The Piazza dei Cavalieri (“Square of Knights”) is one of the most beautiful squares in Pisa and is framed by a number of stately palaces, mostly built in the 16th century. The square was completely redesigned in the middle of the 16th century by the famous architect Vasari.
Piazza dei Cavalieri Pisa
Address, opening hours and admission
The address of the square is Piazza dei Cavalieri – 56126 Pisa. Bus: 4, E. Opening hours: Always open. Entrance fee: Free.
The current appearance of Piazza dei Cavalieri is the result of a new layout of the city, commissioned by Cosimo I, in 1558. The Grand Duke wished to create an apposite square for the Knights of Santo Stefano, who protected the city from Turkish attacks.
The execution of the project was led by Giorgio Vasari. Vasari felt that the buildings surrounding the square were random and disorganised. In order to rectify this, he did not hesitate to unite a number of medieval buildings under one roof.
In the early Middle Ages, the Gastaldo (the Lombard-appointed Administrator of the city) was located in this district. It was also known for the large number of blacksmiths who had settled there.
In the late Middle Ages, on the site of Piazza dei Cavalieri there was a smaller square called Piazza delle Sette Vie, because it had 7 streets (sette vie) leading off it. The Palazzo del Popolo e degli Anziani (today’s Palazzo della Carovana) was built on this square in 1254.
Already in the 14th century plans were made for the construction of a larger square called Platea Pisani Populi where criminals were executed. In order to achieve this, several people were evicted from their homes.
Tourist attractions Piazza dei Cavalieri Pisa
The statue of Cosimo I (1596) in the centre of the square was made by Pietro Francavilla. The same sculptor was responsible for the Fontana del Gobbo (“Fountain of the Hunchback”).
The 16th century Palazzo della Carovana is the result of the combination of two buildings and was formerly called Palazzo del Popolo e degli Anziani. It is named for the training course the Knights had to undergo.
The Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri Church (1565-69)
Palazzo della Canonica (1566)
Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici: The “Palace of the Council of 12” was built in 1603.
The Palazzo Puteano (1594-98) is also called Collegio Puteano.
The San Rocco Church dates back to 1575 and was built on top of the former San Sisto Church. It is located right next to the Palazzo Puteano.
The Palazzo dell’Orologio was built at the beginning of the 17th century and is the most striking palace facing the Piazza dei Cavalieri. Vasari created this building by connecting two already existing towers.