The project “The Arno speaks about Pisa” proposes the creation of a virtual itinerary about the history, the culture, the nature and the eno-gastronomy dedicated either to tourists or citizens, thanks the realization of a specific website and app.
Among the most important sites, it is worth to mention in the first part of the itinerary: the Chartreuse of Calci, seat of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Pisa, the Stronghold and the little but nice parrish church of Santa Giulia di Caprona. A bike path connects this farming area to the city center. It runs by the river and leads to the Piagge avenue where one finds the Church of San Michele degli Scalzi with its unusual leaning bell tower and close to it there is the Museum of Veterinarian Anatomy of the University of Pisa.
Following the Lungarni of Pisa one gets to the historical city center rich with cultural attractions. The history of Pisa is strongly linked to the river: on the right bank it is worth seeing the museum of San Matteo where the painting with “Sant’Orsola protecting the city from the flood” is displayed. Not far from here there is the Plaster casts gallery, located in the deconsecrated church of San Paolo all’Orto. Some plaster replicas of ancient statues are conserved here. Some of them depict fluvial gods that express the atavistic link between human beings and water flows, source of life and health.
It is possible to discover the same link in the Egyptian culture and spirituality. In the Egyptological collections of the University of Pisa in via San Frediano is also possible to admire some of these significant remains .
The Botanical Garden of the University of Pisa is located a few steps away from the Knights of Santo Stefano square and from the famous Leaning Tower. It is a lush oasis, where it is possible to see several species of vegetation coming from humid areas. On the left north bank of the river, there are the Medicean Medieval Arsenals and the Pisan Citadel, which represent the testimony of the intense shipbuilding and harbor activity of the Maritime City. In these places the most innovative technologies of that time were experimented, for this reason the bronze monument dedicated to Galileo Galilei was located in this area. It was designed by the sculptor Stefania Guidi as an homage to the great Pisan scientist.
Not far from the Old slaughterhouses, there is the Museum of the Calculus Instruments, where the city of Pisa shows off all its first place records. In the same area there is also the Museum of Human Anatomy “Filippo Civinini” located in the Ancient Medical School, which displays, beside the numerous Anatomical specimens, the fine anatomical tables by the famous doctor Paolo Mascagni. About this, we need to remind that, in the first half of the eighteen hundreds, the city was an important European scientific and cultural centre thanks to the presence of figures such as: Andrea Vaccà Berlinghieri, Paolo Savi, Giacomo Leopardi, Mary e Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Carlo Lasinio, Ippolito Rosellini and many more.
The buildings that face the Arno originally were Medieval Tower houses and their lower floors were directly linked to the banks of the river. At that time the river was intensely congested with different kinds of boats, so that Pisa looked like a “small Venezia”.
Among all the historical palaces of the Pisan Lungarni, Palazzo Lanfranchi on the south bank is warmly recommended. In the first half of the eighteen hundreds it was the residence of the Vaccà Berlinghieri family. Nowadays, it houses the Museum of Graphic of the University of Pisa with a rich collection of modern and contemporary drawings and etchings. For this reason it is worth mentioning the etchings depicting the landscapes of Bocca d’Arno by Giusepe Viviani and Ulvi Liegi.
After having walked along the south bank of the Lungarni, with many artistic treasures, the itinerary moves out from the city following the course of the river until its outlet.
The areas of the Natural Regional Park of Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli are very interesting from a naturalistic point of view, while the parish romanesque church of San Piero a Grado, which shows the traces of an ancient Roman fluvial port is important from a historical-artistic point of view.
The path gets to the “retoni” of Bocca d’Arno to end up at the recent touristic port of Marina di Pisa.