. After many evolutions, 
illuminated by fireworks, the galleon appeared to be 
on the point of surrendering, when four other Christian 
vessels appeared and fell on the Turks most furiously, 
who, after wavering, suddenly took flight, leaving the 
Christians masters of the situation. Again they 
saluted the princess, celebrating their victory with 
joyous shouts and gay strains of music. Next day 
there was a special Giuoco del Ponte, when the 
squadrons were richly and fancifully dressed, which 
delighted the princess beyond measure. On the 
lyth, she at length resumed her journey, and met 
her bridegroom at the villa of Poggio a Cajano. 

The marriage of Maria de' Medici to Henry IV. 
of France was the occasion of great rejoicings in 
Florence and in Pisa, where she spent two days on 
her way to embark at Leghorn. The young queen 
delighted the Pisans by visiting the Duomo to make 
a special act of devotion at the shrine of S. Ranieri, 
protector of the city. 

Cosimo II. followed the custom of his house in 
spending much time in Pisa, and completed the aque- 
duct begun by Ferdinando I., which supplies Pisa 
with fresh water from the hills. 

In the Piazza di S. Niccolo, close to the palace, 
is the above-mentioned statue of Ferdinando I., by 
Francavilla. It is more pretentious and nearly as 
uninteresting as its neighbour. 

A little further on, at the corner of Via della 
Sapienza, is the fine solid middle- Renaissance facade 

34 6 



The Palaces of Pisa 

belonging to the Palazzo Uppezinghi, originally 
Palazzo LanfreducciO) and often called Alia Giornata, 
from the motto over the door. In its rear is the 
ancient tower already described. On the architrave 
of the door is the motto, Alia Giornata, cut in bold 
letters, with a chain hanging above it. The chain is 
possibly intended to recall the fact that the palace was 
built on the site of the church of S. Biagio alia Catena, 
of which the Lanfreducci were the patrons, and which 
they destroyed to make room for their palace. The 
meaning of the inscription seems to be lost, but there 
is, of course, a picturesque legend which professes to 
explain both that and the chain. A certain noble- 
man it says, lord of this palace, owned a Moslem 
slave who perpetually begged his master to set him 
free. "Yes," said the lord in jest, "I will set thee 
free on the Friday whereon I do not fast," he being 
a good Christian and a strait observer of the fasts of 
the Church. Now it happened, when many years had 
passed, that the feast of the Nativity of our Lord fell 
on a Friday, and on Christmas Day no man fasts. 
" My lord," said the slave, " is not this the Friday 
whereon thou dost not fast ? Give me then my 
liberty." And his lord, being a true man, bade him 
go free ; and that the memory of these things should 
abide, caused the broken chain of the slave to be set 
up over the door of this palace, together with the 
words, Alia Giornata, meaning thereby the day whereon 
he freed his slave. The Lanfreducci, to turn from 
fiction to fact, were a good Pisan race who took a 
leading part in the government of the city in the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, while the Uppezinghi 
were of very ancient origin. Descendants of the 
wealthy Cadolinghi of Calcinaia, they adopted the 
surname of Uppezinghi in memory of Oppezingha, 
daughter of the Emperor Otho I., who married 

347 



Story of Pisa 

Obbizo Cadolinghi. Her descendants did good ser- 
vice to successive emperors, who in return bestowed 
on them much treasure and many castles and broad 
acres in the Pisan territory. They also served their 
country as priors, podestas, and captains of the people. 
The house has only recently become extinct. 

The Palazzo Agostini is just beyond the corner of 
Via S. Frediano. Its richly-moulded brick fa9ade 
of the fifteenth century is covered all over, in almost 
oriental profusion, with a delicate terra-cotta orna- 
mentation of Gothic foliage, figures, and conventional 
patterns. But although somewhat over-charged, the 
effect of the whole is graceful and attractive. There 
is an open loggia under the roof, and two tiers of 
beautiful windows with cuspidal Gothic arches, while 
the ground floor has four wide arched openings. Some 
of the details suggest an early- Renaissance restoration. 

About the year 1360, a certain Astai, thus called 
because he dealt in aste, or planks, built two houses 
on the Lung' Arno. Being, also, the owner of a brick 
kiln he made the terra-cotta ornamentation for the two 
fagades himself. The houses were side by side and 
very similar, save that in the upper floor one had triple, 
the other only double, windows. Not long afterwards 
the Astai sold the houses to the Agostini, who threw 
them into one, thus forming the palace that we see. 
The Agostini were held in great honour in the days 
of the Republic, and occupied important civic posts 
during the fifteenth century. When the Pisans, with 
the help of Charles VIII., rose against Florence, 
Mariano and Paolo Agostini were at the head of the 
Government and managed to retain their position when 
Pisa again fell under the Florentine yoke. A long 
series of their descendants has carried on the family 
tradition, and much wealth has come to them owing to 
the dying out of the Fantini, Delia Seta, Grassi, and 



The Palaces of Pisa 

Venerosi families. A few years back a thorough 
restoration of the old palace was undertaken by Count 
Alfredo Agostino Delia Seta with the co-operation of 
the Government. Del Moro was the architect, under 
the direction of Professor Ignazio Supino, and on the 
whole the result is good. It should be noted that the 
painted shields are a modern addition. The whole 
facade leans considerably towards the river. 

The Palazzo Lanfranchi^ or Toscanelti^ has one of 
the finest fasades in Pisa. It is of the middle- 
Renaissance style, of fine proportion, and of a beautiful 
golden hue owing to the weathering of the Carrara 
marble of which it is built. "The Casa Lanfranchi," 
writes Leigh Hunt, " which had been the mansion of 
the great Pisan family whose ancestors figure in 
Dante, 1 is said to have been built by Michelangelo, 
and is worthy of him. It is in a bold and broad style 
throughout, with those harmonious graces of proportion 
which are sure to be found in an Italian mansion. 
The outside is of rough marble." The attribution of 
the palace to Michelangelo seems to be without a 
vestige of truth. 

Of German origin, the Lanfranchi, who settled in 
Pisa about 980, under Otho II., became one of the 
most important families in the city. They took the 
part of the ghibellines, and were frequently banished 
from the city during the triumphs of the guelphs, only 
to return when their own party was in power. Tradi- 
tion attributes to their family, chiefly on the evidence 
of the mention of a Lanfranchi in the " Inferno," a 
leading part in the death of Ugolino. Lord Byron 
inhabited their palace for nearly a year in 1821 and 
1822, having been obliged to leave Ravenna owing to 
his active support of the Carbonari. Accompanied by 
seven servants, five carriages, nine horses, a bulldog, a 

1 Inferno, xxxiii. 32. 

349 



Story of Pisa 

mastiff, two cats, and a quantity of poultry, he arrived 
in Pisa at the end of October, 1821. He is described 
as being rather stout, and habitually wearing a loose 
nankeen jacket, white trousers, an open shirt collar, 
his hair falling in thin ringlets around his neck. 
Sometimes he donned a loose mazarin-blue riding coat, 
and a velvet cap with a gold band and tassel ; while a 
braided jacket of Gordon tartan was another favourite 
garment of his. 

He says in a letter : "I am in a famous old feudal 
Palazzo on the Arno, large enough for a garrison, with 
dungeons below and cells in the walls and so full of 
ghosts that the learned Fletcher (my valet) has begged 
leave to change his room, and then refused to occupy 
his new room because there were more ghosts there 
than in the other." 

Leigh Hunt, with his wife and seven children, 
occupied the ground floor of the palace for some 
months while Byron was its tenant. Although he 
came at the invitation of the poet to act as editor and 
collaborator to his projected newspaper, The Liberal, 
the poet soon tired of Hunt and his unfortunate family, 
whom he called "the cockneys." He could not bear 
to see them venture into his part of the palace, and 
instructed his great bulldog not to let the cockneys 
pass. 

The police of Pisa were greatly agitated at the 
arrival of this mad milord, and watched his movements 
with eager interest. The secret archives of the Buon- 
governo contain a bulky correspondence relating to 
" the famous poet Lord Byron, who if he were not 
believed to be a madman ought to be watched by the 
police of the whole world. The said Lord has taken 
the Palazzo Lanfranchi . . . but many people say he 
has, as usual, changed his mind and will not come." 
So writes the superintendent. Count Gamba, with his 

35 



The Palaces of Pisa 

son and his daughter Countess Guiccioli, having 
arrived in Pisa, the secretary of police at Florence 
replies : " The government is well aware that Lord 
Byron goes to Pisa solely for the beautiful daughter of 
Count Gamba, so you may expect him." 

He was obnoxious to the police, both as an ardent 
Carbonaro, whose house in Ravenna was packed with 
arms and ammunition, and as the author of " wild and 
seditious " poems like the " Prophesy of Dante," which 
appeared to them " designed to augment popular agita- 
tion." So writes the royal commissioner at Volterra 
to the Buongoverno at Florence, adding in a later 
letter, in which he assumes the part of a Mecaenas, 
that " the style of nearly all living English poets is so 
turgid and extravagant as quite to spoil their ideas." 

Many more particulars about the poet's residence 
in Pisa can be culled from a curious diary, entitled, 
Arcana politico anticarbonarie y kept by Cavaliere L. 
Torelli, who lived in Pisa from 1819 to 1822, acting 
as a kind of spy for the Austrian Emperor. He says 
that the governor of Pisa, the Marquis Niccolo Viviani, 
who had himself written a poem on Hero and Leander, 
" though curious to see the English Lord who had 
swum the Hellespont, was determined not to permit 
him to indulge in follies of any kind in Tuscany. So 
when Byron sent his butler to the Governor to ask 
whether he might practise pistol-shooting in the garden, 
the Marquis Viviani replied that it was against the law 
of the land, and he was sorry he could not permit it in 
order not to give a bad example to others. Milord 
leads a very quiet and retired life, the only persons he 
visits, besides the Gamba's and his English friends, are 
Madame Run stein and her four daughters, and the 
Canon Danielle Girolami, priest of the church of San 
Pierino." 

The English friends here alluded to include the 

351 



Story of Pisa 

Shelleys,Trelawny,Medwin, the author of the " Conver- 
sations/' an Irishman named Taafe, Shelley's friends 
Mr and Mrs Williams, and a certain Captain Hay. 
Pisa, in fact, was full of English visitors. It was in 
the heyday of its popularity as a winter resort, and the 
presence of the great poet-peer was an additional 
attraction. Lord Byron, with his menagerie of cats, 
dogs, peafowl, and monkeys, set the fashion of eccen- 
tricity. He mounted two small pieces of artillery at 
the door of his room, and kept a quantity of guns, 
pistols, and daggers on his table. When he was not 
riding wildly all over the country with various friends, 
he was practising pistol-shooting with them. Shelley 
walked through the streets of the city in a short 
jacket reading a quarto encyclopaedia, with another volume 
under his arm. Walter Savage Landor refused to 
know any of his compatriots, while old Mr Dolby, 
attired in a tattered coat, went about singing at the top 
of his voice, his pockets bulging with books, a pair of 
spectacles hanging by a gold chain round his neck. If 
the leaders of the English colony behaved so oddly, we 
may be quite sure that the smaller fry would outdo 
them in unconventionality ; and one cannot wonder 
that the quiet inhabitants of the old city, whose peaceful 
existence was upset by the antics of their visitors, 
should think that madman and Englishman were 
synonymous terms. 

They had, however, the satisfaction of seeing Lord 
Byron in trouble with the authorities. " At length," 
says Torelli, " Lord Byron with his company of 
assassins gave us a taste of the temper he had shown 
in other places. The government expected he would, 
and he had been watched from the day he arrived 
in Pisa. On the 24th of March at 23 o'clock (an 
hour before sunset) a certain Masi, a Pisan, Sergeant- 
major of the mounted dragoons who were quartered 

35 2 



The Palaces of Pisa 

here had been dining in the country outside Porta alle 
Piagge and was returning to the town. Afraid of 
being late for the muster-roll he rode fast, and near 
the gate saw Lord Byron with several friends and 
servants on horseback who took up the whole road* 
He pushed through them in order to get on, when 
Taafe, a friend of Byron's, exclaimed against his in- 
solence. Whereupon Byron or one of the servants 
hit his horse. The sergeant abused them, so they all 
surrounded him and tried to force him to go back. 
He answered that the road was free and wanted to 
go about his business, at the same time putting his 
hand on his sword to defend himself. Byron asked 
his name and threw him his visiting card, which was 
picked up by an artillery-man near. Masi reached 
the gate before the party, and ordered the two old 
soldiers who were on duty, not to let any of them pass 
till they had given their names. He put himself 
across the gate, sword in hand, and the whole com- 
pany began to push through. In the confusion he 
sliced the nose of an Englishman, said to be a captain, 
who passes for a poet, and among other eccentricities, 
prides himself, as though it were an heroic action, on 
having had the epithet atheist added to his name in 
his passport. He and his family live in Pisa." 1 

The rest of the story was told by Shelley in the 
deposition taken by the police. ** The dragoon," he 
said, " cried out to the soldiers to arrest us at the gate. 
Mylord with Signer Gamba passed through notwith- 
standing, whereupon Masi (the Dragoon) drew his 
sword, seeing we also were determined to pass, and 
assailed Mr Trelawny, who however got so close to 
him that he hindered him from striking. The two 
foot soldiers then drew their swords, and it appeared 
to me that one at least hit Mr Trelawny on the thigh. 
1 The Diarist confuses Captain Hay with Shelley. 

z 353 



Story of Pisa 

I tried to interpose between him and his assailant, 
when the dragoon aimed a blow at me, which was 
partly intercepted by something perhaps by Mr Hay's 
stick which we afterwards saw cut in two pieces. 
However I received a blow on the head with the 
hilt of a sword, which knocked me off my horse. I 
remember looking into my holsters to see if there 
were pistols, but there were none. I remember I was 
able to enter the town, when I found Mr Trelawny, 
and asked after Captain Hay, whom I did not see. 
He answered that he knew nothing of him, and that 
we must look for him. The dragoon now passed us, 
using very bad language, and, I think, added Are 
you satisfied?' and rode on. We returned to the 
gate in search of Captain Hay, and found him wounded, 
bleeding from the face, and supported by some men. 
I got off my horse, and helped by Mr Trelawny 
assisted him to Palazzo Lanfranchi." 

The brawl was not ended yet, for, according to 
Torelli, Byron, after galloping home, rode out again 
immediately to meet the sergeant and his party, who 
hurled insulting words at him from afar. When they 
met, everybody said heated things to everybody else, 
a glove was thrown at Masi, some said by Byron, and 
the sergeant-major accepted the challenge. By this 
time they had reached Byron's palace, and there a 
scuffle arose, the poet's doorkeeper attacking Masi 
with a three-cornered weapon and breaking one of his 
ribs. Another servant rushed towards him with a 
pitch-fork, and the sergeant fled, taking refuge first in 
one house and then in another, being finally carried to 
the hospital by the Misericordia in a very dilapidated 
condition. 

Riding out next day, Byron met the trumpeter of 
the infuriated dragoons, who proudly said to him : 
" Thou art capable of giving treacherous stabs but 

354 



The Palaces of Pisa 

not of meeting a man face to face." " Afterwards when 
Lord Byron was out with his usual companions there 
were many people in the street. Several saluted him, 
raising their hats ; he turned to the young Prince 
Scubalof and said, * The Pisans have become more 
respectful since last night,' which speech was at once 
repeated to the police." 

A curious commentary on this whole scene was 
written long after by Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi, 
the well-known writer, who says : " I saw Masi, 
tottering in the saddle, ride as far as Don Beppe's 
Caffe, where being no longer able to sit his horse, his 
helmet fell off, his hair was standing on end, and his 
face was as white as a sheet, and he fell down ex- 
claiming * I am killed.' I heard him say this, and I 
shall never forget his terrible face, made yet more 
horrible by a mass of flaming red hair. I also re- 
member and a great impression it made on me that 
all the English then living in Pisa, whether they 
knew Lord Byron or not, went armed to his palace 
to defend the great poet of their country. I thought 
had he been an Italian, his compatriots would have 
assembled to stone him, and I began to understand 
why the English are a great people, and the Italians 
a bundle of rags in the shop of a second-hand dealer 
at least till now." 

Byron himself speaks of the incident in a letter to 
Sir Walter Scott, as " an awkward affair which gave 
me some anxiety." The police stepped in : " many 
witnesses were examined about this unfortunate business," 
says Torelli. " All those that Byron knew would be 
summoned before the court were either all called to him 
or visited by Taafe, and had money given them. It 
was said that this affair cost Byron three thousand scudi. 
Countess Guiccioli, and the other women in the carriage 
with her, were examined in their own houses, and so 

355 



Story of Pisa 

was Byron, for it seems that Lords have this privilege." 
From the same diary we gather that the officer deputed 
to take Lord Byron's deposition did so with much 
trepidation, because he had been reading a French 
biography of Byron that described his murdering one 
of his mistresses, and having her skull mounted as a 
drinking cup, and stated that the noble lord had 
bought of the Sultan of Turkey an uninhabited rock 
on which he built a palace, where he lived with a few 
followers for about two years after the separation from 
his wife, in order to avoid any contact with mankind ; 
and altogether gave a terrible picture of his character. 

In a letter to Mr Dawkins, Byron gave a plain 
account of the occurrence, which robs it of much of 
the romance woven round it by the Pisans, saying : " It 
neither is nor has been my wish to prevent or evade 
the fullest investigation of the business. Had it been 
so it would have been easy to have either left the place 
myself or to have removed any suspected person from 
it, the police having taken no steps whatever until three 
days after the fact/' Mr Dawkins put in a plea for 
Byron with the Cavaliere Fossombrone, Tuscan Secretary 
of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs. In spite of 
this, two of his servants were arrested and examined, 
together with seventy other witnesses. No two of 
these, however, agreeing, a decree was at length issued 
to the effect that there were no grounds of proceeding 
against the accused, and so ended this wonderful storm 
in a teacup. 1 

Trelawny describes Byron's habits at this time as 
'* lazy and dawdling." He left his bed at noon, break- 
fasted on a cup of strong green tea, lunched on biscuits 
and soda water, played billiards, rode out to the farm- 
house where the pistol club had its range, and practised 

1 See " Byron at Pisa," by Janet Ross, in the Nineteenth 
Century for Nov., 1892. 

35 6 



The Palaces of Pisa 



his favourite pastime. At seven he took his frugal 
dinner alone. At nine he visited the Gambas, came 
home and settled down to work at " Don Juan " till 
two or three in the morning. 

Spending his time in this fashion, Byron lingered in 
Pisa, even after the tragic death of Shelley, with one 
short interval, until September, 1822, when he left for 
Genoa. Torelli is venomous to the last. He says : 
'* Count Gamba has gone to the Baths of Lucca with 
his son, but as Madame Guiccioli remains in Pisa, 
Byron no longer talks of leaving." The last entry, 
however, concerning the poet is this : " Milord has at 
length decided on going to Genoa. Some say he is 
already tired of his favourite Guiccioli, others that he 
is bent on going to Athens and purchasing adoration 
from the Greeks." 

Next door to the Lanfranchi is the Palazzo Roncioni, 
containing a fine private collection of manuscripts and 
documents relating to Pisan history, of woodcuts and 
engravings of all periods, while in the cortile is preserved 
a rare Roman inscription. Just beyond the Piazza 
Mazzini is the Palazzo Pecchio, also called Palazzo 
de Medici. In its present form the red-brick palace is 
practically a modern reconstruction, and not very in- 
teresting. Its origin is ancient. Idelberto Albitone 
the Pious and his wife, having founded the great 
church and monastery of S. Matteo, determined, in 
1027, to build themselves a house under the shadow of 
their sanctuary. Hence their choice of this spot. 
Marangone speaks of the towers of the Albitone in 
1 158, and they, no doubt, clustered round this ancient 
abode of the family. Their palace, itself probably no 
more than a tower at first, was gradually enlarged, and 
became known as Palazzo Pieracchi. Near the end of 
the fourteenth century the river front was added, and 
the large garden, extending northward to Via la Rosa, 

357 



Story of Pisa 

was surrounded by a crenellated wall. This was pro- 
bably built when the palace became the property of 
Jacopo d'Appiano, the tyrant of Pisa, who took up his 
abode there soon after he had stained his hands in the 
blood of Pietro Gambacorti. In the fifteenth century 
it was considered one of the finest palaces of the city, 
and as such was placed at the disposal of Charles VIII., 
when in 1 494 he paused in Pisa on his way to Naples. 
With his coming the courage of the Pisans revived, and 
the same night a hurried meeting was convened to discuss 
the best means of moving him to restore the indepen- 
dence of the State. Simone Orlandi, who was a good 
French scholar, was unanimously chosen to express the 
desires of the people to the French King. He threw 
himself at Charles's feet, embracing his knees, and 
described in burning words the bleeding wounds of his 
country, once the proud mistress of the sea, now the 
slave of the alien. He declared the Florentine yoke 
to be intolerable, that the measure of the sufferings of 
Pisa was full to overflowing, and that the king alone 
could help them. Liberty was his cry " Give us back 
our liberty ! " So moving were his words that even the 
French courtiers were deeply stirred, and flinging them- 
selves on their knees, joined their prayers to those of 
Orlandi. Thus assailed on every side, Charles's facile 
enthusiasm was kindled. He hotly declared that his 
sole wish was to see justice done, and that it would be 
a joy to him to grant the Pisans their independence. 
In an instant the news was spread from mouth to mouth, 
and from the whole city rose one unanimous cry of 
" Long live France, long live our liberty ! " The people 
broke loose, drove out the Florentines, tore down the 
hated symbols of the foreign yoke and flung them into 
the river, while the Republic was proclaimed by a 
thousand voices. Charles was acclaimed again and 
again the Saviour of Pisa, and the walls of the old 

358 



The Palaces of P Is a 

palace must have trembled at the joyous shouts of the 
people. But shortlived was the happiness, and short the 
years of independence enjoyed for the last time by the 
Pisans. Then the yoke was once more fitted on, and 
so firmly that it never was cast off again ; the palace 
soon afterwards changed hands and became the residence 
of Cosimo I. de' Medici. Disliking its antique fashion 
and narrow lancet windows he modernised it, and cut 
large square openings to let in the sunshine. If this 
record had been written but a few years ago, it would 
have ended with a thrilling tale of how Don Garzia 
slew his brother Don Giovanni while out shooting, and 
hid from his infuriated father ; how, when dragged into 
that awful presence, it was to be slain by a blow from 
his father's dagger ; and how the mother, broken in 
health by such repeated horrors, faded and died within 
a few days. Stained with the blood of his son, Cosimo 
could bear the palace no longer, and caused the Palazzo 
Granducale to be built in its stead. This would have 
been the dramatic end of the story. Now, alas, 
the cold light of history has chased away these dramatic 
shadows, and all that can be told is that Cosimo aban- 
doned the palace, and that it passed into private hands. 
These have endeavoured to restore it to its pre-medicean 
appearance, but with doubtful success. The fourteenth- 
century wall still surrounds part of the garden, but its 
crenellations are filled up. 

Crossing the Ponte della Fortezza we find ourselves 
immediately in front of the Palazzo Scotto, which 
stands on the site of the old Porta della Spina. It is 
a modern and uninteresting house, built, in 1805, by 
Domenico Scotto of Naples, who bought the site from 
Agostino Chiesa, to whose fathers it had been granted, 
in 1781, by Grand-Duke Pietro Leopoldo. Never- 
theless, it has a claim on our interest because the palace 
and garden were planted in the ruins of the fortress of 

359 



Story of Pisa 

1512, whose walls, bastions, and towers form its 
boundaries on the land side, while the city wall encloses 
it on the river side. Scotto built covered galleries all 
along the inner walls and bastions, from which a 
delicious medley of trees and flowers and old walls 
may be seen. At the further end of the enclosure, 
close to the Porta Fiorentina, one of Giuliano di San 
Gallo's strong and grim bastions still exists. Fitted 
into very irregular spaces, and encumbered with masses 
of masonry, the garden has no particular design, but 
it is cool and quiet, full of rich verdure and flowers. 
Inscriptions are to be found on every wall, recording 
the building and adorning of house and grounds by 
Domenico Scotto and his daughter and son-in-law, the 
present Prince and Princess Corsini, to whom the 
palace now belongs. Within its precincts, in Via 
della Fortezza, is the humble little house where 
Galileo was born on February 18, 1564, only to be 
distinguished from its fellows by an inscription record- 
ing the fact. One wonders whether that great heart 
drew some of the strength and endurance that enabled 
him to say, " E pur si muove," from the walls of the old 
fortress which was his birth place and cradle. 

Turning westward along the Lung' Arno that is 
called by his name, the Tre Palazzi are reached in a 
few moments. One of these prim, square, white 
houses, built by the Chiesi, a Corsican family, on the 
ruins of the Fortezza, was Shelley's Pisan home. Italy 
claimed him for her own with the same mysterious 
sway that proved fatal to Keats, and indirectly to 
Byron. Leaving England in the spring of 1818, with 
Mary and their baby son William, Miss Clairmont and 
her child Allegra, he spent the greater part of that 
year in wandering. 

Little William died in Rome, and in a vain attempt 
to flee from grief they went to Leghorn, and stayed 
360 



The Palaces of Pisa 

long enough for the " Cenci " to be begun and ended. 
Thence they moved on to Florence, which inspired 




THE BIRTHPLACE OF GALILEO 



the last act of " Prometheus Unbound " and the 
" Ode to the West Wind." 

January, 1820, found them at Pisa, which Shelley 

361 



Story of Pisa 

loved. " Our roots," he says, " never struck so 
deeply as at Pisa." In Rome and Naples he had lived 
like a solitary, abstracted into the airy region of his 
dream-world. Here the more human side of him 
asserted itself and found comfort in companionship. 
Chief among his friends were Mr and Mrs Edward 
Elleker Williams. His affection for Mrs Williams 
was deep, and some of his lyrics of that year are 
addressed to her. " I like Jane more and more, and 
find Williams the most amiable of companions," he 
writes. His cousin, Captain Medwin, joined the 
party later, and Captain Trelawny, and to them we 
owe most of our knowledge of this period of the poet's 
life. Last, but not least, was Byron, one of whose 
chief motives in coming to Pisa was to be near Shelley. 
Medwin and Trelawny have both left on record their 
impressions of Shelley's appearance and personality at 
that moment. " His figure," says the former, " was 
emaciated and somewhat bent, owing to near sighted- 
ness and his being forced to lean over his books, with 
his eyes almost touching them ; his hair, still profuse 
and curling naturally, was partially interspersed with 
grey ; but his appearance was youthful. There was 
also a freshness and purity in his complexion that he 
never lost." 

Trelawny, who had never seen him before, was once 
sitting with Mrs Williams. " We had a great deal to 
communicate to each other, and were in loud and 
animated conversation when I was rather put out by 
observing in the passage near the open door opposite to 
where I sat, a pair of glittering eyes steadily fixed on 
mine ; it was too dark to make out whom they 
belonged to. Mrs Williams laughingly said : * Come 
in, Shelley, it's only our friend Tre. just arrived.' 
Swiftly gliding in, blushing like a girl, a tall thin 
stripling held out both his hands, and although I could 

36* 



The Palaces of Pisa 

hardly believe, as I looked out at his flushed, feminine, 
and artless face, that it could be the poet, I returned 
his warm pressure." 

Though never more oppressed by melancholy, 
Shelley produced some of his most brilliant work in 
1820. The " Letter to Maria Gisborne," the "Ode 
to a Skylark," the " Witch of Atlas," the Ode 
to Naples," the "Ode to Liberty," and the " Sensitive 
Plant " followed hard upon one another. 

In spite of Shelley's warm admiration for his genius, 
when Byron appeared, his presence proved a check 
on this productive mood. " I do not write," he 
explains ; " I have lived too long near Lord Byron, 
and the sun has extinguished the glow-worm. I 
despair of rivalling Lord Byron, as well I may, and 
there is no other with whom it is worth contending." 
And yet at the same time a conviction of his own 
greatness was present even then in his mind. He 
said one day to Medwin : " This I know, that there is 
something in my writings that shall live for ever." 
To a certain extent he recovered from this sense of 
oppression, and the next year was a stimulating one 
for him in various ways. * Hellas" was the outcome of 
the enthusiastic sympathy with the Greek cause, roused 
by the visit of Prince Mavrocordato to Pisa. The 
passionate but ideal feelings roused in him by the 
unfortunate young Contessina Emilia Viviani gave 
birth to " Epipsychidion," an exposition in fair words 
of his doctrine of love. The death of Keats, too, 
hastened, as he believed, by the review in the 
Quarterly, opened the flood-gates of song from 
which flowed "Adonais," loveliest of elegies, worthy to 
stand by the side of " Lycidas " itself. The poet's daily 
life was simple. Trelawny tells us that " he was up 
at six or seven reading Plato, Sophocles or Spinoza, 
with the accompaniment of a hunch of dry bread ; 

363 



Story of Pisa 

then he joined Williams in a sail on the Arno, in a 
flat-bottomed skiff, book in hand, and from thence he 
went to the pine-forest or some out-of-the-way place. 
When the birds went to roost he returned home, and 
talked and read until midnight." Byron and he, 
separated only by the river, met daily. Besides 
admiring him as a poet, Shelley liked his companion- 
ship as a man, but hated his love of gossip, and 
buried himself in thought or left the room when 
Byron's conventional acquaintances called it forth. 
They rode out together, and practised pistol shoot- 
ing, as we have seen, with the members of the club, 
talking the while an affectionate sort of jargon, a kind 
of bastard Italian which called shooting, tiring ; hit- 
ting, colping ; and missing, mancating, and the like. 
Trelawny's arrival turned the thoughts of the two 
poets to the sea. Byron had a decked schooner built, 
the Bolivar, and Shelley an open boat, the Don Juan, 
or Ariel. The Bolivar bore Byron away to Greece 
and death, but not until the Ariel had led Shelley by a 
swifter path to his watery doom. 

In reading the wonderful last lines of " Adonais," it 
appears almost as though Shelley had had some pre- 
monition of his fate : 

" The breath whose night I have invoked in song 

Descends upon me ; my spirit's bark is driven 
Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng 

Whose sails were never to the tempests given. 
The massy earth and sphered skies are riven ! 

I am borne darkly, fearfully afar ; 
While burning through the inmost veil of Heaven 

The Soul of Adonais like a star 
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are." 

Further along the Lung' Arno is the Palazzo 
Ciampolini, or Francctto, a yellow palace standing back 
in a garden, the home of the office of the Fiumi e 
Fossi. The marshy land between Pisa and the sen 

364 



The Palaces of Pisa 

was ever the fruitful breeder of disease. Montaigne, 
writing in 1580, says: " Only a short time ago this 
city bore an evil name for its unhealthy air, but this is 
vastly improved since Duke Cosimo has drained the 
marshes by which it is surrounded. Formerly the 
place was so unhealthy that when the government 
wanted to banish anyone, and at the same time get 
rid of him, they always banished him to Pisa, where 
in a few months the deed was done." The evil was 
so great that it could not be cured immediately. Even 
in the middle of the seventeenth century John Evelyn, 
in crossing the domain of S. Rossore, says: "Much 
of this park, as well as a great part of the country 
round it, is very fenny, and the air very bad." A 
few years later Lassels writes that the city " stands in 
no very good ayrje, and therefore hath been vexed 
with divers plagues." Gradually, however, Cosimo's 
drainage, and the subsequent care exercised by the 
office he instituted for the maintenance and supervision 
of the canals and water-ways, the Uffizio del Fossi, 
have dried and sweetened the Pisan air. Reconstructed 
under the name of the Uffizio del Fiumi e Fossi in 
1 808, the department still exists and flourishes here. 
Its sway extends over all waterways, including the 
Arno and the Serchio. 

The last building before the Ponte di Mezzo is the 
Prefettura, formerly called the Palazzo Pretoria, whose 
white facade, built about one hundred years ago in the 
pseudo-Gothic manner, gives no hint of its real antiquity. 
It is a vast structure, and occupies all the space between 
the river and Via S. Martino. Built originally as the 
Palace of Justice, or Tribunal, it seems to have been 
adopted towards the end of the fourteenth century 
as the residence of the Podesta. The fa9ade in 
Via S. Martino and the interior cortile have not been 
modernised, and give a good idea of the original 

365 



Story of Pisa 

appearance or what must have been a stately palace. 
It is flanked by a clock-tower built in 1785 by the 
architect Sanminiatelli on the ancient solid base of the 
Torre delta Giustizia, its splendid predecessor. The 
courtyard is hung with the carved stemme, or coats of 
arms, of the Podestas of the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries. Close at hand is the Logg'te di Banchi, 
which stands in the little piazza at the end of the 
bridge, a palace, built in 1605 by Bontalenti over 
an open hall, or loggia, and originally intended as a 
money exchange. The loggie are now used as a corn 
exchange, and the upper rooms were the original 
home of the Uffizw det Fossi, since when they have 
served various purposes. The municipal band plays 
under the arches of the loggie, which fact and its central 
position serve to keep the little piazza perpetually 
crowded and bustling. 

Just beyond the Loggie di Banchi, and connected 
with it by a bridge over the street, is the Palazzo 
Gambacortiy now the Palazzo del Commune, the last 
survivor of the many fine Gothic palaces of the days of 
the Commune. In spite of the Joss of its embattled 
upper storey, the fagade is still beautiful with its 
double pointed windows surmounted by round arches. 
Florentine influence is evident both in design and 
detail. 

Built in the first half of the fourteenth century, it 
replaced an earlier palace belonging to the Gamba- 
corti, which appears to have stood not far from the 
convent of S. Domenico. Great preparations were 
made in the new palace for the reception of the 
Emperor Charles IV., when he visited Pisa in 1355, 
on his way to be crowned in Rome. " On January 
1 8," writes a chronicler, "the Emperor entered Pisa 
by the Porta al Leone, where he was met by Gio- 
vanni Scherlatti, a Pisan, and by the Archbishop with 
366 



The Palaces of Pisa 

all the clergy. He presented to Charles the Cross 
(bestowed on the Pisans for their great courage), 
wherein is enclosed in strips of most finely chiselled 
silver a large piece of the Cross whereon the Saviour 
was crucified. The Emperor dismounted and kissed 
it with great devotion, and then under the golden 
canopy he passed by S. Giovanni into the Duomo, and, 
kneeling, made long prayers to God. On leaving the 
cathedral he mounted his horse and rode to the noble 
houses of the Gambacorti, where was the famous 
garden. A magnificent feast was prepared that evening, 
with a profusion of wax torches and candles, and many 
wines, sweetmeats and chickens and other things in 
great abundance; then he and his people retired to 
rest. It was the talk of Pisa that out of devotion 
and humility the Emperor did not sleep in the bed 
prepared for him, it being too splendid. And on the 
Monday morning the Emperor wishing to live accord- 
ing to his usual custom, one hundred and fifty waggons 
laden with flour, corn, barley, spelt, wood, hay and 
straw, casks full of various wines such as Vernaccia, 
Corsican and Greek, many calves and wethers, much 
wax, torches and candles, sweetmeats of divers sorts, 
cloths and embroidered tablecloths, and other house- 
hold goods of various kinds in abundance. The list 
would be a long one, and all was at the expense of the 
Commune of Pisa." Another writer attributes the 
emperor's reluctance to occupy the magnificent bed, 
which cost no less than twelve hundred florins, to 
another reason. " Knowing the avarice of the Em- 
peror," he writes, " the Pisans ironically said that he 
would not be able to sleep in such fine sheets." The 
palace next emerges into the light of history in 1392, 
when Piero Gambacorti, then an old man, one of the 
greatest captains and statesmen Pisa ever had, was 
murdered on the doorstep by his secretary, Jacopo 

367 



Story of Pisa 

d'Appiano. Of the archives contained in the upper 
chambers of the palace we have already spoken. 
Further along is the noteworthy Palazzo del Veglio^ 
now used as the post office. 

Crossing the Ponte Solferino and turning up Via S. 
Maria, a fine palace on the left, where the road bends 
a little, should be noticed, with a bust of Ferdinando 
I. over the door. Higher up on the right, an in- 
scription on No. 26 marks the palace where Alfieri 
stayed. He was in Pisa from November, 1784, to 
September, 1785, during which time he wrote the 
whole of // Panegirico dt Pliriio a Trajano, the first 
book of // Principe^ and began other works. At the 
same time he managed to amuse himself very well with 
his horses, fourteen thoroughbreds, displaying to the 
admiring eyes of the Pisans wonderful feats of driving. 
He witnessed the Giuoco del Ponte of 1785, which 
inspired a sonnet. So did, unfortunately, the soft Pisan 
climate. The rain fell perpetually during his stay, and 
he gave expression to his annoyance in verse : 

'Mezzo dormendo ancor domando : Piove? 
Tutta la notte egli e piovuto. 
Sia maladetta Pisa. Ognor ripiove 
Anzi, a dir meglio, e' non e mai spiovuto." 

Sonnet, cxxxiv. 

On the same side is the Pia Casa del I rovatel/i, or 
foundling-hospital, with a plain but good fagade, some 
nice fifteenth -century windows and a charming door- 
way surmounted by a pretty relief of a little swaddled 
infant. Beneath a grated window on the ground floor 
the wheel can still be seen in which infants were 
placed to be received into the hospital, where no 
questions were asked. Additions were made to the 
building about the end of the eighteenth century, 
which by no means increased its beauty. 

Two hospitals for foundlings were founded in the 
368 



The Palaces of Pisa 

thirteenth century, the Pia Casa dei Trovatelli, by the 
blessed Domenico Vernagalli, in the monastery of S. 
Michele in Borgo, and the hospice of S. Spirito in 
Chinsica. The blessed Domenico was a Camaldo- 
lesian monk, who thought more of going out into the 
world to help the weak little ones than of praying for 
his own soul in a cloistered cell. The sight of all the 
helpless and nameless infants whom he saw on every side 
so pained his tender soul that he laboured till he raised 
funds enough to endow an institution where they 
could be cared for. The two institutions were united 
in 1421, and transferred to a new building in Via S. 
Maria, built for them on the site of the Spedale della 
Stella and the oratory of S. Giorgio dei Tedeschi. 
Until 1567, the hospital was governed by the Commune, 
at one time being administered by blessed Chiara 
Gambacorti, but in that year Cosimo I. committed the 
error of placing it under the jurisdiction of the hos- 
pital of the Innocenti in Florence. The unpopular 
arrangement only lasted a few years, and the Trovatelli 
has been independent ever since. 

Next door to it is the Collegia Ferdinando, one of 
the offshoots of the university that are due to the 
munificence of the grand-dukes. Housed in a palace 
designed, not unsuccessfully, by Vasari, it has a 
particularly fine entrance surmounted by a bust of 
Grand-Duke Ferdinando I., who founded it in 1 595 
as a hostel for forty students of philosophy and 
jurisprudence. 

The Hospital of S. Chiara occupies the greater part 
of the south side of the Piazza del Duomo. It was 
founded in 1257 or 1258 by the citizens of Pisa in 
expiation of the sins which had placed them under a 
sixteen years' interdict. The Pope encouraged the 
project by permitting the hospitallers to cut wood in 
the pontifical domains in the Garfagnana, and by 
2 A 369 



Story of Pisa 

allowing the hospital brothers to receive sums up to a 
thousand marks from penitents who wished to restore 
their thefts and had been unable to trace their victims. 
Penitents of this kind do not appear to have been 
numerous, as the hospital took eighty years to build. 
Originally called the Spedale Nuovo di Papa Ales- 
sandro, then the Misericordia di S. Spirito, it was 
finally dedicated to S. Chiara, who cures fevers and 
watches over the welfare of washerwomen. 

It received large donations from successive rulers, 
and has now many forms of activity. The medical 
school of the university is here, clinical lectures are 
held on medicine and surgery, and there is also a 
pathological museum and an anatomical theatre. The 
church belonging to it contains an ancient Madonna 
with four Saints, which has often been attributed to 
Taddeo di Bartolo, but is more probably by Giovanni 
da Napoli and Martino Bolgarino of Siena. 

The entrance in Via Solferino, which gives on to a 
large cloister with an upper ambulatory like that of La 
Sapienza, is always thronged in the morning with 
picturesque out-patients from neighbouring villages. 
Their gay clothes, and the crowd of street vendors 
who cluster round to supply them with simple dainties, 
give the scene a suggestion of a daily fair. 

Not far off, in Via del Arcivescovado, is the Palazzo 
Arrives cowle, or archbishop's palace. Behind the 
modern fa9ade is a spacious courtyard of the end 
of the fifteenth century, with a cloistered walk all 
round, based, obviously, on the monastic type of 
cloister. In the middle is a florid rococo statue of 
Moses. Opposite to the palace, at the corner of Via 
Faggiuoli, is its garden, a very good specimen of the 
smaller Italian pleasance of the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries, laid out symmetrically in square 
formal beds and intersecting walks, with a fountain 

370 



The Palaces of Pisa 

in the centre. Rocaille grottoes with statues, rows 
of orange and lemon trees in the graceful terra-cotta 
vases of the period, and some clipped yew trees form, 
together with many flowers, a delightful retreat. 

The palace is very old. According to a document 
in the archiepiscopal archives, which has already been 
described, it was founded in 1 1 1 6, soon after the See 
was raised to an archbishopric, and some of the spoils 
of Palermo were devoted to the building. Rebuilt by 
the active and benevolent Archbishop del Pozzo in 
the sixteenth century, it was enlarged and decorated 
by Archbishop Angiolo Franceschi in the eighteenth. 
Passing from here to the Piazza, de' Cavalieri, we find 
ourselves surrounded by palaces. 

The Palazzo Conventuale of the Order of S. Stefano, 
familiarly known as the Carovana, is a building with 
a beautiful curve in its lines, a seemly facade dotted 
with Grand-Ducal busts, in whose centre are the Grand- 
Ducal arms combined with the red cross of the Order 
upheld by Justice and Religion. The whole surface 
is covered with graffiti or patterns scratched in 
a layer of white plaster placed over black plaster. 
Originally by the hand of the indefatigable Giorgio 
Vasari, they have lately been entirely renewed. 
Vasari made the whole palace out of the famous old 
Palazzo degl' Anziani, certainly using its outer walls, 
and probably the double outside staircase that led up 
to the ringhiera, or platform. It was used as a training- 
school for aspirants to the knightship of S. Stefano, 
who spent four years there at the expense of the Order, 
and besides horsemanship and all knightly exercises, 
were specially instructed in the manoeuvring of galleys 
and the seacraft necessary in an Order instituted to 
carry on naval warfare with the Turk. The ex- 
peditions undertaken against the infidel came to be 
called carovane, a name which became associated with 

371 



Story of Pisa 

the building. The pleasant effect of the existing 
building is completed by the fanciful fountain supported 
by sea-monsters, and the heroic statue of Cosimo I., 
one of Francavilla's best works, which stands before 
it. 

The Palazzo degl' Anziani was old enough at the 
end of the thirteenth century to need rebuilding. It 
seems at that time to have consisted of two buildings, 
the Palace of the People and the house of a certain 
Oddone della Pace, where the Elders lodged, probably 
because there was not room in the Palace of the 
People. Besides uniting these two with a fine facade 
large additions were made, though not, of course, as 
Vasari says, by Niccolo Pisano, who died some years 
before the work was begun. This reconstruction was 
considered to be one of the most beautiful palaces 
in Tuscany, and the Pisans mentioned it in the same 
breath as the Duomo and the Leaning Tower. It 
had a great open loggia, a ringhiera with a double out- 
side staircase, and a lofty tower with the arms of the 
Commune, in which was hung a great bell. On 
festive days the palace was decked with banners, silk 
brocades fell from the windows, and the ground in 
front of it was strewn with gold dust. It was just as 
splendid inside. The wide cloistered court, with a 
well in the middle, was kept scrupulously clean. 
There were lodgings for the twelve Elders, who were 
re-elected every two months, and who not only were 
obliged to live but to take their meals in the palace, 
according to a command of the Doge, dated 1367. 
The four senators, the captains of the train-bands, the 
Consuls of the Sea, the Consuls of the Merchants, the 
Consuls of the Guilds, with nine notaries and numbers 
of subordinate officers, were all housed under its ample 
roof. But its chief glory was the vast hall of the 
people, which ran from end to end of the building. 



The Palaces of Pisa 

Here the Great and the Lesser Councils met together, 
and there was a rostrum for speakers from which the 
victories of the Commune were proclaimed. The 
banners of the four quarters of the city hung from the 
lofty ceiling : red for del Ponte, red and yellow striped 
on a red field for del Mezzo, red with a white gate 
for Forisportae, and red with a white cross for 
Chinsica. Great stores of helmets, cuirasses, tents, 
arrows, and what not lined the walls, for the hall served 
as a civic armoury. All these splendours perished 
by fire in 1356, and the Pisans particularly regretted 
certain engines of war that were worth one hundred 
florins apiece, and an arbalist that discharged three 
arrows at a time, which hung there as trophies of the 
battle of Montecatini. 

Tumults frequently raged round the palace, the 
piazza being invariably the scene of political strife. 
Many rude encounters took place under its very 
walls, one of the most terrible of which was that 
provoked by Ugolino in 1288. The towers and 
houses all round were strongly fortified. Showers 
of missiles darkened the air, and red blood flowed like 
water that day. The struggle concentrated itself 
between two towers, the doomed Ugolino defending 
himself fiercely ; forced to give back, but disputing 
every inch of ground. He was taken at last in the 
Palazzo Pretorio close by, to which he had retreated. 
Often, too, the tolling of the great bell, with slow, 
heavy strokes, called the people together to witness 
the executions that were so frequent in the middle 
ages. Perhaps the most sinister of all these episodes 
was in 1355, when five of the Gambacorti were be- 
headed together, and their headless trunks left lying 
like carrion in the piazza. 

To the right of the Carovana is the Torre del 
Orotogio, which has been already described. Near to 

373 



Story of Pisa 

it, on the left, is the Collegia Puteano, another of the 
foundations of good Archbishop del Pozzo. 

Of modest size, its frescoed front shows traces of 
good design and workmanship, but is in such a ruined 
state that little remains beyond an agreeable jumble of 
colour, architecture, wreaths, and winged boys. The 
archbishop being a Piedmontese, was solicitous that 
his countrymen studying in the university should be 
kept from want. Eight of them are maintained here 
for the five years of their university course. 

At the corner of Via S. Frediano is the Palazzo del 
Consigllo dell' Ordinc, a massive Renaissance palace 
with a garden, built for the Council of the Order of 
S. Stefano in 1603, by Francavilla, on the remains 
of the Palazzo Vecchio of the Elders, its great hall 
frescoed by the brothers Melani and by Ventura 
Salimbeni. The Palazzo Vecchio was the oldest of 
all the mediaeval buildings in the piazza. It was 
rebuilt in 1369, and offered by the Elders to Charles 
IV. after the fire in the Palazzo degF Anziani, 
caused by the carelessness of his own servants. Finally, 
however, they inhabited it themselves, leaving the other 
to the emperor after its restoration, as being more 
worthy of a sovereign. Later, the Palazzo Vecchio 
was occupied by the magistrature, and then by the 
priors, who had their seat there until 1689. 

A house in Via Faggiuola, which turns out of the 
Piazza de' Cavalieri, bears a tablet recording the visit 
to Pisa in the winter of 1827 of Giacomo Leopardi, 
yet another poet who felt the soothing influence of her 
noble history and soft air. He was delighted with 
the aspect of the city, which pleased him far more 
than that of Florence, and he thought the Lung' 
Arno " so spacious, so magnificent and so smiling, that 
one cannot help loving it." In all Europe he found 
no such view. The winter air seemed to him like 

374 



The Palaces of Pisa 

that of spring elsewhere, his health benefited by it, 
and the mild and genial physical influences around him 
caused him to burst forth into song in the spring of the 
year with the other singing birds. " Thus," he says, 
" in April, after an interval of two years, I made 
verses again, real verses, as in the old days and with 
the heart of long ago." 

From the Piazza, de' Cavalieri, Via del Monte leads 
down into the Borgo Largo. Standing on a little 
island to the right is a picturesque mediaeval house 
which is now the Cassa di Risparmio, or savings bank. 
Originally a temple, it has been successively the church 
of S. Felice and the Opera del Duomo. Two 
columns with composite capitals that are built into it, 
no doubt formed part of the atrium of the original 
temple. The capitals have figures springing out of 
acanthus leaves, Harpocrates between two Victories, 
and Jove holding a sceptre, with another Victory. 
The shafts of the columns are so deeply embedded as 
only to leave about four feet above ground, another 
proof of the change in the level of the city since 
Roman days. 

Turning to the left when we enter the Borgo Largo, 
Palazzo Scorzi will quickly be reached. It is a 
pointed Gothic palace with a strikingly Venetian- 
looking portico. Every other house in the Borgo 
Largo has lost this distinctive feature, with a view no 
doubt of admitting more light and air to the houses, 
so that this one has a double value. The French 
ambassador of Louis XIV. resided here. 

The Palazzo Rossclmini, on the other side of the 
river, is in the heart of the Chinsica quarter, and has 
an unusually large and well-wooded garden for a city. 
The dense foliage quite shuts out the world and pro- 
duces a curiously rural effect. It was laid out by the 
Pesciolini family, which once owned the palace. 

375 







S. PIERO A GRADO 



CHAPTER XII 
The Surroundings of Pisa 

" Gia si sentivan su per gli arboscelli 
Li rosignol cantar intorno intorno 
Con dolce versi di piu altri uccelli ; 

E 1'Oriente lucea tutto adorno 
De' raggi bei dell' amorosa stella 

Ch' annunzia in primavera sempre il giorno." 

Dittamondo, Fazio degli Uberti, lib. il., 
cap. xxxi. p. \<)\(circa 1360). 

S. Piero a Grado, S. Rossore, II Gombo t Bocca 
d y Arno and Barbaricina on the 'west. Bagni 
di S. Giuliano and Ripafratta on the north. 
S. Michele degli Scalzi, S. Jacopo in Orticaia, 
the Passegiata Nuova, the Certosa di Calci, 
La Verruca^ the Castle of Caprona, Cascina, 
S. Casciano, Uliveto and Vico-Pisano on the 
east. 

\A7ITH the first hot day of spring the stoney glare 
* * of the city becomes intolerable. The singing 
bird's note in a distant tree-top, the flaunting tulips 
and anemones in the flower-girl's basket, and the smell 
of fertility in the warm moist air, all rouse a longing 

37 6 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

that can only be stilled by the green fields. The 
routine of sight-seeing in the city can then be pleasantly 
varied by visiting some of its beautiful and interesting 
surroundings. On the west the level sea-board, with 
its long lines of dark odorous pine woods and fresh 
living air, is covered by the royal domains of S. Rossore 
and II Gombo. The important ancient basilica of 
S. Piero a Grado is in that direction also, at a spot 
which is now two miles inland but once was at the 
edge of the sea ; and the fashionable little watering- 
place, Bocca d'Arno, or Marina di Pisa, lies at the 
mouth of the Arno. All these are easy of access. 
Viareggio, on the north, and Leghorn, to the south, are 
also reached directly by train. The pine forests of the 
former are famous, and the latter should be visited, if 
only to identify that solitary tower which is the last 
remaining fragment of the great port of Pisa. To the 
north are the baths of S. Giuliano and the great 
frontier fortress of Ripafratta, both on the road to 
Lucca. From thence pilgrimages may be made to the 
last of the hermitages that once lay so thick upon the 
hill-sides, and mountain expeditions to Monte Pruno 
(2850 ft.) and Monte Serra (3010 ft.). From 
the latter, which is the highest summit of the Pisan 
mountains, Lucca is easily reached by the Colle di 
Compito. 

Close to the city, on the east, the fine church of 
S. Michele degli Scalzi stands in the midst of green 
avenues in the Passegiata Nuova. More to the east 
rises Monte Verruca, with the ruins of an ancient 
stronghold on its summit ; the castle of Caprona, where 
Dante fought ; and the great Cistercian monastery of 
Calci. Still further eastward lie Vico-Pisano and 
Cascina, on either side of the Arno. Near these two 
subject cities of the Republic is the little watering- 
place Uliveto, and the old basilica of S. Casciano with 

377 



Story of Pisa 

the rude carvings of Biduino, a twelfth-century artist 
who groped feebly towards the light that was after- 
wards shed so brilliantly on sculpture by Niccolo and 
Giovanni Pisano. Pontedera, with its fine church, is 
further away, but once, also, belonged to the Pisan 
State. 

S. Piero a Grado, or ad Gradus, is a vast basilica 
that rises majestically from the level plain some three 
miles seaward of Pisa, Its lofty campanile dominates 
the scene ; farm buildings, haystacks and trees, cluster 
round it, forming a group suggestive to the English 
eye of a Norfolk or Suffolk village. The sea is 
entirely hidden by the noble pine woods that fringe 
the horizon on three sides, while the fourth is closed 
in by a blue line of hills. This quiet spot can be 
reached in twenty minutes by a steam tram that starts 
near the railway station. The stopping place, S. Piero 
a Grado, is within a few minutes of the church. 
Those who prefer to walk from Pisa will find the road 
an easy and a pleasant one, and not difficult to find. 
Leaving the city by the Porta a Mare the first turn- 
ing to the left leads in a short time to the banks of the 
river, by whose side the shady path runs for the rest 
of the way. 

The first Christian church in Pisa was raised, says 
the legend, by S. Peter himself, close to the ancient 
Port of Pisa, which in his day had not yet been silted 
up by the ever-encroaching sands. As late as 416, 
when Rutilius wrote his curious description, it was 
still one of the chief harbours of Italy, with the great 
Villa Triturrita jutting out into it. 

" With wondering eyes I viewed 
The neighbouring harbour, which its fame has made 
Place of resort, as being Pisa's port, 
And owing to the riches of the sea. 
Wondrous the aspect of the place. The shores 

3/8 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

By che open sea are lashed, and naked lie 
To all the winds. No inner harbour there 
Fenced by protecting piers that might repel 
The threats of -fliolus ; but seaweed tall 
Fringes the sea that it has made its own, 
Sure to prove harmless to the boat it strikes 
Gently, and yet, while yielding, tangles in 
The raging surf, and suffers no huge waves 
To roll in from the deep." * 

But it is evident that the harbour was still navigable, 
though, perhaps, those dense banks of seaweed helped 
in time to choke up its mouth. The great apostle having 
left Judea in company with S. Mark the Evangelist, 
Dionysius the Areopagite, Martial and Appollinaris 
his disciples, was driven ashore by contrary winds to 
this very spot by the mouth of the Arno. Landing 
at the steps, he found a great concourse of people, and 
began to preach and to baptise, and built a rude altar 
at which he said mass. Having made many converts 
he commanded them to erect a church over the altar, 
and because it was near the landing steps, they were to 
call it ad Gradus Arnensis. Some versions of the story 
add, that before continuing his journey to Rome S. Peter 
consecrated as first bishop ot Pisa either S. Torp or 
S. Pierino Ajutamicristo, and that under the care of 
the new prelate the church arose. Strange as was its 
origin its consecration was yet stranger. Clement I., 
the third successor of S. Peter, was one day saying mass 
in Rome with his accustomed devotion, when suddenly, 
to the horror of the congregation, he appeared to fall 
asleep. After three hours he awoke, and excused him- 
self by saying that in the interval he had been com- 
manded to consecrate the church of S. Piero, near Pisa, 
and that an angel had taken his place at the altar in 

1 De Reditu Suo, Book I., 530-540. Rutilii Claudii Namatianl. 
Edited by Charles Haines Keene, M.A., and translated by 
George F. Savage Armstrong, M.A., D.Lit., 1907. 

379 



Story of Pisa 

Rome. During the ceremony at S. Piero, as S. 
Clement was anointing the altar with the holy chrism, 
three drops of blood fell from his nostrils upon it and 
remained there ever after as a proof of his bodily 
presence. They were clear and bright, and absolutely 
indelible, and became the object of the greatest 
veneration, drawing pilgrims from many distant cities. 
Archbishop Federigo Visconti, in the thirteenth 
century, expressed the firmest faith in the above story, 
which was confirmed by a Bull of Pope Innocent VI., 
given in Avignon in 1354, and accepted without 
question in the middle ages. Indeed, the devotion to 
the treasured drops of blood was so great that the 
Genoese resolved to steal them to enrich one of their 
own churches. They fitted out a fleet of five galleys, 
and sailing to the mouth of the Arno attacked the 
church. Being unable to remove the whole altar, they 
broke off a corner on which was one of the drops and 
hurried away with it. But a great storm arose, the 
galleys were sunk, and every man on board perished. 
Alarmed at the dangers to which the remaining drops 
were exposed, the Pisans removed them for safety to 
the Duomo. Every year, on the vigils of the Ascen- 
sion and of St Peter, they were carried back in solemn 
procession, when a great concourse of people came 
down the Arno in boats to S. Piero. Up to near the 
end of the sixteenth century, as Montaigne tells us, 
the custom survived, but a century later it had nearly 
died out. The chaplains of the Duomo, indeed, still 
carried forth the relics in procession, but only as far as 
the city gates, and the popnlar interest in it seems 
entirely to have vanished. 

Whatever its origin, there can be no doubt that a 

church stood here from very early times. Besides the 

universal belief in it, we have evidence of its existence 

in the numerous fragments both of Roman and early- 

380 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

Romanesque sculpture incorporated into the walls of 
the present church. The first document relating to it 
is a deed of gift made by Archbishop Villani to the 
monastery of S. Michele in 1148, in which occurs the 
expression, "near the Church of S. Piero a Grado." l 
It was small, says the legend, and surrounded by the 
twenty-four columns that now divide the nave and 
aisles. We may, therefore, infer that it became inade- 
quate in size when the cult of S. Peter received a new 
impulse in the twelfth century, and was replaced by the 
great basilica we see. All things considered, it is 
in a very good state of preservation, apart from the 
fact that the whole of the exterior was ruthlessly 
stuccoed over in 1790. The east end has three apses, 
the central one larger than the others ; and the west, 
oddly enough, has a fourth instead of a fa$ade. This 
seems to indicate that at some unknown period the 
church was reversed, probably to secure correct orienta- 
tion. A plain corbel-table from which flat pilasters 
descend at intervals is the only ornament of the nave 
and aisles. On the north side it is more ornate, with 
numerous majolica plates inserted between and below 
its arches. This form of decoration was common in 
the middle ages, but these plates are of unusual beauty, 
with Moorish-looking designs of flowers and ships. 
The windows are small lancets, those in the apses 
being widely splayed. Fortunately, the damp sea-air 
of the plain has flaked off most of the eighteenth- 
century stucco from the lower part of the walls, reveal- 
ing a curious medley of building materials. Fragments 
of Roman sculpture and inscriptions, part of a Roman 
milestone of the fourth mile from Pisa, blocks of pink 
marble ; all are jumbled together with Verruca stone, 
black marble, and pieces of Romanesque sculpture 

1 Prope ecclesiam S. Petri in grado que est juris Archi- 
episcopatus Sancte Marie. 



Story of Pisa 

with plaited patterns. A door on the north leads into 
the spacious and impressive interior, with a perfect 
basilica form and open timber roof. The position of 
the twelve columns and the square pier which support 
the round arches seems to indicate the division between 
choir and nave in the days when, as we suspect, the 
altar was at the west end. Most of the beautiful 
antique columns of Greek marble or Oriental granite 
are split with age, and are held together by iron bands. 
One of them is fluted, and another, being too short, is 
propped up by an inverted capital. Nearly all the 
capitals are antique, and of every style Ionic, Corin- 
thian, and Composite, and often do not fit the pillars 
on which hazard has placed them. Tradition brings 
both columns and capitals from a temple of Ceres in 
the city ; but they are of such diverse form and age, 
that it is more likely they were brought at different 
times from conquered cities in the Pisan galleys. The 
only discordant note in the harmonious picture is the 
eighteenth-century stucco work and the grisailles on 
the great choir arch. From arch to roof the walls 
of the nave are covered with three rows of four- 
teenth-century frescoes, attributed to Giunta Pisano or 
to one of his followers. An immensely long series 
of popes in precisely similar attitudes, ending with 
John XIV., who assumed the tiara in 983, forms 
the lowest row, while the central and most important 
one gives the story of SS. Peter and Paul. On the 
right side is the life of S. Peter, ending with his 
martyrdom and that of S. Paul. The left side has 
the continuation of the story, the Funeral and transla- 
tion of the two apostles. Further on are the Conver- 
sion of Constantine, S. Silvestro showing him the 
portraits of Peter and Paul, and the Consecration of 
the Lateran by S. Silvestro in the presence of Con- 
stantine. In the upper row, under a painted cornice, 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

is a series of angels appearing at half-open or open 
windows. Wherever accessible the frescoes have been 
sadly daubed over, and the higher ones have suffered so 
much from sunshine and damp as in places to be quite 
destroyed. Athough the method is rude and decadent 
and the frescoes, as a whole, mark the low level of 
Pisan painting at that period, there is a certain amount 
of characterisation and languid action in the figures. 
All the contours are outlined in red, and the lights on 
the flesh are put on over a coating of green. 




THE PINE WOODS OF S. ROSSORE 



Those who return by road can extend the expedition 
pleasantly by crossing the river near the tramway 
station and driving through the royal domain of S. 
Rossore. A lovely view of Pisa, with the Baptistery 
and Leaning Tower between the river and the moun- 
tains, is to be seen from the bridge. Unusually pic- 
turesque woods surround the royal hunting -lodge and 
its farm-buildings. From here the road passes through 
a noble avenue of time-worn pines, distorted by the 
sea-winds into most weird shapes. Herds of camels 
in the meadows on either side give an unfamiliar touch 
to the scene. The origin of the domain is very ancient. 
In 1088 a little church, dedicated to S. Torp, stood 
in the midst of it, which the Countess Matilda, heroine 
of a hundred tales, bestowed with the surrounding 

383 



Story of Pisa 

lands on the canons of the Pisan Duomo. They 
brought hither the relics of S. Lussorio, a Christian 
soldier who perished under Diocletian and to whom 
they rededicated the church. The name Lussorio in 
the course of time was corrupted into Rossore, and 
the Grand Dukes of Tuscany rented the land from the 
canons. 

The first camels were brought into Tuscany by the 
Grand Duke Ferdinando II., and others were sent 
home in 1663 by General Arighetti, who took them 
from the Turks in battle near Vienna. Others 
appeared in 1700, and more thirty-eight years later, 
but no systematic attempt was made to breed them 
until the days of Francesco II. of Tuscany. He estab- 
lished the existing animals at S. Rossore, imported 
twenty more, and began breeding. So completely did 
he succeed, that by 1785 there were one hundred and 
thirty-four, and four years later they had increased to 
one hundred and ninety-six. Since then the herds 
have prospered, but all attempts to introduce camels 
into other parts of Italy, or even of Tuscany, have 
failed. Even at S. Rossore, with its mild and equable 
temperature, a rather colder winter works havoc among 
the delicate animals. They are not wholly useless, 
as they are used for transporting the pine-cones and the 
faggots cut in the domain, and add greatly to the pic- 
turesqueness of the scene as they pace solemnly along 
with their great loads. 1 In John Evelyn's time there 
were buffaloes also. He says : " We took coach to 
Livorno through the Great Duke's new park full of 
cork trees, the underwood all myrtles, among which 
were many buffaloes feeding, a kind of wild ox, short 
nose with horns reversed ; those who work with them 

1 These particulars are taken from the interesting pages 
on the subject in In Tuscany, by Montgomery Carmichael. 
London, 1901. 

384 



The Surroundings of Pis a 

command them as our bear wards do the bears, with a 
ring through the nose and a cord." 

In 1769 the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo I. 
bought the whole estate from the Church, and in the 
second half of the nineteenth century it became the 
possession of the kings of United Italy. The vast 
pine forests, that extend as far as the sea, with spaces of 
meadow land interspersed, are odorous and still with a 
silence hardly broken by the occasional passage of a 
roebuck or a wild boar, or the trill from the throat of 
a blackbird. Part of the forest is called the Wild 
Wood, an intricate and almost impassable maze. A 
long straight road leads from the left of the avenue 
to II Gombo, the bathing place of the royal family. 

The woods we traverse and the sandy shore, were 
the favourite retreats of Shelley. Here he spent long 
peaceful days fleeing, to quote his own words, 

" Away, away, from men and towns 
To the wild wood and the downs." 

And here he would lie dreaming hour after hour until 
the rhythmical beating of the waves against the shore 
formed itself into verse. Jane was often in his mind 
just then, and in " The Invitation " he bids her come 
away to : 

" Where the lawns and pastures be, 
And the sandhills of the sea." 

And perhaps she came, because afterwards, in " The 
Recollection," he says : 

" We wandered to the pine forest 
That skirts the ocean's foam 

We paused amid the pines that stood 

The giants of the waste, 
Tortured by storms to shapes as rude 

As serpents interlaced." 

385 



Story of Pisa 

The silence and peace of the spot enchanted him ; 
again and again he speaks of the calm and of the 
" inviolable quietness" that 4ie found there. It is 
often stated that this, Shelley's well-loved shore, was 
the spot where his body was cast ashore after it had 
suffered its sea change. But it has recently been 
proved beyond the possibility of doubt that the actual 
place was just beyond the northern end of Viareggio, 
some seven or eight miles away from II Gombo. l 

Returning through the pleasant lanes on the right of 
the avenue to the city, it may chance that long strings 
of race horses will be seen ridden by English-looking 
lads. A detour to the right into the little village of 
Barbaricina will explain this phenomenon. It is the 
home of the king's stud, and the exercising ground is 
in S. Rossore. Stables are seen on every side, and 
neat little villas with trim gardens. The whole village 
was built by an Englishman, Thomas Rook, who was 
for many years trainer and stud-groom to Victor 
Emanuel II. It is still inhabited by English jockeys 
as well as trainers from every part of Europe and 
America, and the English stamp imposed on the 
village by Papa Rook, as he was called, has not left it. 
Returning to the main road we enter the city by the 
Porta Nuova after about a mile's drive. 2 

Another excursion can be made by taking the same 
tram the whole way to Bocca d'Arno, or Marina di 
Pisa, the quaint little watering-place at the mouth of 
the Arno. It is about six and a quarter miles away, 
and the road is shady and agreeable, with the Arno 
rushing alongside between its lush banks, dotted here 
and there with gaily-painted fishermen's huts. The air 

1 See Gli Ultimi Giorni di P. B. Shelley, by Guido Biagi. 
Florence, i89Z. 

2 Permits to visit San Rossore and II Gombo should be 
obtained from the Royal Palace, Lung' Arno Regio. 

386 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

blows salt and fresh by the flat sandy shore, with its 
wide stretches of meadow-land and the solemn gloom 
of the forests that extend along the coast for miles. 
Costa, the landscape painter, found Bocca d'Arno a 
congenial painting ground, and spent many of his work- 
ing years there. 

The Bagni d't S. Giuliano. The road to Lucca runs 
north-east of Pisa, leaving the city by the Porta 
Lucchese. About five miles out, at the foot of Monte 
S. Giuliano " that hill whose intervening brow screens 
Lucca from the Pisans' envious eye," lies the little 
village of Bagni di S. Giuliano, which, like the hill 
that shelters it, bears the name of an ancient church 
dedicated to that saint. It has been identified with 
the Aqua Calida Pisanorum, spoken of by the elder 
Pliny, and much frequented by the Romans. A 
fragment of an inscription to the memory of Erote, 
aquarius and custodian of the waters, who dedicated a 
little temple, perhaps to the nymph of the healing 
springs, has been found near by, while numerous other 
Roman remains bear witness to the presence of that 
bath-loving race. 

After falling into decay in the centuries of barbarism 
that followed the fall of the Roman Empire, the baths 
were restored, about 1113 ; by Countess Matilda says 
the legend, but more probably by the Pisan Commune. 
We know, at anyrate, that only a few years later it 
passed a series of regulations for the maintenance of 
cleanliness and order at the baths during the season. 
It is certain that the Commune rebuilt them in the 
fourteenth century, after their destruction in the 
thirteenth, and, to prevent further incursions, enclosed 
them in a strong wall with forked battlements. Various 
inscriptions testify to these measures, which took place 
under the Podesta, Federigho di Montefeltro. But 
notwithstanding this warlike exterior, there is plenty of 

387 



Story of Pisa 

evidence that within the walls the Bagni di S. 
Giuliano presented, even in the middle ages, the 
appearance of a pleasure resort where the gay world led 
a facile and joyous life. Piero Gambacorti and 
Jacopo d' Appiano were constant patrons, both of them 
patients of Ugolino, a celebrated physician and author 
of a book on the baths of Italy, who died in 1392. 
The former built a beautiful palace, and embellished 
the baths in various ways. Until 1405 their pros- 
perity continued, when the Florentines, under Bertoldo 
Orsini, Count of Soano, attacked the Bagni di S. 
Giuliano. He levelled the wall, and practically 
reduced the whole place to a heap of ruins ; a piece of 
barbarism that was disapproved of even by his own 
countrymen, who showed their displeasure by 
restoring it carefully in 1 46 1 . But all is fair in war, 
and during the last struggle of the Pisans for their 
independence the Florentine soldiery once more 
ravaged the unfortunate village. Lasting peace came, 
however, with the Grand Dukes. Ferdinando I. re- 
paired the ravages of war, and Francesco II. rebuilt 
the establishment on a larger scale than before. Bagni 
di S. Giuliaoo is prettily situated, and has wide views 
on the one side over the plain, and on the other on to 
the Pisan mountains. The healing waters flow out of 
the limestone rock into the two bathing establishments 
in the piazza, and into the fine fountains which adorn 
it. Among the numerous baths of different tempera- 
tures and constituents is the Bagno della Regina, so- 
called, it is said, in memory of a visit of the captive 
queen of the Balearic Islands. 

Montaigne tested the waters in the course of that 
pilgrimage of his in search of health. In his day a 
statue of the Virgin stood over the great bath, and 
written beneath it was the Latin prayer : " May he, oh 
holy Virgin, who goes down into this bath under Thine 
388 



7 'he Surroundings of Pisa 

auspices leave it healed and virtuous." A later visitor 
was Dr Johnson's friend, Madame Piozzi, who had a 
house there towards the end of the eighteenth century, 
but was driven away by the mosquitoes. Shelley spent 
the spring of 1820 in the little village. In the intervals 
of bathing he passed his time in boating on the canal 
that connects the Serchio and the Arno. Lulled by 
the quiet influences of the scene he wrote the " Boat 
on the Serchio." "The Skylark," "Prometheus 
Bound," and the " Witch of Atlas " were also inspired 
by the lovely landscape of this district. 

Ripafratta. About five miles further on is Ripa- 
fratta, or Librafatta, as it was formerly called, a most 
felicitously placed village with an ancient gateway and 
walls, and a fine mediaeval castle crowning the pre- 
cipitous rock on which it stands. It lies on the lower 
slopes of Monte Maggiore, in the narrow valley of the 
Serchio, closely hemmed in by hills. An ancient 
watch-tower on either side, together with the strong- 
hold in the village, bear witness to the importance of 
the spot. 

Important indeed it was, as the frontier town 
between Lucca and Pisa. Of the five hundred and 
fifty-four castles over which Pisa ruled in her days of 
greatness, none was more vitally necessary than this one, 
guardian of the valley that gave access to her territory. 
Its history was very troubled. No one knows when 
it was built, but it seems from the first to have been a 
feudal possession of the Roncioni, Lords of Ripafratta. 
Tossed to and fro by the fortunes of war between Pisa 
and Lucca whenever one took it the other snatched it 
away it finally, like all the other Pisan possessions, 
fell under the dominion of Florence. It was soon 
afterwards strengthened and restored by Antonio di 
San Gallo, and time, rather than deliberate purpose, has 
reduced it to the condition of a picturesque ruin. 

389 



Story of Pisa 

Ripafratta is in the centre of the Land of Hermit 
Saints. A walk of about an hour up the rocky hill 
brings one to the Rupe Cavo, or rock cave, that 
venerable sanctuary where generations of holy men 
have lived the solitary life, and perhaps the only 
remaining hermitage of the Pisan mountains, which at 
one time were a very Thebaid. Here S. Augustine, 
says the story, landing at Ostia on his way from 
Africa, retired for meditation after the death of his 
mother, Monica. Returning to Ripafratta, and setting 
our faces to the north, we find ourselves looking into 
the territory of Lucca. In the far distance the tall 
tower of Nozzano cleaves the air, a castle built to 
guard the confines of the State of Lucca from Pisan 
incursions. 

S. Michele degli Scalzi, or in Orticaia, is one of the 
most interesting Pisan churches. It lies about a 
quarter of a mile outside the Porta alle Piagge, in the 
Viale Umberto Primo, or Passeggiata Nuova, a 
delightful shady walk by the riverside, with views 
across to the old fortress and the picturesque outskirts 
of the city. Orticaia is the name of this whole district, 
the eastern suburb of Pisa. On the right is the river, 
and on the left the mountains rising behind a fruitful 
plain. S. Michele is close to the road, and consider- 
ably below its level ; the massive campanile leans 
towards the river almost as much as the titular 
Leaning-Tower, forming, together with the church 
and former monastery, an architectural group that con- 
trasts finely with the leafy surroundings. The greater 
part of the church dates from the twelfth century, in- 
cluding the lower storey of the facade with its five 
arches and three doors. Cut in relief on the cornice 
of the central one are nine angels, figures of the twelfth 
century. An inscription below them, Ordo Angelorum> 
Ordo Potestalum, Ordo Dominationum, Ordo Cherubin 

39 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

(orww), Or do Seraphin (orzwz), Or do Thronorum, Or do 
Principatum^ Ordo Virtutum, Or do Archangelorum^ 
seems to show that the figures were intended to re- 
present the nine grades in the celestial hierarchy of 
Dionysius the Areopagite, 1 which differed from the 
more orthodox Gregorian order. Dante, who followed 
the Areopagite's order, alludes to the controversy in 
the Paradiso when he says : 

"... dominations first ; next them 

Virtues: and powers the third ; the next to whom 

Are princedoms and archangels, . . . 

. . . Desire 

In Dionysius, so intensely wrought, 
That he, as I have done, ranged them ; and named 
Their orders, marshalled in his thought. From him 
Dissentient, one refused his sacred read. 
But soon as in this heaven his doubting eyes 
Were open'd, Gregory at his error smiled." 2 

The tympanum of the arch is filled by a half-length 
figure of the Redeemer in the act of benediction, with 
an inscription recording that it was the gift, in i 204, of 
one Montaninus Cechia and his wife. The upper part 
of the fagade, the roof and some other portions belong 
to the fatal restoration of 1600, which did so much 
to ruin the church. The round apse is a good 
specimen of its kind, and is enriched with green 
majolica plates. Within, the basilica form is perfectly 
adhered to, with four arches on either side supported 
by six granite columns and two stone piers. In the 
sacristy are some fragments of Byzantine painting. 

The massive campanile is an unusually fine 
specimen of its kind, and having been declared a 
national monument is fortunately safe from danger of 

1 De divinis nominibus, De Celesti Hierachia. 
~ Canto xxviii. 130-9 (Gary's translation) 

39' 



Story of Pisa 

destruction. The lower part, built of Verruca stone, 
dates from the twelfth century, while the rest is red 
brick, and belongs to the end of the thirteenth or 
beginning of the fourteenth centuries. Here, again, 
majolica plates are very happily introduced, while 
traces of thirteenth- century paintings are to be found 
in the lower story. 

The monastery was already flourishing in the middle 
of the eleventh century. An existing document of 
December 26, 1048, tells us that the barefoot monks 
of S. Michele (called degli Scalzi on that account) 
were to receive into their house a certain Guido, son 
of the late Andrea d' Agnano, together with a donation 
of his possessions. The monks were of the Order of 
Pulsano, and were said to have come from Pulsano in 
Apulia, a long way to travel in those days. They 
were never a very large community, and have long 
been extinct. Other deeds of 1137 and 1139 speak 
of the monastery, but the church is first mentioned in 
1151. Domini et Sanct'i Michaelis Orticarie it is called, 
and Martino, presbiter, is spoken of as its rector. 
After this we often hear of it. In 1187 Pope 
Clement III., being in Pisa, issued a bull by which 
he took the monks under his immediate protection and 
gave them various privileges, including the right of 
burial in the church. Soon afterwards, further privi- 
leges were heaped on them by a bull of Celestin III., 
and all were confirmed by Innocent III. in 1202, and 
Gregory X. in 1273. Besides being the recipients 
of so much papal favour, the monks were greatly 
venerated in the neighbourhood. Archbishop Federigo 
Visconti, preaching some time between 1254 and 
1278, after recalling the example of the Pisans in the 
past, exhorted the people to visit the church of S. 
Michele in Orticaia on account of the many holy men 
then living in the monastery. 

39* 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

The Pulsanese monks were superseded at S. 
Michele by Canons Regular of the Order of S. 
Salvadore of the Lateran, on whom Pius II. con- 
ferred the monastery in 1463. They were one of the 
numerous and wealthy communities of lay clergy living 
together more or less under the control of a bishop, 
and leading a semi-monastic life under the Augustinian 
rule, though without taking any vows. They re- 
mained at S. Michele until 1773, instituting among 
other things the observance of the feast of S. Ubaldo, 
a festival still very dear to the people. Their suc- 
cessors of the Olivetan Order had but a short tenure, 
for the monastery was suppressed ten years later. The 
church is now parochial, and was restored in 1902 to 
something of its original aspect. 

Fine avenues shade the Passeggiata Nuova for a 
mile or more beyond S. Michele, ending near the 
little rural village of Cisanello. The reaches of the 
river, with green and shady banks, are more sug- 
gestive at this point of the Thames than of an Italian 
stream. 

In the same district is the church of S. Jacopo in 
Orticaia, which retains an ancient appearance outside, 
but within is a horrible mass of rococo ornamentation. 
The present structure dates from the twelfth century, 
but there are traces of a still earlier one in the narthex, 
which still exists. 

The Certosa di Calc'i is a fine Cistercian monastery 
of ancient origin, but for the most part rebuilt towards 
the end of the eighteenth century, whose white build- 
ings standing out conspicuously from the green hill- 
side form a landmark for many miles round. The 
Certosa, or Charterhouse, lies in the Valle di Calci, 
about seven miles east of Pisa, from whence it is 
easily reached by steam tram, changing at Navacchio. 
The village of Calci is prettily situated at the foot of 

393 



Story of Pisa 

the hills, and has an unusually fine Pieve, 1 with an 
extremely elaborate Pisan- Romanesque facade and a 
dignified campanile, built of black and white marble 
and stone. In the interior is a quaint twelfth-century 
font for immersion, surrounded by figures in niches 
with wild beasts beneath their feet, and angels in the 
spandrils of the arches. Rude and decadent in 
method, the influence of late- Roman sculpture is 
evident in the figures. 

The Charterhouse is not far off with its gorgeous 
buildings, the church conspicuous among them in the 
long massive line of the fa9ade. An over-ornate 
group of sculpture crowns the pediment, and the door 
is approached by a fine double staircase. The chief 
beauty of the whole is the great cloister, with its round 
arches upheld by graceful pillars and a huge eighteenth- 
century fountain in the centre of its peaceful garden. 
From here there is a more than usually beautiful view 
of the surrounding amphitheatre of hills. 

The monastery, founded in 1367 with money 
bequeathed by an Armenian merchant settled in Pisa, 
was purposely placed near the church in the Valle di 
Calci, which for some time served for the devotions of 
the monks. S. Catherine of Siena proved herself a 
staunch friend of these Carthusians of Calci, whose 
prior, the blessed Giovanni Uppezinghi, was one of 
her devoted followers. Not only did she visit Calci 
more than once during her stay in Pisa in 1375, but 
obtained one thousand golden florins from Gregory XI. 
towards the completion of the monastery. Nor did 
she stop here. At the earnest prayer of the prior of 
S. Gorgonia, she even visited the island of Gorgona, 

1 A Pieve is a church in which baptism may be ad- 
ministered, a privilege not enjoyed by all churches in 
Italy. 

394 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

embarking on the sea, which she then saw for the first 
time. Fra Raimondo, her confessor, thus describes 
the episode : " The evening of our arrival the prior 
lodged S. Catherine and her companions about a mile 
from the monastery, and the next morning brought his 
monks to Catherine, and asked her to grant them some 
words of grace. Yielding reluctantly to his prayer 
she spoke to the monks in such a wondrous fashion 
that every heart was touched, and the prior exclaimed 
that if she had been their confessor she could not have 
known each man's sins and temptations better : * Dear 
brother Raimondo/ he said, * surely she possesses 
the gift of prophecy and speaks by the Holy Ghost.' ' 
At parting there was a pretty scene. All the monks 
came down to the shore and took a tender leave of 
her, some of them accompanying her to the mainland. 
The prior begging for a remembrance, she left her 
mantle with him, and returned to Pisa full of the 
wonders of the deep. Ever after she used the ocean 
as an image in her prayers, comparing her Lord to a 
tranquil sea. " mare piacevole ! mare pacifico ! " 
she would ejaculate. 

About the end of the fourteenth century monks 
from the monastery of S. Gorgonia, in the island of 
Gorgona, fled to the Certosa of Calci for refuge from 
the aggressions of the Saracen corsairs; and a few years 
later the houses were united, owing, it is said, to the 
intercession of S. Catherine. The Carthusians thus 
became owners of the whole island of Gorgona and a 
wealthy body, although, because of the depredations of 
the Saracens, they never succeeded in re-establishing 
their monastery on the island. 

La Verruca. The ruins of the strong fortress 
La Verruca, guardian of the mountain passes in the days 
of Pisan independence, still crown the lofty peak of 

395 



Story of Pisa 

the Monte Verruca. They are visible from Pisa, a 
perpetual reminder of her ancient lordship and 
power. But they are worthy of a closer examination. 
A steep and rugged path leads up to them in two and 
a half hours from Calci, a convenient point of de- 
parture. Once the summit is reached, at the height 
of 1765 feet, fatigue is forgotten. The air is fresh, 
and half the fair land of Tuscany lies spread out at 
the foot of the mountains. Towards the west the 
blue expanse of Mediterranean waters is broken by the 
little isles of Gorgona and Capraia. The winding 
Arno unrolls itself like a silver ribbon from the 
mountains to the sea, the walls of Pisa crowning it 
midway. Leghorn, her trade rival and supplanter, 
rises on the distant shore. To the east lie the fertile 
plains that border the river, dotted with numberless 
white castles and villas. Further away are the swamps 
of Bientina and Fucecchio, appearing from behind the 
Corbaje hills, and at the end of a long vista the 
shining domes and towers of Florence close in the 
scene. 

The ruins are somewhat difficult of interpretation. 
That a castle stood here as early as 996 is known. 
The Emperor Otho conferred it in that year on the 
Abate Majone for the abbey of Sesto : Roccam etlam 
de Verruca, runs the deed, "also the castle of 
Verruca." In 1020 Henry I. confirmed the gift, 
with even greater precision. But that early structure 
must have fallen into decay, or proved inadequate to 
defend the borders of the Pisan territory, as it was 
rebuilt in the thirteenth century. In this new form it 
held out many times against the Lucchesi and the 
Florentines, but only by perpetually reinforcing its 
fortifications. At last the Florentines proved too 
strong for its defenders in 1431, and La Verruca fell 

396 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

before them, and was destroyed. About the time 
of her final subjugation of Pisa, Florence realised 
the strategic importance of the site, and in 1506 
sent her architect to Giuliano Lapi, commissioner of 
the Florentine Republic at Vico-Pisano, with in- 
structions to "finish and perfect" the works at La 
Verruca ; and the castle walls soon rose anew. How 
much of the old building he incorporated, it is im- 
possible to say. Doubtless something, probably the 
foundations. If that is so, the existing remains, 
which hardly rise above the lowest storey, belong to 
the castle of the thirteenth century, and not to that of 
1503. In any case, they are interesting historically 
rather than architecturally, and call up memories of 
hard fighting, of cunning attacks and stubborn 
defences. 

Caprona. One more pilgrimage should be made 
from Calci, to the ruins of another great castle that 
played some part in Pisan history. Caprona lies on the 
lower slopes of Monte Verruca, near the little village 
of the same name. It was hotly beseiged in the course 
of the campaign that followed the battle of Campaldino, 
where the Florentines crushed the Tuscan ghibellines, 
including of course the Pisans, in 1289. Dante had 
taken part in the battle, fighting valiantly in the front 
rank ; and his footsteps can, perhaps, be traced in the 
subsequent fighting, certainly in the brief, furious siege 
of the Castle of Caprona, where the beaten Pisans had 
taken refuge. It surrendered. Great crowds of the 
common people assembled to see the garrison march 
out, and terrified the starving, weary men by shouting 
out: " Apicca, Apicca ! " (Hang them, hang theml) 
as the poor creatures went by. Dante's description of 
this scene proves him an eye-witness. " Thus once," 
he says, " I saw the foot men, who marched out under 

397 



Story of Pisa 



treaty from Caprona, fear at seeing themselves among 
so many enemies." 1 

The castle of Caprona perished, like so many others 
in the contado of Pisa at the hands of the Florentines, 
in the year 1453. Not so completely, however, but 
that enough remains to remind us of this interesting 
moment in its history. 

Cascina is a tiny terra murata, or walled township, 
some eight miles to the east of Pisa, and once subject to 
the Republic. It can be reached by train in a few 
minutes, and the station is so close to the town that the 
walk is hardly long enough to take in the general effect 
of picturesque decay. The mellow walls with their 
ragged battlements, and the great dismantled tower, are 
very good to look at. Entering at the Pisan gate, a 
perfectly straight road with arcaded houses leads to the 
Florentine gate. On a holiday it is thronged. Bands 
of maidens in bright kerchiefs and aprons, linked to- 
gether six or seven in a row, pass slowly up and down, 
sending bright provocative glances towards similar bands 
of youths in wonderful ties, but never apparently speak- 
ing to them. The elders sit outside the cafes absorbed 
in business talk, with tumblers of red wine before them, 
and long. Tuscan cigars in their mouths. The appear- 
ance of a stranger excites the populace greatly, for this 
little town is seldom visited. Our first visit was much 
disturbed by the thrilling interest with which we were 
followed. An attempt to photograph the Pieve 
resulted in a spirited group of some two or three 
hundred eager, smiling faces. Crowds burst after 
us into the church, and interrupted the catechism 
that was in progress by swarming over the benches 
in our wake, whispering, talking, and laughing. 
"Bigotti! (bigots), they are Bigotti" said our old 

1 Inferno, xxi. 94-96 (Carlyle's translation). 
39 8 



The Surroundings of Pisa 



cabman, unable to account otherwise for their odd 
conduct. 

A street to the left leads in about a minute to the 
piazza. Here stands the Pieve with its ancient cam- 
panile, once a tower of defence. There was a church 
here, it seems, as early as 750, and it became a Pieve 
in 80 1, but that early structure has disappeared, and 
the church we see has all the characteristics of the 
twelfth or the thirteenth century. The fa9ade, though 
plainer, is very like those of S. Frediano and S. Pierino 
in Pisa. On the south, which has a good corbel table, 
there is a deeply-cut mediaeval inscription, about three 
feet from the ground: " Frederic II., Rex Sicilie, 71." 
In the sacristy is an interesting and rare Romanesque 
la<uabo, no doubt coeval with the church, on which the 
rude figure of a horse is carved. A desecrated chapel 
of S. Giovanni Battista, near the station, now a wine 
store, is covered with badly-injured frescoes by Martino 
da Siena (1386). 

So tiny is Cascina that a walk round its walls can 
easily be accomplished in ten minutes, but it has all the 
appurtenances of a real city in the way of walls, towers, 
gates, and a citadel. The moat is filled up, the walls 
are rent and patched, and restored much in the same 
way as those of Pisa, with red brick. Several watch- 
towers have survived, but little more than the shaft of 
the citadel tower, whose machicolations have almost 
vanished. 

Cascina first appears in the pages of history in the 
middle of the eighth century, when it seems that the 
bishop of Pisa owned a village there with a Cass'ina, 
or Casalino, a little house. In later years this small 
township was a perpetual bone of contention between 
the Lucchesi and the Pisans, or the Florentines and the 
Pisans, and it is hard to understand how any inhabitants 

399 



Story of Pisa 

could survive in a place that was so often besieged and 
sacked. In 1295, for instance, it was taken by the 
Lucchesi, who razed the campanile to the ground. 
Again, the soldiers of the guelphic league took and 
sacked it in 1328, with who knows what nameless deeds 
of horror. In 1341, and again in 1362, it was besieged 
and taken by the Florentines. -They used it as their 
base for the great attack they made on Pisa two years 
later, on S. Vittorio's day, 1364. Then at last Cascina, 
with undaunted spirit, resolved to improve her defences, 
and built a stout wall with strong towers and a citadel. 
But even that was in vain. No wall could keep out 
the Florentines. They took and subdued the gallant 
little town in 1499, and it was never able to break 
away from their yoke again. 

Whatever the sympathies of the inhabitants, they 
must, at least have acknowledged the beneficence of the 
Medicean rule, that gave them so complete a system of 
waterways and sluices. These drained the surrounding 
marshes, and deposited the fat mud of the Arno on the 
land, thus giving them fertile fields to till. Cosimo I. 
began the work, as is recorded on the sluice gate at 
Riglione, midway between Cascina and Pisa. 

The arms of the city, a casket inscribed with the 
word Fides, are explained by Morrona to mean that 
the Pisan Republic kept its treasure there because it 
had such an implicit reliance in the good faith of the 
inhabitants. 

The Pieve of S. Casciano should be visited from 
here. 1 A walk or drive of three miles brings one to 
the pleasant shady village where is this ancient church, 
one of the most important of the early Pisan- 
Romanesque type. The path lies under the hills, 

1 Carriages of a simple kind will be found at Cascina 
station. 

400 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

among quiet country lanes and villages. On the right 
flows the Arno, separating the road from the moun- 
tains. Beyond is Uliveto, a little watering-place in a 
cleft of the rock formed by an old quarry. It is much 
frequented locally, and has hot medicinal springs, said 
to be efficacious for rheumatism and kindred ills. The 
impulse of the traveller is to alight and explore the primi- 
tive village, but he finds himself cut off from it by the 
width of the river. 

The Pieve of S. Casciano is approached by an 
avenue of lime trees, and stands on a spacious green, 
opposite to a scattered village. It is a pure twelfth 
century basilica, with a modern campanile in the style 
of that period. The fa9ade is extremely simple, save 
for the architraves of the three doors, which were 
sculptured in 1180 by Biduino, fore-runner of Niccolo 
Pisano. That on the left has reliefs of strange animals ; 
the central one, the Raising of Lazarus and the Entry 
into Jerusalem, somewhat in the style of the reliefs on 
the architrave of the east door of the Baptistery ; and 
the one to the right, griffins and other beasts. * 

It is a pity that these interesting reliefs are suffered 
to be the home of wild bees, who have deposited their 
honeycomb in all the crevices, so that it is almost 
impossible to see them. 

An ox and a lion sustain the stilted arch of the rriain 
door, and there is a sculptured head in the centre of 
the tympanum. Unusual interest attaches to the 
exterior, which is absolutely authentic, having entirely 
escaped restoration, although it may be questioned 
whether the upper storey was not left unfinished by 

1 The architrave on the left is inscribed : Hoc Opus Quod 
Cernis Biduinus Docte Peregit Undecies Centum et Octoginta 
post Anni Tempore Quo Deus Est Fluxerant de Virgine 
Natus. 

2 c 401 



Story of Pisa 

the original builders. It is low and plain, with a 
single window, and seems disproportionate to the 
lower storey. S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno is recalled by 
the fine panelling that runs round the church, while 
the interior has all the simplicity and dignity of an 
untouched basilica. Traces of a still older structure are 
said to be discernable to expert eyes. 

Vtco-P'isano is one of the most picturesque and un- 
spoilt little hill-towns in Tuscany, and almost entirely 
unknown. It lies about ten miles to the east of the 
city, on a southern spur of the hills. Though only 
about half that distance from Cascina, the drive from 
Pisa is too pretty to miss. On the outward journey 
the highroad running south of the river should be 
followed, passing the old fortified abbey of S. Savino, 
and on the return the winding lanes at the foot of the 
hills. 

The first glimpse of the little hill-fastness, crowned 
with its strong castle and with trees clustering about its 
base, is a delight. It has lost its walls, but not a few 
mediaeval towers peer over the house-tops and proclaim 
it a fighting city. Towers, roofs, and trees climb up 
the hill together, and with them the traveller, who 
must mount a steep winding path on foot, carriages 
being perforce left below. First two towers are passed, 
then another, then yet another. The higher we climb 
between the old crumbling walls, with their luxuriant 
growth of red valerian, the more enchanting the view 
becomes. Roofs, towers, and campaniles slope away 
on the right, and beyond them is the wide sunny plain. 
The little river Seressa meanders round the town, 
washing the feet of its houses. At length we reach 
a small grassy terrace called the Prato, which seems to 
be the end of the world, with a sheer drop into space 
before it. After resting there to enjoy the view, the 
402 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

Pretura^ a quaint rugged building on the left, demands 
attention. The rough masonry of its front is half- 
covered with the decorative stemme, or coats-of-arms, 
of the Vicari of the town, some of them as old as the 
fifteenth century. On entering the little courtyard, the 
series is found to be continued. Indeed, the further 
wall is almost hidden by picturesque heraldic emblems, 
carved in stone or marble, or made of shiny della 
Robbia ware, blue, green, and yellow. This pretty 
custom of commemorating the successive officials of 
a city is nowhere more prettily carried out than 
here, where some of the stemme are real works of art. 
Just beyond the Pretura, a door in the rocky wall gives 
access to the castle. A dark tunnel and steep flight of 
steps lead into the flowery garden, with a most unex- 
pectedly modern villa in the midst of it, where once a 
monastery stood. The castle is perched on the highest 
point, richly-wooded slopes falling from it abruptly on 
every side. In one corner of the big square keep is the 
tower. Strong and tall, the great shaft seems to shoot 
up in the air, its machicolated and crenellated summit 
burgeoning out like a flower. Upon one side the 
shield of Florence is carved side by side with the 
eagle *nd cross of Pisa. The walls of the keep are 
so high and strong that short of modern artillery there 
seems no force in the world capable of destroying them. 
A machicolated wall runs straight from the castle down 
into the plain, where a tower waits to defend it at the 
base. The combination of romantic architecture, 
shady trees, and exquisite views make this a spot 
difficult to leave. 

Another winding pathway of surpassing beauty takes 
us quickly down the hill again, to a spot a little in 
advance of that where the carriage was left. Here the 
ancient Pieve is found, with a good twelfth-century 

403 



Story of Pisa 

Pisan facade, and the three doors and flat pilasters that 
have been seen so often. There is a corbel-table, 
ornamented like that at Cascina with animals' heads. 
The interior has ancient columns and capitals. 

Another old church of this period, S. Jacopo, about 
a quarter of a mile away, is worth seeing. 

Vico-Pisano was originally known as Vico- 
Auserissola, and belonged to the patrimony of the 
marquesses of Tuscany. Vico in old Italian means a 
village or burgh, and Auserissola probably comes from 
tiie little river Seressa. It is often mentioned in Pisan 
archives, the first time being in a deed of March 4, 
934, by which Zanobi, bishop of Pisa, confers the 
office of prior of the Pieve of SS. Maria and Giovanni, 
sita loco et jinibus Vicho, on a certain priest named 
Giovanni. We know of no important event in its 
history before it was ceded in 1601 by the Marquess 
Alberto, together with Cisano and other gifts, to the 
monastery of Marturi, near Poggibonsi, whose abbot, 
perhaps perforce, gave it up to Archbishop Ruggeri of 
Pisa in 1129. Anxious for a secure tenure of his 
temporal as well as of his spiritual rights, Ruggieri 
obtained a confirmation of them from the Emperor 
Conrad II. Frederick I. ratified the deed in 1178, the 
Elders of Pisa undertaking to defend the Archbishop's 
temporal possessions. Unfortunately his brother- 
bishop of Lucca, was also lord of broad lands in 
Vico-Pisano, conferred on his bishopric by the Countess 
Beatrice in 1068, and he likewise wished to make good 
his title. Vico-Pisano stood between the two church- 
men, but always sided with the Archbishop of Pisa, 
and defended her walls stoutly against the soldiers of 
Lucca, who constantly tried to seize her for their 
bishop. The first siege was in 1289, not many years 
after Vico had been ravaged by the troops of the 
404 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

guelphic league under the unfortunate Ugolino della 
Gherardesca, then an exiled wanderer. But the 
courage and patriotism of the inhabitants supported 
them under both these attacks, as it did when the 
Lucchesi, in 1323, made another desperate attempt to 
take the castle. By the help of a Pisan traitor they 
were admitted one night into the town, and next 
morning were found taking their ease as though in 
their own homes. The enraged inhabitants, however, 
made so furious an onslaught upon them that not even 
the presence of Castruccio Castracane, who led them 
in person, could save them from an ignominious flight. 
It rankled in Castruccio's proud mind that he had been 
forced to flee, and four years later he again besieged 
the town, though with no better result. So ingrained 
was the hatred between Vico-Pisano and Lucca that 
even the death of Castruccio did not terminate the 
war, and fighting went on year after year. 

The geographical position of Vico-Pisano was a very 
strong one. The town stood on a steep hill, guarded 
on the east by the Seressa, and on the west by the 
Arno, which then flowed through the plain hard by. 
On the summit of the hill the Elders of Pisa decreed, 
in 1330, that a strong castle should be built to com- 
plete the defences of Vico. Never did she need 
strength more, for a more powerful enemy than she 
had yet contended with stood before her gates. In 
1405 Maso degl' Albizzi, with a numerous Florentine 
force, laid siege to the little hill-fastness, drawing his 
lines so closely round the walls that no help from the 
outside could reach the defenders. They did not lose 
heart, however, but repelled the constant attacks of the 
enemy, both by land and by water for the Florentines 
had brought a galley down the Arno until hunger 
forced them to capitulate on July 16, 1406, after 

405 



Story of Pisa 

eight months of heroic endurance. This proved the 
death-blow not only to their own independence, but 
to that of Pisa. Vico-Pisano having fallen, she no 
longer impeded the progress of the armies of Florence ; 
on the contrary, she served as a convenient base for 
their attacks on the mother city. To increase her 
utility, the fortifications were greatly augmented and 
strengthened by Filippo Brunelleschi, who also added 
the fine tower to the castle. For nearly a century 
Florence held the town in an iron grip, but no walls, 
no garrison, were strong enough to repress the pent-up 
hatred of the inhabitants. Here, as in Pisa, rebellion 
broke out in 1494 ; the Florentines were expelled, and 
Pisan troops marched in. But before the exultant 
little town had time to enjoy her triumph she was again 
besieged by a new enemy, Guidobaldo della Rovere, 
Duke of Urbino, and was able to endure a long siege 
with such gallantry that the besiegers were forced to 
slink ignominiously away. Soon afterwards, the 
Emperor Maximilian I. honoured Vico-Pisano by 
staying there, arriving on the very day that he had 
withdrawn his baffled Pisans and Venetians from the 
siege of Leghorn. That was the last joyful event that 
befel Vico-Pisano, whose hard-won independence was 
not destined to last. Two years later Paulo Vitelli, at 
the head of the troops of Florence, once more marched 
upon her, and this time she fell easily before him. 
Much blood was shed, and the whole of the Val di 
Calci was subdued. Two strong forts were erected 
by the victorious general to secure his conquests, one 
of them on the hills commanding Vico-Pisano, in a 
place called the Dolorous Rock. 

Once again the brave people of Vico rose and 
ejected their conquerors, and the Florentines stood 
without its gates for a whole year, unable to enter. 
406 



The Surroundings of Pisa 

At last the city was betrayed by the Swiss guards that 
Pisa had sent to reinforce it. Heavily bribed by the 
Florentines, they opened the gates to them on June 
14, 1503. This was the end. Crushed by repeated 
misfortunes, Vico remained under the dominion of 
Florence until it became a part of United Italy. 
Among its famous citizens were Michele, father of 
Pietro Land, ancestor of the Dukes of Land of 
Rome ; and Ermengarda Buzzacherini, mother *of S. 
Ranieri of Pisa. 




ARMS OF VICO-PISANQ 



LIST OF HOTELS 

On the Lung* Ar no Regio : 

HOTEL VICTORIA, excellent, but expensive. 

GRAND HOTEL, expensive, good. 

HOTEL NETTUNO, comfortable, Italian, with good 
restaurant. 

PENSIONS INTERNAZIONALE, unpretentious and com- 
fortable, with tea-room. 

Near the Station : 

HOTEL MINERVA, good, convenient for the hurried 
traveller. 



Cafe Ciardelli, Lung' Arno Regio, with excellent 
cakes and good tea. 



GENERAL INDEX 



A. 

Acre, S. Jean d', 16, 17, 27, 33, 40, 
43. 44. 50' 5i 87. 

Adrian I., Pope, 8. 

IV., Pope, 8, 28. 

SEneid,, the, quoted, 3. 

Agnelli, Agnello degl', 42. 

Agnello, Giovanni degl', created 
Doge of Pisa, 74, 75 ; breaks his 
thigh and is deposed, 76, 78. 

The, 84. 

Albertinelli, 289. 

Alexander III., Pope, 28, 34. 

IV., Pope, 48. 

V., Pope, 88. 

Alfieri, 102, 368. 

Alfonso, King of Castille, 47. 

Allori, Cristofano, 298. 

Allone, Duke of Lucca, 8. 

Almeric, King of Jerusalem, 27, 



Alpheus, 3. 

Amalfi, 21, 23, 44. 

Ammirato, Scipione, quoted, 83^, 

85, 88. 

Anacletus II., anti-Pope, 21. 
Angelico, Fra, 267 ; banner by, 315. 
Antioch, 2, 16, 17. 
Anziani, Palazzo degl", 57, 107 ; 

description of, 371-373. 
Appiano, Jacopo d', Lord of Pisa, 

81, 82, 267, 388. 
Aquinas, S. Thomas, 95, 115, 205, 

206, 285 ; Traini's picture of, 

286-288, 314. 

Archivio Arcivescovile, 339. 
di Stato, description of, 331- 

336. 

Aretino, Spinelli, 226, 281, 282, 314. 
Arnulf of Normandy, 15, 16. 
Augustine, S., 390. 
Augustus, Emperor, 6. 
Aulla, Chapel of, in Campo Santo, 

203-204, 211. 

Aurelia, Via, 4. 



Auser, or Ozzeri, the river, 117, 
118, 122. 



Bagni di S. Giuliano, the, descrip- 
tion of, 387-389. 

Baldwin, Count, 14 ; crowned King 
of Jerusalem, 15, 16. 

II., King of Jerusalem, 27. 

III., King of Jerusalem, 26. 

IV., King of Jerusalem. 35. 

Balearic Isles, 119, 120, 264, 388. 

Bandinelli, Bacio, 160, 241. 

Baptistery, The, or S. Giovanni, 
25, 107, 108, 112 ; first stone laid 
of, 122, 153, 154, 172, 177 ; de- 
scription* of, 181-186, 305, 319, 
321, 383, 401. 

Barbarossa, see Frederick I., 
Emperor. 

Barisone, Judge of Arborea, 30, 31. 

Bartolo, Taddeo di, 263, 276, 282, 
3*4' 370. 

Bartolommeo, Fra, 289. 

Beatrice, Countess, 12, 236, 404. 

Beccafumi, 169. 

Benedict VIII., Pope, 9. 

XII., Pope, 88, 326. 

Benenato, 191. 

Bergolini, the, 68, 72, 75, 77, 84. 

Bernard, S., 21, 22 ; letter of, to 
Lothar, 23, 25. 

Biduino, 377, 378, 401. 

Bigarelli, Guido, 185. 

Bocca d' Arno, 386, 387. 

Bohemund, Prince of Antioch, 15, 
16. 

Bologna, Gian, 158, 171. 

Bonanus, or Bonanno, map by, 
117, 118, 122, 191. 

Boniface VIII., Pope, 57, 61. 

Borghini, Vincenzo, letter about 
death of Cardinal Giovanni de' 
Medici, 94. 

Borgo, Flaminio dal, 117 n. i., 
132 n. i. 

409 



Botanical Garden, 107, 329, 330. 
Bouciquaut (Jean Le Maingre), 

83,89. 
Breve dei Consoli del Comune, 

38- 

Curiae Ordinis Maris, 53. 

di Ordo Maris, 39. 

Pisani Communis, 38, 53, 54, 

336.. 

Pisani Podestatis, 38. 

Pisani Populi et Compag- 

niarum, 54, 336. 
Bridges in Pisa, 140-149. 
Bronzino, Angelo, 229, 334. 
Brosses, President de, quoted, 

298. 

Buffalmacco, 204, 215, 245. 
Buonamico, 233. 
Buonconti, 59. 
Buschetto, architect of Duomo of 

Pisa, 155 ; tomb and epitaph of, 

I 57. 174- 
Byron, Lord, 349'357, 362, 363, 

364- 

C. 

Caesar, Caius, 5, 6, 238. 

Lucius, 6. 

Calci, Certosa di, description of, 
393-395- 

Camels in royal domain of S. 
Rossore, 383-384. 

Camiano, Tino di, 203, 232. 

Campo Santo, the, inscriptions to 
Caius and Lucius Caesar in, 6, 
39, 72, 107, 108, 153, 161, 172, 
177,180; description of, 197-240; 
frescoes in, 203-229 ; sculpture 
in, 229-240, 321. 

Capponi, Gino, 83, 85, 86. 

Neri, 86. _ 

Caprona, description of, 397-398. 

Carli, Raffaellino di, 317. 

Cascina, description of, 398-400, 
402. 

Castracane, Castruccio, 60, 61, 62, 
63, 405 ; sons of, 67, 215, 216. 

Catherine, S., of Siena, 255 ; goes 
to Pisa, 256 ; stays with 
Gherardo Buonconti, 257 ; 
letters of, to Queens of Naples 
and Hungary, and to Sir 
John Hawkwood, 258 ; exhorts 
sinners, 259 ; receives Stigma, 
260, 261, 285, 286, 394, 395. 

Cavalcaselle, see Crowe. 



Story of P Is a 

Cavalieri, Piazza de', 107. 
Celeslin III., Pope, 37, 392. 
Cemetery, the Jews', 116. 
Cervellieri, Giovan Battista, 163, 

Charles IV., Emperor, 69, 70, 75, 

76, 77, 78, 337, 366, 367. 

V., Emperor, 328. 

VIII., King, 89, 90 ; coins of, 

319, 326, 337, 348. 

of Anjou, King, 48, 49. 

Chaucer, quoted, 275. 

Chiara, S. , hospital of, 107, 369-370. 

Chinzica, or Chinsica, legend of, 

9, 122, 123, 145, 148. 
Christian, Archbishop of Mayence, 

3Q 33- 

Church of S. Agata, 248. 
S. Andrea di Chinsica, 118, 

1 68 ; description of, 264-265. 
S. Andrea Forisportae, 

273-275. 

S. Anna, 201, 289, 290. 

S. Casciano, sculpture by 

Biduino at, 377-378 ; description 

of, 400-402. 
S. Caterina, 104, 115, 118; 

description of, 284-289, 322, 323, 

324. 

S. Cecilia, 278. 

S. Clemente, 118. 

S. Cosimo and Damiano, in, 

254- 
S. Cristina, 100, 254 ; S. 

Catherine of Siena receives 

Stigma in, 255-261. 
S. Domenico, 265-268, 315, 

317. 

S. Eufrasia, 292. 

S. Felice (now Cassa di 

Risparmio), 118, 375. 
S. Francesco, 104 ; descrip- 
tion of, 270-284, 307, 314, 321. 

S. Frediano, 299, 300. 

S. Girolamo, 316. 

S. Jacopo, 393. 

S. Lorenzo in Chinsica, 100. 

S. Maria delle Carmine, 268. 

S. Maria Maggiore, see 

Duomo. 

S. Maria della Neve, 136. 

S. Maria della Spina, 104, 

146; description of, 249-254, 

318, 319. 

S. Matteo, 118, 269, 270. 

S. Martino in Chinsica, 100 ; 

description of, 262-264. 



General Index 



Church of S. Michele in Borgo, 

2, 77, 100, 108, 118; description 

of, 275-278. 

S. Michele in Lucca, 76. 

S. Michele degli Scalzi 

description of, 390-393. 
S. Niccolo, 100, 108, 1 18, 135 ; 

description of, 301-304. 

S. Paolo al Orto, 278. 

S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, 104, 

108, 121, 148 ; description of, 

242-248, 304, 313, 318, 402. 
S. Pierino or S. Pietro in 

Vincolis ; description of, 271-273, 

299. 
S. Piero in Grado, or ad 

Gradus, 98, 108, 181, 319, 345. 

377 ; description of, 378-383. 
S. Pietro in Vincolis, see S. 

Pierino. 
S. Ranieri, or S. Ranierino, 

147, 148, 291, 312. 
S. Salvatore or La Madonna 

de' Galletti, ngn, 301. 

S. Sepolcro, 262. 

S. Silvestro, 118, 269. 

S. Sisto, description of, 

292-294. 
S. Stefano de' Cayalieri, 104, 

125 ; description of, 294-299. 
S. Torpe, 291, 

S. Vito, 148, 168, 304, 

33- 

S. Zeno or S. Zenone, 118, 

123. 

Cigoli Ludovico, 298. 

Cimabue, 159. 

follower of, 160, 245. 

Cioli, Benedetto, 159. 

Cisanello, 393. 

Civitale, Matteo, school of, 321. 

Clement III., Pope, 392. 

VI., Pope, 326. 

Collegio Ferdinando, 369. 

Puteano, 374. 

Conrad II., Emperor, 404. 

Cosimo I., de' Medici, Grand Duke, 
91, 92, 93, 94, 107, 124, 125, 126, 
144, 229, 327, 328, 330, 334, 341, 
34 2 > 343i 359i 369! statue of, 372, 
400. 

II., de' Medici, Grand Duke, 

'ill.', de' Medici, Grand Duke, 

173- 

Costa, Giovanni, 387. 
Crowe and Cavalcaselle, 172;*. 



D. 

Daddi, Bernardo, 214. 

Daimbert, Archbishop of Pisa, 13, 

14; made Patriarch of Jerusalem, 

!5- 
Dante, 55, 58*, 59, 137, 181, 189, 

231, 232, 274, 275, 349, 377 ; 

quoted, 391, 397. 
Dati, Bonturo, 59. 
Dennis, G., quoted, 7. 
Dionysius, quoted, 3. 
Diotisalvi, 182-183, 262. 
Donatello, bust of S. Rossore or 

S. Lussorio by, 298. 
Donizone, quoted, 12, 236. 
Doria, Uberto, destroys the Pisan 

fleet at Meloria, 52. 
Duomo, The, or Cathedral, or 

S. Maria Maggiore, n, 57; 

damaged by fire, 98, 107,108, 121, 

122, ^147, 150, 151, 153, 154; 

description of, 155-181, 206, 225, 

226, 242, 305, 319, 321, 367, 
Opera del, 336, 337, 339, 372, 

384- 

E. 

Enzo, King, 44. 
Etruscans, the, 2, 3, 4. 
Evelyn, John, quoted, 146, 190, 
201, 229, 238, 331, 365, 384, 385. 



Fabriano, Gentile da, 314, 315. 
Faggiuola, Uguccione della, Lord 

of Pisa, 58, 59, 60, 61, 216. 
Farnese, Piero, 72. 
Ferdinando I., Grand Duke of 

Tuscany, 388. 
II., Grand Duke of Tuscany, 

140, 384, 388. 
III., Grand Duke of Tuscany, 

IO2. 

Firenze, Andrea da, 222, 223, 224, 

273. 
Fleury, G. Rohault de, 119 ii., 

135 n i. 

Foggini, G. B., 173. 
Francavilla, Pietro, 272, 344, 346. 
Francis, S., of Assisi, 42, 279, 

280. 
Francis II. of Lorraine, 384, 

388. 



Story of Pisa 



Frederick I., Emperor, 25, 26, 28, 
29. 30, 31* 32, 33> 34i 35 ! death 
of, 37 ; coins of, 319, 335, 404. 

II., Emperor, 42, 43; death 

of, 44, 257, 274 ; coins of, 319. 
384, 399- 

G. 

Gaddi, Agnolo, 234. 

Taddeo, 227, 228, 282, 283. 

Galilei, Galileo, 95, 96, 97, 161, 

190; statue of, 325, 327. 

Vincenzo, 95, 96. 

Gambacorti, Andrea, 68. 

the blessed Chiara (Tora), 259, 

265-267, 268, 369. 

Giovanni, 84, 85. 

Palazzo, 334. 

Piero, 77 ; elected Lord of 

Pisa, 78, 80 ; murder of, 81, 145, 
223 n i., 256, 266, 267, 311, 312. 
367. 388. 

The 70, 75, 77, 84, 311, 367. 

Gelasius II., Pope, 20, 175, 311. 
Gerini, Lorenzo di Niccolo, 314, 

338. 
Niccolo di Pietro, 283, 314, 

Gherardesca, Chapel of the, 281. 

Bonifazio Novello della, com- 
monly called Fazio, Lord of Pisa, 
64, 65, 144 ; monument of, 230, 
231, 263, 325. 

Bonifazio, il Vecchio, 61; 

monument of, 230, 231. 

Gaddo della, 55, 61, 216 ii., 

223 ; effigy of, 231, 

Nieri della, Lord of Pisa, 61 

Nino (II Brigata), 54, 55. 

Ranieri della, 67, 68, 223. 

The, 231 ; shield of, 325. 

Ugolino della, Count of 

Donoratico, 50, 52, 53, 54 ; 

starved to death, 55, 329, 337 

Uguccione della, 55, 59, 60, 

61, 281. 

Ghirlanda, Agostino, 229. 

Ghirlandaio, Domenico, 160, 169, 
268, 289, 316, 318. 

Giotto, 203, 2x3, 233. 

school of, .214, 224, 227, 313. 

Giovanni, Bruno di, 313. 

Giuliano, S., The Bagni di, de- 
scription of, 387-389. 

Giuoco del Ponte, see Ponte. 

412 



Godfrey, Duke, 13, 14, 15, 16. 

Gombo, II, 377, 385, 386. 

Gozzoli, Benozzo, frescoes by, in 

the Campo Santo, 206-313, 267. 

268, 288, 315, 316; picture by, in 

Universita de' Cappellani, 338. 
Grade, S. Piero a, 98, 108, 181, 

345> 377 description of, 378- 

Gregory VII., Pope, 12, 36, 

VIII., Pope, 175 

IX., Pope, 43, 44, 270. 

X., Pope, 49, 392. 

XL, Pope, 80, 394. 

XII., Pope, 88. 

Guelph, Marquess of Tuscany, 28. 
Guerazzi, Francesco Domenico, 

quoted, 355. 
Guicciardini, Francesco, quoted, 

90. 
Guidotto, Paolo, 229. 



H. 

Hadrian, Emperor, palace of, i, 

112. 

Hallam, Henry, quoted, 38. 
Hawkwood, Sir John, 73, 75. 
Henry I., Emperor, 396. 

II., Emperor, 10, 18. 

IV., Emperor, 39. 

VI., Emperor, 37, 38. 

VII., Emperor, 57 ; death of, 

58 ; coins of, 319. 
Heywood, William, io2. 
Hippogrif in the Campo Santo, 

237. 
Hunt, Leigh, 349, 350. 



Innocent II. , Pope, 22, 23. 

1 1 1., Pope, 392. 

Innsbruck, William of, 191-192. 



J- 

Jaffa, see Joppa. 

Jerusalem, 2; siege of, 13, 14, 15, 

16, 33 ; fall of, 36. 
John XIV., Pope, 382. 

XXII., Pope, 62, 64, 65. 

Joppa, 2, 16, 36. 
Julius II., Pope, 302. 



General Index 



Justinian, Emperor, Pandects of, 
21, 335- 

L. 

Landor, Walter Savage, 352. 

Laodicea, 2, 17. 

Lassels, Richard, quoted, 132, 296, 

33 1 . 365* 

Leaning Tower, the, or Cam- 
panile, first stone laid of, 34 ; 

Galileo on, 96, 154, 156, 172 ; 

descripiton of, i8g-i96, 301, 305. 

37 2 . 383- 
Leo IX., Pope, 10. 

X., Pope, 316. 

Leopardi, Giacomo, quoted, 374. 
Leyden, Lucas van, 317. 
Ligozzi, 2g8. 
Lipari Islands, the, conquest of, 

by Pisa, 120. 
Lippi, Filippino, 288. 
Lomi, Aurelio, 203. 
Lorenzetti, Ambrogio, 214. 

Pietro, 214, 219. 

school of the, 315. 

The, 287. 

Lorenzo, Stoldi, 171. 

Lorraine, Cristina of, 98, 99. 

Lothar, Emperor, 22, 23. 

Louis of Bavaria, 61 ; crowned 

King of Italy, 62 ; crowned 

Emperor, 63, 64, 143. 

VII., King of France, 25. 

IX., King of France, 44. 



If. 

Machiavelli, Zanobi, 209, 315. 
Maingre, Jean Le, see Bouciquaut. 
Majorca, 19 ; capture of, 20. 
Manfred, King, 47 ; death of, 

48. 
Mappamondo, II, in Campo Santo, 

204. 
Marangone, 6; quoted, n, 13, 

18, 24, 26, 31, 32, 33, 34,35, 123, 

128, 278, 357. 
Marina di Pisa, see Bocca d' 

Arno. 

Mariotto, Bernardino di, 315. 
Martini, Simone, 222, 224, 245, 

287, 312 ; panels by, in the 

Archiepiscopal seminary, 322, 

Masaccio, 317. 



Matilda, Countess, 12, 13, 236; 

signature of, 337, 383, 387. 
Maximilian I., Emperor, 406. 
Medici, Cosimo I. de', Grand Duke, 

91, 92, 93, 94, 107, 124, 125, 126, 
144, 229, 327, 328, 330, 334, 341, 
342> 343? 359,368, 369 ; statue of, 
372, 400. 

Cosimo II. de', Grand Duke, 

99, 346. 
Cosimo III. de', Grand Duke, 

173. 
Eleonorade', Grand Duchess, 

92, 93. 

Ferdinando I. de', Grand 

Duke, 96, 97, 98, 99, 300, 319, 
33, 343; 344, 368, 369. 

Ferdinando II. de', Grand 

Duke, 99, i8r. 

Francesco I. de', Grand 

Duke, 97, 98, 99, 342, 343. 

Garzia de, 93, 94, 359. 

Giovanni de', Cardinal, 92, 

359- 

Giovanni de', Don, 96, 

97- 

Maria de', 99. 

Pietro de', 345. 

Medicine, Guild of, Constitution 
of, 79-80. 

Melani, The Brothers, 269. 

Meloria, 6 ; battle of, 52, 56, 
294. 

Memmi, Lippo, 245. 

Michelangelo, 160, 169. 

Modena, Barnaba da, 282, 314. 

Moezz, Ibn-Badis, Emir, 9, 10. 

Montaigne, Michel de, quoted, 
149, 201, 365, 380, 388. 

Montefeltro, Count Guido of, Cap- 
tain of the Pisans, 55, 56. 

Muratori, gn ; quoted, 118, 149, 

Mure, Colonel, quoted, 7. 

Musa, see Moezz. 

Musea Civico, 267, 289 ; descrip- 
tion of, 307-322, 323, 338. 



N. 

Natural History Museum, 329. 
Nazr-ed-Daulat, or Nazaradech. 

Emir of the Balearic Islands, 18, 

20. 

Nello, Bernardo, 161. 
Nese, Cellino di, 203. 
Niccolo, Giovanni di, 314. 



Story of Pisa 



o. 

Opera del Duomo, description of, 

336-338. 
Orcagna, Andrea, 214, 286. 

Bernardo, 214. 

Orlandi, Deodato, 312. 
Orologio, Palazzo del, 138. 
Otho I., Emperor, 347. 

II., Emperor, 349. 

III., Emperor, 3cf. 

IV., Emperor, 41. 



P. 



Palazzo Agostini, 136, 348-349. 

degl' Anziani, 57, 107, 371 ; 

description of, 372, 

Arcivescovile, 371. 

del Comune, once Gamba- 
corti, 366. 

Conventuale, or Carovana, 

del Consiglio dell' Ordine, 

374- 

Granducale, 359. 

Lanfranchi, or Toscanelli, 

34Q* 
del Orologio, 138. 

Pieracci, 357. 

Pretono, now the Prefettura, 

365, 373. 

Reale, description of, 341-346. 
Roncioni, 357. 

Rosselmini, 375. 

Scorzi, 374. 

Scotto, 359. 

Uppezinghi, or AllaGiornata. 

247, 348. 
Vecchio, or de' Medici, 107, 

del Veglio, now the Post 

Office, 368. 

Pandects, the, of Justinian, 21. 

Paschal II., Pope, 16, 247, 270. 

III., anti-Pope, 30, 32. 

Pietro, Cecco di, 219. 

Pisa, i ; age of, 2 ; decline of, 3 ; 
legendary origins of, 3, 4 ; har- 
bour of, 5, 6 ; Rutilius on, 7 ; 
part of, burnt by Mofe'zz, 9 ; 
Sardinia conquered by, 10; 
Palermo and Corsica conquered 
by, ii ; treaty between Emperor 
Henry IV. and, 12 ; Urban II. 
visits Countess Matilda in, 13; 

414 



Daimbert, Archbishop of, goes 
to Jerusalem, 14, 15 ; had no 
walls but many towers, 18 J 
Innocent II. holds a General 
Council in, 21 ; fleet sent to the 
aid of Naples by, 21, 22; war 
between Lucca and, 23, 24 ; 
every family in, taxed for build- 
ing the Baptistery, 25 ; Emperor 
Frederick Barbarossa in, 26 ; 
Commune of, treated as an 
ndependent power, 27 ; regarded 
as the capital of Tuscany, 28* ; 
diploma of Frederick I. to, 28, 
29 ; Barisone, Judge of Arborea, 
rebels against, 30 ; Sardinia 
given back to, 31 ; old topo- 
graphical division of abandoned, 
32 ; Florence makes a treaty 
with, 33; Gregory VIII. dies 
and Clement III. is crowned in, 
36, 37 I government and laws of, 
38 ; statutes of the Ordo Marts 
f' 39 guild of shipwrights in, 
39; early civil and commercial 
code of, 40 ; S. Francis of Assisi 
in, 42; war caused by a little 
dog between Florence and, 43 ; 
Conrad acknowledged as 
Emperor by, 45 ; treats for 
peace with Florence, 47, 48 ; 
Alexander IV. blesses golden 
florins of and raises interdict, 
48; Conradin arrives in, 49; 
internal dissensions in, 50 ; 
decline of power of, 52, 53 ; 
Guelphs driven out of, 54; 
Boniface VIII. elected Podesta 
of, 57; Emperor Henry VII. 
at 57> 58 ; Uguccionedella 
Faggiuola expelled from, 60; 
capitulation of, to Louis of 
Bavaria, 62 ; Castruccio Castra- 
cane ruler of, 63 ; Emperor 
Louis V. returns to, 63, 64 ; civil 
war between Bergolini and 
Raspanti, and plague in, 68 ; 
Emperor Charles IV. in, 69 ; 
Sir John Hawkwood enters 
service of, 73 ; Agnello pro- 
claimed Doge of, 75; Piero 
Gambacorti Captain of, 78; 
interdict laid on by Gregory XL, 
80; Jacopo d' Appiano becomes 
Lord of, 8 1 ; sold to the Duke 
of Milan, who leaves the city to 
his natural son, 82 ; sold to 



General Inaex 



Florence, 83; blockaded by the 
Florentines, 84 ; entry of 
Florentines into, 85-86 ; General 
Council in, and proclamation of 
Alexander V., 88; cruelty of 
the Florentines towards, 89 ; 
falls under the dominion of 
Florence, 91 ; university of, re- 
constructed. 91 ; death of the 
Duchess Eleonora and of Don 
Garzia de' Medici in, 93 ; 
Galileo born in, 95 ; Galileo 
appointed professor of mathe- 
matics at university of, 96, 97 ; 
Cristina of Lorraine at, 98, 
344-346 ; Duomo of, damaged by 
lire, 98 ; Giuoco del Ponte at, 
description of, 99-102, 103, 107 ; 
great in sculpture, 112; the 
the walls of, 115-126 ; the towers 
of, 127-138 ; the bridges of, 140- 
149, 154, 162, 163 ; Ranieri 
returns to, 168, 172 ; Gelasius 
II. consecrates cathedral of, 
175; Gregory VIII. dies and 
Clement III. is crowned at, 
176; Bianchi of Lucca at, 180- 
181 ; Baptistery, most beautiful of 
four fabrics in, 182 ; la Ver- 
gognosa of, 207, 229 ; churches 
of, 242-304; S. Catherine of 
Siena at, 256, 261; festival of 
S. Ranieri in, 304-306, 314 ; 
coins of, 319 ; law studied in, 
since the twelfth century, 325 ; 
Vesalio at, 327, 328, 330 ; records 
of suppressed monastic houses 
in, 334 ; palaces of, 34-375 > 
Lord Byron in, 349-357, 362- 
364; Shelley in, 352-353, 
362-364; Emperor Charles IV. 
in, 366-367 ; Alfieri in, 368 ; 
Leopardi in, 374-375 ; S. Peter 
builds a church near, 378 ; 
Clement I. consecrates S. Piero 
a Grado, 379, 381, 383 ; the 
surroundings of, 376-407. 

Pisa, Andrea di, 313. 

Pisa, Leonardo of, 253. 

Pisano, Andrea, 192, 250, 253, 
318. 

Giovanni, 112, 113 ; pulpit by, 

in the Duomo, 158, 170, 171, 172, 
184, 201, 230, 232, 234, 249, 250, 
253. 37. 308, 309. 

Giunta, 115, 203, 292, 312. 

Niccolo, 98, 112, 158, ; pulpit 



by, in the Baptistery, 185-189, 
235, 238, 372, 401. 

Pisano, Nino, 253, 254, 263, 288, 
289, 318, 321. 

Tommaso, 191-192, 240, 280. 

Pisans, the, commercial houses 
established in South Italy by, 
8 ; sail for Sicily, 10 ; build 
their cathedral, n"; conquer 
Corsica, n ; code of com- 
mercial laws of, 12 ; sail for 
Constantinople, 13 ; banner of, 
at siege of Jerusalem, 13, 14; 
Genoese and, at Acre, 16 ; 
obtain grants of land from 
the Crusaders, 17 ; return 
from Jerusalem, 18 ; beg 
Florence to guard their city 
during an expedition to Ma- 
jorca, 19 ; the Genoese go 
to war with, 20 ; take 
Amalfi, 21 ; letter of S. 
Bernard in praise of, 23 ; ob- 
tain privileges and grants 
from Baldwin III., and Al- 
meric, 26, 27 ; drive the 
Genoese out of Constantinople, 
29 ; beat the Lucchesi, 31 ; 
acknowledge Paschal III., and 
receive the Emperor Frederick 
I., 32; obtain privileges and 
grants of land from Almeric, 
32 ; war between Genoa, 
Lucca, and, 34 ; lay the first 
stone of the Leaning Tower, 
34 ; make friends with Saladin, 
34, 35 ; sign a peace with the 
Lucchesi, 35 ; Emperor Henry 
I, grants sovereign rights to, 
38 ; at the siege of Acre, 40; 
war between Genoa and, 41 ; 
aid Frederick II. in the Holy 
Land, 43 ; excommunicated 
by Gregory IX., 43, 44; make 
peace with Florence, put up 
insulting inscription at Lerici, 
47; ask pardon of Gregory X., 
49 ; richness and power of, 50 ; 
attack the port of Genoa, 51 ; 
are beaten at Meloria, 52 ; 
rise against Ugolino della 
Gherardesca, 54 ; imprison 
and starve Ugolino, his sons 
and grandsons, to death, 55 ; 
forced by Florence to re-in- 
state the Guelphs, 56 ; elect 
Uguccione della Faggiuola 



Story of Pisa 



lord, 58 ; set up poles with 
mirrors outside Lucca and 
sack the city, 59 J elect Gaddo 
and then Nieri della Gherar- 
desca lords of their city, 61 ; 
refuse to admit Louis of 
Bavaria, but are forced to 
capitulate, 62 ; rise against 
the Emperor's Vicar and elect 
Fazio della Gherardesca lord, 
64 ; decide on war with Flor- 
rence, 65-67 ; are beaten, but 
plague decimates the Floren- 
tine army, 72 ; are beaten at 
Cascina, 74 ; accept Piero 
Gambacorti as their lord, 77, 
78 ; rise against Visconti, 83 ; 
ill-treatment of, by Florence, 
89; implore Charles VIII. of 
France to free them, 90 ; 
forced by hunger to capitulate, 

31 ; greet the conquerors of 
erusalem with honour, 162 ; 
determine to build the cathe- 
dral, 174; mourn the death of 
the Emperor Henry VII., 179; 
begin to build the Leaning 
Tower, 190 ; erect the Campo 
Santo, 197; bring holy earth 
from Mount Calvary, 198; 
tablet recording names of those 
who fell in the war of independ- 
ence, 230 ; invite S. Catherine 
of Siena to Pisa, 256 ; re- 
turn of, from the Balearic 
Islands, 264 ; determine to 
build a church for the French 
monks of S. Vittore, 26, 267, 
273, 280. 

Pius II., Pope, 393. 

IV., Pope, 92. 

Ponte, Giuoco del, or Battle of 
the Bridge, description of, 99- 
102, 146, 261, 346, 368. 

Pope Adrian I., 8. 

Adrian IV., 28, 270. 

Alexander III., 28, 34. 

Alexander IV., 48. 

Alexander V., 88. 

Anacletus, anti-Pope, 21. 

Benedict VIII., 9. 

Benedict XIII., 88,326. 

Boniface VIII., 57, 61. 

Celestin III., 37, 392. 

Clement I., 379-380. 

Clement III., 36, 176, 392. 

Clement IV., 49. 



Pope Clement V., 262. 

Clement VI., 326. 

Gelasius II., 20, 175, 311. 

Gregory VII., 12,36. 

Gregory VIII., 17. 

Gregory IX., 43, 44, 270. 

Gregory X., 49, 392. 

Gregory XL, 80, 394. 

Gregory XI I., 88. 

Honorius III., 270. 

Honorius IV., 55. 

Innocent II., 22, 23. 

Innocent III., 270, 324, 392. 

Innocent VI., 380. 

John XIV., 382. 

John XXII., 62, 64, 65. 

Julius II., 91, 132. 

Leo IX., 10. 

Leo X., 316. 

Paschal II., 16, 247, 270. 

Paschal III., anti-Pope, 30, 

32. 

Pius II., 393. 

Pius IV., 92. 

Urban II., 13, 174, 

Urban III., 36. 

Urban IV., 267. 

Urban V., 74,75. 

Urban VI., 80. 

Victor III., 13. 

Porta Aurea, the, 118 ; descrip- 
tion of, 119 ; inscription on, 120. 

Buozzi, 125. 

S. Chiara, 125. 

S. Domenico, 125. 

S. Donnino, 125. 

Fiorentina, 126, 360. 

del Giglio, 126. 

Lecci, 125. 

al Leone, 26, 121, 122, 124, 125. 

Lucchese, 112, 115, 124, 125, 

387- 
a Mare, formerly Legazia, 18, 

26, 118, 120,121, 122, 124,126, 378. 

Monetaria, 125. 

Nuova, 116, 124, 125, 386. 

della Pace, 125. 

Parlascio, 125. 

alle Piagge, 124, 126, 390. 

al Ponte, 118. 

Romana, or S. Antonio, 124, 

126. 

Samuele, 118. 

Vescovado, 125. 

Vieza, 125. 

Porto Pisano, 2, 5, 6, 29, 41, 48, 51, 

52, 56, 71, 72, 84, 88, 89, 120. 



4 .6 



General Index 



Possenti, Vincenzo, 161. 

Puccio, Pietro di, 204, 2os, 206. 

211. 

R. 

Rainaldo, 174. 

Ranieri, S., chapel and story of, 

165-169, 203 ; life of, illustrated 

in Campo Santo, 222-225, 246, 

273. 304 ; picture of, 338. 
Raspanti, the, 68, 69, 70. 
Reni, Guido, 318. 
Richard I., King of England, 40; 

signature of, 335. 
Ricucchi, Cucco, at siege of 

Jerusalem, 13, 14. 
Ripafratta, 18, 25, 47, 59, 83, 377 ; 

description of, 389-390. 
Robbia, Gio. Delia, 204. 

Delia, School of, 234, 321. 
Robert of Naples, Prince, 21, 22. 

King of Sicily, 282." 

Roger, King of Sicily, 21, 22. 
Rossore, S., or Lussorio, bust of, 

298. 
S., the royal domain of, 365 ; 

description of, 383-386. 
Rutilius Namatianus, 6; quoted, 

7 Hi., 8 ; quoted, 378-379. 



Saladin, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37. 
Sapienza, La, 91, 107. 
Sardinia, 50. 

Sarto, Andrea del, 162, 165, 169. 
Schaube, A., quoted, 38. 
Schupfer, F., quoted, 38, 40. 
Seminary, the Archiepiscopal, 

description of, 322-324. 
Sercambi, Giovanni, quoted, 68, 74, 

?6. 77- 

Servius, quoted, 3. 
Settignano, Mosca da, 165, 173. 
Shelley, Percy B., 289, 290, 352, 

357, 361, 362, 363, 364, 365, 386, 

389- 

Siena, Martino da, 399. 
Sismondi, Chinzica, 9. 
Sismondi, J. C. L. Simonde de, 

quoted, 12. 

Sisto, S., patron saint of Pisa, 13. 
Sodoma, 170. 
Sogliani, 162, 165, 170. 



Solla/ino, 219. 
S. Jean d'Acre, see Acre. 
Stagi, Stagio, 169, 238. 
Stark, Marianna, quoted, 305. 
Stefano, S., Order of, 107. 
Symon^g, J. A., quoted, 88, 89. 

T. 

Thorwaldsen, 229, 

Torpe, S. or Torpetus, S., legend 

of, 291. 
Towers of Pisa, description of, 126- 

138- 
Train:, Francesco, 115, 213, 214, 

222 ; picture of Glorification of 

S. Thomas Aquinas by, 286, 313, 

314, 323, 324. 
Trelawney, Captain, 352, 353, 354, 

356, 362, 363. 
Tribolo, 1 60, 232. 
Tronci, Monsignore Paolo, quoted, 

30-31, 42, 56, 60, 79, 143, 144, 168, 

176-179, 198, 264, 304, 326. 
Trovatelli, Pia Casa dei, 107, 368, 

369- 
Tuscany, Ferdinando II., Grand 

Duke of, 140, 384. 
Ferdinando III., Grand Duke 

Of, 102. 

Hugh, Marquess of, why he 

founded seven abbeys, 303. 

Francesco II., Grand Duke 

of, 384. 

Leopoldo II., Grand Duke of, 

102, 331. 

Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke 

of, 3 28 , 33 1 ; 359- 
Tudela, Benjamin da, 103, 127, 

128. 

Tyre, 27, 36, 40. 
William of, 14, 15, i7. 



U. 

Universita dei Cappellani, 338, 

339- 
University, the, reconstituted, 91, 

96 ; records of, 335, 
Uppezinghi, Palazzo, 119, 135, 139. 
Urban II., Pope, 13, i7. 

- III., Pope, 36. 

- IV., Pope, 267. 



V., Pope, 74, 75. 
- VI., Pope, 80. 



2 D 



417 



Story of Pisa 



v. 

Vacca, 173. 

Vaga, Pierin del, 165, 270, 317. 

Vallombrosa, Galileo at, 95. 

Vanni, Turino, 246. 

Vasari, Giorgio, 160, 204, 205, 208, 
213, 214, 215, 222, 223, 224, 227, 
2 35' 2 45 2 53> 2 86, 288, 296, 299, 
302, 323, 341, 369, 371, 372. 

Vecchio, Palazzo (or de' Medici), 
i7\357. 374- 

Veneziano, Antonio, 221, 222, 224. 

Verruca, La, fortress of, 104 ; 
stone of, 129, 149, 192 ; abbey of, 
303 ; inscription from, 319-320, 
377 381 ; description of, 395- 

397-. 

Vesalio, or Vesalius, Andrea, 327- 
328. 



50, 84, 

description of, 402-407. 
Victor III., Pope, 13. 
Villani, Giovanni, quoted, 43, 46- 

47, 49, So, 5 1 , 52, 54. 55) 5<5, 60, 

67- 303-34- 

Matteo, quoted, 70, 71, 73, 74. 

Villano, Archbishop, 27, 28, 29, 30. 
Visconti, Bernabo, Duke of Milan, 

74, 75, 76, 78. 
Gabriello Maria, 82, 83. 

Giovan Galeazzo, Duke of 

Milan, 81, 82. 

Nino, Judge of Gallura, 53, 



54, 55. 56. 
Viviani, Emilia, : 



289, 290, 363. 
Volpe, Prof. G., quoted, 30. 
Volterra, Daniele da, 227. 
Francesco da, 227. 



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